- Last week on Smackdown Live... In the year of the improbable, the impossible has happened. James Ellsworth defeated A.J. Styles in a WWE Championship Match. By Disqualification... The Spirit Squad scored a pin fall victory over the Tag Team Champions in a Six-Man Tag that also involved Dolph Ziggler and The Miz... Baron Corbin squashed Jack Swagger like Nero squashed Poppaea... Carmella called out Nikki Bella with insider information that everyone already knew... Curt Hawkins walked out on his in-ring debut when Apollo Crews rudely struck him before the bell... Kane returned from his vacation to Parts Unknown and helped Randy Orton fight off Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper... Alexa Bliss got her 50/50 win back over Naomi... Natalya annoyed Daniel Bryan with selfies of her cats.
- Live from the Resch Center in Green Bay, WI, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Advertised tonight is a Non-Title Match between A.J. Styles and Dean Ambrose (if Ambrose wins, he earns another Title "Opportunity"), Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a No Holds Barred Match, and the return of Becky Lynch from a mysterious health problem unrelated to in-ring competition. Randomly booking a No Holds Barred Match feels like my attempts at booking the weekly shows in WWE 2K17 (available now on PlayStation and X-Box consoles).
- Dean Ambrose is backstage complaining about his car getting searched when James Ellsworth interrupts to thank him for everything he's done the last couple of weeks. Ellsworth wants to be in Dean's corner for his match tonight, but Ambrose does his best to turn him down without being too much of a jerk about it.
- Andrea D'Marco is backstage with A.J. Styles for words on what has taken place the last few weeks. He says James Ellsworth is a goober that looks like an action figure that someone stuck in the microwave. Dean Ambrose will be carried out of the ring tonight, and if Ellsworth tries to get involved, he's going to be missing more than his chin.
- Renee Young is in the ring for a Very Special Interview with Becky Lynch. Remember WWE fans, she defends the Women's Title against Alexa Bliss in Glasgow, Scotland on the November 8th episode of Smackdown Live! Becky literally gets out 7-words before Alexa Bliss interrupts. She claims Becky has developed a "yellow streak" down her back. Becky calls Alexa out for her Disney references and calls her "Doom-Bow", whatever the hell that is. Alexa suggests Becky was faking her injury the whole time, calls her pathetic, and says she should just hand the Championship over to the rightful Champion. Becky catches a sucker-punch coming. They take it to the floor, with Alexa ramming her back into the over-sized ring post and the security barricade. Back inside the ring, Bliss lays her out with a DDT and does the tried-and-true "paint a yellow streak across her back" to add insult to injury. The back-and-forth was a bit weak with it going all over the place, but the physical stuff was perfectly fine.
- In case you missed it, earlier tonight, Randy Orton surprisingly laid out Kane with an RKO (out of nowhere), "helping" Bray Wyatt pick up the victory. Randy Orton is backstage and after a long pause, says "if you can't beat them, join them." Insert Admiral Akbar "It's a Trap" meme here. Hell, I'll do it myself.
- Daniel Bryan is on the phone when Natalya interrupts and she's still pitching the idea of being the Team Captain for the Women's 5-on-5 Elimination Match. Daniel Bryan says the winner of the match between herself and Nikki Bella will get the spot. The loser of the match will not be on the team at all.
- Dean Ambrose is backstage for more face time. He's had fun messing with A.J. Styles, but tonight, the fun is over, and it's time to become the #1 contender and win back his WWE World Championship.
- The Miz and Maryse come out with the Spirit Squad. Kenny and Mikey give a cheer for the Miz, but for 16 days, the world has suffered without him as the Intercontinental Champion. He feels sorry for the legends that paved the way to make the Intercontinental Title the most prestigious Championship, but now with Dolph Ziggler holding it, it dies a slow death every day he's the Champion. Dolph Ziggler interrupts and says he felt sorry for everyone who had to listen to his crap for six-months. Ziggler offers Miz his rematch right now, but Miz declines and says he'll get his rematch on his own terms (probably Smackdown in Scotland). Heath Slater and Rhyno come out to help even the sides. Slater calls them out for having Maryse stand in the way. Miz says Slater and Rhyno are more of an embarrassment than Ziggler being the Intercontinental Champion, and that if they want to prove otherwise, they should defend the titles against Kenny and Mikey. Rhyno cringing at the thought of male cheerleaders is a site to behold.
- James Ellsworth gives Dean Ambrose the puppy-dog eyes backstage and insists on returning the favor. You don't think they're setting it up where Ellsworth screws over Ambrose in his match with Styles? That would be incredibly stupid, but I guess it makes sense if Styles is paying him off because he's afraid he's going to lose the title to Ambrose if Ambrose is crowned the #1 contender.
We return from commercial with Ambrose fighting out of a chin-lock. He lands a few shots to the midsection, but runs into a dropkick. Ambrose avoids a plancha and nails Styles with tope suicida. Ambrose with a series of forearms and a diving clothesline. Fisherman Suplex gets a two count. Styles avoids a charge and goes for the Calf Crusher, but Ambrose blocks it and takes him over with a back slide for two. Ambrose with a Fujiwara arm-bar and quickly transitions into a Texas Cloverleaf, but Styles makes it to the ropes to force the break. David Otunga compares Ellsworth to Jeremy Lin (Lin-sanity!). Styles takes Ambrose to the apron and connects with a snap suplex onto the floor.
We come back from yet another commercial break (our last of the evening), and Styles is still in control. Ranallo makes video game references to Styles, as if his name was TJ Perkins or something. He sets Ambrose up across the top rope, but Ambrose counters the Super-Plex attempt and connects with his signature flying elbow. They exchange blows, with Ambrose getting the better of things. Styles escapes a suplex attempt, but Ambrose counters his fury strikes with a swinging neck breaker for a near fall. Styles slips out of a Super-Plex and springboards off the ropes into an inverted DDT for another near fall. Ambrose counters the Styles Clash, sweeping the legs into a roll up for two. Styles with a spinning back fist, and Ambrose with a Lunatic Lariat that turns Styles inside out. Ambrose connects with the Super-Plex, but can't cover. Styles escapes a fireman's carry and locks in the Calf Crusher. Ambrose hooks Styles around the neck and slams his head into the canvas, but Styles keeps the hold applied. Ambrose slaps himself in the face and makes a desperate lunge for the ropes, forcing the break. Styles with a running baseball slide dropkick to knock Ellsworth's chin back into the prehistoric era. Ambrose counters the Phenomenal Forearm. Styles avoids Dirty Deeds and another Lunatic Lariat. Styles with the Pele Kick, but Ambrose counters the Styles Clash by back dropping Styles to the floor. Ellsworth decides to Hulk-Up™ and hits No Chin Music. The referee sees it, with Ellsworth giving a look of horror and remorse back at Ambrose, and after a long bit of contemplation, Mike Chioda calls for the Disqualification at 12:45 (excluding two commercial breaks). ***1/4 Despite the two interruptions, a well worked TV Main Event with a unique finish that guarantees a rematch down the line, and continues the saga of Mr. James Ellsworth.
Final Thoughts: Great show from start to finish, with a strong Main Event. The quality of the wrestling fluctuated all over the charts, but that really isn't the main factor when it comes to properly enjoying Smackdown. The roster that was labeled too shallow has proven otherwise, barely using half of what they officially have, and maximizing everyone they have, from the obvious like A.J. Styles and Dean Ambrose to the "what the hell" like James Ellsworth, Heath Slater, Rhyno, and the Spirit Squad. Smackdown is treated like a true episodic TV series, with everyone storyline featured and nudged along to next week, whether it be a backstage segment, in-ring confrontation, or an actual match. Not only do they have clearly established programs for everyone that was featured tonight, but they made a big deal out of the Survivor Series and the prestige of representing their show via the Elimination matches.