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WWE Smackdown LIVE!- November 22, 2016

by Scrooge McSuck

AJ Styles

- Last week on Smackdown Live... It was the 900th episode of Smackdown, which means all the part-time stars were brought back! Edge hosted the Cutting Edge, with the Smackdown Men's Survivor Series Team as his guests. The Undertaker made an appearance and warned them that if they fail, they'd have to deal with the Deadman... The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler to become the 6-time Intercontinental Champion, with a minor assist from Maryse and the Spirit Squad... 8 of the 10 Tag Teams representing Smackdown had a warm-up match against all the scrubs not good enough for a spot on the PPV... Nikki Bella and Carmella fought to a No Contest when a big brawl erupted involving the Women of Monday Night Raw... Kalisto had a tune-up match against NXT's Oney Lorcan... Alexa Bliss will be granted a rematch following the controversial finish to her Championship Match with Becky Lynch on Episode #899.

- Episode #901 of Smackdown Live is coming to us from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips sitting at ringside to cover all the action, unless otherwise noted. Advertised for tonight is a Tag Team Gauntlet Match to determine a new #1 Contender for Heath Slater and Rhyno. TLC is less than 2-weeks away, so we'll see some aggressive card building tonight.

- Shane McMahon comes out to kick things off, looking a bit roughed up from his performance at Survivor Series. He wants to give props to Team Raw for their (losing) effort. He wants to specifically thank Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt for their performance, and is disappointed that Dean Ambrose and A.J. Styles couldn't put their differences aside for one hour. Dean Ambrose interrupts and tries to make Shane see the positive side that Smackdown won, so what does anything else matter? Shane calls him out for the Shield Reunion, but Ambrose shrugs it off and welcomes team Smackdown's MVP, James Ellsworth, who is sporting a neck brace. Ambrose spills the beans that Shane has a big surprise for Ellsworth... that he's going to be offered a Smackdown Live Contractâ„¢. Shane offers Ambrose the night off, and by that he means he has to leave the building. A.J. Styles complains about Ambrose not deserving a title shot, and now Ellsworth gets a contract?! Styles calls Ellsworth a charity case. If Ellsworth wants to "earn a contract", Styles offers himself up in a Ladder Match. Ellsworth accepts, but if he wins, he not only gets a contract, but a future opportunity at the WWE World Championship. Ambrose pops up from out of nowhere, and I'm guessing this is the theme of the night.

- The Miz and Maryse are backstage for a photo shoot. Daniel Bryan interrupts. Miz says it's Miz-Giving and Bryan should congratulate him in front of everyone, but Bryan says Miz humiliated Smackdown Live with his underhanded victory over Sami Zayn at Survivor Series. Bryan reminds us that Baron Corbin ruined Smackdown's shot for taking the Cruiserweight Division, so Miz has to defend the Intercontinental Title against Kalisto. NEXT.

- Shane McMahon is backstage to show Dean Ambrose the door. Ambrose offers to bring Shane McMahon something back to eat. I don't think this is the last we'll see of Dean.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Miz © (w/ Maryse) vs. Kalisto:

I think it would be safe to assume there will be shenanigans at the end of this match. Lockup and Miz goes for the arm. Kalisto counters and takes Miz down for a quick pin attempt. Kalisto with a waist-lock. Miz avoids a jumping heel kick, but gets rolled up for two. Kalisto with a small package for two. Kalisto dumps Miz to the floor and follows him out with tope suicida. We return from commercial break with Miz putting the boots to Kalisto in the corner. Kalisto avoids a charge and lands a kick to the face. Shoulder to the midsection and seated senton. Kalisto with the springboard twisting shoulder tackle for a near fall. Miz counters a short hurricanrana, and Kalisto counters a springboard Powerbomb into a cradle for two. Kalisto with the hurricanrana for another two count. Kalisto makes a slow climb to the top rope, but seems distracted. Baron Corbin makes his presence felt, allowing Miz to sneak up from behind and hit the Skull Crushing Finale to retain at 3:26. Post-match, Corbin gives Kalisto End of Days. Meanwhile, Dolph Ziggler shows up from out of nowhere and lays Miz out with a Super-Kick at the top of the ramp.

- Alexa Bliss is backstage to bother Shane McMahon about when she'll get her Championship rematch. Becky Lynch interrupts to tell Alexa that she'll get her match at TLC in two weeks. Natalya interrupts with her coach whistle (why does she still have that?!). Natalya blames Becky for what happened to Nikki Bella at Survivor Series. Long story short, Shane books Natalya vs. Becky, and Becky quotes Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" to Alexa's displeasure. Dean Ambrose shows up with a box of pizza.

- Daniel Bryan interrupts Baron Corbin walking backstage, calling him out for costing them the entire Smackdown Division and ruining tonight's Intercontinental Title Match. Actions have consequences, and tonight, Corbin gets to face a close, personal friend of his, Kane.

Smackdown Live Tag Team Turmoil:

(Participants: American Alpha, The Hype Bros, Breezango, The Ascension, The Vaudevillains, and The Usos)
Winning team gets a shot at the Tag Team Championship, most likely at TLC on December 4th (exclusively on the WWE Network, and maybe on traditional Pay-Per-View providers). The Hype Bros and The Ascension start. The Ascension attack before the bell, taking it to the floor. Ryder misses a dive and goes flying over the top rope. Mojo does his best impression of Roman Reigns while Konnor lays Ryder out with a short clothesline. Ryder counters a double suplex with a double neck breaker. Mojo runs in from his power nap and the Hype Ryder finishes Viktor at 2:07.

Breezango is the next participants. They run to the ring, and get tossed over the top rope. Mojo assists Ryder for a somersault senton as we take a break. We come back with Breeze raking the eyes of Mojo and getting nailed from the apron by Fandango. Ryder with a missile dropkick on Breeze, but the Broski Boot misses. Breezango with a double team slingshot elbow drop to eliminate the Hype Bros at 3:30. Wow, Fandango pinned someone. American Alpha is next. They run over Breeze in the aisle. Fandango hangs Gable across the top rope with a suplex. They try doing their double team spot on Gable, but it's blocked and Gable cradles Fandango for three at 4:43. The Vaudevillains are our next jobbers. Jordan press slams him into the air and Gable throws him out with a clothesline. Gotch gets caught with a double team dropkick and German Suplex for the three count at 5:05.

We're left with American Alpha vs. The Usos. There's a surprise. The Usos take their sweet time getting to the ring. Heath Slater and Rhyno (sporting mutton chops) are watching backstage. Gable and Jimmy start. Lockup and Gable avoids being trapped in the Usos corner. We return from break with Jimmy working over Jordan. Usos with a double back suplex for a near fall. Jordan avoids a Shining Wizard, so Jey slaps on a chin-lock. Methinks that was a botched spot. Jordan avoids the double suplex spot, tosses Jey to the floor, and sidesteps a dive from Jimmy. Gable with the hot tag and he unloads with rights on both Usos. Gable with a dropkick and belly-to-belly suplex to Jimmy, followed by a twisting clothesline from the top onto Jey. German Suplex with a bridge on Jimmy for two. Gable continues to fight 1-on-2 and gets sent into the post. Jey with the blind tag and a pendulum back breaker gets a near fall. Jordan gets his own blind tag, hoists Jey into the electric chair, and Gable comes off the top with the Avalanche Bulldog for a near fall, broken up by Jimmy. Jey with a Super-Kick to Jordan, but the Splash meets knees, and Jordan rolls him up for another near fall. The Usos try taking out the knee of Jordan, but Gable saves, and Grand Amplitude finishes at 14:06 (excluding two breaks). *** All for the stuff with American Alpha and the Usos. The rest was just junk to get us to the final destination.

- The celebration is short lived, as the Wyatt Family show up on the big screen to inform American Alpha that they haven't faced all the teams. Next week, Wyatt and Randy Orton are coming for American Alpha, and that match will determine the contenders for Heath Slater and Rhyno at TLC.

- Daniel Bryan is backstage with James Ellsworth to make sure he's OK with performing tonight, with his contract for Smackdown Live on the line. Dean Ambrose interrupts their lovefest, dressed up as A MOUNTIE. Daniel Bryan warns him the ramifications if Shane McMahon catches him. Wouldn't you know it, Shane walks in and yells, so Ambrose willingly offers to leave (don't be such a hoser!), but Shane decides to take the rest of the night off, instead. Ambrose has a message for Bryan to deliver to A.J. Styles: The Mountie always gets his man.

Becky Lynch vs. Natalya:

Non-Title Match. Alexa Bliss has taken over the seat occupied by Tom Phillips. I'd say, at least visually, that's a vast improvement. Natalya grabs a side headlock and takes Becky over. Becky counters with a head scissors, but Natalya quickly escapes. They do the sequence again, but with the roles reversed. Becky with a series of strikes. She goes to the top rope, but Natalya interrupts her ascent and takes her down with a sit-out Powerbomb for a two count. We return from commercial with Natalya in control with an abdominal stretch. Nattie-by-Nature connects for a near fall. Natalya with a Michinoku Driver and seated cover for another two count. Becky with a small package for two. Becky comes back with the clotheslines a jumping leg lariat. She hits the diving forearm into the corner, but Natalya blocks the springboard kick. Natalya counters the Disarm-Her with a roll up for two. Becky with an Exploder Suplex. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Becky counters with the Disarm-Her for the tap out at 4:26 (excluding one break). Post-match, Alexa Bliss attacks and plants Becky with a DDT. *1/2 Decent action for what was shown.

- Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder shill (and steal) merchandise.

- The Miz and Maryse interrupt Daniel Bryan's phone call. Miz wants Dolph Ziggler suspended for what he did earlier. Daniel Bryan says Ziggler is owed a rematch and makes a Championship Match for TLC. Win or Lose, this is the end of Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz, and to make sure it ends on a high note, it'll be a Ladder Match.

- Nikki Bella interrupts Carmella's phone call to call her out on allegedly attacking her from behind at Survivor Series. Carmella denies having any involvement. Carmella says she's more than willing to accept any credit when she did it, but this time, it wasn't her. Carmella says it could be anyone from the Raw roster, the E! Network, or even her own sister. They bicker until Nikki drops the bomb that it'll be her and Carmella in a No Disqualification Match. Odds are we'll know the identity of Nikki's attacker in two weeks.

Kane vs. Baron Corbin:

Is this a punishment for Baron Corbin or for all the fans watching? The show is rapidly running low on time. Kane immediately goes for the goozle, but Corbin fights free. Kane knocks Corbin down with a big boot. Corbin survives a slugfest and rams Kane into the corner. Kane comes back with an uppercut. Whip to the corner, Kane with a clothesline. Corbin does the quick in-and-out, but with Kane giving chase. Kalisto shows up and nails Corbin with a missile dropkick, drawing a Disqualification at 1:04. Kane catches Corbin by surprise and plants him with a Choke-Slam. Post-match, we get yet another "someone beats up on his rival following a match" sequence, with Kalisto chasing Corbin off following a Van Daminator. I think we all know where this is going (Corbin vs. Kalisto in a Chairs Match at TLC).

Ladder Match: James Ellsworth vs. A.J. Styles:

If Ellsworth wins, he gets his Smackdown Live Contract AND a future opportunity at the WWE World Championship. If he loses, he's out of here. Ellsworth is still sporting a neck brace. Styles avoids a right hand and knocks Ellsworth on his non-chin. Styles rips off the neck brace and casually kicks him out of the ring. Styles retrieves the ladder while Mauro tries to compare this to situations like the Miracle on Ice and Miracle Mets. Ellsworth tries grabbing the ladder, but Styles muscles it away from him. Styles makes the slow climb, but Ellsworth grabs his ankle. Styles kicks him off with ease and stops to further punish Ellsworth for even trying. Styles traps him in the ladder and lands a hard kick ("this is gonna' hurt a little bit."). Styles pins him under the ladder and slaps him. Styles climbs again, but Dean Ambrose shows up in an Ottawa Senators jersey and clears Styles out of the ring. He helps Ellsworth out from under his prison, but Styles has recovered and lays Dean out with the Phenomenal Forearm. Styles climbs, but Ellsworth tips the ladder over, with Styles taking another man-sized bump over the top rope. Ellsworth with No-Chin Music, trapping Styles' leg in the ropes. Ellsworth climbs, and grabs the contract at 5:39. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?! The saga of James Ellsworth continues.

Final Thoughts: TLC is taking shape, and doesn't look to be the train-wreck of a show we're used to seeing. Dean Ambrose vs. A.J. Styles has been a great program, with James Ellsworth as the unlikely entertaining wild card. We're promised what allegedly is the finale of the Dolph Ziggler/Miz program, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are throwing their names into the Tag Team Division and face American Alpha for the #1 Contenders spot at TLC, and we've got a few storylines in the women's division with a bit of intrigue (what are the chances of a surprise return being the person behind Nikki's attack and not the obvious conclusion that it was Natalya?). The wrestling was mostly so-so tonight, but as usual, the pushing of storylines and keeping continuity from week-to-week takes center stage.

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