This Week in WWE – SmackDown (11/15/2016)

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This week’s SmackDown (11/15/2016) was the 900th edition of the show. Read on to find out our thoughts on the return of legends and build to Survivor Series!

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. The Miz

The Miz and Dolph Ziggler wrote another chapter in their storied rivalry on SmackDown with the Intercontinental Championship on the line. Unfortunately, much like many of their other matches in recent memory, this one was marred by controversy. Dolph Ziggler had a quick roll-up, but Maryse pushed it over and The Miz stole the victory and the title with a 3-count.

I can understand the outcome of this match from a storyline perspective, but it does disappoint me slightly. Dolph wasn’t really given much of a run with the title before dropping it yet again, it kind of felt like his World Championship reigns. The fact is that it made more sense for the bad Miz to face the good Sami Zayn at Survivor Series.

I feel that Raw could end up with both mid-card titles while SmackDown gets the Cruiserweight Division. It sounds impossible, but I’m really thinking that that’s going to be what happens come Sunday. As for Dolph, I have no idea where he goes from here, but he certainly deserves to be near the top of the card for the work he’s done lately.

Oney Lorcan

I don’t get to see Oney Lorcan very often, but every time I do he makes a huge statement. He did just that on SmackDown when he brought some physicality to his match with Kalisto. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a harder uppercut! Oney did end up losing to Kalisto by pinfall, but he seems to be one of the few people that can make an impact even while losing. I really think this guy deserves a lot more TV time than he gets.

The Women’s Team

SmackDown certainly has a lot of unique personalities as far as the ladies go. Each woman seems to have her own agenda. Alexa Blis started out worrying about hers by talking to Daniel Bryan about a rematch seeing as her foot was on the rope when she lost. Daniel said that she will get that rematch, but didn’t mention when. It’s a good move to give Alexa a rematch, for a second I thought they were just going to let her fall back down the card as an afterthought.

Later on in the night, Nikki Bella faced off against Carmella and the two actually had a decent match going when Charlotte showed up in the crowd with a ticket in hand. She took a seat a ringside as the match continued. Nikki didn’t let that stand for too long before she attacked Charlotte and brought her over the railing. It didn’t take long for the rest of Team Raw to hit the ring and attack Nikki. Carmella did attempt the save, but was overpowered by the five women. The rest of Team SmackDown hits the ring and clears out Team Raw standing unified for the first time.

This segment was a really good segment for effect. Much like the main event star on Raw, the SmackDown women have certainly had their differences so seeing someone like Carmella put those outside to attempt to help Nikki spoke volumes. I’m glad that they actually got the upper-hand as well seeing as Raw made SmackDown look bad on Monday. It was good that they were driving home the point that they would be unified for one night only as well. That doesn’t give anyone false hope that their favourite heel would be turning face or anything like that. It does give WWE an opportunity to see who might be a good candidate to turn heel or face, though, depending on the reactions from fans at Survivor Series.

The Tag Teams

I don’t know how well this tag team Survivor Series match is going to come off on Sunday. Having 20 men battling, 10 per side is going to be a little bit crazy in my mind. I would have probably limited this to the 3 best teams on both shows and called it a day. It was hard for SmackDown and Raw to even find 5 worthy teams to compete in these matches. We have 5, so we have to look at it from that perspective. 

I believe SmackDown has a fairly strong team. I’m starting to sour a bit on Slater and Rhyno, though. They haven’t done much of note with the belts and I think the sooner another team wins them, the better things will be. Those two happened to be the only ones not involved in an 8 on 8 tag team match on SmackDown against the leftover teams. Obviously, Team SmackDown won and showed solidarity throughout.

I love SmackDown’s team because even with The Usos having bad blood with American Alpha and, to a lesser extent, Slate and Rhyno, they still managed to co-exist and look like they were having fun out there. I really think that SmackDown has the stronger team and that they will take the match on Sunday. 

The Main Eventers and Edge

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Edge and with him filming a show about Vikings, it seems he hasn’t shaved since the last time we saw him. It was really great to have The Rated R Superstar back on the blue brand. Edge was always a huge part of SmackDown and if there was anyone around that could motivate the team, it would be him (and the man we’ll talk about after this section). Edge tried to do a 5-second pose with James Ellsworth but got interrupted by AJ Styles who said no one cares about either of them.

There’s a lot of tension on Team SmackDown. Styles and Ambrose may hate each other more than any other 2 Superstars in WWE and Wyatt and Orton are in a class of their own while Shane McMahon isn’t even a full-time wrestler. It definitely seems like this team will be the underdog team and I don’t see them pulling off a victory. If they do, it may well be because of mascot James Ellsworth who seemed to be in his glory on SmackDown. The guy’s happiness is infectious and as much as I don’t think he should be there, he is and I can’t deny he is entertaining.

Undertaker

Is there anything more mythical than watching The Undertaker enter an arena? I don’t think so. The Undertaker made his return to SmackDown, yes, SmackDown. Raw doesn’t get this legend. Taker dropped a couple bombshells. The first one was that Wrestlemania would no longer define him and that he was back to “take souls and dig holes”. If Taker is indeed back, it couldn’t have come at a better time for SmackDown which is in need of star power. Taker probably would only work TV which is all that he needs to do anyways. It’s certainly huge news.

The second thing he said was that “you have no reason to fear failure, but if you fail…you will have reason to fear The Deadman”. I feel like this is an easy way to get Taker back into the storylines. It seems obvious that Team SmackDown will fail and that Undertaker will go after the person/people most associated with that failure. That’s just my viewpoint. Regardless, having Taker back in the locker room would be incredible for these young stars and would help build the brand into a closer rival to Raw. Great move for SmackDown and something that builds the anticipation for when we may see Taker appear next.

Conclusion

SmackDown 900 was a great show. It did everything it needed to do with quick appearances from some Legends. It didn’t turn into a look down memory lane, it was focused on the current storylines and that’s how it should be. This week of TV made me much more excited about Survivor Series than I was, so I praise WWE for that.

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