Tuesday night's episode of Smackdown Live wasn't the most stellar two hours of television WWE has ever produced, but it was once again an easy watch that featured some good matches and stories.
Raw has a deeper roster than Smackdown Live, which is by design given that Raw is a three-hour program, but Smackdown Live consistently makes better use of its talent.
This past Tuesday night was simply another example of that.
Before I dig into the details, here are the full match results from the Pepsi Center in Denver:
- Randy Orton def. Luke Harper via disqualification
- Alexa Bliss def. Naomi
- The Miz & The Spirit Squad def. Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater & Rhyno
- Baron Corbin def. Jack Swagger
- WWE World championship – James Ellsworth def. AJ Styles via disqualification
Ellsworth defeats Styles again!
For the second week in a row, Ellsworth defeated Styles.
Unlike last week, though, he did not pin Styles, which means he did not become the new WWE World champion. Instead, he won by disqualification after Styles became very frustrated with him and the match's ring announcer/time keeper/public address announcer/television producer, Dean Ambrose.
Yes, Ambrose got involved in the match between Styles and Ellsworth yet again, but not as a referee. Smackdown Live general manager Daniel Bryan would not allow him to officiate the match.
However, he let him do any other job at ringside. In Ambrose's head, that meant he could do all of them, and that's exactly what he did.
Ambrose interrupted and provoked Styles on numerous occasions, which sent the champion over the edge, as he turned up the intensity on Ellsworth.
After Styles was disqualified, Ambrose jumped into the ring, announced that Ellsworth won the match by disqualification and then hit Styles with the dirty deeds DDT.
He then held up Ellsworth's arm in victory, as the show went off the air.
I was on board with the storyline all the way up until the disqualification. I was cool with that WWE did last week between Styles, Ellsworth and Ambrose and felt the same way about Ellsworth getting his own shirt, his own entrance music and being so grateful to get the opportunity. I think WWE has done quite a bit to help Ellsworth get over with the fans.
I was not cool with Ellsworth getting in as much offense as he did and almost pinning Styles.
I figured Styles would dominate so that he could reaffirm his status of being one of the best WWE has to offer.
Instead, WWE had Ellsworth hang tough with Styles again and even left the door open for yet another match.
That match will not happen next week, apparently, as Styles went on Talkin' Smack and demanded Bryan give him a match with Ambrose next week. Bryan acquiesced to Styles' demand, but added the caveat that if Ambrose won the contest he would be named the No. 1 contender to the WWE World championship.
There are some things to complain about with the Styles-Ellsworth feud, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Corbin destroys Swagger, Talkin' Smack
Styles wasn't the only guest on Talkin' Smack this week, as Corbin also appeared on the WWE Network program after he beat the daylights out of Swagger earlier in the night.
After he destroyed Swagger in the ring, Corbin then destroyed his interview on Talkin' Smack by slamming all of WWE's independent wrestling darlings that worked hard for years and years to get to WWE while all it took for him to get there was a phone call.
He talked about how he isn't in the wrestling business to make any friends. Instead, he is in the business to make money and move up the ladder.
I thought the reactions and follow-up questions from Bryan and Renee Young were great, but the star of this segment was Corbin. He flat-out shined during his time at the desk.
The best part was that he sounded authentic, which should come as no surprise since Talkin' Smack does not stick to a steadfast script. It allows the wrestlers to color outside the lines quite a bit, which is not the norm on WWE's traditional television programs.
It doesn't seem like it at the moment, but I sincerely hope that Talkin' Smack eventually prompts WWE to go away from word-for-word scripts and allow the wrestlers to speak in their own words.
If a certain talent feels more comfortable reciting a script word-for-word that's one thing, but I believe the first option should be for the wrestlers to have leeway in what they say and how they say it on television.
It would help the entire company moving forward and it certainly helped Corbin Tuesday night. I have always been a fan of his, but now I'm definitely intrigued by what direction he goes in next and hope he gets to express himself on television more often.
Carmella, Nikki Bella get real … silly
The segment with Carmella and Bella is an example when the script can get in the way.
I understand that Carmella was supposed to come off as jealous that Bella is dating the face that runs the place — better known as John Cena — but it came off sort of weird and it ended being an extended plug for Bella's reality television show.
I understand WWE cross promoting, but there was no need for it here and I'm not sure what this really accomplished when it was all said and done.
Bliss, Naomi put on a good performance
The best women's segment on the show was the match between Bliss and Naomi.
I thought the match was very entertaining and more than made up for their sub-par showing at No Mercy a couple of weeks back.
Also, the right woman won, as Bliss, the current No. 1 contender to the Smackdown Women's championship, defeated Naomi.
A good match with a sensible ending is always a win in my book.
Apollo Crews ruins Curt Hawkins' debut
Apparently, Hawkins was scheduled to make his in-ring debut Tuesday night, but Crews ruined after punching him in the face.