After using a blatant low blow followed up with the Styles Clash at Backlash to defeat Dean Ambrose and win the WWE World Championship, SmackDown Live kicks off with brand new WWE World Champion AJ Styles. The new champion starts off by proclaiming that “the champ is here” before saying that he has done everything that he has said he was going to do. Styles then says that he told them that he was going to beat John Cena at SummerSlam and he did and he told them he was going to Dean Ambrose at Backlash and win the WWE World Title and he did that too. The champion continues, saying that, if AJ Styles says it, then they can take it as the “gospel”, declaring that he is now the “champ that runs the camp”.
This is when AJ Styles is interrupted by a familiar face as, for the first time since SummerSlam, John Cena makes his way to the ring on SmackDown Live to confront the new WWE World Champion. Cena says that AJ has something that belongs to him and he came out there to get it back. The champion responds by taking off the Cena armband that he got at SummerSlam and throwing it in the face of Cena, saying that he doesn’t need the armband anymore because, now, he’s got the WWE World Title. However, Cena stays focused on Styles, saying that AJ still has something that belongs to him and he’s decided that he wants to take it back, pointing at the title belt and saying he wants the WWE World Championship.
Cena then quotes sixteen-time former World Champion Ric Flair by saying that “to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man” before the fifteen-time former World Champion declares that, if he wins the WWE World Championship one more time, then he will be in the conversation with “the man”. Cena then says that he couldn’t think of a better person to make history off of than AJ Styles, saying that he is the man who doesn’t “quit” and he’s got “one goal left” in WWE and that is to declare that the “sixteen-time champ is here”! This brings out the former WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose, who makes a beeline for the ring, getting right in the face of the new champion AJ Styles. Ambrose tells the champion that he can deal with losing a match, but when Styles kicked him in the “jewels”, AJ stole from him. “
The Lunatic Fringe” then says that Styles made him his “enemy” before Ambrose vows to make Styles’ life “miserable”, saying that he’s not just going to take the title back, he is going to take it back “with interest”. This is when John Cena would spin Dean Ambrose to face him, telling Ambrose that the former champion crotched Styles on the top rope a couple of weeks ago and now Ambrose is complaining that AJ used a low blow to beat him. Cena then says that he’s surprised that the low blow even hurt Ambrose because Ambrose hasn’t “stepped up”, he’s “fell off” and all that he’s been showing the fans is that’s he’s got “no balls”!
Ambrose responds by saying that Cena must be mistaking him for someone who “gives a damn” about what Cena thinks because he doesn’t, saying that, to him, Cena is just a “lazy part-timer”! Ambrose then says that Cena is better off on TV shows and award shows because Cena can’t “keep up” anymore, saying that WWE “uses” Cena as a “corporate puppet” because Cena is good on morning shows and on a cereal box, but he can’t “get it done” in the ring anymore. Ambrose then says that Cena couldn’t even beat AJ Styles at SummerSlam, so there’s no way that Cena is going to able to get by him because he would never back down from a “lazy, Hollywood wannabe part-timer”! This brings out SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, who comes out to the ring to try and diffuse the situation brewing in the ring. Shane says that Cena and Styles “tore the house down” at SummerSlam and Styles beat Cena “clean” and that is a great accomplishment.
The Commissioner then says that Styles earned the right to face Ambrose for the WWE World Title at Backlash and they “tore the house down” then too before Shane says that AJ took the “easy way out” to win the title. Shane continues, saying that, regardless of how he did it, Styles is the WWE World Champion before assuring Dean Ambrose that the former champion will get his one-on-one rematch but not at the moment. Shane then announces that, at No Mercy next month, AJ Styles is going to defend the WWE World Championship against both John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a Triple Threat Match! The Commissioner then announces that the main event for SmackDown Live will see John Cena team up with Dean Ambrose to face AJ Styles and a partner of his choosing!
The opening match of SmackDown Live would be a rematch from Backlash as The Hype Bros would face The Usos in tag team action. In the end, it was Jimmy Uso raking the eyes of Mojo Rawley behind the back of the referee before hitting Rawley with a super kick. Jimmy then tags his brother in as Jey hits the Samoan Splash, pinning Rawley to pick up the win for The Usos.
After successfully retaining the Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler at Backlash, thanks to his wife Maryse spraying something in the eyes of Ziggler, Intercontinental Champion The Miz and his wife Maryse would make an appearance on SmackDown Live. The Miz says that Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and a lot of the fans have been calling him a “coward”, but he walked out of Backlash as the Intercontinental Champion, declaring that it is day 162 of his “never-ending Intercontinental Championship World Tour”. The champion then says that he has held the Intercontinental Title longer than 132 other former Intercontinental Champions, saying that he has had the title longer than such former champions as Pat Patterson, Triple H, and Dolph Ziggler. The Miz continues, saying that he had made the Intercontinental Championship more prestigious than it has ever been.
The Intercontinental Champion is then interrupted by his opponent from Backlash, Dolph Ziggler, as Dolph makes his way to the ring, saying that The Miz is trying to sell himself to the fans. Dolph then says that the fans are going to see The Miz as a “top guy” because they always “see through” The Miz. The Intercontinental Champion responds by saying that, any time he is on any show, he is the “main event” and, if he lived or died by what the fans think, they might as well bury him six feet under just like Dolph’s career! Ziggler then admits that he is in a bit of a slump in his career right now before saying that The Miz will always have an “asterisk” next to his name before asking The Miz if he actually wants to “earn” some respect. Dolph then challenges The Miz to a rematch for the Intercontinental Title, saying there will be “no gimmicks, no wives” and “no excuses”, just him and The Miz one-on-one. Maryse then gets in the middle of the confrontation, asking if Dolph wants a rematch against The Miz for the Intercontinental Title.
This brings SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan out to the stage as the GM says that Maryse is the “only reason” that The Miz is still the Intercontinental Champion and Dolph Ziggler will get his rematch! However, The Miz argues that Dolph didn’t even “earn” the right to be the #1 Contender in the first place and he is “certainly not getting a rematch”. The Intercontinental Champion then says that he told Daniel Bryan at Backlash that he wants to “re-negotiate” his contract and the GM is not going to get what he wants until The Miz gets what he wants. As Daniel Bryan solemnly makes his way down to the ring, The Miz continues to shout, saying that the Intercontinental Title is not going to be defended on SmackDown Live or any other show until he gets what he wants, telling Daniel Bryan that he is calling his own shots and there is “nothing” that the GM can do about it. However, as soon as Daniel gets in the ring, The Miz and Maryse exit the ring as the Intercontinental Champion and his wife exit through the crowd.
SmackDown Live was then scheduled to have a rematch from the Backlash Kickoff between Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews, but before the match could even begin, Baron Corbin would attack Apollo Crews from behind. “The Lone Wolf” would then toss Crews into the barricade at ringside before planting Apollo with the End of Days on the arena floor! However, as Baron Corbin stands tall in the ring, there is an unexpected interruption as, just one night after his RAW contract expired following a loss to Jinder Mahal, the newest addition to SmackDown Live would make his way to the ring as “The Real American” Jack Swagger comes out to confront Baron Corbin! However, this is when Baron Corbin would opt to leave the ring before Jack Swagger says that, as of 12:01AM this morning, SmackDown Live is his “new home”. Swagger then says that the fans should forget what they think they know about Jack Swagger because SmackDown Live is the land of opportunity and he is going to be a “big problem”, proudly declaring “we the people” along with the fans.
After making history at Backlash by defeating Natalya, Carmella, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, & Nikki Bella in a Women’s Six Pack Elimination Challenge to become the first ever SmackDown Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch would make an appearance on SmackDown Live for an in-ring interview. The new SmackDown Women’s Champion says that there is a saying that says that “the journey is greater than the destination”, saying that, whoever came up with that saying must have never had the destination of being the SmackDown Women’s Champion because that destination is “pretty freaking sweet”! The proud champion then says that she is a “fighting champion”, stating “come at me bros”.
With SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch at ringside, it was time to determine a #1 Contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship as Naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella would compete in a Fatal 5-Way Match where every competitor will be allowed to compete at the same time with the first Superstar to score a pinfall or submission earning themselves a future shot at the SmackDown Women’s Championship. During a chaotic free-for-all of a match, Nikki Bella would hit the Bella Buster on Natalya, but Natalya would kick out before Naomi hits Nikki with the Rear View before Nikki kicks out!
Shortly after this, Nikki Bella would lift Alexa Bliss up for the TKO, but Carmella would catch Nikki with a super kick before Alexa would take advantage, tossing Carmella out of the ring before quickly pinning Nikki Bella as Alexa Bliss becomes the #1 Contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship! After the match, Alexa Bliss confronts Becky Lynch on the outside as the champion holds the SmackDown Women’s Title belt up high.
After doing the seemingly impossible by beating The Usos in the Finals of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament at Backlash to become the first ever SmackDown Tag Team Champions, Heath Slater & Rhyno would join SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon in the ring as Slater would officially sign his contract to become a member of the SmackDown Live roster. Shane congratulates Slater & Rhyno on becoming the first ever SmackDown Tag Team Champions before asking Heath Slater to sign on the dotted line to make it official. Savoring the moment, Heath Slater does just that, signing the contract to officially become a member of the SmackDown Live roster!
Heath then thanks Shane McMahon, Daniel Bryan, and his wife Beulah before thanking Rhyno, saying that Rhyno is his “friend”, his “partner”, and they are the SmackDown Tag Team Champions. Slater continues, saying that they will take on anyone, anywhere, at any time before starting to thank his kids, one by one. However, The Ascension interrupts the feel good moment, saying that, if Slater & Rhyno are willing to take on anyone, anywhere, at any time, then they should face The Ascension right now! Heath tries to backtrack, however, saying that they have a table in the ring and they don’t even have a referee so they can’t have a match right now. However, the SmackDown Commissioner disagrees, announcing that they are going to have an impromptu title match right now!
Per the orders of SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon, the SmackDown Tag Team Titles would be on the line in an impromptu match on SmackDown Live as Heath Slater & Rhyno would defend the titles against The Ascension! In the end, it was Rhyno blasting Konnor with the Gore, pinning Konnor to pick up the win as Heath Slater & Rhyno successfully retain the SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
After Bray Wyatt attacked Randy Orton backstage at Backlash, leading to a forfeit victory for Bray, before Orton paid Bray back by costing Wyatt his No Holds Barred match against Kane, “The Viper” Randy Orton would make an appearance on SmackDown Live to address Bray Wyatt. Orton says that Bray Wyatt is “afraid” of him and that is why Bray tried to end his career at Backlash before saying that he is “ready for a fight”, calling Bray Wyatt out to come down to the ring and face his “fear”. However, Bray Wyatt would opt to appear from his undisclosed location, saying that he gave Orton a “gift” at Backlash and all Orton had to do was “stay down”, but “The Viper” decided to embarrass him. Bray then says that he “can’t stop now”, telling Orton “do not sleep”.
Bray Wyatt then mysteriously appears at ringside and Randy Orton dares Bray to enter the ring, but that is when the lights go out and, when they come back on, Erick Rowan is behind “The Viper” as Rowan attacks Orton from behind, putting the boots to Orton. However, Orton would pop up out of nowhere with the RKO to Rowan before gazing at ringside, but Bray Wyatt is nowhere to be found.
As a result of failing to find a tag team partner for the match, AJ Styles would be assigned a tag team partner for the main event as it would appear as though the WWE World Champion would be forced to team up with local competitor James Ellsworth to face the team of John Cena and Dean Ambrose. However, as James Ellsworth makes his way to the ring, he is blindsided by The Miz as the Intercontinental Champion hammers the local competitor before declaring that he is the “main event” and planting Ellsworth face-first with the Skull Crushing Finale on the ramp! The Miz then tosses Ellsworth to the side before making his way to the ring, shaking hands with AJ Styles as it becomes clear that The Miz is volunteering to be AJ’s tag partner!
Then it was time for the main event as WWE World Champion AJ Styles would team with Intercontinental Champion The Miz to face AJ’s No Mercy challengers, John Cena and Dean Ambrose. The story of the match would become the shaky partnership between John Cena and Dean Ambrose, but that would go to the wayside as, after Ambrose dives to the outside to take out AJ Styles, John Cena would deliver the Attitude Adjustment to The Miz, pinning the Intercontinental Champion to pick up the win for himself and Ambrose. However, the post-match celebration would be cut short as Dean Ambrose would grab John Cena, spiking Cena with Dirty Deeds in the middle of the ring, making it clear that there will be no allies at No Mercy in the Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Championship as Ambrose stares down AJ Styles with Cena laid out in the ring.
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