Tom Waits famously sang, “It’s time, time, time that you love,” he’s not wrong. I, like the rest of the human race, value time, which is why I usually say watching Smackdown Live is a waste of yours. This week is an exception. You should watch this week’s instalment of Smackdown Live – it’ll be time that you love.

Following Backlash, which was widely regarded as the best PPV in a long, long time, Smackdown had a high bar to pole vault over, and while I’m not saying this week’s episode of Smackdown was as good as Backlash, it did thrive off the momentum that had been set.

The show began with the new WWE World Champion, AJ Styles, coming to the ring to offer everyone a hearty serving of “I told you so.” He went as far as rechristening himself “the champ that runs the camp”, which might be subtle product placement for Camp WWE. The word “camp” had barely settled over the audience when the very familiar music of John Cena hit.
Big Match John declared that AJ had “something that belongs to me, and I’ve finally decided I want it back,” to which AJ offered Cena his “never give up” sweatband. Cena clarified that he was talking about the WWE World Championship, and the wheels were set in motion for the story of John’s quest to tie Ric Flair’s record, which is a huge money-maker of a story, so it was admittedly a bit of let down when Dean “Mr. Afterthought” Ambrose turned up, demanding his rematch.
Not one to be upstaged, Cena began dressing down Ambrose, adding that Stone Cold was right about him. I rag on Ambrose a lot, but here, he gave as good as he got, calling out John for being “a lazy part-timer who can’t get it done in the ring anymore.”
Shane McMahon had heard enough and made the main event of No Mercy official: a triple threat for the WWE World Championship between AJ Styles, John Cena and Dean “Some Other Guy” Ambrose. But, as usual, the main event of this episode would be Ambrose and Cena taking on AJ and a partner of his choosing.
no mercy main event

– The Usos beat Hype Bros with an eye-rake-superkick-Samoan Splash combo.
– Curt Hawkins made his grand return to WWE TV… in a pre-taped segment, filled with recycled Chuck Norris jokes and a forced tagline of “Face The Facts”. So we’re gonna have to deal with this bullshit for a while longer.
– JBL called Daniel Bryan the “general manager of Raw”.
– Baron Corbin’s rematch with Apollo Crews never began after an End of Days outside the ring.
– Jack Swagger is on Smackdown now. His promo glimmered with hints of heel, and I just don’t give a shit.
– The women’s division had a fatal 5-way to determine the new #1 contender for Becky’s title. It was a good match with plenty of impressive spots, although it did suffer from the usual “two people inside the ring, everyone else overselling on the floor outside” syndrome. Alexa Bliss was shat on throughout, so understandably, she stole the pin on Nikki Bella for the win.
– The current sponsor of WWE’s shows’ tagline is “food you want to fork” and that… that’s just dreadful.
– Heath Slater has a new shirt that says “I Got Kids” and I’m buying one immediately.
– Heath and Rhyno defended their titles against The Asencion thanks to a gore.

Far better than Curt Hawkins' facts
Far better than Curt Hawkins’ facts

Did you know last night’s Smackdown Live aired on the 162nd day of The Miz’s never-ending, Intercontinental Championship world tout? I have a tracker on my phone for that shit. The Miz came to the ring to mention that his lengthy reign is bringing prestige to the title and the company, WHICH IS TRUE, but Dolph “Second Place” Ziggler decided he had something add, and challenged The Miz to a rematch with no valets or gimmicks. Daniel Bryan “hard man walked” his way to the ring and The Miz scarpered and I think the match is set for No Mercy, maybe?

AJ Styles’ search for a tag team partner led him to Baron Corbin and Kane before he gave up (which his Cena sweatband suggests he never does), but luckily for the Internet, Daniel Bryan had sourced a partner for Styles, in the form of James Ellsworth… you know, the first jobber Braun Strowman ran through after the brand split?… You know, the really unathletic-looking guy with The Offspring tattoos? No chin? Yeah, that guy. So now that Heath Slater has a contract, I guess Ellsworth is the only cross-brand superstar. Here’s hoping he’s holding the tag titles soon. The events of his entrance perhaps suggest that won’t be the case though.
As Ellsworth came down the ramp, looking bewildered, The Miz ran out and delivered a nasty-looking Skull Crushing Finale to Jimmy The Kid, shouting “I’m the main event, Daniel,” – a statement I very much agree with.

Main event material
Main event material

So the main event was set: Ambrose and Cena Vs. AJ Styles and The Miz, who actually looked worthy of the main event (LIKE I HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR AGES) for the first half of the match, until he became the obvious fall-guy.
In the words of Mauro Ranallo, Ambrose hit a “tope suicida”, which happens so often I don’t think it’s worthy of a “mamma mia”.
Cena eventually scored the win for the face team after an Attitude Adjustment to The Miz. During their victory celebration, Ambrose pulled his old ruddy lunatic tricks and hit Big Match John with a Dirty Deeds.

I’ve made no secret of my feelings towards Ambrose, but when he’s chasing a title he’s far more endearing than when he’s portraying the cool-guy champion. The Smackdown writers are doing their best to suggest Ambrose has a genuine chance at recapturing the title, but realistically, he’s probably in that triple threat at No Mercy to take the pin from Styles.