The show opens with AJ Styles backstage. He's in the locker room bragging to Apollo Crews, Erick Rowan, & Rhyno about his victory over John Cena at SummerSlam. He wraps Cena's "Never Give Up" band around his head and starts mocking Dolph Ziggler who's sitting in a chair with his head in his hands. ZIGGLER HEADBUTTS STYLES! PULL APART BRAWL! Good stuff.
Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon are in the ring with the rest of the roster to present the Smackdown Divas and Tag Team Titles. The first Smackdown exclusive PPV takes place in a few weeks and it's Backlash! YESSSS. The nostalgia that brings. Even though it used to be a RAW PPV back in my day, it's still hype to see it back. They announce a 6 pack women's title match for the event and that a tag tournament will culminate there, so that will start tonight. In the middle of this, Heath Slater marches down and talks his way into the tag tournament, but the catch is that if he's able to find a partner he's in, but if they don't win, he doesn't get a Smackdown contract so that's gonna be interesting. AJ Styles comes down and crashes the whole shindig. He's attacked by Dolph Ziggler from behind. That whole thing ruled. AJ's role as the top heel of Smackdown is perfect. He's killing it right now. The roster separates AJ & Zigs as we go to break.
1) Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss
This is pretty short and to the point. Becky is super over and Alexa holds her own. Becky gets the win by making Bliss submit. BECKY 4 SMACKDOWN WOMENS CHAMP 2016.
Match rating - **
2) The Usos vs. The Ascension
The tag title tournament begins here and it's a match we got multiple times when The Ascension first debuted, but it's a match none the less. They keep it short & sweet. Ascension flurry early with the doomsday device. Usos fight back and are able to pick up the win to advance in the tourney.
Match rating - **1/4
AJ Styles comes out randomly out of nowhere and gets just as stellar of a reaction as he did during his first two appearances of the night. This man is the face of Smackdown and a bonafide star, ladies and gents. Mauro reacts perfectly on commentary when his music hits, just watch his face. But anyway, he cuts a promo on being the #1 Contender to the WWE Title when Dolph Ziggler runs back out with security behind him trying to stop him. Daniel Bryan comes out yelling for them to stop because he isn't letting them ruin the show. He says they'll face off one on one later tonight with the winner facing Ambrose at Backlash.
3) Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
This was Nikki's first Smackdown appearance since returning at SummerSlam, she gets a nice pop and a pre-match interview only to get jumped by Carmella before the bell. Carmella leaves Nikki laying in the center of the ring.
Randy Orton is here to address what happened with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. He talks about that for a bit before Bray Wyatt interrupts. Oh, boy. Is it bad that I just want Bray to go away at this point? I literally left the room for this. I guess we're getting an Orton/Wyatt feud now. Zzzzzzz.
4) American Alpha vs. Tyler Breeze & Fandango
Wtf!? This was so fucking good. I didn't know Breeze & Fandango had this entertaining of a match left in them at this stage in their careers. The Alpha delivered their signature top notch performance and Breeze & Dango matched it. Sick reversals like Breeze hitting a hurricanrana to counter out of a double team attempt when Gable had him on his shoulders. Breeze angles Gable's head down in the turnbuckle and SUPERKICK. That was tight. American Alpha hit a flurry of awesome double teams which leads them to victory. Alpha/Usos inthe finals at Backlash, pls?
Match rating - ***1/4
5) AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler
These two have faced off before however the stakes were never this high. In one night they built this to be a match with legit tension so I was pretty stoked considering there was actually backstory and not just a bunch of action with no meaning. Mauro and everyone else on commentary added to this so much and made it feel like a legitimate emotional rollercoaster for Ziggler fighting for his last chance at the WWE Title. The crowd bit on each nearfall Ziggler had including one hell of a zig zag that bent Styles inside out. In the end, AJ would take a cheapshot and hit the Styles Clash to pick up the victory and crush Ziggler's dreams. Hell of a main event here. Styles' killer run continues as he strolls outside the ring to have a great staredown with the champion himself, Dean Ambrose to close the show.
Match rating - ***3/4
Smackdown trumped Raw this week. TEAM BLUE BABY.