The fallout SmackDown episode after Backlashwas nothing to write home about, though it did have its moments. Thing is, most of those moments came on the mic and not in terms of in-ring action.

SmackDown gets off to fast start with confirmation of No Mercy main event

As is the custom, AJ Styles kicked off SmackDown Live with a promo to celebrate his winning the WWE World Championship at Backlash on Sunday. After the promo, which saw him screaming out the words “I TOLD YOU SO!” and emphasizing that he’s now the “champ that runs the camp,” John Cena hit the ring and made his first appearance on WWE programming since his loss to Styles at SummerSlam last month.

He then made it clear that he wants the World Championship belt, but was soon interrupted by an upset Dean Ambrose, who appeared set on regaining the title he lost at Backlash.

SmackDown Live commissioner Shane McMahon broke things up before the argument got any more heated, announcing that it would be Styles defending against Cena and Ambrose at October’s SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view, No Mercy. He also booked the main event of the evening: Styles and a partner of his choice versus Cena and Ambrose in a tag team match.

The tag match, unfortunately, was nothing special. It was interesting to see The Miz attack Styles’ chosen partner, jobber James Ellsworth, insisting that he should be in the main event.

An impressed Styles named Miz his new partner, but when the match started, it was only solid at best. Still, it showed a more aggressive side to Ambrose, as the “Lunatic Fringe” celebrated his team’s victory by attacking Cena to close out the show.

Miz and Slater entertain, but Wyatt beatdown on Orton proves confusing

Speaking in separate non-wrestling segments, The Miz and Heath Slater did well for themselves, with the former celebrating his continued reign as Intercontinental Champion, and the latter finally signing a contract with the SmackDown brand.

The Miz’s segment, in particular, saw more tension built up between him and SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan, as he continued to demand that his contract be renegotiated, refusing to accept Dolph Ziggler’s challenge for a rematch until his wish is granted.

The one arguable misfire among the non-wrestling segments came when Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan inexplicably attacked Randy Orton in the middle of the latter’s promo. This comes just weeks after Wyatt teased a breakup with Rowan and the dissolution of The Wyatt Family, but with Luke Harper soon to return from injury, it won’t be surprising if the Wyatts re-form as a three-man stable on the SmackDown brand. Still, it was weird to see Rowan allying again with Wyatt after what looked like a surefire Wyatt Family disbandment.

Other happenings: Swagger joins SmackDown, Bliss becomes women’s topcontender

As it turned out, the talk of Jack Swagger’s RAW contract expiring was all for storyline. Swagger took to the ring after Baron Corbin beat down on Apollo Crews, and announced that he has just joined the SmackDown roster from RAW. Swagger’s promo skills were as shaky as always, but with his signing to SmackDown, this could at least give him a chance to be a productive member of the midcard.

In women’s competition, Alexa Bliss made up for being the first woman eliminated in the SmackDown Women’s Championship match on Backlash by winning a five-way match to become number one contender for Becky Lynch’s title. The tag team matches, on the other hand, were largely uneventful, as The Usos decimated The Hype Bros in a rematch of their second-chance match at Backlash, while Heath Slater and Rhyno romped off to an easy win over The Ascension in their first defense of the SmackDown Tag Team titles.

Quick results:

The Usos d. The Hype Bros

Alexa Bliss d. Carmella, Naomi, Natalya, and Nikki Bella (Number one contender Fatal Five-Way for SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Heath Slater and Rhyno d. The Ascension (SmackDown Tag Team title match)

John Cena and Dean Ambrose d. AJ Styles and The Miz

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