Despite lasting just two hours, ‘SmackDown Live’ has, for many, been the more consistent WWE show, as compared to the three-hour ‘Monday Night RAW’. That again proved to be the case, as WWE followed up an uneven ‘RAW’ with another solid ‘SmackDown’ on Tuesday night.

A rarity: John Cena loses televised match cleanly

It isn’t very often that you see John Cena lose cleanly in WWE, much less on free television and not on a pay-per-view. But with Cena and Dean Ambrose scheduled to face reigning champ AJStyles for the WWE World Championship at ‘No Mercy’ two weeks from now, Styles’ two challengers squared off in the main event of last night’s ‘SmackDown Live’ in a babyface-vs-babyface battle.

Ambrose controlled the match in the early goings, and while Cena picked up steam in the middle of the match, the “Lunatic Fringe” was able to successfully counter Cena’s AA finisher, getting the pin and picking up the victory.

It was also announced last night that Ambrose would be facing Styles for the WWE World Championship on next week’s ‘SmackDown’. But since titles don’t change too often on free television, fans can expect a disqualification finish of some sort in that match.

The Usos set to challenge Heath Slater and Rhyno at ‘No Mercy’

The ‘SmackDown’ tag team wars continued to heat up, as American Alpha was cleared to return to action, facing The Usos in a number one contender match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships currently held by Heath Slater and Rhyno.

Seeking revenge for The Usos injuring Chad Gable’s knee, which took American Alpha out of the SmackDown Tag Team Tournament ahead of the ‘Backlash’ pay-per-view, the babyface team started out strong. Still, the villainous Usos focused on working Gable’s injury, working it to the point that it was eventually re-injured.

The match ended with Gable’s partner Jason Jordan making the decision not to tag him back in, allowing The Usos to hit double superkicks and a top rope splash, as they move on to face Slater and Rhyno for the SmackDown Tag Team belts at ‘No Mercy’.

Other results/segments

Last night’s episode of ‘SmackDown Live’ had started out with a contract signing between SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and challenger Alexa Bliss for their title match at ‘No Mercy’.

While ‘SmackDown’ general manager Daniel Bryan promised things would be peaceful, words were exchanged between both women, and yet another WWE contract signing degenerated into a brawl, albeit a quick one. Bryan was also involved in a backstage confrontation with The Miz, sternly warning the Intercontinental Champion that if he doesn’t want to defend his title on ‘SmackDown’, he can forget about the contract he had recently renegotiated in storyline.

With The Miz reluctantly agreeing to his title rematch against Dolph Ziggler,the reigning champpicked up the win through illegal means, using a bottle of hairspray (courtesy of wife Maryse, just as referees barred her from ringside) to blind Ziggler.

Despite the similar, though not quite identical finish to their match at ‘Backlash’, it was still one of the night’s most entertaining matches, owing to The Miz and Ziggler’s excellent chemistry in the ring.

In other matches and segments, Baron Corbin easily defeated Apollo Crews, as Crews fell further into irrelevance and the recently-arrived Jack Swagger (sitting in on commentary) continued teasing a feud with Corbin. And Randy Orton made similarly quick work of Erick Rowan, before Rowan’s stablemate Bray Wyatt cut yet another promo on Orton ahead of their match at ‘No Mercy’. While Wyatt appeared to have more urgency than usual in last night’s promo, his tendency to lose against bigger-name talent at pay-per-view events has been a long-running trend.

As such, Wyatt finally winning a big match would be the only way to make these cryptic promos worth it.

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