ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

Smackdown Live delivered an entertaining go-home show leading up to the this past Sunday, fueled by the return of Edge, The Undertaker and a surprise Intercontinental title change.

It was the 900th episode of , and the program was spliced with historic clips, including John Cena's Smackdown debut against Kurt Angle, and Shawn Michaels superkicking The Rock to allow Triple H to pin The People's Champ for the world heavyweight title.

The show is leading up to the Smackdown Live brand vs. the brand at Survivor Series. In that context, Smackdown is currently the better show, largely because it is only two hours and doesn't feature several segments of 's shrieking.

The show opened with an unexpected title change.

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

Who saw this coming? Ziggler dropped the championship to The Miz after his wife and valet, Maryse interfered, pushing her husband to allow him to roll up Ziggler for the victory. The match was good, thanks to Ziggler's Mr. Perfect-esque bumping. The Miz's wrestling was mediocre again. Even after all these years, The Miz still looks like he is thinking about his moves in his matches; he's predictable, and it's easy to anticipate what he is going to do. During the match, Smackdown Live announcer Mauro Ranallo made a few surprise comments, acknowledging that Tuesday night would have been Randy "Macho Man" Savage's 64th birthday.

Ranallo also said that The Miz was attempting to become a six-time intercontinental champion, joining Rob Van Dam and Jeff Jarrett. It's rare to hear the WWE acknowledge names from the past unless it's part of the current storyline.

There were some other funny bits of commentary, especially when color commentator David Otunga mentioned that The Miz was using his wife to get ahead. Commentator John Bradshaw Layfield then said to Otunga that it's okay to use your wife to get ahead: "That's the only reason you are here. We are hoping she shows up."

Otunga is married to .

Otunga responded: "All the record sales and Academy Awards in the world can't buy a Harvard education." Otunga, a lawyer, went to Harvard.

After Ziggler lost, he sat in the corner, looking dejected.

Grade: B-

Kalisto vs. Oney Lorcan

Kalisto will wrestle The Bryan Kendrick at Survivor Series for the cruiserweight championship. After botching a jump from the bottom rope, Kalisto won with the Salida del Sol finisher in a short, spot-filled match.

Grade: D

We were entertained with a great throwback segment featuring King Booker talking to the 10 members of the Smackdown Live tag team. Few things are funnier than hearing King Booker talk in a British accent:

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella

This was an awful match. Nikki cannot wrestle and neither can Carmella. Both of these women botched several spots in a match that looked outright fake. The segment was saved by Raw's Charlotte and the rest of Team Raw, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alicia Fox and Nia Jax invading and fighting the Smackdown women's team. The Smackdown crew got the edge.

Grade: D-

They showed a stat indicating that Smackdown Live is the second-longest running episodic show on television, behind Monday Night Raw, Gunsmoke, The Simpsons, Lassie, Law & Order, Death Valley Days, Ozzie & Harriet and Law & Order.

Then, we got a throwback of John Cena wrestling Kurt Angle and The Undertaker shaking Cena's hand, long before he was the Doctor of Thuganomics.

American Alpha, The Usos, The Hype Bros & Breezango (w/Heath Slater & Rhyno) Against The Spirit Squad, Vaudevillains, Ascension & The Headbangers

A nothing match. Just an opportunity for these the Smackdown Live tag teams to show off before the Survivor Series. The Headbangers look remarkably the same as the did in the late 1990s.

Grade: F

The Cutting Edge

Edge returned for his Cutting Edge segment. Edge's music is among the Top 10 best of all time. Music is timeless, but unfortunately Edge is not. He is sporting a grey beard that resembles Mick Foley. Ranallo says that Edge will be on ESPN's Sportscenter on Wednesday and reminded us that he won 31 championships when he was in the WWE. Take that .

Edge grabs the microphone and says: "Man does that feel good," in response to the crowd reaction. He told the crowd full of millennials that he "bleeds blue" and helped "make this show."

Edge brought out Team Smackdown, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt and Shane McMahon, along with their mascot James Ellsworth.

As the crowd chanted "AJ Styles," Edge faked like he was going to shake Styles' hand, but instead shook Ellsworth's hand. Ellsworth asked for a 5-second pose with Edge, but Styles freaked out and shouted "No."

Styles made the crowd laugh when he said about the 5-second pose, "It was stupid then and it is stupid now."

Styles then turned it on and said, "Hey, I am the face that runs this place, so you listen to me Edge. No one cares about Ellsworth and no one cares about you either. So why don't you do your job and ask a question to someone who actually matters on this stage."

True that.

Edge agreed, and then turned to Orton and started badgering him about being a Wyatt puppet. Then . . . The Undertaker's music hit.

It's always cool when The Undertaker enters the ring. Once he finally got there, he stared at McMahon, said he was fearless, and tipped his hat at him. Then, the Undertaker let us know what he was thinking.

"Wrestlemania will no longer define who I am," The Undertaker said. "I am back taking souls and digging holes. Survivor Series was where the Undertaker was born and Smackdown has always been my home."

The crowd lost it during the Undertaker segment, with "Undertaker" and "You still got it" chants.

The Undertaker ended the segment saying that "Team Raw better rest in peace" and if Team Smackdown fails, "you will have reason to fear The Dead Man."

Grade: A-


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