KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 14, 2017
PITTSBURGH, PA. AT PPG PAINTS ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
ANNOUNCERS: Tom Phillips, JBL
-The show opened with clips of the A.J. Styles and Shane McMahon altercation that first aired on Talking Smack last week with “Road Dogg” Brian James stepping between them.
-Backstage, Daniel Bryan was talking on his cell phone to someone about Miz TV and Randy Orton speaking his mind later. A.J. Styles approached Bryan and told him to get off the phone. He said if he saw Shane, he’d slap him across his face. Bryan said he’d arrive later. Styles said he had something to say and he was heading to the ring. Bryan said he should think of his career. Styles said he was.
-Styles entered the ring and the crowd chanted “A.J. Styles!” JBL said Styles is the best performer of his generation and he has every right to be upset. Styles said he’s tired of Bryan and Shane messing with him. He said he is WWE’s greatest Superstar and should therefore receive red carpet treatment at WrestleMania. He said instead he’s having to jump through hoops like a circus monkey. He said all John Cena had to do to get a title shot was ask for one. He said he expected a one-on-one rematch after the loss, but he got a Triple Threat match instead. Then an Elimination Chamber match. Then a battle royal that ended in controversy, so he also had to beat Luke Harper one-on one to get his shot at WrestleMania.
He said Orton, on the other hand, burned down Bray Wyatt’s house and was rewarded with the main event of WrestleMania. He said anyone who knows the business knows he had the best year in 2016 and put Smackdown Live on the map. He said fans are there to see him and WWE Network subscribers pay to see him. He said it’s ridiculous that he doesn’t have a match at WrestleMania. He said Bryan is just a puppet, so he wants to talk to Shane about his career “if I even have one.” He slammed down the mic.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a babyface promo in the sense that he told the truth and the truth points to him being treated unfairly. What can Shane say? Is there still any hope Shane offers Styles a WrestleMania showcase against Shinsuke Nakamura?) [c]
-The announcers hyped that Orton would address Bray later tonight and Becky Lynch would face Natalya after the break. They also addressed why it was just two of them. They said Mauro Ranallo couldn’t make it due to the weather, and David Otunga was filming a movie and not scheduled to be there this week. [c]
(1) BECKY LYNCH vs. NATALYA
Natalya grabbed the bottom rope to force a break on an early submission attempt, then regrouped at ringside. They cut to an early break. [c]
After the break, Natalya slammed Lynch at ringside. She stood over her with a foot on her chest and got booed. Natalya applied a sleeper. Lynch broke free and rallied. Lynch then applied a Disarmer for the tapout win.
WINNER: Lynch in 9:00.
-After the match, Carmella attacked a celebrating Lynch. She also kicked Natalya. James Ellsworth joined her in the ring. JBL obsessed over Ellsworth being a different species.
-Backstage they showed Styles pacing in the parking garage, awaiting Shane’s arrival. Phillips and JBL threw to a video package on John Cena hosting the Kids’ Choice Awards 2017. Cena introduced Nikki Bella as “the love of my life.” Lots of people getting hit with green slime including Cena. [c]
-Backstage Carmella and Ellsworth were walking backstage when Dasha Fuentes interviewed them. Carmella said since Daniel Bryan said “every chick” gets a shot at the Women’s Title at WrestleMania, she’s the next champion.
-Miz TV: Miz and Maryse stood mid-ring and introduced their guests, whom he said everyone on Raw and Smackdown have been taking about. “They are high profile, they are must see! Get out of your seats for the It Couple, Miz and Maryse!” The crowd booed. He said the reason everyone is talking about them is they are giving everyone a look at the frauds that Nikki and Cena are and they haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg yet. He threw to a clip of last week’s angle on Smackdown and a clip from Talking Smack of Bryan saying John Cena sells extra tickets because everyone is into feeding lies about him. Back live, Maryse showed off her wedding ring. Maryse said years ago Nikki stabbed her in her back. She said she had a contract in her hands to be part of the first season of Total Divas, but Nikki told her not to sign the contract and instead ask for more money. She said she trusted her, but WWE came back and said the deal is now withdrawn. Nikki said she’d take care of it because she’s dating John Cena and she’s untouchable, but she never heard from her again… until she got a text telling her that that she and Brie would be on Total Divas and “I hope you don’t mind.” Maryse stood up off the director’s chair and said Nikki took money and opportunities and three-and-a-half years of her life away from her. She said she’s going to expose her as a “lying, backstabbing bitch.”
Cena’s music played and he walked out with Nikki. The fans sang “John Cena sucks!” They ran to the ring. Miz and Maryse slid out of the ring. Nikki said she had something to say. She asked Maryse if she is crazy. She said if she had the power to block her job, what is she doing standing there on Smackdown now. “Maryse, we were never ever best friends,” she said. She accused Maryse of lying by making up a story and stabbing her in the back. She called her “sweetheart” and said the only person stealing money is Maryse every night. She said all she does is squeeze Miz’s arm like “a brainless, spineless blowup doll.” She said she’s going to give her an opportunity tonight to prove herself by stepping into the ring so she can kick her ass. Miz said, “You don’t get to make up matches. Who do you think you are? John Cena? You two continue being terrible people. Miz TV’s time is up. It has been awe…” Before he could finish, Bryan’s music interrupted.
Bryan asked Miz who he thinks he is? He said he’s not the general manager, and his time is not up. He said he promised it would be a special edition of Miz TV, but it was just him running his mouth. He said Miz promising something special and not delivering makes him want to punch him in the face. He said he is really irritated by Miz about a lot of things, including Miz imitating his moves poorly and rubbing in his face that he can’t wrestle anymore, and they all make him want to punch him in the face. He said he knows two people who can punch him in the face, since he can’t. He announced Miz & Maryse vs. Cena & Nikki at WrestleMania. Nikki leaped into Cena’s arms in celebration. He kissed Nikki.
-They cut to Styles still waiting for Shane. [c]
(2) MICKIE JAMES vs. ALEXA BLISS
A couple minutes in, Bliss yanked Mickie off the ring apron onto the mat at ringside. They cut to a break as Bliss celebrated. [c]
In the end, Mickie avoided a Bliss moonsault and then hit her spinning Mick Kick for the win.
WINNER: Mickie in 9:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: The crowd didn’t cheer or boo either. They just watched. Giving this match away this quickly after their breakup with little or no fanfare feels like they got a lot less out of it than they should have.)
-Renee Young walked up to Styles and said people are concerned about his intentions when Shane arrives. Styles said if he doesn’t have a match at WrestleMania, he’s going to get his thrills another way. Shane arrived and got out of his car. He carried his bag in and Styles jumped him. No one thought to warn him. Styles threw him into the wall and another car and finally through the side window that shattered. Fit Finlay ran in and told Styles to get out of there. Styles stomped on Shane again. Shane was bleeding. [c]
-They showed a bloodied Shane being tended to by the medic, who recommended he go to the emergency room. He had a streak of blood on his face coming from his hairline.
-They went to Phillips and JBL. JBL said there is no where in the world where this behavior is acceptable.
-The Usos lectured Styles in the locker room, telling him he can’t be doing stuff like that. Bryan confronted Styles as he made his way toward the exist. He told Styles that he has lost all respect for him. He said he’s not untouchable. Styles asked if he’s going to fire him. Bryan said he is. He ordered security to get Styles out of the building. Mouthy security guards told Styles to “keep it moving.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure if that means Styles is fired or not. If so, it won’t last. I’m not crazy about the Usos, with all they did to American Alpha, being the ones to tell Styles he is out of line. This isn’t some helpless guy that Styles beat up. Shane went toe-to-toe with Undertaker last year. They’re acting like Styles beat up and bloodied Renee Young. I’m all for hard selling a big angle, but they’re going a little far in making it seem like Shane is some vulnerable weak victim.) [c]
-They showed a clip of Dolph Ziggler interrupting Mojo Rawley last week saying he’s going to be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal this year.
(3) MOJO RAWLEY vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler just walked out after a couple minutes, deciding not to keeping fighting after Mojo threw him over the top rope three times. JBL said Ziggler would have been eliminated three times if this were a battle royal.
WINNER: Rawley via countout in 2:30.
-The announcers threw to footage of Styles throwing Shane into the wide window. They also showed a camera angle from inside the car.
(Keller’s Analysis: DUMBEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. That wasn’t worth showing a shot from inside the car for the “cool angle” because it SHOUTS “this was preplanned and we put a camera in this car to show you what we planned to do.” Seriously, there aren’t words for how truly stupid and clueless that decision-making is. They don’t get what they are and the importance of a logical, consistent narrative presentation. Every single other form of entertainment gets this, and with WWE, it’s just amateur hour.) [c]
-A soundbite aired with Neville.
-Orton walked to the ring to his music. Orton said you can learn a lot from a viper because they are cunning, fearless, ruthless, and only strike when the timing is absolutely perfect. He said he’s been lying, waiting like a snake in the grass for his opportunity for months and months and months. He said could have attacked Bray at anytime, but an RKO wouldn’t have been enough. He said that would have been too easy. He said he had to figure out how to hit Bray where it hurt the most. He said if he couldn’t beat him, he had to join him. He said he devised a way to get close to Bray and earn his trust as a member of his family. He said the longer he stood by his side, the venom in his veins ran deeper and deeper. He said he had to figure out how to be as sadistic, dirty, and as devilish as possible, so he destroyed the one thing in this world that Bray loves – Sister Abigail.
He said as that fire burned bright and he heard he screams, he could feel Bray’s power being stripped away. He said suddenly the New Face of Fear had fear written all over his face. He said the reason is because Bray is afraid of only one thing – being alone – and now he is alone. He looked up at the WrestleMania sign and said the job is not yet over. He said he has one step left to climb. He said he needs to finish what he started, and that his why at WrestleMania “I swear to God I will take everything from Bray Wyatt!”
Bray appeared on the big screen. He said Randy is right about him. He said he was indeed helpless and naked and stripped of all of his power until he found his way back home “or what’s left of it.” He said Orton may have thought he burned the soul of Sister Abigail, and he did, too. He said he should have known better, but Sister Abigail is the spawn of Satan. “She was forged in Hell itself,” he said. “She still beats in the black hearts of all of her apostles. And now she has bestowed her power upon me and now I am the lord of lords.” He said Abigail lives through him now eternally. “I’m born again, Randy,” he said. “In her ashes, I baptize myself.” He bent over and looked at a pile of ashes under the floorboards. He rubbed the ashes all over himself. “Follow the buzzards!” he said.
(Keller’s Analysis: Yawn. Sorry, but all this nonsense doesn’t add up to anything that fits within the WWE world. Why are we supposed to care what Randy did if (a) he never explained his motivation for doing it in the first place, and (b) if Bray is going to say what Randy did only made him stronger, and (c) if Randy’s response to that is standing in the ring without any sort of reaction. They travelled far and landed nowhere other than having a couple “cool” segments with “spooky” images and words. Does the WWE Championship even factor into this? They’re not even talking about that. What is the point of having Bray have the championship when Styles could instead still hold it, and Randy and Bray could have done all of this without a title to ignore.)
-The announcers hyped American Alpha vs. The Usos. [c]
-A clip aired of the Baron Corbin-Dean Ambrose angle.
-Backstage Corbin told Fuentes that he puts people down, but if Dean can climb out of the hospital bed and face him at WrestleMania, he’ll put him down for good.
-JBL told Phillips that he’s not sure Baron knows how insane the Lunatic Fringe is. Phillips said they’ll have a medical update on Shane on Talking Smack after 205 Live. [c]
(4) AMERICAN ALPHA vs. THE USOS
Early in the match, they showed a split screen of Shane walking backstage with Finlay and Jamie Noble chatting with him, apparently trying to get him to agree to go to the hospital. The crowd chanted “We Want Angle” at the action in the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: Could they not bother hyping this match and setting the stage with some promos? Why not? Is there a downside? Or is this match just a backdrop for Shane’s reaction to earlier events?) [c]
They cut again to a split screen of Shane leaving the arena, but then turning back. Phillips said they just got word that Shane is headed back to the ring. JBL called it ill-advised. The action in the ring continued. Gable gave Jimmy a belly-to-belly and then gave Jey a High Velocity suplex into a bridge. A minute later Jimmy gave Jordan an illegal kick as American Alpha set up an electric chair double-team move. Jey then covered Jordan for the three count. JBL said the Usos are now in the tag team title picture headed into WrestleMania.
WINNERS: The Usos at 11:00.
-They showed Shane walking backstage past Gorilla position with Arn Anderson on headset. He walked onto the stage with a mic in hand and said he wants Styles at WrestleMania. The show cut off at the end of the show.