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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
December 6, 2016
From Houston, Tex.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– They opened with a video package featuring the opening of Talking Smack with Renee Young and Daniel Bryan reacting to what had happened just moments earlier in the main event of TLC. Then stills were shown of James Ellsworth’s involvement in helping A.J. Styles retain. That was a bit of a different take on a video package than what we’re used to, in a good way. Tonight, Ellsworth challenges Styles for the WWE Title.
– A.J. Styles came out in street clothes, without the camera even panning the crowd. He was in a walking boot on his left foot/lower leg. Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips were shown at ringside. Styles was booed before he could speak. He said some called it a travesty, some called it a blessing. Then he cued up a photo of his ripped pants in mid-match from Sunday. Styles called the fans “gullible” for thinking he was talking about his injured ankle. Not much of a reaction to that, nor his Seth Rollins-like cackling. He said he wasn’t medically cleared to face Ellsworth tonight for the championship. That brought out Ellsworth to his music.
Ellsworth began shadow-boxing once he entered the ring, reminding me of the Chicken Hawk from the Looney Tunes cartoons. Ellsworth questioned the legitimacy of A.J.’s injury. He wondered aloud if Daniel Bryan is protecting Styles, reminding A.J. that he has beaten him there times. He accused Styles of ducking him. He also mentioned that if it weren’t for him, Styles wouldn’t have won on Sunday night. Styles called Ellsworth “delusional.” He said everything Ellsworth has in WWE is because of Dean Ambrose. And now, he’s burned that bridge. He said Ambrose won’t stop seeking revenge until he’s caved in Ellsworth’s face to look like his chin. Ambrose was next out.
Ellsworth was gesticulating wildly in the ring as Ambrose walked down the aisle. As he entered the ring, Ellsworth extended a hand (Styles had left the ring). Ambrose nonchalantly delivered Dirty Deeds to Ellsworth, then walked out of the ring and to the back. Some would say Ellsworth got off lightly, at least, so far.
– Tonight, Alexa Bliss’ Championship Celebration.
– Next, Heath Slater and Rhyno have invoked their rematch clause, and they’ll face the new tag champs, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton.
– The Wyatt trio was backstage in a darkened room. Wyatt laughed and said “we’re here.”
1 – BRAY WYATT & RANDY ORTON vs. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO – SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jumping clothesline by Slater put Orton down. Slater telegraphed a back-drop, allowing Orton to take over and tag Wyatt. Cross-body off the second rope by Slater, followed by a tag to Rhyno at 1:09. Rhyno gave Wyatt a belly-to-belly suplex. He set Wyatt up for the Gore, but Wyatt slid out of the ring. The three members of the Wyatt Family regrouped at ringside as they went to break at 1:42.
Back at 5:29 with Rhyno trying to break out of a rear chin-lock. Hard whip into the buckle by Wyatt, with a vicious clothesline next. Rhyno tried to fight off Orton, who responded with a standing dropkick. Out of the corner, Rhyno bulldozed Orton with a shoulder tackle. Slater tagged in and hit a high knee. Neck-breaker for a two-count. After knocking Wyatt off the apron, Slater was taken down with a powerslam. Wyatt set up Slater for Sister Abigail, but instead tagged Orton, which the announcers treated as a big deal. Wyatt flipped Slater from a Sister Abigail position into an RKO, which wasn’t as impressive as it sounds.
WINNERS: Wyatt and Orton, at 9:13. Just a match. But the focus on Wyatt and Orton at the end with nothing about Slater and Rhyno told the story.
– Kalisto was warming up backstage when Dasha Fuentes approached him. Apparently, Kalisto asked for a rematch with Baron Corbin. Kalisto said after the Chairs Match on Sunday, he felt like he’d been in a car wreck. But he’s got the speed advantage over Corbin, and speed kills.
– Carmella vs. Natalya is next.
– Total Divas was nominated for a Women’s Image Award for Best Reality Series.
– Carmella came out for her match with Natalya. She grabbed the mic pre-match and talked about revealing at TLC who really attacked Nikki Bella before the Women’s Survivor Series match. She talked about Nattie bragging to her about pulling a “Tonya Harding” on Nikki. She said Nattie is jealous of Nikki supposedly stealing her spotlight. The crowd started a bit of a “what” chant here. She said Natalya is always second-best, and by virtue of denying that she attacked Nikki, she’s also a deceiving con-artist.
Natalya came down and entered the ring, immediately brawling with Carmella. The two rolled around on the mat, then went outside the ring. Nattie chased Carmella backstage. A camera caught up with Natalya, who was still on the warpath. She eventually ran into Nikki Bella just standing in the hallway. Nattie told Nikki she can’t believe anything Carmella says. Nikki just stared at her and walked away in a huff. We seem to be getting a lot of non-matches in the women’s division on Smackdown.
– Tonight, the Alexa Bliss Championship Celebration.
– Also tonight, Dean Ambrose joins The Miz on Miz TV.
– The exterior of the Toyota Center was shown.
– Baron Corbin was walking backstage when Dasha Fuentes caught up to him. She brought up Kalisto’s comments from earlier then asked him, like, half of a question and then just stuck the mic in his face. Corbin equated Kalisto to a mosquito. He said they’re fast until they land on him, then it’s “splat.”
– The Ascension vs. The Hype Bros. was up next. No entrance for The Ascension, but they did get an inset interview. Konnor said darkness is spreading across the tag team division. Viktor said there is no room for light. They both said that out of the darkness, they’d rise. The Hype Bros. also did an inset interview. Zack Ryder said The Ascension have been stalking them for months. Mojo Rawley wanted to “waste these Wasteland weirdos.” They wanted to set their focus on the tag titles.
2 – THE ASCENSION vs. THE HYPE BROS.
Jumping knee by Viktor on Ryder. Tag to Konnor, who then pulled Ryder out of the ring by the arm. Double-teaming by the heels, followed by a chin-lock at 1:20. Rawley tried to get the crowd into it. Ryder fired back with a hangman’s neck-breaker after the match had been all Ascension to that point. Tag to Rawley, who cleaned house. Stinger splash by Rawley, then a full-nelson slam for two. Konnor broke up the pin. Hype Ryder finished off Viktor.
WINNERS: The Hype Bros., at 3:28. The result is not a surprise, given that Wyatt and Orton need a babyface team to feud with. If nothing else, it sets the pecking order in the middle of the tag division.
The end of the match was replayed.
– Up next: Miz TV with Dean Ambrose.
– Maryse and The Miz were introduced ahead of Miz TV. “What, no ‘you deserve it’ chants?” Miz asked. Good one. He first spoke of putting Dolph Ziggler in his rearview mirror by retaining the Intercontinental Title at TLC. Miz said his guest tonight put everything into his match for the World Title on Sunday, but came up just short. He then introduced Ambrose. I was kind-of hoping Ambrose would repeat his part of the opening segment here: Come out, Dirty Deeds to Miz, leave. They all took a seat in the director’s chairs set up in the ring. Miz asked Ambrose about his anger level.
Ambrose said he’s not angry; in fact, we haven’t ever seen Ambrose angry. But he did say he was shocked at Ellsworth’s actions. Miz brought up the fact that Ambrose manipulated Ellsworth for his own agenda and treated him like a puppet. He said by hitting Ellsworth with Dirty Deeds, Ambrose robbed us of seeing Ambrose vs. Ellsworth tonight. Miz asked if Ambrose could really be surprised with what Ellsworth did. Ambrose rose out of his seat and said he’s always surprised when someone intentionally tries to piss him off.
Miz bestowed upon Ambrose a framed certificate: The Miz Participation Award. The crowd hilariously chanted “You deserve it.” Miz said Ambrose may not have won, but he tried. Miz and Maryse both gave huge, phony smiles. Ambrose said he’d like to try to see if he can shove the entire frame down Miz’s throat. Before he could make good on that, Daniel Bryan’s music hit and the Smackdown Live General Manager walked out. He made Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz in the main event. The crowd chanted “yes!” and Bryan asked if it was because they wanted an I.C. Title Match. Miz played “irate” in a way that would make Ric Flair proud.
– Next, Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin.
3 – KALISTO vs. BARON CORBIN
Stills from the Chair match between Kalisto and Corbin were shown during Kalisto’s entrance. Corbin tried to throw Kalisto into the corner, but Kalisto did a cart-wheel to prevent it. Corbin managed to ground Kalisto with a shoulder tackle and throw forearm after forearm to the back of his head. Kalisto was tossed out of the ring and Corbin posed for heat. Kalisto made it into the ring at the count of nine. Kalisto kicked Corbin from the apron and low-bridged a charging Corbin out of the ring. He continued the offense outside the ring. In the ring, a springboard tornado DDT and a spike rana got him a two-count. Kalisto tried another tornado DDT, but Corbin stopped him mid-swing and hit End of Days for the win.
WINNER: Corbin, at 2:51. Good while it lasted and like at TLC, Kalisto got to show off a little bit before the loss. Still, I’m not sure why they’d have Kalisto take another loss to Corbin here, other than lack of babyface depth.
Replays of the match were shown.
– Nikki Bella was walking backstage when this girl, apparently a 13-year old musical recording artist named Sophia Grace, came up and they basically plugged a deal they have together masquerading as actual human conversation.
– The Alexa Bliss Championship Celebration is next.
– John Cena hosts Saturday Night Live this Saturday Night on NBC.
– As American Alpha came to the ring for singles action, they showed a vignette from earlier in the day, the Fashion Police giving American Alpha a ticket. Gable asked to be let off with a warning, but Breeze and Fandango weren’t having it. Gable got upset and told them to shove it. Officer ‘dango had to hold Breeze back.
4 – TYLER BREEZE vs. CHAD GABLE
Breeze got no entrance. Fandango tried to attack Gable outside the ring but he got tangled up in a cord outside the ring. He was supposed to miss Gable with the shot anyway. But it allowed Breeze to take over on offense. Ranallo brought up how Breeze has shared the ring with Jushin Thunder Liger. JBL said Breeze should’ve given Liger a fashion ticket. Gable sent Breeze to the outside, and back in, Gable hit an overhead suplex. Breeze managed to throw Gable outside the ring. Fandango tried to hit Gable but ran into a belly-to-belly suplex from Jason Jordan. O’Connor Roll into a German suplex with a bridge by Gable onto Breeze for the victory.
WINNER: Gable, at 2:32. Lot of extracurricular stuff in just two-and-a-half minutes. Hard to tell after tonight if it’ll be Hype Bros. or Alpha next up for Wyatt and Orton.
– The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose for the I.C. Title is the main event.
– Alexa Bliss and her Championship Celebration is next.
– Alexa Bliss came out for her Championship Celebration. No fancy carpet or decorations in the ring. She did get pyro, however. “Ding dong the witch is champ!” said Bliss. She said she proved at TLC that happy endings don’t exist. Bliss responded to chants for Becky by saying she heard Lynch called her a name that rhymed with “witch” last week. She said this bitch runs the Smackdown women’s division now. That brought out Becky Lynch.
Lynch stepped in the ring and Bliss was not happy. She asked why Lynch was there, saying her invitation clearly stated “no losers allowed.” Lynch said she cannot stand the fact that some petulant little girl is considered the leader of Smackdown Live. Bliss said unlike Becky, she doesn’t care about getting admiration from the WWE Universe. She said Lynch can call her any name she desires, but she’ll also have to call her “champion.” Lynch wanted her rematch right then and there. The two looked like they were going to come to blows until Bliss ducked out of the ring. She headed to the back, title raised in her hand. Not exactly thrilling follow-up to Sunday, but as usual, both did well.
– The announcers were shown on-camera, and they discussed tonight’s main event and how it came down. To that end, they replayed bits from the opening segment. JBL had to narrate what Ellsworth was doing by signaling with his arms there, because it wasn’t really clear at the time.
– Dean Ambrose came out for the main event. It’s up next.
5 – DEAN AMBROSE vs. THE MIZ – WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Stills of Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler at TLC were shown during Miz’s entrance. Greg Hamilton handled formal ring introductions. Ambrose went after Miz early on, eventually clotheslining Miz over the top. He was going for a suicide dive, but Miz pulled Maryse in front of him. Ambrose threw Miz into the ringside barricade as they cut to break at 1:38 of the match.
Back with Miz again using Daniel Bryan’s moves on Ambrose in the corner, this time the corner dropkicks. He used one of his own, his patented corenr clothesline. Ambrose fired back and took Miz down with a clothesline. Running bulldog by Ambrose into a la magistral cradle for two. Both men’s finishing moves were countered. Miz tried to soften up Ambrose’s leg for the figure-four. Shin-breaker to Ambrose, then he stomped on the back of Ambrose’s knees. Ambrose made his way to his feet, but couldn’t capitalize. Instead, The Miz locked in the figure-four. Ambrose reached the ropes at 9:31 of the match. Miz was low-bridged out of the ring and Ambrose collected enough head of steam to nail a suicide dive. Back in the ring, short DDT by Miz for a two-count. Miz aped Bryan’s kicks to the chest of Ambrose. It didn’t keep Ambrose down for long, as he managed to hit the Lunatic Lariat. To the top he went, but Miz stopped him. The Miz crashed to the canvas, and with the ref distracted by Miz, Maryse tripped up Ambrose. Busaiku knee by Miz for two. James Ellsworth came to the ring at this point. He got on the apron to alert the ref of Maryse’s interference, but in doing so, blocked the ref from seeing Ambrose pin Miz with a small package. Ambrose saw Ellsworth and was unhappy. It allowed Miz to come from behind and hit the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.
WINNER: Miz, at 13:31.
Replays of the end of the match were shown. Miz and Maryse celebrated as the show went off the air.
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Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He co-hosts the PWTorch Livecast PPV post-shows at least once a month. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.