SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE Smackdown LIVE review
December 13, 2016
From Washington, D.C.
(Almost) Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were watching, backstage on a monitor, James Ellsworth unintentionally cost Dean Ambrose the Intercontinental Title last week on Smackdown. After the clip, Ellsworth was shown in the room with McMahon and Bryan. Ellsworth apparently had a bad cold/illness, coughing and sneezing all over the place. Neither man in charge was happy with Ellsworth. McMahon brought up Ellsworth’s match tonight with A.J. Styles, but Bryan said his title opportunity is postponed until Ellsworth gets better. Bryan said they have to find a new #1 contender as Ellsworth left the area.
– Smackdown Open.
– The Miz and Maryse were in the ring for Miz TV. A.J. Styles was introduced as the guest, as Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips were shown on commentary. “A.J. Styles” chant. Miz asked for A.J.’s reaction about Ellsworth not being able to compete tonight. Styles said Ellsworth has “chin-fluenza.” Styles said one day, he’ll destroy Ellsworth in the middle of the ring. Miz and Styles exchanged compliments, Styles about Miz’s sense of humor and Miz about A.J.’s hair. Back to business as Styles said he has beaten John Cena and Dean Ambrose…who else is there? Miz reminded Styles that he himself has taken the Intercontinental Title from obscurity to legendary. He said Miz never beat Ellsworth and has been battling Ambrose for months, while Miz beat Ambrose last week.
Miz removed his sunglasses and said he’s not on A.J.’s level…he’s above it. The crowd reacted to that as both men got out of their chairs and went face-to-face. Miz said it’s time he made the WWE Championship “legendary.” The men looked like they were ready to throw down when Dean Ambrose’s music hit. He walked to the ring with a purpose, causing A.J. and Miz to flee to the apron. Dolph Ziggler then came out as well.
Ziggler said they talk tough for two guys who can’t win without cheating. He made a comment about Miz hiding first behind Maryse’s skirt, then A.J.’s. Miz attacked Ziggler and gave him the Skull Crushing Finale. Dirty Deeds to Miz from Ambrose. Styles was content to head to the back, so Ambrose gave Ziggler Dirty Deeds. Hahaha, that Ziggler, what a loser. The Wyatt Family logo flashed across the screen and Luke Harper appeared in the ring. He clotheslined Ambrose down, then stared at Styles, who was backing up the ramp. A lot going on in that segment. Nothing really cleared up about the title picture, but we at least know the main players.
– Tonight, a #1 Contender’s Tag Team Battle Royal.
– Next, Natalya vs. Carmella.
– The Lincoln Memorial was shown, as Smackdown was in Washington, D.C.
– Bryan and McMahon were about to react to what had just happened, when A.J. Styles charged into the room. Styles said he needs protection as everybody is coming after him. Bryan made a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match for tonight with Ziggler, Ambrose, Miz, and Harper. If anyone interferes, the person they’re interfering for is eliminated. And the winner becomes the number one contender to the WWE Title. Styles was nonplussed by this news.
– Nikki Bella was at ringside on commentary for the next match. When Natalya came to the ring, she took a mic and told Nikki that she was not the one who attacked Nikki. She said she didn’t want to do it this way, but Nikki hasn’t been responding to her calls or texts. But she wanted to get a word in before Carmella came out to make up more stories about her. Carmella’s music interrupted and she came out.
1 – NATALYA vs. CARMELLA
Nikki did say she didn’t think Nattie attacked her, but she needed time to figure things out. Jeez, how long does she need? Once the match began, the women brawled on the mat. Carmella took a break at ringside. When Nattie tried to bring her back in, Carmella slapped her across the face. They went to break with Carmella in control at :55.
Back at 4:42 with Natalya in control. Snap suplex from Nattie. Nattie called Carmella a liar, then hit her in the face. Hurricanrana by Carmella out of the corner. Carmella moonwalked to boos. A bronco-buster followed. Body-scissors applied next. Guillotine by Carmella. Nattie tried to get the crowd into it to help her break, but they weren’t really following along. Carmella kicked out of a Sharpshooter and Nattie kicked her outside the ring. Nattie went to talk to Nikki IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MATCH. Nikkie got out of her seat to listen. Natalya blocked a sneak attack from Carmella, but back in the ring, Nattie continued to talk to Carmella, leading to ‘mella small packaging Nattie for the win.
WINNER: Carmella, at 9:00. Yeesh did Nattie look dumb there. They’re really trying with Carmella, but the crowds just don’t care.
Replays were shown of the end of the match.
– Tonight, a #1 Contender’s Tag Team Battle Royal where both team members must go over the top to create an eliminated duo.
– The announcers were shown at ringside, and they plugged the WWE Network, which has now surpassed 7,000 hours of content.
– A video package aired of John Cena hosting Saturday Night Live this past Saturday night. Oh by the way, Cena returns to Smackdown in two weeks.
– Comedian Gabriel Iglesias was walking backstage when he came upon Apollo Crews. He said to Crews that it was like looking into a mirror. HE told Crews that he was excited about being on Smackdown tonight and Tribute to the Troops tomorrow night. Maryse and Miz walked up. Maryse said Iglesias was distracting her husband from training because of the loud noises being made by his mouth…and shirt. Miz joked about Iglesias getting his gear from Goodwill and Iglesias asked if Miz got his suit from Uranus. High comedy there. Crews said whatever Miz paid for his suit, it was too much. Miz blew off Crews to continue to prepare for his match.
– American Alpha came out for the big tag team battle royal. Hype Bros. were next. It seems like battle royals are a poor way to determine number one contenders for titles; using it to determine tag team number one contenders, I think, is even worse. The battle royal commences…next.
– Breezango was finishing up their entrance out of break. Then it was Heath Slater & Rhyno. Ranallo brought up Rhyno walking out on Slater on Talking Smack last week.
2 – TAG TEAM BATTLE ROYAL TO DETERMINE #1 CONTENDERS TO THE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSIHP
Mojo Rawley eliminated Simon Gotch three seconds into the match. Proof that Mojo stays hyped, I guess. Tyler Breeze was almost eliminated by Zack Ryder. He hung on, however. The Ascension worked over Rawley in the corner. Mojo managed to save his partner from elimination via Jason Jordan. Viktor nearly tossed Slater, who made it back under the bottom rope. I’m sitting here, hands on the keyboard, waiting for something to happen so I can type it. But…nothing. Gable finally wrapped Viktor’s arm in an arm-bar over the top rope. He pulled Viktor out via that hold at 3:57. Gable was tossed by Konnor at 4:05. That doesn’t make much sense. Slater accidentally knocked out Rhyno, who was on the apron, at 4:25. They went to break at 4:36 of the match.
Back at 7:44. It doesn’t appear there have been any eliminations during the break. During the replay of what happened with Slater and Rhyno just before the break, Rawley was eliminated by Konnor, at about the eight-minute mark. Jordan and Aiden English fought on the apron. Jordan tossed him up and out at 8:25. That means the Vaudevillains are done. Slater and Fandango found themselves on the apron next. Slater was punched down, but rolled into the ring. He leg-swept Fandango, who went out at 9:05. Jordan speared everybody in the corners. Jordan was out at 10:28 via Breeze. Slater was next to get on a roll. Slater fought off Breeze and Konnor while on the apron. He did so successfully. But Konnor just picked him up and threw him out at 11:56, which got some heat. It was down to Konnor, Breeze, and Ryder. Breeze wanted to work together with Konnor here. With Breeze on the apron, Konnor tried to deliver a shoulder to Ryder. Instead, Ryder moved and Konnor knocked Breeze out at 13:26. Ryder then took Konnor out with a headscissors to win it.
WINNERS: The Hype Bros., at 13:33. The last few minutes were fine, but most of this was not good. You’d think given the obvious depth issues, they’d put some mid-carders together just to attempt to up the star power in this match. American Alpha’s booking continues to baffle me.
– Coming up, WWE Title #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way in the main event.
– Alexa Bliss was walking backstage. She’s in action, next.
– A video package aired on Baron Corbin.
– The Washington Monument was shown.
– Alexa Bliss came out for her match. She took the mic before Greg Hamilton could announce Alexa’s opponent, “established in the ring,” which I guess is the new “currently in the ring.” It was Deonna Purrazzo. Bliss looked at Deonna and said she doesn’t do charity cases. She called her “Jane Ellsworth.” Bliss attacked her with a forearm out of nowhere then tossed her out of the ring. Becky Lynch then came out and apologized for catching Bliss off-guard by asking for a rematch last week. But now, Bliss is ready and in her ring gear. And if Alexa is looking for some real competitions…she’s got some. Lynch wanted the rematch right then. Bliss granted the match, just not tonight. “On my terms, Becky,” the champ told Lynch. Shane McMahon came out before Bliss could stray too far from the ring. Shane made the match official, Bliss vs. Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Title. It’ll happen after the break.
3 – ALEXA BLISS vs. BECKY LYNCH – SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Lynch chased Bliss around the ring to start, with Bliss hiding between the ropes. When JBL said Lynch was ducking Bliss a few months ago, Broadcast Journalist David Otunga corrected him, saying she was in the hospital and “had surgery or something.” Lynch kicked at Bliss in the corner. She tried to come off the second rope, but Bliss kicked her in the stomach. Lynch walked into a nice right hand from Bliss. Bliss held onto the ropes on a Bex-Plex attempt. Bliss got to the ropes on a Disarm-Her try. Outside the ring, Bliss took a breather. It wasn’t for long, however, as Lynch came after her. She plowed over Bliss with a forearm. Bliss went out of the ring again and appeared to tweak a knee. She seemed content to take a count-out loss. She walked around the ring and Charles Robinson’s count eventually reached ten.
WINNER: Lynch, via count-out, at 4:32. Pretty good while it lasted. The low quality of their Tables Match at TLC was likely just an aberration, partly due to the stipulation.
Lynch attacked Bliss in the aisle after the match, taking her back to the ring. Bliss went on the offense, showing no ill-effects from the injury, actually kicking away at Lynch in the corner. Lynch turned the tables, but Bliss was eventually able to escape with her title.
– Another promo from the announcers for the WWE Network.
– Next is the Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match to determine the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship.
– John Cena returns to Smackdown in two weeks.
– The announcers talked about “Shooter,” following Smackdown on the USA Network. A behind-the-scenes video aired for it, starring Randy Orton.
– All entrances for the main event took place. It’ll happen, as well as A.J. Styles joining the announcers, after the break.
– Tonight on Talking Smack, A.J. Styles, Alexa Bliss, and The Usos.
– The aforementioned Styles was at the announce desk for the main event.
4 – DEAN AMBROSE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. THE MIZ vs. LUKE HARPER – FATAL FOUR-WAY ELIMINATION MATCH TO DETERMINE THE #1 CONTENDER FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
Harper dropped Ambrose with a dropkick to start, then took Ziggler down twice as Miz didn’t seem to know how to react in the corner. Suicide dive onto Ambrose as well. Now that’s how you start a match. Harper eyed Miz next, but Miz just applauded Harper’s work. He tried to talk Harper into working together and offered a handshake. Harper offered him an uppercut. Ziggler and Ambrose regrouped and both separately dropkicked Harper. Miz low-bridged Ambrose out of the ring. Short DDT on Ziggler by Miz for two. Miz nailed Ziggler with “Yes” kicks. Ambrose stopped Miz’s momentum with a bulldog. Harper blocked a suicide dive by Ambrose and booted him right in the face. Back-breaker by Harper on Ziggler. Harper vs. Ziggler got extended play, in this could be a match in which they make a star out of Harper. They’re certainly on their way based on how the match has gone so far. Torture Rack by Harper on Ziggler, but Ambrose broke it up. One lariat after another from Harper and Ambrose. Miz ran in to steal a pin on Ziggler, but Dolph kicked out at two. Ambrose small packaged Miz when Miz tried to pin him, eliminating Miz at 6:42. They cut to break at 7:03.
Back at 10:44 with Ambrose delivering a fisherman suplex to Ziggler for a near-fall. STO was next, though Ziggler didn’t give. Ziggler was caught in an electric chair from Harper, but he turned it into a Zig Zag. Ambrose dove off the top with a clothesline onto Ziggler. Ziggler and Ambrose collided in mid-ring, both going for cross-body blocks. Ziggler kicked out of a sit-out powerbomb from Harper. Superkick to Harper, then Dirty Deeds put him out at 15:14. Ziggler and Ambrose were left. From the apron, Ambrose catapulted Ziggler face-first into the post. Off the top rope, Ziggler got the advantage with a face-buster. Miz showed back up at ringside. Ambrose took him out with a suicide dive, and Ziggler followed it with a superkick. Ambrose tossed Ziggler into the ring post. Miz had hold of Ambrose’s foot, preventing him from getting into the ring. When he finally broke free, Ziggler superkicked him to pick up the win.
WINNER: Ziggler, at 19:16.
Replays of the finish were shown.
– Rich Swann cut a promo backstage, talking about facing T.J. Perkins on 205 Live coming up on the WWE Network. He said Perkins “can’t handle this.” They went back to ringside, where Styles walked around ringside and held the title above his head as he went to the back.
Did you watch Tuesday’s Smackdown episode? Send your 0-10 score & Reax to firstname.lastname@example.org for our TV Reax feature.
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 email@example.com.