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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
December 27, 2016
From Chicago, Ill.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– John Cena made his Smackdown Live return to kick off the show. He was greeted with a “John Cena sucks” chant to his music from the Chicago faithful. Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips were all shown ringside at the announce desk. On the mic, Cena encouraged the mixed reaction. He mentioned the Cubs, which got boos to the point he asked if there were a lot of White Sox fans in the crowd. The folks in this crowd don’t seem to be on the same page about much of anything. Cena talked about the championship matches coming up on this show. He polled the crowd’s interest in the WWE Championship Match competitors: Dolph Ziggler (boos), Baron Corbin (more boos), and A.J. Styles (cheers). After playing Master of Ceremonies for the first several minutes of his promo, he turned his attention to his own agenda.
When he rhetorically asked what he himself was doing there, the crowd began to chant “Undertaker.” Cena said 2016 wasn’t great for him, as he’d been called “washed-up” and a “part-timer.” He wanted to set the record straight tonight: He’s not done, he’s not leaving, and the new era is the “my time is now” era. He challenged the winner of tonight’s WWE Championship match to a title match at the Royal Rumble. Big news to end that promo. The announcers reacted to that announcement.
– Tonight, Corbin vs. Ziggler vs. Styles in a Triple-Threat for the WWE Title.
– Also tonight, Becky Lynch challenges Alexa Bliss for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
– The Wyatt Family came out. The Four-Corners Elimination Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles is next.
– The Miz’s locker room was heavily secured. Dasha Fuentes tried to get a word with Miz. She knocked on the door and Maryse answered. She said nothing, but Miz said he’ll only talk to Renee Young.
1 – THE WYATT FAMILY vs. THE USOS vs. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO vs. AMERICAN ALPHA – FOUR-CORNERS ELIMINATION MATCH FOR THE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLES
JBL mentioned that Smackdown tonight outdrew last night’s Raw in the same building. It was Luke Harper and Randy Orton representing the Wyatts in this one. Rhyno and Chad Gable began the match. Suplex with a bridge by Gable on Rhyno, but he couldn’t hold it for the pin. The Usos came in and cornered Rhyno. Double-teaming ensued. They slowed Rhyno down while Orton and Harper watched from ringside with Bray Wyatt. Slater tagged in at 3:06. He got the better of Jimmy Uso. Slater went to the top, but slipped off. I think he was supposed to jump into a superkick, because right after, Slater went into the ropes and was met with a superkick from Jimmy for the pin.
ELIMINATED: Heath Slater and Rhyno, at 4:04.
The show cut to break at 4:20 of the match, with things being reset.
Back at 8:06 with Jey Uso working a hold on Jordan. Tag to Gable, who hit an Alpha-Plex on Uso. No Wyatt Family member has entered thus far. The Usos came off opposite turnbuckles but were caught by Gable and Jordan, who delivered stereo belly-to-belly suplexes. Gable reversed a roll-up on Jey for the pinfall.
ELIMINATED: The Usos, at 10:03.
The Usos added a few shots to American Alpha after they were eliminated and their attention was on The Wyatts. Orton suplexed Jordan mid-section-first onto the top rope. Scoop powerslam for two. Jordan reversed an Irish whip and dropkicked Orton. Harper tagged in at 12:46, as did Gable. When Gable had the advantage, Bray distracted the ref and Orton took a shot at the legal Alpha. Harper registered a near-fall just as they went to break at 13:25 of the match.
Back at 17:03 with Harper controlling Gable. Harper catapulted Gable throat-first into the middle rope, sending Gable tumbling to the floor. Orton dropped Gable back-first onto the barricade with a suplex, twice. Back in, slingshot suplex by Orton for two. Gator roll from Harper, who then looked to Bray for guidance. Swinging side slam for two. Gable managed to head-scissor Harper into the turnbuckle. Orton tagged in, but so did Jordan. That got a nice pop from the crowd. Harper broke up a pin on Orton after a Saito suplex. Jordan tried to take out Bray at ringside while Gable dove onto Harper. But Orton hit the draping DDT on Jordan afterward. The crowd was into Orton’s finishing sequence. Orton tried a superplex, but was pushed away and into Harper, who had tried to come to Orton’s aid. With that, American Alpha hit Grand Amplitude for the victory.
WINNERS: American Alpha, at 23:17. Paint-by-numbers for the most part, with a lot of uninspired action for much of it. Even the finish of Alpha winning the titles for the first time was somewhat overshadowed by Harper and Orton’s deal.
After the match, Alpha celebrated atop the ramp while Bray had to play peacekeeper between his charges in the ring.
– The Triple-Threat Match for the WWE Championship is coming up tonight.
– Also tonight: Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss for the Smackdown Women’s Title. That’s next.
– Phillips thanked Ohana Bam for “Blow Your Mind,” the official theme song for the Royal Rumble.
– They showed how the main event of last week’s Smackdown ended, leading up to a Triple-Threat for the WWE Title tonight.
– Dolph Ziggler was getting ready backstage when he was approached by Renee Young. Ziggler talked about the decision he made last week, putting his WWE Title opportunity on the line against Corbin. Ziggler said opportunities have slipped through his fingers over and over again. He said it keeps him up at night, but also makes him the wild card in this deck.
– Dasha Fuentes was joined elsewhere backstage by James Ellsworth. He still had a neckbrace and arm in a sling. He talked about what it was like to be made fun of for his looks. Carmella interrupted, saying by questioning him, Dasha too is making fun of him. Then she said he’s “uniquely attractive.” She walked off the scene with Ellsworth.
– Alexa Bliss came out. The Smackdown Women’s Title is on the line, next.
2 – BECKY LYNCH vs. ALEXA BLISS – SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
When Lynch came to the ring, they showed Lynch as La Luchadora beating Bliss last week. Lynch trapped Bliss in a leg-lock early on. Shoulder tackle by Lynch, but a sunset flip was blocked by Bliss. They traded covers as Lynch loudly called a leg sweep spot. I had noticed earlier in the match she wasn’t exactly hiding her spot-calling. Bliss returned with an STO. She stood on Lynch’s back to taunt the crowd. Arm-drags and a dropkick from Lynch. Bliss avoided baseball slide attempt by Lynch, pulling her out of the ring and assaulting her. Bliss sent Lynch face-first into the post as they went to break at 5:53 of the match.
Back at 9:17 with Bliss working over Lynch inside the squared circle. Lynch fired back with lariats of both the arm and leg variety. She peppered Bliss with kicks. Lynch held onto the ropes on a Bliss DDT attempt. Shades of Pentagon Dark with Lynch ripping Alexa’s arm. Didn’t break it though. That Bliss is tough as a two-dollar steak. Dropkick from the top by Lynch, but she was slow to cover and only got two. La Luchadora then ran to the ring as Lynch tried to take advantage. She distracted Lynch and Bliss rolled her up for two. Backslide by Lynch for only one. Hard forearm shot by Bliss. Luchadora was still at ringside. Bliss went to the top rope, but Lynch got her knees up on Twisted Bliss. Roll-up for two. Disarm-Her by Lynch, but Bliss got her foot on the bottom rope. As the ref tended to Alexa and her apparently injured arm (which, to her credit, looked dislocated or something), La Luchadora interfered and rammed Lynch head-first into the ring post, which had been exposed. DDT by Bliss for the win.
WINNER: Bliss, at 13:52. Good effort from both women. It didn’t always click, but was entertaining.
Fuentes, on top of the ramp, asked Bliss who “that woman” was. Bliss said she’s not sure, it could’ve been Sasha Banks. Fuentes said the woman was “considerably bigger” than Banks. Bliss said, “yeah, it was probably Nia Jax,” then walked away.
– The announcers talked about the match and this week’s La Luchadora. Phillips sent it to video of Miz exposing Renee Young’s relationship with Dean Ambrose last week.
– Young was outside Miz’s locker room. She didn’t seem happy to be there. Maryse answered and threatened Young for slapping her husband last week. Miz told his wife he’d handle it. He exited the locker room and asked Young to ask him a question. Miz shooed away the security guards, still standing right near Miz and Young. Young asked Miz how he planned on following up his strong 2016 next year. Dean Ambrose walked up behind Miz and attacked when he finished answering the question. Miz called for security, which Ambrose easily handled. He took one of their walkie-talkies and noted “all clear.”
– Next is the Triple-Threat WWE Championship Match.
– From last week: Natalya admitted attacking Nikki Bella prior to their Survivor Series match.
– Backstage, Fuentes asked Nikki Bella what it felt like getting betrayed like she was. Nikki talked about all she’s accomplished, not because of her looks, but because of her drive. Nikki said anything she has to say to Natalya, she’ll say to her face.
– Young was backstage with Corbin. She asked how he’s feeling before his title match. He said it’s been a long time coming and that Ziggler and Styles are two little men about to meet the end of days.
– Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler both made their entrances for the main event. It begins next.
– Tonight following 205 Live, Talking Smack will be hosted by JBL and Renee Young. Guests include John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and American Alpha.
– Next week, Dean Ambrose challenges for the Intercontinental Championship against The Miz.
– A.J. Styles made his entrance for the main event. Formal ring introductions took place pre-match.
3 – BARON CORBIN vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. A.J. STYLES – TRIPLE-THREAT MATCH FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
All three men went at it in the first minute. Corbin was the only man left in the ring when they went to break at 1:13.
Back at 4:46 with Corbin picking the bones of Ziggler outside the ring. Corbin also kept Styles grounded inside the ring. The announcers put him over pretty strong on commentary. Double clothesline by Corbin on both of his foes. Ziggler tried to fight from behind, but Corbin just tossed him off, Dolph landing with a thud on the mat. Corbin drove Styles back-first into the turnbuckle. Nice spot there. Styles ducked a clothesline, leading to Corbin hitting Ziggler. Corbin registered a near-fall on Styles as they went to break at 9:40 of the match.
Back at 13:01 and Corbin was still in control. Styles and Ziggler teamed up, as it were, to get rid of Corbin. They clotheslined him over the top rope. Corbin got hold of Styles outside the ring, throwing him into the barricade. Corbin shrugged Ziggler off of him, then began taking apart the announce table. While doing that, the others recovered. Ziggler superkicked Corbin onto the table and Styels and Ziggler both jumped off the barricade and onto Corbin, putting him through the table. The Alliance to End Baron Corbin didn’t last long, as Styles and Ziggler were back at it after reaching their feet. In the ring, DDT by Ziggler for two. Styles tried a Styles Clash, but couldn’t hold it. He went for a springboard forearm, but Ziggler kicked the top rope to trip up Styles. Superkick by Ziggler for two. Corbin may have been late breaking it up, as Styles awkwardly kicked out while Corbin was crawling toward the pin. Neckbreaker and elbowdrop onto Corbin for two by Ziggler. Corbin Deep-Sixed Ziggler, but the pin was broken up by Styles. Corbin hit Styles with the End of Days at the same time Ziggler Zig Zagged Corbin. Quite the sight. It was only good for two when Ziggler made the pin attempt. Lots of unique spots in this one and Corbin is more than holding his own. Corbin knocked Ziggler off the top rope and hit End of Days. Phenomenal Forearm by Styles on Corbin. Styles then pinned Ziggler.
WINNER: Styles, at 21:15.
Replays were shown. John Cena ran to the ring after the match. He faced off with his Royal Rumble opponent. Cena extended his hand (after taking off his shirt). Styles laid the title down in between them. Styles ended up shaking his hand. The two continued jawing at each other.
Neville addressed the camera backstage. He said he has felt like the man the WWE Universe forgot. He said tonight on 205 Live, his inferior opponent will be forced to respect him. They went back to the live shot long enough to show Cena heading up the ramp and for the announcers to close the show.
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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.