WWE Smackdown LIVE review
January 10, 2017
From Baton Rouge, La.
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– The opening video package chronicled the Dean Ambrose vs. Miz feud, beginning three weeks ago when Miz made public Renee Young’s relationship with Ambrose, and culminating with Ambrose’s Intercontinental Title victory over The Miz.
– In the arena, Dean Ambrose was introduced to the live crowd by ring announcer Greg Hamilton. Mauro Ranallo, JBL (whose voice was already turned up to 11 during the intro, arguing with David Otunga about the optics of Ambrose as I.C. Champ), Otunga, and Tom Phillips were shown ringside. It was time for the Ambrose Asylum. Ambrose became the first member of Smackdown Live to announce he’s in the Royal Rumble match. Ambrose was about to introduce his guest, but Miz’s music hit and he came out with Maryse. It seemed Miz was going to be his guest anyway.
Miz and Maryse were both dressed in black. Miz said each day Ambrose carries HIS title, Ambrose taints the title a little more. Miz said he’s going to be in the Rumble match as well. Miz claimed their match last week should’ve been thrown out due to outside interference. Before he took drastic action, Miz offered Ambrose the chance to hand over the I.C. Title. Ambrose said Miz was right and he deserves to have the belt back. Miz heaped compliments upon Ambrose at that point. Ambrose presented Miz with his very own Miz Participation Award (which he had hiding under an alligator head he had named “Maryse”). “You suck” chants by the crowd at Miz, which is funny given they chanted “You deserve it” at Ambrose when Miz presented Ambrose with the very same award a few weeks ago.
Miz went on the attack, physically. He held Ambrose for Maryse to slap, but Ambrose moved and she slapped Miz. Dirty Deeds to Miz by Ambrose. Ambrose gave Maryse the participation award. She slammed it on the mat. Ranallo mentioned the $5,000 fine Maryse was levied by Daniel Bryan for slapping Renee Young last week. Maryse checked on Miz as Ambrose headed backstage.
– John Cena vs. Baron Corbin takes place tonight.
– The new tag champions, American Alpha, face The Wyatts for the Tag Titles as well.
– Phillips sent it to a video package, showing how the Natalya vs. Nikki Bella feud has developed.
– Nikki was walking backstage when Natalya attacked her from behind. Nikki seemed to hurt her leg. Natalya taunted her as she walked away.
– Natalya came to the ring first, followed by Nikki. Nikki attacked her before the bell after walking to the ring with a purpose. Natalya tried to escape, but the brawl continued on the ramp. Nattie ended up getting the better of it, and back in the ring, she delivered a boot. More brawling from both of them in the ring. Nattie tried to high-tail it over the barricade, but was stopped by Nikki. They continued to go at it in the ring. Four referees ended up trying to pull them apart as the crowd chanted “let them fight.” Natalya managed to get a shot at Nikki’s knee. Sharpshooter applied to Nikki outside the ring. This has been a pretty solid storyline so far, and it’s being paid off with the crowd obviously invested.
– Dasha Fuentes was backstage. It sounded like she stopped a thought mid-sentence and went on to something else, eventually introducing Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler attacking Kalisto last week was replayed, as was Ziggler’s attack on Apollo Crews backstage. She asked Ziggler for an explanation for his actions. Ziggler silently fumed into the mic, then walked off.
1 – KALISTO vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Ziggler didn’t slap hands or anything on his way to the ring, nor play to the fans as much as usual. Ziggler was scheduled for Talking Smack after Smackdown Live on the WWE Network. Kalisto went after Ziggler as the bell rang. Hurricanrana by Kalisto, causing Ziggler to take a walk. Back in, Ziggler slowed things down in going on offense. Innovative “Let’s go Ziggler/Lu-cha Lu-cha” dueling chants. I’m liking this crowd so far. Kalisto tried to catapult himself from the apron back into the ring, but Ziggler brought him down throat-first over the top rope as Kalisto went airborne. They went to break with Kalisto outside the ring at 3:21 of the match.
Back at 6:57 with Ziggler stretching Kalisto on the mat. Kalisto began a comeback with included a head-scissors and a near-fall from a roll-up. Dropkick by Ziggler put Kalisto back down. Lackadaisical cover by Ziggler and Kalisto rolled it into a crucifix for the three-count.
WINNER: Kalisto, at 8:37. Ziggler wrestled more as a heel here, and it worked, especially against someone the size of Kalisto.
Ziggler, upset after the match, dished out some punishment to Kalisto. When it seemed like Ziggler was done, he got a chair and nailed Kalisto in the back. The fan reactions from the crowd during and after this match were great. When Ziggler tried to leave the ringside area, Apollo Crews came out. He went after Ziggler, but Dolph delivered a few chair-shots to him as well. Another one to Kalisto for good measure.
– Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were in the locker room preparing for their title defense. Fuentes walked up and asked how they’re preparing for the unpredictable nature of the Wyatt Family. Jordan said contrary to what Bray Wyatt thinks, they’re the only Alphas of the Smackdown Tag Team Division. Gable said they don’t want to sound cocky, but they’re confident they’ll walk out of Smackdown Live as tag champions.
– Corbin vs. Cena is tonight, but we’ll hear from Cena next.
– Renee Young was backstage with John Cena. She asked him about Baron Corbin wanting to make a statement against him. Cena said Corbin has proven a lot thus far in his WWE run, and Cena in fact may be the one who needs to make the statement. After all, A.J. Styles called him a “has been” last week. And Cena said he agrees…it “has been” a long time since Cena has had to improve himself. He said his time is now. Cena was in full hype-master mode for the entire promo, which works in front of the crowd, but seemed a little out-of-place in the backstage interviewer-interviewee setting.
– Throw to the Wyatts, somewhere backstage. Bray said the devil is at the doorstep of American Alpha. “We’re here,” said Randy Orton.
– The Wyatt Family was out first. When Alpha came to the ring, they showed how Alpha won the titles two weeks ago. No indication of what two would fight for The Wyatts, but the match is next.
2– BRAY WYATT & RANDY ORTON vs. AMERICAN ALPHA – SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Alpha took out both Wyatt Family members within the first minute. Jordan wrestled Wyatt to the mat with a rear waist-lock. Wyatt cornered Jordan where he could tag Orton. Orton caught Jordan, then Gable, with back elbows. Gable dodged a side slam, but walked into a Sister Abigail attempt. Into a roll-up by Gable for two. Wyatt went outside the ring and Gable somersaulted onto him from the apron. Once they were back in the ring, Wyatt hit the ropes and collided hard in mid-ring with Gable, with the former Olympic wrestler taking the brunt of it. Orton back suplexed Gable onto the heavily-padded barricade outside the ring. Gut-buster by Wyatt for two. Orton with a slingshot suplex for two. Alpha was stopped at every turn trying to stem the Wyatt tide, but found that to be an uphill battle. They cut to break with Gable hurt outside the ring at 7:42.
Back just after 11:00 in. Orton was in control of Jordan. Wyatt crushed Jordan in the corner for a two-count. Running senton also for two. Wyatt came out of the corner for another charge, but Jordan met him with a hard clothesline and both men were down. Both men made tags. Gable came off the top with a cross-body on Orton. Wyatt broke up a pin attempt by Gable on Orton. He was then low-bridged out of the ring by Gable. Top-rope clothesline by Gable for a very near-fall. Luke Harper got on the apron to distract the ref. Orton went for his rope-assisted DDT, and in doing so, knocked Harper off the apron. As Orton readied for the RKO, Harper got on the apron again. O’Connor roll by Gable, knocking Orton into Harper in the process. He picked up the win with it.
WINNERS: American Alpha, at 15:36. Crowd seemed more interested in the Wyatts than Alpha, but otherwise, the match was really well-done. Alpha can’t keep back-dooring into these wins though; they need a big one for fans to see them as real stars.
Orton and Harper got into a shoving match. Wyatt tried to intervene. Harper went to superkick Orton, but hit Wyatt. Wyatt got in Orton’s face first, then in Harper’s. Nothing seemed settled however, as Wyatt walked off on his own.
– The announcers, on camera, reacted to the last segment. Then Phillips sent it to a video package of Corbin, whose voice-over previewed his plans for his match with Cena tonight.
– Corbin takes on Cena tonight, presumably in the main event.
– As they showed the exterior of the arena, Phillips sent it to a video package of the announcement that Wrestlemania 34 in 2018 will take place in New Orleans.
– Daniel Bryan and Becky Lynch were backstage, watching Lynch tap out Alexa Bliss as La Luchadora last week. They were stumped as to who the second Luchadora could be. Bryan suggested Eva Marie, but Lynch said she’s too vain to wear a mask. Bliss walked up and said she went undercover trying to find out who La Luchadora was last week, but Lynch ruined it by attacking her. Bliss then called Lynch a “Chucky doll.” Bryan said Bliss would defend her Smackdown Women’s Title against Lynch next week. And to prevent La Luchadora(s) from interfering, it’ll be defended inside a Steel Cage.
3 – CARMELLA vs. CJ LUNDE
“What the hell is that?” JBL asked when getting a look at Lunde, who got no entrance. She was dressed like she came out of the 50s, complete with hairdo from that time period. James Ellsworth was at ringside with Carmella. Carmella was all offense to start against Lunde, hitting a Bronco Buster in the corner. Lunde dodged a charge and whipped Carmella into the buckle. She charged at her and hit a back elbow. Ellsworth tripped Lunde (whose name is a nod to Arn Anderson’s real last name), basically right in front of the ref. JBL kept saying Lunde looked like Mildred Burke. Lunde created separation, but in chasing Carmella out of the ring, he pulled on Lunde’s leg to keep her from getting back in. That allowed Carmella to hit an ugly face-first leg-sweep (Lunde looked like she was planning to bump the other way), transitioning into the Code of Silence for the victory.
WINNER: Carmella, via submission, at 2:41. That was all pretty odd. And not very good.
– Courtesy of WWE.com: The Undertaker’s return to Raw last night.
– Corbin vs. Cena, tonight.
– Next week in Memphis: A Smackdown Women’s Championship Steel Cage Match, wherein Alexa Bliss defends against Becky Lynch.
– Lynch and Bliss will also be on Talking Smack with Renee Young and Shane McMahon tonight.
– Carmella was excited about her winning streak and she said she had something special for Ellsworth. He was expecting a kiss. She was a bit repulsed, but said good things come to those who wait. She instead said she’d take him on a shopping spree next week. He said he hasn’t had a suit since he almost graduated high school.
– Fuentes was backstage with Corbin. He interrupted her question to say he’d make John Cena a liar tonight. He said it’s no longer Cena’s glory days, but his end of days. A.J. Styles walked up. “Tonight is your night,” he said. A.J.’s music began to play as Styles said he’ll be on commentary. He implored Corbin to do his best Styles impersonation and Beat Up John Cena.
– Styles came to the ring for guest commentary. They showed a clip of the mic battle between Styles and Cena last week, with the exclamation point coming when Corbin came out and Styles cheap-shotted Cena from behind. The main event is next.
– Noam Dar cut a promo backstage previewing his 205 Live match against Cedric Alexander.
4 – BARON CORBIN vs. JOHN CENA
The big spot in the first few minutes was a hard whip by Corbin of Cena into the turnbuckle, with Cena bumping to the mat. They went to break at 1:45 of the match after Cena was tossed to the outside in front of the announce desk.
Back at 5:08 with Cena powering Corbin onto his shoulder, but collapsing under Corbin’s weight. Corbin went outside to have a jaw session with Styles, and that predictably cost Corbin. Cena came out to meet him. Corbin, however, was able to fend off Cena and lay in some elbows to Cena’s head with Cena’s head pinned to the top of the barricade. A charging Corbin was low-bridged out of the ring. Corbin again charged, and again, did not find the mark; instead, he ate the ring steps. In the ring though, Corbin picked up Cena and slammed him for a two-count. The count coming up short got Corbin hot at the referee. At eight minutes, Cena was fighting as if he were 15 minutes in. He popped up and popped Corbin with rights. Sidewalk slam by Corbin for two. Cena got back to his feet and jumped into Corbin’s arms for a bear-hug. Tornado DDT as Corbin’s overzealousness once again became his undoing. Five Knuckle Shuffle, then the Attitude Adjustment. Three-count registered as they were right up against the sign-off here.
WINNER: Cena, at 11:03.
Styles simply stood from his announce position as Cena celebrated, leading to the show going 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.