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WWE Smackdown LIVE review
January 24, 2017
From Toledo, Ohio
Live on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Daniel Bryan was shining up an apple backstage, about to take a bite, when The Miz and Maryse walked up. Miz complained about what a dump Toledo is. He complained about the backstage atmosphere. Miz demanded Bryan make it right. Bryan made a joke, of which Miz was not appreciative. After some fake laughing, Bryan offered Miz a rematch against Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Title. Miz wanted a no-DQ match. Bryan knew Miz just wanted that stip so Maryse could interfere. But since Miz insulted the talent backstage, Bryan offered to make the match Lumberjack rules. Miz walked off without saying anything. Bryan took a bite of what was apparently a delicious, refreshing, apple.
– Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips were all shown at ringside, with the crowd still chanting “Yes!” after the previous announcement. Phillips talked about Orton joining the Wyatt Family and they showed, back in October, Orton saying about the Wyatt Family, “If you can’t beat’em, join’em.” Then, two weeks ago, dissension in the ranks between Orton and Harper. A miscommunication caused Wyatt to take a kick. And last week, Orton lost to Ambrose because of Harper’s overzealousness.
1 – LUKE HARPER vs. RANDY ORTON
Both men came out with Bray, getting the full Wyatt entrance. Also, formal ring introductions. The men were evenly matched to start, until Orton took Harper down with a back elbow. Harper consulted with Wyatt, who was seated in his trademark rocking chair. Or tried to consult with him, anyway, as Wyatt just stared straight ahead. Orton prepared for his draping DDT, and hit it. The fans were behind Orton. Harper slid out of the ring prior to an RKO attempt. Outside the ring, Orton dropped Harper back-first into the barricade. Then he did the same thing into the announce table. Harper fired back with a boot. Wyatt left his chair and began walking around the ring to the site of the carnage. Wyatt put Orton back into the ring, and he did the same to Harper. They went to break at 3:40.
Back at 6:37 with Harper holding Orton in a rest-hold. After a slam, Harper went to the top, but Orton punched him. Suplex off the top by Orton. An Orton powerslam registered him a near-fall. Harper responded with a Michinoku driver for a two-count of his own. Orton went for an RKO but Harper read it and rolled him up for two. Big kick by Harper for two. Harper motioned to Wyatt as he set up for a powerbomb, but Orton rolled him up for two. Discus lariat attempt by Harper, countered into an RKO from Orton for the win.
WINNER: Orton, at 10:56. The “they know each other well” card was played in this match with the counters and how each guy could see the other’s moves coming. It seemed to lose some luster, though, taking place as the first match on the show.
After the match, Wyatt picked Harper up, but delivered Sister Abigail to him. Replays of the finish and Wyatt’s attack were shown. Ranallo speculated that Wyatt may have just kissed Harper goodbye.
– On camera, the announcers talked about what we just saw, and its consequences for the Royal Rumble match.
– A video package aired on Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch in a steel cage for the Smackdown Women’s Title last week, complete with the main roster return of Mickie James.
– James was walking backstage. She’ll be out to discuss her involvement in the Smackdown Women’s Title picture, next.
– A “Remember the Rumble” Moment, from 2002, with Triple H dominating.
– Tonight, A.J. Styles calls out John Cena.
– In the ring, Renee Young welcomed the newest member of the Smackdown roster, Mickie James. She came out to her old music. Young asked James about why she played the role of La Luchadora. James said she won her first Women’s Championship by beating Hall-of-Famer Trish Stratus at Wrestlemania. She reminded fans she’s a five-time Women’s Champion and former Diva’s Champion. Young remarked that James didn’t answer her question, while James disagreed. James, playing a heel here, said she hasn’t stopped watching WWE despite being gone. She said Becky Lynch and those in the Women’s Revolution want to pretend they’re the first real female athletes, as if her accomplishments meant nothing. She said they would’ve gotten away with it had it not been for Alexa Bliss. James said Bliss had been fighting against this Women’s Revolution since day one. In fact, Bliss remembers everything about James.
James said she respects Bliss, and Bliss is the reason she’s back. She said to forget about the Revolution – it’s about the reinvention of Mickie James. But Lynch’s music interrupted, and she walked to the ring with a purpose. A double-leg take-down later, and Lynch was pounding on James on the mat. James escaped through the crowd. Lynch got to the guardrail in pursuit, but Bliss showed up and whacked her in the face. Back in the ring, James hit a spin kick on Lynch. Bliss then hit Twisted Bliss off the top rope. James told Lynch she should’ve learned a long time ago from Bliss: Be one step ahead. James will add a veteran presence to the division, but her acting and delivery here was really broad. Even for pro wrestling.
– Miz challenges Dean Ambrose for the I.C. Title tonight, in a Lumberjack Match.
-“Blow Your Mind” by Ohana Bam is the official theme song for the Royal Rumble.
– Back to the announcers, who hyped the WWE Network, specifically, NXT Takeover: San Antonio on Saturday, plus the Royal Rumble kickoff show on Sunday with Shawn Michaels and Jerry Lawler. That’s in addition to the upcoming Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber shows.
– Last week, Carmella took James Ellsworth shopping to Milano Menswear. Ellsworth thought the place was a little too expensive, but he trusted in Carmella’s judgment. Ellsworth wanted to pick out some clothes for himself. He asked the associate to show him to his “finest pajama bottoms.” Ellsworth tried on some jeans, style circa 1992, of which Carmella did not approve. We got a montage of Ellsworth trying on all kinds of odd clothing, with Carmella not approving of any of them. Included was a Godfather-inspired outfit (the wrestler), and his theme music briefly played. Carmella also took a shot at Sami Zayn with an outfit she thought was more Zayn’s style. Finally, Ellsworth found a style that was more in line with Carmella’s tastes, sort of a male version of Carmella.
– Baron Corbin came to the ring to provide guest commentary for the next match.
2 – 10-MAN BATTLE ROYAL – WINNER WILL GAIN ENTRY INTO THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
No entrances for any of these guys. Rhyno tried to throw Heath Slater out at the bell. They argued, but both low bridged out the charging Vaudevillains in about 10 seconds. Also in: The Ascension, Mojo Rawley, Curt Hawkins, Breezango. Rawley set Hawkins up on the top rope, then charged at him and punched him out at the one-minute mark. Slater pulled Viktor out from the apron at 1:39 of the match. Viktor held Slater’s foot and allowed Konnor to charge at him at spear Slater out at 1:48. Rhyno and Konnor battled near the ropes while Breezango tried to take them out. Rawley eliminated Rhyno and Konnor at 2:16. It was down to Breezango vs. Rawley. Rawley and Fandango ended up on the apron. Breeze went for a superkick to Rawley, who pulled Fandango in harm’s way. Fandango was out at 3:08. Rawley then back-dropped Breeze out to win it.
WINNER: Rawley, at 3:12. This gives a story for a low-level guy like Rawley to be in the Royal Rumble at least. And he was booked strong here.
– Dasha Fuentes caught up with Nikki Bella outside the arena as she was arriving to the show. This was courtesy of WWE.com. Fuentes asked about comments Natalya has made in the past about Nikki and John Cena. Nikki said Cena has had nothing to do with her success in WWE. Natalya walked up and said she doesn’t see her face on a production truck like she does Nikki’s. Natalya then rammed Nikki head-first into one of the production trucks.
– Next, Styles calls out Cena.
– John Cena announced earlier today on Twitter that he’ll be hosting Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards.
– A.J. Styles came to the ring. They showed Styles and Cena getting into a tussle last week on Smackdown. Before calling out Cena, Styles wanted to gripe about his placement on the Royal Rumble poster. He had something else he wanted to say, but instead, decided to call out Cena. Styles showed a clip of Cena on the Today Show earlier this week, basically blowing off his opponent, this “guy from Atlanta.” Styles felt the need to remind Cena who he is. Styles once again pushed the narrative that nobody missed Cena while he was gone. Despite the fact the crowd immediately bombarded Styles with “Cena” chants. Styles said he’s the face that replaced Cena. He said Cena has all these excuses, and gave him one more: Cena himself. He said Cena is the only excuse left, because Cena is a sorry excuse for a wrestler. Cena smirked. Styles pointed to Cena’s new t-shirt, “Respect: Earn it.” He asked Cena what he has to do to get respect. I like them tying to poster and Cena’s Today Show comments into Cena’s new t-shirt. Styles vowed to put his foot in Cena’s ass on Sunday.
Cena said he comes to the ring every night with thousands of people saying he sucks, and Styles complains about respect? Cena said if Styles doesn’t work in WWE, it’ll be Cena’s fault, because he “buried” Styles, right? He said Styles has been hot for six months, but he held the place down for over a decade. Cena asked if he doesn’t deserve respect because he didn’t grow up on the indie scene. He wasn’t built for the indie scene. Cena said Styles isn’t on his level, nor is he a level below him. He said he doesn’t complain about respect, just does what he does and shuts every mouth. Styles isn’t a guy from Atlanta, Cena said, he’s just “a guy.” He said Styles holds onto the title because Cena lets him. He said Styles will find out that there’s only one John Cena, and he’s a bad, bad man. I think Cena won that one, but both did a great job in their roles. That was effective in making people anticipate their match Sunday even more.
– Ambrose vs. Miz in a Lumberjack Match for the I.C. title is still to come.
– In a split-screen, Dolph Ziggler and Kalisto were walking backstage. They square off, next.
3 – KALISTO vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Kalisto was already in the ring out of break. From the King’s Court last week, they showed Ziggler taking responsibility for Lawler’s heart attack a number of years ago. Ziggler with an early neck-breaker. Kalisto flipped out of a clothesline attempt and kicked Ziggler. He went for a springboard, but Ziggler superkicked him out of mid-air for the victory.
WINNER: Ziggler, at :48. This one pretty much had to be a short, dominant win for Ziggler. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs in the Rumble match.
Post-match, Ziggler retrieved a chair from ringside. JBL took off his headset and yelled at Ziggler. Apollo Crews attacked Ziggler from behind and rammed him into the ring post. He went to hit Ziggler with the chair, but Ziggler moved out of the way and headed up the ramp.
– Naomi vs. Natalya is next.
– Congrats to the Collins Family, who received a Little Caesars seat upgrade at Smackdown Live.
– As Naomi came to the ring set to face Natalya, they went backstage where Nikki Bella was attacking Natalya near the lift door (for maximum noise!). Referees had to pull Nikki off of Natalya. Naomi wanted a mic. She said she came back to Smackdown Live because it’s the land of opportunity. She said she wasn’t leaving until someone from the back steps up. Alexa Bliss came out with a mic. She said she wasn’t out to answer a challenge. Bliss pointed out that Naomi hasn’t even been on TV for three months, then feigned not knowing who she was. Naomi asked her to step into the ring so she could pull Alexa’s hair out. Bliss got onto the apron but stepped away before getting into the ring. She said Naomi isn’t worth her time. “Say hit to obscurity for me,” she told Naomi. This sets up now three feuds in the women’s division on Smackdown, with Bliss vs. Naomi, James vs. Lynch, and Nikki vs. Natalya. Oh, and Carmella vs. good taste.
– The I.C. Title match is next.
– Tonight on Talking Smack, following 205 Live, Shane McMahon and Renee Young welcome A.J. Styles, Mojo Rawley, and Mickie James.
– Dean Ambrose was walking backstage when he was approached by Dasha Fuentes. Ambrose said anything can happen in a Lumberjack Match, so he’s going to trust his instincts. That’s also how he’s going to get through the Rumble. He said his instincts tell him to smash Miz’s nose tonight.
– When Miz and Maryse came out for the title match, they showed Ambrose winning the title three weeks ago. The lumberjacks came out next, including Baron Corbin, Breezango, The Usos, The Vaudevillains, Curt Hawkins, and others. The match is next.
– Just announced for the Royal Rumble show: Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Mickie James.
4 – THE MIZ vs. DEAN AMBROSE – LUMBERJACK MATCH FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Other lumberjacks include Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley, Heath Slater, Rhyno, American Alpha, The Ascension, and Kalisto. Miz sent Ambrose to the outside early but Ambrose scuttled right back into the ring. Miz wanted the heel lumberjacks to act a little quicker in getting their hands on Ambrose. He continued mouthing off to them, which I assume will come back to haunt him. Miz got clotheslined over the top, where the babyface lumberjacks had their way with him. Otunga defended their actions, reminding everyone that Miz said he’s responsible for their salaries earlier in the show. They went to break with Miz being put back in the ring at 2:04 of the match.
Back at 5:06 with Ambrose fighting off Miz’s advances on the middle rope. Ambrose tried his Lunatic Lariat, but the heels pulled him out of the ring. They assaulted him there, but it had little effect, as Ambrose rolled up Miz for two. He was then thrown out on the side of Alpha and Kalisto, who did nothing. Curt Hawkins saw an opportunity and laid in a few rights on Ambrose, and the lumberjacks again coalesced in a clash. Again in the ring, Miz connected on Daniel Bryan’s Yes Kicks. Ambrose landed on his feet outside the ring and this time, fought off the heel lumberjacks. He sent Corbin face-first into the ring-post. Elbow off the top for two at 8:00. Ambrose hit a suicide dive on Miz, taking out a few heels in the process. Ambrose pounded on Miz on the announce table while everybody got involved. Mayrse grabbed Ambrose’s foot as a distraction. Busaiku knee from Miz for two. More Bryan-esque moves, with a corner dropkick. Miz was sent outside where he tried to climb over the barricade, but the babyfaces stopped him. Ambrose came off the top and dove onto the lot of them. Lunatic Lariat by Ambrose and as he went for the pin, Baron Corbin climbed into the ring to interfere. All the lumberjacks got involved. No bell, however. Miz finally rolled Ambrose up once the ring was cleared. It got two. Dirty Deeds by Ambrose allowed him to get the win.
WINNER: Ambrose, at 12:08.
They replayed the end-of-match brawl, played up as preview of the Rumble despite most of them not actually being in the upcoming match. The finish was replayed as well. Ambrose celebrated as Maryse tended to a broken Miz at ringside.
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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.