We started out this week’s Smackdown Live with a recap of the Royal Rumble. Highlighted was the WWE World Title match involving AJ Styles and John Cena. As the recap completed the camera panned out and showed AJ Styles watching in disgust. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan joined AJ to congratulate him on a show stopping match. AJ was having none of this and wanted to know when he would get his rematch. Shane let AJ know he would get his match, however it would be the main event of the Elimination Chamber PPV. He and Cena would be joined by Miz, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose. Almost like Candy Man who had heard his name three times, Dean joined the group just making sure he was going to be involved in the PPV. This interruption triggered an old rivalry between Dean and AJ, which caused Shane to make a match between the two that night.
THE CHAMP IS HERE!! John Cena came to the ring to greet the always split crowd. The haters could not change the great mood that Cena was in, as Cena was telling the crowd to get hyped up (sorry Mojo, he does it better) He apologized to AJ Styles for referring to him as “just some guy from Atlanta) and told the crowd that Styles brought the best out in him and that he was what the WWE Championship was all about. As Cena was about to close out his promo, the fireflies started to gather, and Bray Wyatt appeared with Randy Orton close behind. Bray cut an amazing promo as he always does. Saying that Cena having the title was just part of a vicious cycle, and that the Era of Wyatt was going to begin. Bray and Randy walked down to the ring to attack Cena. As they were entering the ring, the Wyatt graphic flashed across the screen. As the lights raised, Luke Harper stood side by side with Cena. This caused Bray and Randy to retreat, but Shane McMahon halted them. He said that all this energy would be a waste and booked a tag match on the spot.
Bray and Cena started the match off, but the real excitement started when Luke and Randy were in the ring. Harper did an absolute number on the Royal Rumble winner. When the match spilled to the outside Bray stood in front of Harper, who stopped dead in his tracks and went around Bray to get to Orton. This would be the story throughout the match. Luke would not engage Bray, which made it an almost two on one. Cena was in trouble for most of the match, almost making the tag to Harper one time, but again the fear of Bray caused him to freeze. At the end of the match Harper finally comes in to save Cena. Bray tries to hold both Orton and Harper back from each other but Harper was able to get to Randy. Bray attempted to hit Sister Abigail but Luke reversed it and had Bray in the same predicament. Luke was distracted however by Randy and this gave Bray the chance he needed to land Sister Abigail on his former disciple. With Luke out of the way, the last two members of the Wyatt family were able to defeat the champion, with Randy hitting the RKO.
After a great match we were brought down several notches as James Ellsworth came out to introduce Carmella. Carmella was facing some jobber from the area named Delilah Dawson, who looked like an emo Rainbow Bright. The match only lasted a couple of minutes, ending with Carmella getting the Code of Silence on her opponent after Ellsworth interfered from the outside. I think it was a mistake to bring Carmella up to the main card show. They seem to have no avenue for her, and them pairing her up with Ellsworth is not helping her case whatsoever.
Next was Kalisto once again trying to exact some sort of revenge on Dolph Ziggler. This match lasted far longer than last week’s, which had Dolph beating Kalisto in 46 seconds. Once again, the new more aggressive Ziggler was too much for Kalisto, beating him easily once again in a match that lasted only a few minutes. This time after the match Ziggler would not go for the chair, but attempted to remove Kalisto’s mask. Like clockwork Apollo Crews ran to the ring, and Dolph did some running of his own into the crowd. I think this build up has gone on long enough. I would actually love to see both of these athletes in a match. Both are super athletic, and I think Ziggler would bring some really great matches out of the rookie Crews.
Our next match pitted Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. Becky and Alexa had nothing to gain in this match, and the real story was Naomi proving herself as a championship contender and Mickie showing the WWE Universe that she still has what it takes to compete. In this match we saw both these things. All four women did what they did best. Becky with her aggressiveness, Alexa being an amazing heel, Mickie showing no signs of ring rust and Naomi proving why a lot of people call her the most athletic female on the Smackdown Live roster. It was a good solid match, both teams going back and forth trying to get the edge. It would be Naomi though that would pin the champion for the second time in 48 hours after pulling off a beautiful spilt-leg moonsault. I guess she showed Alexa that she isn’t just some “nobody”.
American Alpha had an interview where they asked where all their competition was. It has been a month and no one had come to try and take their titles from them. This prompted them to come to the ring and issue an open challenge to the tag team division. After a noticeable absence the Usos, wearing a much more urban attire, walked to the ring looking to take their place at the top of the tag team roster back. I was really excited here. I thought I was about to see a great match between two talented tag teams, but I thought wrong. Enter the rest of the tag team division. Every other tag team. All of them. This turned out to be an all out brawl, ending with AA and Heath Slater/Rhyno remaining in the ring. Nothing was solved here though. No number one contenders were chosen. AA didn’t even stare down Rhyno and Heath at the end of this mess. Ugh. We were close to a good tag team division match guys and girls. So close.
Time for the main event. Don’t get me wrong. It was a fantastic match, everything you would expect from the likes of Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles. Technical wrestling, high risk moves, tons of counters and highspots. The real star of this match though……was the MIZ!! Miz had come down to the ring to be a guest commentator, and boy did he not disappoint. I found myself focusing more on him talking than the actual match for the first half. Then it got even more interesting. As Dean was about to dive onto AJ from the top rope, the Lone Wolf Baron Corbin came to ringside to join the announce team. As AJ and Ambrose fought a tremendous match in the ring, a war of words raged on between Miz and Corbin on the mics. After much back and forth, the tongue lashing from Miz was too much to take for Corbin. He and Miz began to fight on the outside just as Ambrose was getting the upper hand on the Phenomenal One. Ambrose was about to get the three count, but the referee was too distracted by Miz and Corbin, whose fight had spilled into the ring. An irate Ambrose attacked both men on the outside for their intrusion. He re-entered the ring to finish off AJ, but Styles was lying in wait, and hit the Lunatic Fringe with the Styles Clash. After the match the Miz took advantage of a downed Ambrose and hit him with the Skull Crushing finale. It would be Baron Corbin who had the last laugh however, delivering End of Days to both Miz and Ambrose.
This was the best show Smackdown has had in weeks. I do feel that this should be the show that should have three hours instead of two. Hear me out. Perhaps the reason why there are so many boring matches and promos is that they don’t have enough time to adequately show off their roster’s talents. I might be more into the matches if they actually had developed storylines. Either that or some people might have to get cut. They just seem to try and jam in everyone on the Smackdown Roster into each show, and that isn’t needed. Maybe it’s a contract thing, I don’t know. I think the company might benefit from giving a few people some weeks off, and bring them back when they know what to do with them. What do you think?
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