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WWE: Smack Down Live Review 1/3/17

WWE Smack Down Live Review
Jacksonville, Florida

The show starts off with The Miz and Maryse, dressed to the nines as always. As they enter the ring, we’re shown a quick look back at the last two weeks, and the beef between Renee Young and The Miz, which led to the confrontation between The Miz and Dean Ambrose. Miz starts talking about his new year resolution, to be more forgiving? He then invites Renee Young the chance to come out and apologize to him. Miz smugly stands there with Maryse, while the crowd chants “No” Daniel Bryan style. Dean Ambrose’s music explodes, and down Ambrose comes to the ring, while Miz exits and leaves his wife in the ring to deal with Ambrose. Maryse slaps Ambrose across the face before exiting with her husband The Miz. Ambrose then says he guesses that the hard part of his night is over since his Miz’s wife hits harder than him.

Baron Corbin Vs Dolph Ziggler

Baron Corbin comes down to the ring, sporting some new graphics on the Titantron behind him. As the match kicks off we get some heavy offense from Corbin. This goes on through most of the match, once again Corbin booked to look extremely tough. Corbin pulls off a slew of wicked clothes lines, reminiscent of JBL. Multiple powerful moves against Ziggler continue to fail to put him away though, and Ziggler makes a brief rally towards the end of match. Lots of near falls from both men are traded, before Corbin pulls out the win after hitting Ziggler with the End of Days from the corner. Both men put on a very good match, and while done a few times already, it remained fun to watch. After wards Corbin goes to attack Ziggler with a chair, but Kalisto comes out and stops him from doing anymore damage. Surprisingly Ziggler super kicks Kalisto for his efforts, and storms up the ramp backstage.

Backstage Segments

Carmella shown getting ready for her match, when Ellsworth walks over. Ellsworth hands Carmella his shirt, very awkwardly at that. Carmella thanks him, and asks for Ellsworth to come down to the ring with her tonight. Next we cut to Rhyno, Mojo Rawley, and Apollo Crews backstage, when Ziggler enters the locker room and begins kicking stuff around still mad from earlier. Crews then asks him, whats up and why did he attack Kalisto. Ziggler then says for Crews to mind his business before punching Crews, kicking off a brief fight between the two. The fight is broken up before anything else could happen, but looks like we have some new beef on the grill.

Becky Lynch Vs La Luchadora

Becky puts the Smack Down on the unknown La Luchadora soon as the bell rings. The former champ comes across as a true threat, making short work of the masked wrestler. Luchadora takes no time in exiting the ring and pulling the good old switcheroo. One Luchadora goes down underneath the ring, only for another one to come of the ring from the other side. Becky Lynch doesn’t miss a beat, and she quickly dispatches the second Luchadora with the dis-armer submission move, and unmasks her, to reveal Alexa Bliss. The first Luchadora comes out and she and Alexa Bliss proceed to beat down Becky Lynch after the match.

WWE Championship contract signing for the Royal Rumble match starts, as Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring. He still gets some of the best cheers from the WWE Universe and he’s only the GM. John Cena is introduced first as the challenger, and the champion AJ Styles comes out next with a more than fair amount of cheers. This has been quite the feud these two have had, and it only gets better, as both men cut mean promo’s. I used to think AJ was so-so on the mic, but he comes across as legitimately upset, about Cena’s presence. Bryan says a few words, squeezes in the announcement that Smack Down beat Raw in the ratings for the first time ever (Hooray), and quickly exits the ring, and lets the two superstars have at it. AJ cuts a mean promo, even telling Cena that Smack Down can do it with fine with out him. The Cena/Styles feud has been masterfully built up to this point, and it’s getting revved up even more. In many ways it reminds me of the Punk/Cena feud, but even better, because AJ has come up from the indies as an invader. Having beaten Cena three times already, it makes Cena the under dog. Having to battle his way back to the top, and frankly no one plays that role better than Cena. After Cena responds to Styles with a great promo of his own, both men are surprised by Baron Corbin. Corbin walks to the ring, and announces he will be in the Royal Rumble match, and he plans on winning it. He then enters the ring telling both men, he doesn’t care who’s champ, but he’ll be beating either man. Cena and Corbin get into a war of words, and square up to fight, when Styles kicks Cena in the side of the face. Styles then skulks up the ramp, as Corbin looks down at the injured John Cena.

Shot of Maryse walking backstage, when she comes upon Renee Young. Maryse looks Renee up and down, says some choice words, then slaps the holy heck out of her, knocking her to the ground. Maryse then stands over Renee Young and tells her, never to touch her husband again, before stalking off.

Carmella w/ James Ellsworth Vs Aaliyah

James Ellsworth is ringside with Carmella during her match, as promised from the segment earlier. Aaliyah is a current superstar from NXT. While she seems adequate on the darkly lit NXT, on tonight’s brightly lit Smack Down her flaws shine through. Facing Carmella who is still quite green her self, this match leaves much to be desired. I wondered during the match where Naomi was, and she wasn’t wrestling someone? I digress. There was one entertaining spot, where Ellsworth contemplates interfering in the match, before making a half hearted attempt to trip Aaliyah. He’s quickly caught, but Carmella capitalizes on the distraction, and finishes Aaliyah with her finishing submission move. Carmella bounds over to Ellsworth, giving him a big hug before they two walk up the ramp away from the ring.

Breezango Vs American Alpha (Tag Team Champions)

While it’s cornier than Nebraskan stool samples, Breezangos fashion police gimmick is pretty funny to me. It’s probably because the two honestly come across as a true pair of douche bags, they make for great outlandish heel characters. Fandango can hold his own, and Breeze is a superstar waiting to emerge, so it’s sad how quickly they are beaten tonight. It’s a given that they will lose to the new Tag Team champs, but I honestly thought we’d see a legitimate match, that would possibly build a new story line. Instead, the Alphas beat Breezango in under a minute, and send the fashion police packing with their pocket full of citations. No sooner than the Alphas hands are raised by the ref, the Wyatts appear on screen. Bray gives a rather straight forward warning / challenge to the Alphas, saying how they will get the titles back. At the end we see the continued tension between Orton and Harper, as Randy intercepts the “Run” line at the end of the promo, cutting Luke Harper off.

Nikki Bella confronts Natalya in the ring. I hate to admit it, but the segment came across pretty good. Each lady cut some mean verbal jabs at each other. Nikki accuses Natalya of riding off of her family name, while Natalya accuses Nikki of using her looks to get her accomplishments. Natalya gets the last, and arguably best word, as Nikki can only respond with an elbow to the side of Natalya’s face.

We probably saw the live career suicide of a backstage personality tonight with this next segment. One of the backstage interviewers walks up to Dean Ambrose, as he’s making his way to the ring, and proceeds to stumble over every single question she asks. While his moniker is the lunatic, Ambrose is ever the professional, as he interrupts the reporter, and never breaking character gives the appropriate response. He doesn’t make fun of her, like I just did. He doesn’t give her a crazy look, or laugh, like I probably would have. He simply does his usual off kilter and animated promo, and storms off of camera headed to the ring. If Vince didn’t fire her, she owes Dean Ambrose a fruit basket for sure.
The Miz (Intercontinental Champion) Vs Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Title Match

Smack Down has done a good job in making us care about this new feud in such small time. Not sure if that’s a testament to the writers, or how much The Miz is to be hated. Miz has done a great job as “the” heel champion of the WWE. While AJ has heelish ways, large chunks of the WWE Universe love him to much. No one cheers The Miz, and he goes out of his way to make sure no one does. Mike Mizanin expertly plays the ultimate evil reality TV star, but with muscles. I have always enjoyed the bad guys when it came to wrestling, so needless to say I really get a kick out of The Miz. Winning or losing, he knows how to get the crowd booing. Ambrose and The Miz put on a good, and at times great match for the belt. Miz spends a lot of time exiting the ring trying to escape Ambrose, which creates lots of opportunities for his wife Maryse to distract Ambrose. After one such distraction Miz is able to get the upper hand after hitting Ambrose with a drop kick through the ropes. Both men continue to trade some good moves. Ambrose hits a few high flying moves from the turnbuckles, while Miz does some solid work on Ambrose knees and legs to set up the figure four. As the fight stumbles back outside of the ring, Maryse slaps Dean Ambrose in full view of the referee. Before the Ref can call the match off as a DQ, Ambrose stops him and says to eject Maryse and let the match continue. The Ref agrees and sends Maryse to the crowd’s delight. Ever the opportunist Miz hits Ambrose in the back of the head with the IC title and goes for the pin. Stunningly Ambrose kicks out, and both men fall out exhausted. Miz gets up first, and sets up Ambrose for the skull crushing finale. As Miz goes to execute, Ambrose reverses it, and hits Miz with the Dirty Deeds and pins Miz for the count, becoming the new Intercontinental Champion for the second time.

2016 was a very up and down year for wrestling. There were some truly great moments, such as the arrival of AJ Styles, and the CWC. Then some cringe worthy affairs like Triple H Vs Reigns at Wrestlemania, and the Old Day segment from RAW. Whether you saw more good than bad, or vice-versa, you gotta admit Smack Down has been a plus for the WWE in 2016. Smack Down started 2016 as the little watched B show of the WWE. Actually maybe even the C show, since you couldn’t watch the reruns on the WWE Network like you could WWE Superstars. Nestled away on Thursdays on the SyFy Ch, Smack Down was not “must see” TV, and more like “may-be” TV. It soon made the jump to USA, and while it got a little bit better, it was still mostly a RAW recap show with a couple of match’s thrown in. The brand split though, breathed a new life into the show. Seemed to light a spark underneath the butts of it’s superstars, and writers alike. With the introduction of Mauro Ranallo to the announcer’s table, the sound of the show took on a more professional sports feel. With the introduction of Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as the anti-authority, authority figures, it gave Smack Down an almost anything goes feel to it, which made you wanna tune in every week. This all led to Smackdown beating RAW in the ratings for the first time ever in it’s 17 years, literally in the last week of the year. Smackdown might be one of the few things I can say was good about 2016. Tonight’s episode drives that point home as it seamlessly wove good matches, and well put together story line segments. With only one or two low points, or mediocre performances, the show was over all entertaining as it has been for the past 5 months.

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