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WWE: Smackdown LIVE 2/28/17 Recap: Flickering Flames

WWE: Smackdow LIVE took place at The XCel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN on 2/28/17!

The show begins with Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon and Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan watching the footage of last week’s controversial finish to the Battle Royale which saw former champion AJ Styles, as well as former Wyatt family member, Luke Harper, hit the floor at the same time. It leads into this week’s main event matchup, which should be a doozy between the two before-mentioned hands. Styles walks into the segment and says that “it is what it is” and he’s cool with the match, but the footage would show that Harper hit first and he’s totally cool with heading on to Wrestlemania. He begins to trash Harper and his hygiene as Luke stands behind him. AJ gets wind of this finally and he takes his leave as Luke Harper looks to the Smackdown brass and he simply says “thank you”.

We then head to the ring for “MizTV”, featuring The Miz himself, as to be expected, and he is accompanied by the lovely Maryse. His guest will be the sixteen time world heavyweight champion, John Cena. Cena makes his way to the ring to a mixed reaction, mainly highlighted by cheers. There are a smattering of boos by those who recall legendary confrontations with The Great Khali. Miz quiets the crowd and he starts by saying this is a special edition of the show as he is there to call Cena out on taking so many of his opportunities over the years. His word is “gospel” to the brass. Miz says Cena manipulates everyone that gets in his way. He likens Cena to a brown-noser who has worked their way up the corporate ladder. Miz says he’s “the other guy” because of Cena, despite the fact that he’s ten times as talented. A massive “Cena” chant breaks out and John is humbled. Miz continues by stating emphatically that he’s The Miz and not “the other guy”. Cena won’t let him be anything else. Miz refers to the ‘Mania where he bested Cena, he was to be iconic. Two weeks later, Cena found a way to manipulate things and he turned everything the Miz had done into nothing. He says Cena is jealous of him. Miz says he isn’t the only one who sees that Cena is a hypocrite and he references the hostile members of the crowd. Miz talks about Cena hating on The Rock for going to Hollywood and then be became the very same thing. “We Can’t See You, John”. A cringe-worthy “You sold out” chant from the live crowd and it surely has to cut to Cena’s very core. Miz says John is a parody of his former self and his former self was a joke. Miz says he isn’t “super Cena” anymore and he’s simply “decent Cena”. Wow, this is magic from the Miz here tonight folks. Dueling crowd chants follow. Miz says he was fed up with the fact that Cena wants to have his cake and eat it too. Miz is angry because he came back and manipulated his way into a title shot and there is still only one “greatest of all time” and he references Flair. Miz says last week when he got dumped in the Battle Royale, he came back and tossed Cena out because he wanted him to feel what he’s felt for the last ten years. He tells Cena that now he can talk. Cena mocks the fact that after ten years of pent-up frustration and Miz regurgitates the same things that everyone else has said. He mocks Miz being paranoid because he doesn’t have the keys to the city. Cena says if he was really the Black Arts manipulator, would he really be standing toe to toe with Miz? Hell no! He’d be competing against Undertaker at ‘Mania. We all wanted that one for sure, but it’ll be the Deadman and Raw’s Roman Reigns. Good line from Cena. The dueling chants start again. Cena says Miz is a dude named Mike who tried to bootleg the Rock and doesn’t have the electricity. He got to the fed and he straight up stole Chris Jericho’s personality, Flair’s figure four leglock, Daniel Bryan’s offense and now he’s stealing AJ Styles lines from the past six months. Cena says Miz has no idea who he he is. He’s a dude dressed up playing another dude. Cena says to ask any of the greats, they have always been themselves with the volume turned all the way up. He calls Miz a trend-hopping, joke stealing “shell” of a WWE superstar. Cena says Miz blames everyone else, Cena dusts himself off, stands up and he keeps fighting. This is great promo work from both of these trusted veterans. Cena ends it by telling Miz not to bring a knife to a gunfight. He ain’t the Undertaker, but if he crosses him again, he’ll be a deadman! Maryse interrupts Cena and she says Cena’s problem is his ego. She calls him a control freak and mocks his manhood. She then slaps the taste out of his mouth. Cena introduces his lovely lady, and the longest reigning Divas champion, Nikki Bella comes out and she says that if Maryse messes with her man, she’s gonna break that synonym for a female dog. Great start to Smackdown and we’re getting ready to get to the action after the break with a two out of three falls match between Becky Lynch and Mickie James!

Becky Lynch defeats Mickie James two falls to one in a two out of three falls match. Fast and furious beginning to the match as both competitors got in some grand offense. Mickie kept Becky grounded early, but Becky made the fighting comeback before being countered with a Mickie DDT and Mickie James takes the first fall. After the break, they come back with Becky trying her best to take the second fall for herself. After some more back and forth, Mickie misses a leap from the top rope. She catches herself, but Becky takes advantage of the opportunity to hit a rollup and she gets a three count to take the second fall, evening things up. We then see Smackdown Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, come down the aisle and she distracts Becky who has nailed a vicious kick, but the ref doesn’t see the three count. Mickie charges at Becky, but she moves and nails Alexa, knocking her off the apron. Becky then applies the Disarmer and Mickie taps out.

Luke Harper is shown backstage in a secluded room. He talks about constantly fighting and he’s made peace with his inner demons. Now he can see what true evil is. He says he isn’t afraid of Bray Wyatt, and after he wins tonight, Bray will be afraid of him. We then see a quick cut to the world heavyweight champion, Bray Wyatt. He says it won’t just be he and Harper if things happen, it’ll be Bray and his blood brother, Randy Orton. He deifies himself and says he holds the “holy grail” in the form of the world title and they cut to commercial.

Alexa Bliss is being interviewed backstage by Dasha Fuentes and she’s frustrated that she’s immediately asked about Becky Lynch. She says the interviewer would ask Oscar winner Emma Stone about Meryl Street. Why isn’t she asking her how it feels to be the first ever two time women’s champion? Dasha asks her and Alexa drums up some crocodile tears and says it feels great. We hear applause and Natalya walks into the segment and says they are both coming off big victories. Natalya makes a veiled threat about taking the title from Alexa and then she walks away from the segment.

Renee Young is waiting by to get comments from “The Face That Runs The Place” AJ Styles. AJ says the match tonight is “bogus” and despite the controversy that led to the match tonight is going to end with AJ heading to ‘Mania. He tells everyone to get their cameras ready and then head to the ring. Wow. I expected this to close the show, but we’ll see Harper and Styles next. Luke Harper is headed to the ring!

AJ Styles defeats Luke Harper via pinfall with a springboard 450 splash. Harper starts things off with a brilliant display of strength, holding Styles in the air with one arm. He counters AJ coming off the ropes with a big dropkick as well. He puts Styles into the barricade on the outside and then into the ring steps. The crowd really getting into it as Styles is introduced to the announce table face first before he is slung into the ring. Harper finally makes a mistake and he pays for it, eating a pele kick. JBL makes an apt comparison as he says that Styles is the cloest thing he’s seen to HBK in a long time. That’s bigtime. He says AJ doesn’t have a bad day at the office, just like Shawn didn’t. The crowd is frantic with dueling chants, supporting both athletes. Harper flattens AJ in the ring and he then nails a senton atomico. Boot and a cover and Styles kicks out. Harper hits a slingshot into the bottom rope and AJ rolls to the outside and collapses in a heap. Harper hits a topei suicida and Styles goes flying! For his size, Luke’s agility is absurd and downright incredible. Styles counters a powerbomb attempt into the ring with a hurricanrana and a combo flurry, but Harper takes charge with a sentilating release dragon suplex before they head to a break. After they return, we immediately see Harper hitting a massive tigerbomb for a two count. AJ finally mounts a comeback with an inzaguri and he nails the Phenomenal Forearm for a three count! Wow, that was out of nowhere! We then see that Harper’s foot was on the rope and we immediately get Shane McMahon out to comment on that very thing. The match continues! Harper counters an attempted Styles Clash into a Jacknife cover. Styles rolls out of the ring and jaws with Shane, Harper with a superkick, but he hits Shane instead! Back into the ring and AJ gets Harper in position, springboard 450 and a three count. AJ Styles is headed to Wrestlemania and a chance at the world title!

John Cena and Nikki Bella are backstage about to comment on what happened earlier. We hear laughter and it’s Carmella and the human turtle, James Ellesworth. James calls Cena and Nikki phonies and he mocks Total Bellas. Cena does us all a favor and shuts Ellesworth up. Cena and Nikki have an idea, those two “phonies” against Ellesworth and Carmella in a mixed tag match. We then see the IC Champ, The “Unstable” Dean Ambrose headed to the ring. He’s in action next!

Dean Ambrose and Curt Hawkins is a no contest. Ambrose heads down to the right and he nails a Dirty Deeds on Hawkins seconds into the match. He doesn’t even make the cover. He takes a mic and gives us valuable life lessons on things not to do. He runs down Baron Corbin and then he says messing with him is a very, very bad idea. He calls out Corbin, but Corbin shows up on the video wall instead. Ambrose asks if he’s coming out or not because he didn’t validate his parking. He then mocks Corbin’s ink. Corbin talks about their common interests, which leads to Corbin saying Ambrose likes pain and Corbin likes dishing it out. He says Dean cost him the title, so he’s gonna take it out on Ambrose. Ambrose responds and says they are far from finished and he tosses the mic. After the break, we’re gonna see “The Showoff” Dolph Ziggler against Apollo Crews in a chairs match!

Dolph Ziggler defeats Apollo Crews via pinfall in a chairs match. Apollo actually jumped the gun and assaulted Ziggler before the bell match. He rained down clubbing blows outside the ring before rolling him in and nailing a jumping clothesline and then an overhead release suplex. Ziggler takes charge with some chair shots, but he is countered with a high altitude dropkick by Crews. Apollo nails an asai moonsault onto Ziggler on the outside before a break. Upon the return, Crews kicks the legs out from under Ziggler in a beautiful spot. He then nails a sliding yakuza kick and Crews hits a standing moonsault with the chair draped across Ziggler’s chest for a two count. Ziggler dodges a charge attempt and Crews posts himself. Ziggler rolls him up for two and Apollo is quick to comeback with a belly to back suplex on a chair for a two count. Crews sets up a chair and he looks to be trying for that spinout powerbomb, but Ziggler rakes the eyes and he drops Crews throat first across the chair. Ziggler then drops Crews on the chair in the “sensitive” area and he covers him for a three count. Vicious ending and quite the match between the two for the time given.

The fireflies are out in St. Paul as “The Eater Of Worlds” and the WWE Champion, Bray Wyatt, slowly makes his way to the ring. The commentary team references the fact that AJ Styles is now involved in the main event picture at ‘Mania and they talk about how unique the world champion is and they wonder if that will rattle Styles. Tom Phillips says Bray has a message for the entire world and that will be revealed tonight. He starts off by saying “AJ Styles it is”. Bray says it didn’t matter who it was, they are both just mortals. He says something happens to a man in the presence of a deity. He promises that AJ will end up just like all the rest. When the bell rings, he’ll feel the spirit of his master. Bray comes from hollow ground. He comes from a place where Randy Orton is right now. Randy is shown at the Wyatt compound with the empty rocking chair. He is where you can smell the stench of evil in the air, among the worms. Randy says this is Bray’s world, but it’s not his. It never was. There was a time when he said if you can’t beat them, join them. But there’s another expression, when it’s the right time, screw ’em. He’s at Bray’s place of worship, underneath the dirt lies the sister of the devil himself, Sister Abigail. Abigail rests beneath Randy’s feet. He’s got a pick axe. There is a close up of worms, burrowing into the ground. He asks how long it’s been since the maggots and worms have been eating her bones? All that’s left is her wretched spirit. Randy says Bray is afraid because he’s going to destroy that which makes Bray tick. As long as Bray is the master and Randy was the servant, he’d stand guard. But now, Randy will be the master and Bray the servant. He drops the pick axe and grabs a can of gasoline, saturating the compound with the liquid. He douses the hallowed ground where Abigail’s bones are contained. He says he’s coming for the title at ‘Mania and Bray’s about to hear Abigail’s scream. The last time she screamed was before she took her last breath. Bray is in tears, pleading for Randy to stop. He strikes a long match stick on a tree as Bray begs for him to stop. Randy says he’s gonna burn the soul of Sister Abigail to eternal damnation. He sets the compound ablaze and watches as the flames seize the wood. He grins. Bray sits with a look of astonishment, rocking with his head in his hands. Smackdown ends. What a great show!

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