Smackdown Live Review (12/13/2016)

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We are live tonight from Washington DC!

We start off with Smackdown Live management team Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan watching the replay of last week’s Intercontinental Championship match between the Champion, The Miz, defeating Dean Ambrose, after interference from James Ellsworth. The two berate Ellsworth who enters the picture, sneezing all over everyone, for interfering in such an important match. Shane questions Ellsworth how he can compete in such a sickly state. Daniel Bryan tells Ellsworth to go home so he and Shane can determine a new #1 contender to WWE Champion AJ Styles.

IN-RING SEGMENT: MizTV

Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Maryse welcomes everyone to day 28 of the Miz Intercontinental Championship Reunion Tour and a very special night, with a very special guest, the WWE Champion AJ Styles. Styles comes down to the ring and takes his seat next to the Miz. Styles says that there is no way Ellsworth can compete in his condition so he won’t be wrestling, but Miz states that how does Styles feel about knowing he still has to face Ellsworth at some point in time. Styles laughs at the insinuation Ellsworth is a threat, and lists of the guys he’s already beat like John Cena and Dean Ambrose. He says no one is at his level right now.

The Miz tells Styles that no one has elevated a title from obscurity like The Miz has and that Styles is right. No one is at Styles’ level. But the Miz is above it. He tells AJ that it’s time he made the WWE Championship Legendary.

Dean Ambrose’s music hits and the Lunatic Fringe quickly makes his way to the ring and starts throwing chairs. Before he can get a mic, Dolph Ziggler comes out to his music to join the conversation. He grabs the mic and lambastes the two “paper champions” as champs who can’t win without cheating.

The Miz takes exception to Ziggler and takes him down, only to get a Dirty Deeds from Ambrose, while Styles saunters from the ring and begins to walk away. AJ starts chirping Ambrose, who then turns around and Dirty Deeds Ziggler. The Wyatts video pops up and when we return, Luke Harper is standing in the ring and lands a vicious lariat to Ambrose before staring at AJ Styles.

We get an announcement (made earlier on the WWE website) that the entire WWE tag division will have a battle royale tonight to determine the new #1 contender to the Wyatt Family‘s tag team championship, but up next is Natalya vs. Carmella, seeking revenge on the allegations from Carmella that she attacked Nikki Bella at Survivor Series. But first…COMMERCIAL!

SmackBack: It all made sense until Luke Harper appeared out of nowhere. But hell, storylines be damned. I’ll gladly take any Harper I get! The Miz standing up to AJ was, well, awesome. Some early groundwork for perhaps a heel Miz versus a face AJ somewhere down the line.

Photo: WWE.com

Backstage, AJ Styles storms into a meeting between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan demanding protection from the chaos out there. They tell AJ that tonight there will be a Fatal Four Way #1 Contender’s Match for AJ’s WWE Championship, between Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler and Luke Harper, with the winner facing Styles in upcoming weeks.

SmackBack: Three of the guys make a case for the inclusion in the Fatal 4-Way later, except for Harper. The stipulation that any interference will result in a DQ elimination probably forebodes the Wyatts costing Harper his chance. Although I’d prefer to see Big Luke win this and have a short feud with AJ, it’s unfortunately more likely that Ambrose pulls out the win.

Out at the ring, and Nikki Bella has joined the commentary. Natalya comes down and grabs the mic to publicly state she was not the one who attacked Nikki Bella. She is cut off by Carmella’s music and the Princess of Staten Island makes her way to the ring.

NATALYA vs. CARMELLA

The match gets under way and just as we get a little offence in COMMERCIAL

We’re back and Natalya is working over Carmella, calling her a pathetic liar, as Nikki Bella watches on with scorn. Natalya works her hard in the corner, yelling to Nikki “I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!”

Carmella takes advantage of Nattie’s distraction and slams her to the ground before getting her in the corner and landing a Bronco Buster for a quick pin attempt to no avail. She immediately puts Natalya into a leg scissors submission on Natalya’s mid-section. Natalya powers out and attempts the Sharpshooter, but Carmella squirms free and rolls outside the ring, with Natalya behind her.

Nikki gets up to confront Natalya, who then clotheslines a sneak attack from Carmella. She throws her into the ring and again turns to Nikki to tell her she didn’t do it, but Carmella rolls her up with schoolgirl into the small package for the win. Natalya shakes her head in disgust at the loss.

SmackBack: Clearly it’s leading to some kind of showdown between Natalya and Nikki, but has Carmella become a non-factor already? Her feud with Nikki was great elevation on the Bella’s part and Carmella came out a strong heel character despite the loss. Hopefully she’s got more story to give in this and she’s not just a pawn in the game. Perhaps she’s the protege of Natalya and it’s all a ruse to lure Nikki into a match with Natalya?

Photo: WWE.com

SmackBack: Yippedy f**king doo.

Backstage, some dude who looks like Manny from Modern Family all grown up bumps into Apollo Crews, saying how excited he is to be part of the Tribute to the Troops. So apparently Adult Manny is someone famous? They’re interrupted by The Miz and Maryse and the two make fun of Miz’s suit. Miz laughs sarcastically before wandering off, as he has “things to do”.

SmackBack: Considering I only watch wrestling for the most part, I have zero clue who that dude was. Literally zero. Nice to see Apollo still works for the WWE though. He should go back to NXT for a bit and regroup. His promo work could use some polish. (Okay, I Googled. Apparently hes Gabriel Iglesias. Still no clue.)

TAG TEAM BATTLE ROYAL TO DETERMINE THE NEW #1 CONTENDER TO THE WYATT FAMILY’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

The Hype Bros come down to the ring. That’s just enough hype to GO TO COMMERCIAL

We come back and everyone is in the ring and in seconds, Simon Gotch is eliminated. Wow. He must have pissed in Vince’s limo or something. And apparently both men of a team have to be eliminated as Aiden English is still in the battle royale. A lot of typical moves as the gaggle of wrestlers try to position to the inevitable elimination spree.

Viktor is eliminated by Chad Gable, but Konnor quickly knocks Gable out after them. Heath Slater accidentally eliminates his partner Rhyno and Rhyno gives him a painful glare as Slater’s begs forgiveness for COMMERCIAL

Seriously though. Come on.

Aiden English and Jason Jordan end up outside the ring on the ring apron. Jordan launches English, eliminating the Vaudevillains, and returns to the ring.

On the other side, Fandango and Slater are on the ring apron as well trading blows. Slater is knocked down, but he trips up Fandango, sending the Fashion Police Officer to floor. Shortly after, Tyler Breeze tosses Mojo Rawley. Every team is left with one member left, and Jordan quickly mauls Breeze, Slater, Konnor, and Ryder.

Jordan runs at Breeze and in a huge surprise to the crowd, Breeze eliminates Jordan and American Alpha. Slater gains some momentum, landing some kicks and a neckbreaker, before Konnor tosses him over to the ring apron. Slater fights off Konnor and Breeze, returning to the ring, but Konnor picks him up and throws him out the ring like a dart.

Konnor stands tall over a fallen Breeze and Ryder, as the last three men. Konnor and Breeze team up and attack Ryder in the corner. Breeze tries to talk Konnor into throwing out Ryder together and as Konnor turns, grabs Konnor. Konnor stops and throws Breeze out of the ring, but he lands on the apron. He avoids a kick by Ryder but is speared by Konnor, and Breezango are eliminated. Konnor goes to powerbomb Ryder off, but Ryder Frankensteiner’s Konnor out of the ring and the Hype Bros win and are your NEW #1 contender to the Wyatt Family for the Smackdown Tag Championship. Whelp. I guess someone has to feed the Buzzards.

SmackBack: Like any Battle Royale, the first few minutes were a jumble until the herd was thinned out. Tyler Breeze had a heck of a run and show some resilience that was seemingly starting to win the crowd at the end. They seemed somewhat disappointed in his elimination. American Alpha’s exit also drew a decent gasp. Konnor was impressive in his offensive bursts, resembling more his NXT tag team dominance than we’ve seen so far on the main roster. Not a classic by any means, but a fun battle royale that had a few twists and really let all the members showcase some real different things. Except the Vaudevillains. They jobbed out quicker than the Shockmaster to a particle board wall.

ALEXA BLISS vs. DEONNA PURRAZZO (Non-Title Match)

Back from commercial and our Smackdown Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, comes down to the ring. She takes the mic and turns up her nose at indie star Deonna Purrazzo (she’s also worked some NXT tapings) and says unlike Becky Lynch, she “doesn’t do charity cases. Who are you supposed to be, Jane Ellsworth?” She then attacks Purrazzo from behind and the match is thrown out.

Becky Lynch‘s music came on and down came the former Women’s Champion who tells Bliss if she wants real competition, she’ll fight her tonight then. Bliss says she’ll get it…just not tonight. She heads up the ramp laughing.

Shane McMahon’s music hits and Shane-O-Mac comes out to address the new Champion. He says that that’s not how Smackdown Live operates and that she still owes Becky a rematch. And that rematch is tonight.

Bliss turns to Becky and yells COMMERCIAL

SmackBack: Alexa Bliss knocked that in-ring promo out of the park. Wow! Her character has become such a part of her know that she’s engaging to watch. Her roast on Purrazzo actually made me feel sorry for her. Purrazzo is no slouch. She’s had a remarkable year in wrestling, having now wrestled for Smackdown, NXT, Ring of Honor, Chikara, Beyond, TNA, House of Hardcore. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s a part of the upcoming World Women’s Classic on the WWE Network. I actually wasn’t that looking forward to a rematch with these two this quickly yet, but that Bliss promo actually has me excited for this encounter.

SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. BECKY LYNCH

Back from commercial and the match gets under way. It’s going to be interesting to see if these two take upon themselves to try and top Charlotte and Sasha. There’s got to be a friendly rivalry and Smackdown has yet to feel like they’re even trying at half the fire Charlotte and Banks are fuelled on.

Early on, the match is high octane and hard hitting. I have to say, kudos to Bliss. Lynch is known to hit hard and Bliss is meeting her on it. Becky catches her early for a Dis-Arm-Her but Bliss finds the ropes for the break.

They tossle and Bliss rolls out of the ring, grasping her leg and feigning injury. She strolls slowly, getting counted out by referee Charles Robinson. Well, Washington DC officially killed the 10 Movement. I didn’t hear one person chant ten except for when Little Naitch hit 10 himself.

Lynch wins by count out, but Bliss is still your Women’s Champion.

Becky runs out and grabs Bliss, throwing her into the ring and beating the holy HELL out of Bliss. Bliss finally escapes and limps up the ring.

SmackBack: Okay, it was a teaser of a warm-up of a match, but it’s got my interest more than the prior build-up did. Lynch is unleashing the hardened toughness she’s known for and Bliss is taking it like a champ (well, I guess she is…). This could physical in a way that wouldn’t resemble Banks and Flair at all, creating another great feud for WWE women’s wrestling. Wow. Alexa Bliss had a turning point tonight. Solid performance from her from start to finish.

Another Cena returns promo. It’s incredibly awkward how much of a man crush boner JBL gets when John Cena comes up. For a heel announcer, it doesn’t make sense. It would be like Heenan hating everyone, but loving Hulk Hogan. Plus, it’s creepy.

FATAL FOUR WAY #1 CONTENDERSHIP FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP: Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

After all four men enter, WWE Champion AJ Styles (this still feels eerie to type) comes down to scout from the commentary.

All four go at it early, with Luke Harper getting dominant early. The Miz tries to make a pact with Harper, but Harper responds with a Michinoku Driver. The faces rush back in and Ambrose and Ziggler team up in throwing Harper out the ring.

Ambrose turns on Ziggler and the two start fighting, before the Miz comes up and lures Ambrose out the ring. He jumps in and attempts a quick roll up on Ziggler.

Miz and Ziggler continue their feud in the ring for a while, with Ziggler eating a ton of kicks in a Miz offensive. Ambrose returns in and ends it with a bulldog, followed by a flying dive from Ambrose into a wakening Luke Harper. Harper catches him and throws him back, but Ambrose does his ring rope bounce (I hate that move), modified to rebound from the ring apron, back to Harper, who meets him with a clothesline. Harper returns to the ring and manhandles Dolph Ziggler.

Harper goes for a pin and Ziggler kicks out exhaustively at 2.

Harper begins to pick apart Ziggler slow and methodically, before rolling out the ring to beat further on a battered Ambrose and Miz. He quickly rolls back in and puts Ziggler in an Argentine backbreaker.

Ambrose jumps in and lariats Harpers, who’s then gets taken out by The Miz. The Miz goes for a small package and it’s reversed by Ambrose for a 3 count and the Intercontinental Champion is the first one eliminated.

Ziggler and Ambrose go at it, and while both are up top, Harper comes in and electric chairs Ziggler, and Ambrose takes out Harper from the top rope. Ambrose returns to Ziggler, but Ziggler pulls of the Sunset flip and they two trade flippy pins.

All men end up exhausted and beaten, laying on the mat. Finally, Ambrose and Ziggler pull each other up, but Harper gains strength first and goes for a huge sidewalk slam on Ambrose, but only gets a 2-count. Another huge move, a thunderous sit-out powerbomb on Ziggler, but another 2-count. The crowd is getting hot for this one with the near falls.

Harper walks into a superkick from Ziggler then into a Dirty Deeds, and Ambrose pins Harper. Small chorus of boos from the crowd, who were genuinely getting into the Bruiser Brody-esque assault of Harper throughout the match.

Ziggler gains momentum early first, but misses on a leaping elbow. Ambrose gets Ziggler on the outside apron and does a monkey flip of Ziggler into the ring post. He drops down and throws Ziggler, seemingly unconscious, into the ring. Ambrose immediately heads for a flying elbow. Ziggler runs up and lands a massive top rope facebuster. He goes for the pin and Ambrose almost steals the win with a small package. Both men jump up and double clothesline each other.

With both men winded, The Miz returns to ringside, luring Ziggler from the ring. The Miz is sideswiped by a flying Ambrose, then superkicked by Ziggler. Ziggler turns and is ran head first into the ring post by Ambrose. He throws Ziggler back in but the Miz holds Ambrose’s feet.

By the time Ambrose gets up and returns to the ring, a possum Ziggler jumps up and superkicks Ambrose for the 3 count. Dolph Ziggler is your new number one contender for the WWE Championship.

SmackBack: Solid main event by all involved. The Miz leaving early added fire to his heel character and Harper was a BEAST. One of his finest outings this year. He’s going to be a bigger player sooner than later. Ziggler and Ambrose put on a fun show that felt real and honest and the ending was somewhat unexpected. This now flips Ziggler to face Styles, with the likelihood Ambrose now feuds with Miz for the I-C strap. Hopefully Harper gets a bit more meat to chew on as well.

Really fun show this week and Smackdown seems to have refound its form after it was rushed for TLC after Survivor Series. Some storylines were tightened up and some solid performances from Alexa Bliss and Luke Harper tonight. Excited to see how the next few weeks shape up.

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