Season’s greetings, readers. We’re thankfully approaching the end of this year, but before we shudder in reflexive horror at what 2017 might bring us, it’s time for us to sit ourselves down and watch some wrestling.
It’s SmackDown time.
We start things off with Shane and Bryan watching Ellsworth cost Ambrose the Intercontinental Championship. Seems like they should have been watching this at the time, you know? Ellsworth is with them for a two-man haranguing, and apparently he’s got a really bad cold tonight. Oh God, are they teasing us for the WWE Championship this much? At least Ellsworth coughs and sneezes into his elbow, like you’re actually supposed to.
Out in the arena itself, Miz and Maryse are in the ring, presenting another episode of Miz TV. He introduces his guest tonight, who is AJ Styles. He’s got the boot off his foot this week, so I guess his injury is almost cleared up. He laughs about Ellsworth being sick, and promises to one day destroy him. Miz asks who the new number one contender will be, and Styles says that he can’t think of anyone who is going to be able to challenge him.
Miz hints that he might be the new number one contender, and claims that he’s made the Intercontinental Championship legendary. He says that he beat Dean Ambrose in one week, and tells Styles that he’s above his level. Both Styles and the Miz go eye to eye as things start getting serious…and then Dean Ambrose shows up.
Dean gets himself into the ring, which clears the second he steps into it. He’s followed by Dolph Ziggler, who in no way deserves any Championship after the last couple of months, least of all the WWE title. Ziggler mocks the Miz into stepping into the ring, and the Miz does so…and hits the Skull-Crushing Finale to Ziggler. Wow, that is the most perfect allegory for Ziggler’s career right now. Ambrose hits the Miz with Dirty Deeds, whilst AJ just walks off.
Then Ambrose Dirty Deedses Ziggler, because bitches gots to learn. And suddenly Luke Harper’s appeared, and he Discus Clotheslines Ambrose. Seriously, Harper? I can’t even make a joke about that one.
After the break, Styles busts in on Bryan and Shane, demanding protection from all of the people suddenly thinking that they deserve a title shot. They set up a Fatal Four-Way match between Ambrose, Miz, Ziggler and Harper, with the winner to face AJ Styles on the final SmackDown Live of the year.
Nikki Bella is sitting at ringside, ready to watch the match. Natalya comes out to the ring, and says she wants to make it clear that she isn’t the one who attacked Nikki. Before she can get into it, Carmella shows up, dancing her way to the ring.
Natalya takes Carmella down, beating on her and following her out of the ring to throw her back in. Carmella forces a break and slides back out of the ring, blindsiding Nat with a slap before taking the fight to her back inside as we go to a break.
When we come back, Carmella takes a snap suplex from Natalya, who yells at her and keeps smacking her around. Nat keeps beating her down in the corner, but Carmella catches her with a hurricanrana, then a clothesline. Carmella stomps Natalya in the corner, following that up with a bronco buster. Leg scissors is applied to Natalya, with Carmella wrenching back on her hair.
Carmella shifts her positioning, applying a front facelock along with the leg scissors, but Natalya still isn’t giving up. She hoists Carmella up in the air, turning the facelock into the Michinoku Driver. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Carmella rolls out of the ring to escape. Nat follows her, and winds up face-to-face with Nikki. Carmella interrupts the moment, but winds up getting taken down and thrown into the ring. Natalya wastes some time yelling to Nikki that she never did it, and gets rolled up for the win.
Not a bad match, and there’s worse stories to use in wrestling than the old ‘who’s the fucker who jumped me?’ one. 2 Stars.
The commentators take a moment to fellate John Cena’s comedic talent. To be honest, the SNL stuff I watched wasn’t bad, although I think I’ve been spoiled lately by Baldwin and McKinnon.
Apollo Crews is backstage with some fat guy who might be a celebrity and equally might not be: we’ve reached that level of obscurity with our ‘special’ guests. Thankfully the Miz and Maryse show up to yell at the pair of them for being mindnumbingly irrelevant. Yep, we have reached the point where I like Miz and Maryse more than most of the faces around here.
And I don’t think the fatty was a celebrity, because there wasn’t a huge amount of laboured references to whatever tour, movie, album or worthless piece of shit they’re about to produce. That is usually the clue.
When will we finally see Breezango vs. The Wyatt Family?
We’re about to have a Tag Team Battle Royal. I don’t much know how that works either, but it’s going to have to be less of a clusterfuck than the Tag Team Survivor Series match, right?
Well, seemingly every tag team is out here, and you know the drill: there is no physical way I can cover this sort of thing properly, so I’d advise just watching it yourselves for the fine detail. Rawley eliminates Gotch immediately, and apparently both members of a tag team must be eliminated. Nothing happens for a while, although Mauro drops the info that the Wyatts are using the Freebird rule, so I guess this makes Harper a Tag Team Champion too? He really should be, as he’s the one who actually carries the belts.
Finally, after way too long a period of nothing happening, Viktor and Gable are eliminated in quick succession. Slater accidentally eliminates Rhyno. Ranallo is eliminated after the break, followed by English being literally thrown off the apron by Jordan. Slater takes Fandango off the apron too. Jordan gets a decent fired-up moment, taking out everyone before Konor stops him, and Breeze helps Konor get the elimination! American Alpha are out!
Okay, we’re down to four. Breeze, Konor, Ryder and Slater. Good God, this is not good for the future of the Tag Team Championships. Konor and Breeze work together, but now it’s Slater’s turn to run roughshod over everyone. Konor tosses Heath onto the apron, and he survives for a while, but finally Konor hurls him over the ropes and out.
Konor, Breeze and Ryder are left, and Breeze and Konor keep their alliance alive as they work over Ryder…and then Breeze tries to screw over Konor. Konor tosses Breeze onto the apron, and Ryder hurls Konor into Breeze to knock him to the floor! Ryder then hurricanranas Konor out of the ring, and the Hype Riders are going to take on the Wyatts. If you can’t see how this is going to end, then this must be your first week watching wrestling.
This actually wasn’t too bad. Admittedly, the first five or so minutes of no eliminations was a weird stylistic choice, but the American Alpha exit before the finale was a good twist.
Another Baron Corbin promo. The footage of actual wolves (which are probably not lone wolves, if we’re going for accuracy) ripping up bits of flesh and eating it are less disgusting than most Baron Corbin matches.
Becky, you dumbass
Here’s the Women’s Champ, Alexa Bliss. This is her fast match since winning the Championship, and she’s facing someone whom we’ve never seen before. Alexa first insults the announcer, then the timekeeper, and then her opponent. I like that she felt she needed a warm-up before reaching her. Bliss says she doesn’t do charity cases and calls her jobber ‘Jane Ellsworth’. Holy fuck, that is some cold shit.
Alexa then jumps the fuck out of the jobber and tosses her out of the ring. She starts to continue with her promo, but is then interrupted by Becky Lynch. Becky says that she was rude last week, asking for her rematch when Bliss wasn’t even in her ring gear. But seeing as how Alexa’s in her gear now, and so is Becky, and seeing as how Bliss needs a new opponent, why don’t they have a match now.
Bliss denies Becky the match, then scoots out of the ring. Damn, that’s two feuds we’re getting teased on.
Shane McMahon then dances out onto the stage, and it might just be ‘hold on just a minute there, playa’ time. Shane says that this is not how we do things on SmackDown Live. To be honest, it’s not exactly clear how we do things on SmackDown Live. But he makes the match: Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss for the Women’s Championship after the break!
When we come back, both women are staring at each other. The bell rings, and Becky has to chase Bliss into the ropes. They lock up, and Becky immediately goes to the Disarmer, with Alexa going to the ropes again. Waistlock takeovers to Bliss, then Becky mat-wrestles the smaller woman into a pinning position. Side headlock’s applied to Bliss; she turns it into a pin and finally elbows her way out of a headlock.
Becky armdrags Bliss a couple of times, misses a charge to the corner but manages to trap Alexa with some kicks. Bliss slides out of the bodyslam, then catches Becky with a kick of her own to slow the pace down, then slams the challenger back-first off the mat. Bliss stands on Becky’s hair, mocking the former champ before missing the knee drop. Becky almost finishes things there and then with a crucifix pin, but Alexa kicks out and then hammers Becky right in the face.
Bliss comes off the ropes, but Becky plays catch-up, and starts clotheslining her. Becky hits a forearm into the corner and goes for the Bexploder suplex. Alexa manages to grab the ropes, countering the suplex attempt, but this just allows Becky to lock in the Disarmer! Alexa manages to reach the ropes with her feet, this time actually managing to break the hold. She ducks out of the ring, but is followed by Becky, who beats her up on the outside.
Bliss is thrown back into ring, but she rolls right out of it again, suddenly limping. She sits out the count for a while, and Becky is apparently not smart enough to head out of the ring and extend the count herself. Instead, Lynch just stands there and watches her chance at the Women’s Championship limp off.
Felt like the beginning of a great match, which I assume we’re going to get down the line. Becky not breaking the count was ridiculously stupid, even for a wrestler. 2.5 Stars.
As soon as the match is over, Becky goes after Bliss and throws her back into the ring. Bliss fights back, all sign of injuries gone. Becky counters, taking back control until Bliss rolls out of the ring again.
Mauro Ranallo tells us that anyone who’s not purchased the WWE Network deserves to have clowns rape them in the mouth, which is a solid enough advertising campaign.
Randy Orton is appearing on Shooter tonight, playing an ex-marine who will go to the papers if he has to. Also, I know that WWE would be stupid to not publicise Orton doing this, but it really clashes with his whole ‘Wyatt Family’ gimmick. Unless Randy’s just chilling with Ryan Phillipe, telling him about how he’s going to wait until the Royal Rumble and then dick-punt Wyatt a bazillion times during a title defence. Which I assume is all that Orton talks about these days.
You just felt AJ die a little inside
It’s main event time, and here’s Dean Ambrose, who has a chance at winning. He’s followed by Ziggler, who does not, Miz, who actually does, and Luke Harper, who the fuck out of here. This is an elimination Fatal Four-Way, so will go on until only one man remains.
Bell rings, and away we go. Harper takes out Ambrose and Ziggler pretty fucking quickly. Miz is just chilling, slightly terrified, as Luke demolishes the other two. And when I say ‘demolish’, I mean exactly that. Miz tries to make friends with Harper, who probably is looking for a new bestie now that Orton and Wyatt aren’t even showing up to SmackDown to hang out with him. But Harper has his pride, so uppercuts and Michinoku Drivers the Miz instead.
Ziggler and Ambrose get back in the ring, putting the boots to Harper enough that they can knock him out of the ring. Ziggler is clotheslined by Ambrose, who is then low-bridged by the Miz. Ziggler rolls the Miz up for two, then takes a short DDT for another two count. Fast action so far, and holy crap: AJ Styles is on commentary. They fucking sneaked him in there.
Miz baseball slides both Ambrose and Harper, then mocks Ziggler and gives him some Bryan kicks. Ziggler ducks the last, but his DDT is countered and he takes a bunch of corner dropkicks. Ambrose catches the Miz with a clothesline and a dropkick, then dives out onto Harper. Harper shoves him away; Ambrose tries the Lunatic Lariat but is run the fuck over by Luke Harper.
Back in the ring, Harper gets Ziggler up on his shoulders, but the Showoff rolls him up for a near fall. Harper responds with a big-time backbreaker, then chops Dolph down in the corner. Harper then takes a second to STARE MENACINGLY at AJ, before guillotining Ziggler on the ropes. Traditionally, guillotines were used to behead aristocrats in Revolutionary France, but I feel like their creators would be fine with doing it to Ziggler as well.
Dolph is sent hard into the corner, then Harper ducks to the outside to terrorise Miz and Ambrose. He heads back into the ring, with Ziggler still down on the mat, hoists Dolph up into the torture rack. Ambrose dashes into the ring to break up the submission, and Ziggler slides off Harper’s shoulders. Ziggler superkicks Ambrose, then gets Discus Clotheslined by Harper, who is then taken down by Ambrose’s Lunatic Lariat!
All three men are down, and Miz tries to pin Dolph, Harper and then Ambrose, but Ambrose rolls up the Miz and eliminates him! After a break, Ambrose fisherman suplexes Ziggler, then hits him with a spinning backbreaker. Dean locks in an STF to Ziggler, then hits him with a snap suplex for two. Ambrose heads up to the top rope, but Ziggler hops up to the top to catch him. Harper dashes back into the ring, getting Dolph into position for an electric chair drop, but Ziggler slips out of it and hits the ZigZag to Harper! Ambrose catches Ziggler with a diving clothesline for two, and all three are down again.
Ambrose reaches his feet first, and gets rolled up by Ziggler. The two trade pins for a moment, then collide with double crossbodies, ending the flurry. Harper catches Dean with a big boot, then hits Ziggler with a superkick and sideslams Ambrose for near-fall. He sit-out powerbombs Dolph, but Ziggler kicks out! Harper goes after both Ziggler and Ambrose in the corners, but runs into a superkick and is finished by Ambrose and Dirty Deeds!
It’s come down to Dolph and Dean: Ambrose vs. Ziggler. Both reach their feet, and Ziggler hits flying clotheslines. Stinger splash, then a neckbreaker to take Ambrose down. Dolph misses the elbow, and Dean heads out onto the apron. Dolph catches him but Ambrose catapults Ziggler off the apron and into the ringpost! Back in the ring, Ambrose heads up to the top, but Ziggler catches him again, and brings him back down with a facebuster!
Ambrose suddenly rolls Ziggler up, almost getting him, and then both men hit a clothesline to take each other down…and the Miz is back! The Miz is there, distracting Ziggler and drawing him out of the ring, but Ambrose dives through the ropes onto him, and Ziggler superkicks the Miz for good measure. Ambrose goes right after Ziggler, flinging him into the post before throwing him back into the ring. The Miz grabs Ambrose’s leg, stopping him from climbing back into the ring; Ambrose chucks him into the barricade, and heads back into the ring, right into a superkick from Ziggler! Hell has frozen over! Dolph Ziggler is the number one contender for the WWE Championship!
Awesome match, even with the slight interference at the end. Can’t fault this at all. 5 Stars.
Oh my God, they interrupted Dolph Ziggler’s celebration to give us a Rich Swann promo. That is absolutely perfect.
Fun SmackDown, really. Surprised that they slotted Ziggler into place, but the match should be a good one. No complaints tonight, really. 8/10. Thanks for reading.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, James Ellsworth, jbl, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, smackdown, smackdown live, The Miz, The Wyatt Family, Tom Phillips