Merry belated Christmas to all of you. Hope that, however you spent it and whoever you spent it with, it was jolly, with mistletoe and holly, and other things ending in -olly. But now it’s time to turn our attention to the true meaning of Christmas: SmackDown.
And I hope you missed John Cena because (spoiler alert) here’s John Cena. And seeing as how my gym’s shut and I’m taking a few days to indulge in all the wonderful food that Christmas brings, I hate that chiselled bastard right now.
Cena accepts the boos of the crowd like they’re all offers to blow him, determined to be cheerful. He says that there’s nothing in the world as exciting as this, and that he loves whatever arena he happens to be in right now: I’m assuming on its architectural and structural merits. Cena makes some comment about the Cubs which I will not pretend to understand, but apparently people care a lot about football or baseball or whatever sports team the name refers to.
No, I will not look it up.
John announces that the Tag Team Championships and the Women’s Championship are on the line, which makes it sound like Alexa Bliss is going to take on Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton for all the gold and I would watch the hell out of that; she’d cheat in ways that they’ve never even imagined. Also Dolph Ziggler is going to get another chance to watch his ambition take two bullets in the back of its head, Baron Corbin gets another opportunity to make me not revise my opinion of him, and AJ Styles gets to win.
Cena admits that he’s a fan of AJ Styles, but he’s not quite certain that the Champ who Runs the Camp will get it done this time. And seeing as how everyone’s doing their own thing, that leaves John to wonder what he’s doing out here. The crowd try to help him out by chanting ‘Undertaker’, and Cena says that he realises that there’s been a lot of speculation, not just about that but more negative aspects of his future. He says that he’s here to see if Carmella can back up her trash talk in the ring.
Actually, he says he’s here to set the record straight: he’s not done; he’s never going to retire; it’s not the New Era, but his era. You’d think that the volume of the boos which followed that statement would be a huge clue to how people feel about that, but I’m sure that WWE Creative have a focus group somewhere whose dream match is John Cena vs. John Cena for every Championship belt in the WWE and TNA.
John announces that he gets a WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble, and that apparently leads to no argument from Daniel Bryan or Shane McMahon.
SO IT BEGINS
Here are the Wyatts, ready for the first of three Championship matches of the evening. Luke Harper is here, accompanying Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt to the ring. But before any of the other competitors show up, we see footage of an interviewer trying to talk to the Miz, who has a load of security at his door. He says that he will only answer questions put to him by Renee Young. After a certain period of time, this is a harassment case waiting to happen.
Back in ring, the other competitors – Heath Slater and Rhyno, the Usos and American Alpha – have arrived. Looks like Harper and Orton will be defending the Championships under Freebird rules, because I guess Bray just doesn’t care all that much. Rhyno and Chad Gable are starting things off, with some chain wrestling and rope running before Rhyno just clotheslines Gable. Gable hits a huge Northern Lights suplex to counter, but Jey Uso gets a blind tag to continue the assault on Rhyno.
Jey tags in Jimmy, trapping Rhyno in the corner so they can keep him isolated. Jimmy stays on Rhyno, putting the boots to him before tagging Jey back in, who applies a chinlock. Rhyno tries to break out, but is dragged down to the mat by his hair. Jimmy comes back inside, but is clotheslined by Rhyno in short order. Rhyno tags in Slater, who comes off the top onto Jimmy and takes him out with a running knee and a leg lariat.
Neckbreaker puts Jimmy down for two, and the Uso puts Slater out onto the apron, only for Jimmy and his brother to get kicked away by the One Man Band. Slater misses a top rope manoeuvre, runs right into a superkick, and Slater and Rhyno are eliminated just as we go to a break.
When we come back, Jey Uso has a sleeper hold applied to Jordan, which he transitions into a chinlock. Jordan is struggling to try and break the hold, but only succeeds in twisting his body around. He manages to backflip out of a back suplex, however, and makes the tag to Gable! Gable hammers away at Jey, avoids a leapfrog and hits the Alphaplex for a pin which Jimmy has to break up.
Jimmy puts down Gable and Jordan, and both Usos come off the top rope only to get caught in stereo belly-to-belly suplexes by both members of American Alpha! Jey is hoisted up onto Jordan’s shoulders as Gable ascends the top rope now. Jey slides off Jordan’s shoulders and dispatches him, only to get rolled up by Gable. He almost reverses it into a pin of his own, but Gable turns the tables once again to roll Jey Uso up in a jackknife cover for three!
Harper takes a moment before getting into the ring, and then takes both Gable and Jordan to the outside where the Usos beat on them. Orton is inside the ring, and he goes on the offence with his stomps Jordan. He suplex-tosses the American Alpha member onto the top rope, then whips him hard into the corner, doing it a second time to lead into a powerslam for two.
Jason Jordan takes uppercuts in the corner, but reverses a clothesline to send Randy into the corner and then dropkicks him in the face! Harper tags in; Gable tags in and catches the Wyatt Family member with a crossbody, then a dropkick, then a German suplex with a bridge for two! Whilst Bray has the referee distracted, Orton clotheslines Gable from the apron; Harper hits a big boot to Gable, but Gable kicks out, and we go to another break.
Back with the action, and Harper has Gable in a headlock, keeping him down on the mat. Gable is able to bring the big man to his feet, but takes a back elbow and then a slingshot to the second rope. Gable is on the outside, barely able to beat the count back into the ring, and when he gets inside, Harper sends him back out again. Orton back suplexes Gable onto the barricade twice, then drops Gable onto the top rope back into the ring before hitting a slingshot suplex for two.
Orton tags in Harper, who drags Gable by the hair before hitting him with the Michinoku Driver, following that up with the Gator Roll. Gable almost escapes, but runs right into a spinning side slam. Harper gets him up for the sit-out powerbomb, but Gable hurricanranas Harper to counter, and reaches Jordan for the tag!
Jordan explodes out of the corner, taking Orton out with shoulder tackles and a dropkick. Harper eats a belly-to-belly. Orton takes a side suplex, with Harper in at the last second to break up the pin. Jordan and Harper brawl on the outside before Gable takes Harper out with a cannonball. Jordan goes after Bray, then gets caught on the apron by Orton, who kills the momentum with his Vintage DDT.
The crowd are into this match, chanting for an RKO. Orton is distracted by Gable, who has climbed up to the top rope, and tries to bring him back down. Harper tries to help as well, and in the scramble Orton “accidentally” clotheslines him to the floor! Face turn! Orton takes a missile dropkick, Grand Amplitude and American Alpha are the new SmackDown Tag Team Championships!
That was awesome. Never thought that they’d pull the trigger with Orton this early, unless Randy’s plan is to isolate Harper from Bray so that he’s Wyatt’s only friend and then is going to abandon him. Which he is definitely enough of a dick to do. 4 Stars.
Backstage, Renee Young has decided to decline Miz’s offer to interview the man who tried to slut-shame her last week, and is instead interviewing Dolph Ziggler. Because you have to do something you don’t want to do.
Dolph proceeds to scream into a microphone about how terrible he is and how lame his career has been, but promises that it’ll be different this time. Why do we still believe him? Do we still believe him, or do we just want to fool ourselves and convince ourselves that he’s changed?
Meanwhile, Not-Renee is backstage with James Ellsworth, asking if it gets him down when people bully him. Carmella leaps to his defence, because John Cena’s around and she needs to rack up some good karma. She takes James off with her when she leaves, for some obviously disgusting sex.
Like a Goddamn Moron
It’s our second Championship Match of the night, and it’s Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch. Bliss has been the Champion since her match with Becky Lynch at TLC. Alexa and Becky make their way down the ramp and into the ring, and then wait for the announcements to be announced (#DatBigMatchFeelTho). Alexa hands over the belt for its hoisting, and it’s on.
Both women circle each other and then lock up, with Becky armdragging Bliss. Alexa applies a waistlock; Becky drops to the mat and manages to lock the Champ’s legs in a hold, forcing her to grab the ropes. This time, Becky goes after the arm; Alexa stamps on the foot to wrench Lynch’s arm, but Becky reverses that into a headlock. Bliss applies a headlock of her own, but it’s Becky who takes her over into a headlock on the mat.
Bliss manages to stand, throwing Becky off the ropes only to get shoulder tackled. Becky runs the ropes again, rolls Bliss up and both women exchange covers, with Becky finally matrixing out from under Alexa’s pin and thrust-kicking her in the jaw. Becky immediately tries to apply the Disarmer, but Bliss has her hands clamped, preventing the challenger from fully locking the hold in. Becky goes for it a second time, but this time Alexa counters it straight away, hitting an STO to put Becky on the mat.
Bliss stays on Becky, smacking her around on the mat before wrenching her head back against the ropes, then standing on her and stomping on her skull. That gets a two count, and Becky tries to rally with punches. Bliss shuts her down with blows of her own, then smashes her face into the mat. Bliss screams at Becky that she’s nothing, but misses a charge and runs into a volley of armdrags and a calf kick that sends Bliss rolling out under the ropes.
Becky tries to hit a baseball slide, but Bliss catches her legs, drags her out to the floor and then whacks her challenger’s face off the floor. Becky is able to counter an attempt to smash her head against the apron, and tries to hoist Bliss up in a bodyslam. Alexa slides off her shoulders, however, and shoves Becky into the ring post before dashing back into the ring as we go to a break.
When we come back, it’s to see Alexa slamming her knees into Becky’s head as she is draped against the ropes. She wrenches Becky’s head up from her hair, but misses a knee drop and runs into some uppercuts and clotheslines. Becky hits a leg lariat. Bliss ducks the forearm, but still takes a springboard kick in the corner. Alexa tries to counter with a DDT, but Becky holds onto the ropes, avoiding being taken down with her, and then wrenches right back on Alexa’s arm. Jesus, that was fucking nasty.
Becky heads up to the top rope, like a goddamn moron, and gets caught at the top by Alexa. Bliss is shoved and kicked away, finally getting stuck by a flying front dropkick from the challenger. And then…some music starts playing and La Luchadora runs out. Becky is distracted, like a goddamn moron, and almost gets rolled up by Alexa. Meanwhile, La Luchadora loosens the turnbuckle covering whilst Becky tries to roll Bliss up.
Bliss hits a huge punch to Becky’s jaw, then follows it up with the Insult to Injury. Now Alexa heads up to the top for Twisted Bliss, but comes down onto a Becky’s knees! Becky rolls her up for two, and now she locks in the Disarmer! Alexa gets her foot on the rope, forcing a break, and she has got some Jim Carrey shit going on with her arm, because that looks fucking dislocated. Meanwhile, La Luchadora whacks Becky’s face off the turnbuckle, allowing Bliss to hit the DDT and retain!
Awesome match, minus the interference, but I guess you can’t have every heel champ retaining clean. Still, great to watch. 4 Stars.
Alexa is interviewed on the identity of La Luchadora, despite the fact that La Luchadora is literally at ringside at the time and Not-Renee could just ask her.
We take a look back at Miz trying to shame Renee for who she’s sleeping with. And yeah: it’s an interesting person who sees Dean Ambrose as he is presented to us on this show, and thinks ‘I want me some of that’, but it’s not like it was the Boogeyman. I mean…if it’s the Boogeyman, you get to ask some really important questions.
And for some reason, the WWE has decided that journalistic integrity means Renee has had to go and interview the Miz. This is already a fucking lawsuit. Miz shows up and makes the surprising decision to be a dick. Unfortunately, the second that he sends his security away Dean Ambrose magically appears behind him and beats the fuck out of the Miz before the Miz’s security arrives and gets the shit kicked out of them as well.
We see a recap of Carmella standing up for truth, justice and snitching on Natalya. And apparently Nikki needed both the answer to be told to her and to have Natalya admit it before she realised what was going on. Nikki is interviewed by Not-Renee, who says that Natalya hates her because she’s successful and she doesn’t give a damn what Natalya thinks of her. Actually a pretty good message for the kids.
Wow, they’re working the interviewers hard tonight: Renee is already with Baron Corbin for a pre-match chat. Corbin is actually a lot more polite to her than the Miz is, because when you’re as worthless as he is, you don’t need to be misogynistic.
It’s time for our third and final Championship match of the evening, as we see AJ Styles pitted against Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin. This is a Triple Threat match, so the first pinfall or submission will decide the match and the Champion. All three men make their way to the ring, and we get the BigMatchFeel announcements.
Names named, belt raised and bell rung: the World Championship match is on. Corbin shoves Styles, but eats a dropkick from Ziggler. Dolph tries to hit the ZigZag, but Baron hangs onto the ropes, throwing Ziggler off him. Styles hits a forearm to Ziggler in the corner, and then tries to hit one to Baron Corbin, who catches him, counters a roll-up and gets kicked down to size by Styles. Ziggler clotheslines Styles, is shoved into Corbin, slides out of Baron’s bodyslam, has a dropkick countered by Corbin and rolls out of the ring. Baron Corbin knocks Styles off the apron, is hung up on the ropes by Ziggler and we go to a break.
When we come back, Corbin is stomping on Ziggler in the corner. He goes after Styles, also in a corner, and wails on him for a while too. Ziggler and Styles rally, smacking Corbin around in return. They clothesline him right out of the ring, and then stare each other down before going out of the ring after Corbin. Corbin hurls Styles into the barricade and throws Ziggler to the floor.
Corbin clears off a table, then misses a charge at Styles to go flying into the barricade. Styles hits the Phenomenal Forearm off the steel steps, then Ziggler catches a reeling Corbin with the superkick to send him crashing onto the table. Ziggler and Styles climb onto the barricade, shrug, and hit an elbow drop/leg drop combination to put Baron Corbin through the table! All three men are down, but Baron Corbin is dead.
Dolph and AJ crawl to the ring, and Styles suddenly tries to catch Ziggler by surprise, but Dolph was expecting it and slams Styles onto the apron before throwing him into the ring. He hits the DDT for a near fall, and both men lie on the canvas, regaining their energy. Once their up, Ziggler tries a ZigZag, but Styles counters into the Ushigoroshi! He wants the Styles Clash, but Ziggler kicks him away, elevates Styles over the top rope, and then counters the Phenomenal Forearm with a superkick! Styles ducks a second superkick, tries to roll up Ziggler, but Dolph kicks out and nails Styles with another superkick, with Styles only kicking out at the very last second!
Baron Corbin is back in the ring, and Dolph hits him with a neckbreaker and an elbow for two. He then runs straight into a Deep Six, but Styles dives on the cover to break it up. Now Styles goes after Corbin, who catches him with the End of Days, at the same time Ziggler hits Corbin with the ZigZag! Styles rolls out of the ring; Ziggler covers Corbin and Corbin kicks out!
Baron throws Ziggler shoulder-first into the steel post, then takes him up to the second rope. Dolph fights back, shoving Corbin down to the mat. Baron knocks Ziggler crotch-first onto the turnbuckle, brings him back down to the mat and hits him with the End of Days! Then Styles smashes Corbin in the face with the Phenomenal Forearm, covers Ziggler and retains the World Championship!
Holy shit, what a match. No complaints, incredible, 5 Stars.
Styles is celebrating, but suddenly Cena’s music hits and he dashes into the ring. He takes off his hat and his shirt, looking ready to fight, but then offers his hand to Styles. Fuck him up, AJ. Styles actually shakes the hand, and I was almost expecting Cena to jump him right there.
Well, that was a hell of a late Christmas present. This show had three matches, and they were all incredible. 10/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater and Rhyno, James Ellsworth, jbl, John Cena, Luke Harper, Mauro Ranallo, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Renee Young, smackdown, smackdown live, The Miz, The Uso's, The Wyatt Family, Tom Phillips, WWE