Buenos dias, readers. I hope you all had wonderful New Year’s Eves and Days with the people you care about and a respectable quantity of good food and alcohol. I’m your SmackDown reviewer, David Spain, and it’s time to take a look at the first show of 2017.
Miz has a real fixation on Dean Ambrose’s sex life
Well, we’re kicking things off with an appearance from the Miz and Maryse. We see a flashback to the Miz trying to shame Renee Young for sleeping with a famous professional wrestler and former World Champion, and said former World Champion slapping the piss out of the Miz a week later. Tonight, Dean Ambrose will have an opportunity to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship from the Miz.
Miz describes himself as the ratings spike, and calls the Intercontinental Championship ‘prestigious’, so his resolution apparently wasn’t honesty. He says that, this year, he wants to be more forgiving. He says that Renee Young owes the Miz an apology, and where is Daniel Bryan in all of this? He hates the Miz and finally has an opportunity to legitimately punish the guy, but he’s just letting the Miz bully a non-wrestling employee?
Miz says he refuses to allow SmackDown to continue until he gets his apology, and it seems like Bryan could send out any wrestler to end this situation. Miz puts Ambrose’s title shot down to favouritism. Miz continues to try and embarrass Renee, which brings Dean Ambrose out. At least someone cares enough to stop this.
Miz shoves Maryse in the way of Ambrose, who apparently isn’t crazy enough to hit a woman. Then Maryse slaps him, to which Ambrose just doesn’t react. Jesus, at least people had an actual reason to not hit Stephanie McMahon; you’d think Maryse would be cautious enough not to provoke a psychopath. Ambrose says that Maryse hits way harder than the Miz ever could, which I guess is a placeholder for witty repartee.
Corbin’s wolf t-shirt is the trashiest thing on this show
Here’s Baron Corbin, who along with Dolph Ziggler earned some honest-to-God goodwill from me due to his performance last week: that match was really something else. Tonight he faces Dolph Ziggler in a singles match, which feels really familiar for some reason. Couldn’t quite say why.
Ziggler ducks a clothesline and hammers away at Corbin with forearms. He tries to splash Corbin in the corner, but Baron catches him; Ziggler slides over the Lone Wolf’s shoulders, tries for a superkick but his foot is caught. Ziggler hits strikes, has his dropkick countered and then is stomped into the mat by Corbin, The big man hits a knee to the gut, then forces Ziggler’s skull against the ropes. Dolph takes some shots in the corner, then a hard Irish whip into the corner which sends him down to the floor.
Ziggler tries to fire up, but eats a back elbow for a two count. Baron chokes Ziggler with his foot for a spell, then against the top rope. A shoulder tackle knocks Dolph out to the floor, and Corbin follows, inflicting more pain on the outside. Back in the ring, Ziggler is near-helpless, reeling from punches and forearms. He manages to hit a back elbow and then a big boot in desperation, then avoids a charge by Corbin, and catches the man with a dropkick which knocks him out of the ring and into a commercial break.
When we come back, Ziggler is trapped in a half-nelson chinlock. He throws elbows into Corbin’s face to escape, avoids being dropped onto the turnbuckles but comes off the second rope into a big right hand from Corbin for a two count. Ziggler reaches his feet, hitting a load of right hands. He catches Baron with a stinger splash and a neckbreaker, dropping the elbow for a two count of his own.
Both men are down, slowly gaining their feet. Corbin counters a fameasser and beheads Dolph with a clothesline for a near fall. Baron drives Ziggler into a corner, but misses a charge and blasts the steel post with his shoulder. Dolph capitalises with a fameasser which connects this time, and Baron Corbin kicks out at two. Corbin counters a ZigZag, and Doph’s DDT. He misses another huge clothesline, gets caught with a ZigZag and he kicks out! The superkick is officially Dolph’s finisher!
Ziggler goes right after Corbin in the corner, gets forcibly separated by the ref, and then runs right into the End of Days.
Corbin had better stop, or else I might not totally despise him. Both men looked good here, and made each other look good too. Ending came too quickly, and I rarely say that about a Baron Corbin match. 3.5 Stars.
Corbin heads out to ringside to grab a chair, approaching Ziggler menacingly, but Kalisto runs out to make the save, driving Corbin off. Oh God, not more of this.
Ziggler superkicks Kalisto and screams that he doesn’t need him! The crowd love it! I love it! Are we finally going to see the maturing and ultimate rise of Dolph Ziggler?
Carmella is backstage with James Ellsworth. So as not to appear a hypocrite due to my stance on the Ambrose/Renee thing, I am not going to judge this. I am, however, extremely curious as to where this is eventually heading and I hope to God that it’s nowhere sexual. Ellsorth is a nervous wreck in front of Carmella (because NERD) but gives her his one merchandise shirt. Carmella tells Ellsworth that he should accompany her to the ring tonight. What’s your game, WWE?
A group of jobbers are in the locker room when Ziggler storms in, mildly tossing chairs and vaguely kicking things in what is the most half-hearted tantrum I’ve ever seen. At least Christian committed to his breakdowns. Creed calls him out for being a dick, and Ziggler attacks him too. Mojo and Rhyno separate the two of them, because nobody wants to see Dolph take a second ass-whupping in a single night.
That was a lie.
For the love of…
We take a look back at Alexa Bliss’ horrifying ability to Jim Carrey her own arm. I don’t want to know how many pranks that ability has led to, but I hope at least a few. On that note, I nearly broke my wrist in the gym this morning, because the grip gloves I received as a Christmas present from my loving family apparently provide no friction at all. I’m keeping an eye on the situation and will provide updates to this ‘My Family is Trying to Kill Me’ story as and when developments occur.
If I suddenly stop submitting reviews then I should hope that Blair, Kue and Widro will investigate my untimely death and then do a podcast about it.
Basically, Becky is going to fight La Luchadora, the most half-assed stereotype in human existence. The two ladies circle each other, with Luchadora beating away Becky’s attempts to grapple her. Becky finally takes her down, smacking her in the mask again and again.
Lynch rocks Luchadora’s head off some turnbuckles, then hits her with a Bexploder suplex. La Luchadora escapes out of the ring and then ducks under the ring itself, with her doppelganger reemerging. Becky’s hit with the modified STO and La Luchadora #2 heads to the top. Twisted Bliss is attempted and dodged, and Bliss!Luchadora taps out to the Disarmer.
This is silly, but at least there’s not actually two Luchadoras. WWE could stretch that shit out for six months. 1.5 Stars.
Becky looks shocked, despite having taken two of Alexa’s signature moves in that match alone. The second La Luchadora reappears, and Becky takes a beatdown from both women. DDT finishes Becky, and we still don’t know who La Luchadora really is. If I’ve learned anything about this SmackDown Women’s Division it’s that we should go and ask Carmella what’s going on.
Are all other contracts just signed in Bryan’s office?
Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring, ready for a contract signing/unforseeable brawl. He introduces Cena and Styles, who promptly arrive. AJ then asks why they’re doing this, and tells Bryan that the two of them are the same: they love this business more than anything else, whereas Cena is off on TV and in movies, and then shows up and magically gets given a title match.
Bryan says that SmackDown had the best ratings last week, and that he’d be stupid not to keep this momentum up until the Royal Rumble. And they can only do that by having the biggest match of all time…again. Plus, everyone wants the match after their performance at SummerSlam, which he says that Styles won, plus two other matches.
Bryan leaves the ring, and AJ points out that Cena has been basically given a title shot by more or less his brother-in-law. But he says that the tables have turned: now Styles is king and it’s Cena trying to prove himself. SmackDown didn’t beat RAW in the ratings because of Cena, but because AJ Styles was the Champion. He says that SmackDown can do it without John Cena.
Cena tells Styles that he has a lot of respect for him, but Styles cuts him off furiously. He says that everything that John said about the Rock on Talking Smack was true, and it’s true about Cena as well. He admits the Cena has been great for the WWE, but at the key words there are ‘has been’. He says that Cena will never be as good as the Rock in Hollywood, and that he’ll never be as good as AJ Styles in the ring.
Cena stands, saying that a big part of being a man is admitting you were wrong, apologising and knowing when to push back. He tells AJ Styles that he just pissed off John Cena. He says that he’s lost all respect for Styles, and calls him a punk bitch. Cena tells Styles that the people who hate him think that AJ Styles is the guy to replace him, but they know that Cena’s never going to go away. Getting a little personal there, WWE.
John tells Styles that he has far more passion than Styles will ever have, and says that AJ is just like everyone who has ever chanted ‘Cena sucks’: they could never be him on their best day. He tells AJ to bring his A game, because he’s still going to kick his ass and become champ.
Just as the two of them are squaring up for a fight, Baron Corbin shows up to the ring. He says that he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He says that he’s the first SmackDown superstar to enter the Royal Rumble match, and he’s winning it. No matter who wins the title match, Baron Corbin’s going to beat them at WrestleMania.
Cena’s down for a fight right now, but is blindsided with an enzuigiri from Styles, who then leaves the ring. Corbin yells at Cena that his time is up, and then stares down Styles. What are they doing to Corbin? Why are these people making me like Corbin.
Maryse wanders up to Renee Young backstage and slaps her. Well, she’s not going to be allowed on Total Divas.
Oh Carmella: I thought it was love
After the break, Carmella is in the ring. Unfortunately we did not get to see what I hope like hell was Ellsworth’s attempt to moonwalk during her entrance. I only assume it would be like opening the Ark of the Covenant. She is facing Aliyah, who I am informed is from NXT. Carmella has also managed to rework the Ellsworth shirt into a more hip style. Gotta say, I like Carmella more every week.
Carmella applies a headlock to Aliyah, who reverses it. Aliyah snapmares Carmella, who manages to land on her feet. Aliyah then goes for a cover, bridging to her feet when her opponent kicks out. Waistlock by Aliyah, but Carmella escapes using the ropes and drags her opponent to the ground by her hair, smacking her continuously in the face.
Carmella rocks Aliyah’s head off the turnbuckle, following that up with a Bronco Buster. She throws Aliyah to the ground and applies a sleeper hold. Aliyah reaches her feet, and is able to rock Carmella’s jaw in order to escape. Aliyah ducks a clothesline, and hits a Northern Lights suplex to Carmella for a near fall.
Aliyah drives Carmella into a corner, then hits her with a crossbody, getting up onto the second rope. Ellsworth grabs her foot, stopping her from attacking Carmella further, and Carmella is able to apply the Code of Silence for a tap out.
Aw man: I was hoping that this wasn’t a mercenary thing, but that would be unlikely. Still, congratulations to Carmella for being able to employ Ellsworth correctly somehow. 2.5 Stars.
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am
Here is American Alpha, who will be taking on Breezango in their first match as Tag Team Champions. Breeze gives Gable a fashion ticket, and gets suplexed for his trouble. Jordan tags in, and spears Fandango, then Breeze. Grand Amplitude hits and it’s over.
Sucks to be Breeze and Fandango, no doubt, but I like that American Alpha are seen as good enough that they can end a match in the first few seconds. What a way to start as Champions. 2.5 Stars.
The Wyatt Family feat. Randy Orton show up on the screen and Bray says that they’re coming for the Tag Team Championships, unaware of Orton constantly eyeballing him. When you consider that Bray is the eventual victim in all of this, Randy comes across as really quite terrifying. Orton waits until Bray is gone, and then steals Harper’s ‘run’ line. Man’s a psychotic.
Et Tu, Nattie?
Nikki Bella and Natalya are in the ring together. Nikki says that she wishes she could despise Nat like Natalya despises her, but she can’t: she pities her. She and Brie worked hard to make the Bella name matter, whilst Natalya has done more or less jack and did most of it by trading on the Hart Family name. She calls Natalya the nothing of the Hart Family.
Natalya says that Nikki is sick and selfish, and shows a tweet where Bret admits his admiration for the Bella. She implies that Nikki has been Montreal Screwing Bret’s job, which is a gross image (although considering the desperate way Bret parades his sex drive in his autobiography, certainly in character for him).
Nat says that she’s better than Bret ever was: just look at her one brief Championship reign with a belt that no longer exists. She says that Nikki uses her sex appeal, and beauty fades. Please: have you seen Monica Belluci? She says that when Nikki’s beauty does fade, John will leave her and she will die alone.
Jesus, I appreciate this move in blurring the line between real life and story we’ve been seeing, and far more than the way it was done in WWE 2K17, but does every feud Nikki’s in have to revolve around people telling her that Cena’s going to leave her? This is like It’s a Wonderful Life, when Mary becomes an old maid and wears glasses, and that’s enough to horrify George into Stepford smiling his way back from suicide. It’s that level of stupid.
Also, the “bad present” in It’s a Wonderful Life had way more black people in it not working as servants, so Clarence was pretty bigoted for an angel.
Nikki smacks Nat in the face. I’d call it petty, but if I had the ability to knock someone out in one punch, a la Big Show and Nikki Bella, I’d be doing it way more than I should too.
Backstage, NotRenee stops Ambrose to ask him if he’s perhaps feeling more insane and unhinged than, you know, he usually is. He says that he’s going to take the thing that Miz loves the most: the Intercontinental Championship. I don’t know what’s worse: the implication that Miz is having sex with a Championship belt some crazy how, or that Maryse is second fiddle (entendre intentional) to not just a Championship, but the Intercontinental Championship. That’s like me saying I loved not just coffee more than my girlfriend, but specifically Starbucks coffee.
And yet Maryse is allowed at ringside every week
Here’s Dean Ambrose, ready to possibly live up to his psychotic rep at last. He’s followed by the Miz and Maryse, plus the completion of their love triangle: the Intercontinental Championship. We get post-entrance, bigmatchfeel announcements and away we go.
Dean leaps on the Miz, smacking him around and chasing him around and back into the ring. The Miz tries to surprise Ambrose back in the ring, but gets beaten down some more. Dean finally tries for a Dirty Deeds, but Miz ducks out of the ring to escape. Ambrose gives chase, but Miz heads into the ring and then back out of it. Dean turns his back, expressly giving Miz a shot, and then hurls the Miz out of the ring and over the barricade before dumping Miz nuts-first on the barricade.
Dean gets a one-count in the ring, because Miz is used to smashing his junk against the cold metal plate of his Intercontinental Championship. The Champ ducks out of the ring again, and this time gets hurled by Ambrose over the announce table. Maryse yells at Ambrose, allowing Miz to catch Dean with a wrecking ball dropkick. Ambrose is thrown into the steel steps as we go to a break.
When we come back, Ambrose backdrops Miz over the top rope and then hits a standing elbow to him from the outside. Back in the ring, Dean hits a pair of forearms, then a big clothesline. Forearm to a cornered Miz connects, but the Miz counters a bulldog. Dean ducks a kick for a roll-up attempt, tries for Dirty Deeds and gets driven into the corner. The Miz goes after Dean’s leg, doing his best to hyperextend it. Ambrose goes for the Lunatic Lariat, counters a Skull-Crushing Finale into a roll-up and then hits a neckbreaker for two.
Dean heads up to the top rope, but the Miz catches him when he’s up there, following him. Miz goes for a superplex from the second rope, but Ambrose fights back, headbutting Miz off the top rope. Maryse gets on the apron to distract Ambrose and Dean delays his leap, flying right into a Skull-Crushing Finale! But Dean kicks out at the last second.
Miz goes for the Bryan-esque kicks, lashing his shin against Dean’s chest. Dean ducks the last one; Miz rolls through Ambrose’s attempted roll-up, hits Dean with a big boot but then takes a huge Lunatic Lariat! Dean makes his way slowly up to his feet, psyching himself up. Miz counters Dirty Deeds, but gets clotheslined out of the ring and dived on by Ambrose!
Maryse marches up to Ambrose to yell at him some more, then slaps him. The ref’s expression of wounded innocence is a sight to behold: what an actor. Ambrose somehow manages to convince the ref not to call for the DQ, which makes me wonder why every WWE superstar doesn’t try that in Championship matches, and instead gets Maryse ejected from ringside. Suddenly, Miz hits Ambrose with the Championship belt! But Dean kicks out again!
Man, Dolph Ziggler must be spitting blood right now.
Miz desperately tries to apply the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Ambrose counters into Dirty Deeds! Ambrose gets the pin and we have a new Intercontinental Champion!
What a match by those two. The Miz is one of the most valuable players this show has, and of course everyone knows how good Dean Ambrose is. The result surprised me quite a bit, which is always nice to experience. 4 Stars.
Great show to start off: it’s not just bias which has me enjoying SmackDown far more than RAW right now. Very much looking forward to the build towards Royal Rumble and seeing how they’ll handle it this year. 9/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Aliyah, American Alpha, Apollo Creed, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Breezango, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, James Ellsworth, John Cena, Kalisto, La Luchadora, Luke Harper, Maryse, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Renee Young, smackdown, smackdown live, The Miz, Wyatt Family