Morning guys. Or, you know, afternoon. I don’t know your lives. We’re fresh off a…I guess pretty lame PPV. Orton/Harper was worth a watch, I suppose, and Naomi’s title win definitely surprised me, but the only thing I’d really talk about to recommend the show to anyone would be the Chamber Match. During which our new Champion got in jack-all offence and Baron Corbin was eliminated by a fucking roll-up.
I get why they put mats on the floor, and I get why it’s not a bloodbath in the Chamber any more. If I want to see people actually hurt themselves and risk their careers, I’ll watch a Ladder match or a Seth Rollins match or a Samoa Joe match. But a roll-up? In the Elimination Chamber? Why exactly do you talk about why people should be scared to step inside that thing when it’s probably safer than a regular match?
Anyway, rant over. Bray Wyatt is our new Champ, and I am very happy about it. He also pinned Cena, even if that wasn’t the deciding factor, and showed that he could be dominant against a wrestling machine like AJ Styles.
I kind of feel like the amazing ability of those people who make these post-PPV promo videos is a little hampered if they’re only allowed to use still images for all of the important bits. I think if people aren’t buying the WWE Network because they’re satisfied with seeing PPV results in a thirty second video, they’re never going to buy the WWE Network.
Also, I as very happy that the Women’s Championship was on the line second-last, followed only by the Chamber match. As it absolutely should be.
Well, the show proper starts with Bray Wyatt. The large sequined belt he’s wearing now does kill a lot of his mystique, but I think that’s just finishing off what years of terrible poetry and his not-real lantern has beaten down. Apparently John Cena has invoked his rematch clause, because if he’s going to lose the title, then he’s going to use that loss to break a fucking record.
The crowd chants ‘you deserve it’ at Bray, which is a nice fucking thing to do for a demonic cult leader. He even gives a bit of a smile which might be intentional and it might not be: whichever it was, I’m sure it’s what he’s really feeling right now. Bray says that Sister Abigail said that this would never be easy, which implies that the mad bitch actually gave Wyatt advice for surviving in the cut-throat world of professional wrestling. I assume part of it was not letting Orton near your bags or allowing Dolph Ziggler to drop an elbow on you.
Wyatt says he knew that this day would come, and that he has the whole damn world in his hands. Big pop for that, and Wyatt hoists the Championship. He goes on to say that too much power can be scary for people, but that he can help them and lead them to paradise. If people stand in his way, they will burn in fire. He welcomes us all to the Era of Wyatt, as opposed to Wyatt’s World, or Bray and Randy’s Excellent Adventure.
Cena’s music hits, because Wyatt’s getting his creepy all over the WWE Championship. He gets into the ring before he praises the crowd and even congratulates Bray, before implying that he’s brainwashed his supporters. He says that they’re chanting that Wyatt deserves it, but no-one deserves anything in the WWE, because they earn it. Alright, that is delving into some pretty deep semantics right there: that is goddamn petty in fact.
He says that Wyatt has a target on him now, because people loved the guy back when he had child minions and dragged people into parking lots. He also wants to have the main event right now, demonstrating his inability to understand how a wrestling show works. Styles arrives to say that he still needs his rematch, and John Cena’s damn sure not getting it before him. He says that this is about AJ Styles, and gets right into the ring. Bray is apparently satisfied just to watch this shit unfold, and all power to the guy.
AJ reminds everyone that he’s beaten Cena before, and he’s certain that he can beat Wyatt despite having never done that. He wants a one-on-one rematch for the title right here and now. Wyatt just shrugs, and then Bryan’s music hits. This must be weird for him, considering his time all but living with Bray a few years back.
Bryan first congratulates Bray, like a fucking gentleman, and then turns to the rematch situation. He says the people were promised a Championship match tonight, and they’re now going to get a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship.
Meanwhile, Dean Ambrose is walking around backstage, shouting for Baron Corbin. He also asks people if they’ve seen him then doesn’t wait for them to reply, which makes this the most inefficient search ever.
The world is as it should be
Here’s your Tag Team Champions, American Alpha, who this Sunday gone proved that the Tag Team Division are bitches. Speaking of bitches, they’re facing the Ascension: the team who couldn’t beat two men who’d suffered a protracted beating before their match. So…I guess it’s pretty obvious where this one’s going.
Viktor and Gable lock up and trade holds for a bit, with Gable out-wrestling the Ascension member. They lock up again, with Gable taking Viktor down again. Viktor gets pissy and talks with Konor, who hopefully tells him, ‘don’t try and fucking wrestle the guy’.
Viktor tries some clotheslines which just do not work out for him. We see Viktor getting taken over a bunch of times, leading to a brawl with all four members. AA’s thrown out of the ring, but come off the top to take the Ascension down and clothesline the pair of them out of the ring and into a commercial break.
When we come back, Viktor has somehow flailed his way into being on the offensive. Now that’s just stretching my willing suspension of disbelief. Gable valiantly tries to fight out of the rest holds, but is thrown hard into the corner. The Ascension hit a double team as Konor tags in, then he locks in a sleeper.
Gable manages to evade the Ascension, finally tagging in Jason Jordan. Jordan fucks up the Ascension in a major, suplexy way, looking like a more attractive Kurt Angle. The Ascension manage to dispose of him before hitting some bizarre double team to Gable which only gets two. Jordan suddenly charges in, disposing of Konor and helps Gable hit Grand Amplitude on Viktor.
Well, that’s the most dominant I’ve seen the Ascension on this show, including that one match they actually won. God knows who’s taking the titles. 2 Stars.
Oh, the Usos have just answered my question. They’re on the big screen, trash-talking about…I guess getting consistently beaten by American Alpha? Because there is not much else that’s happened between these two teams.
Ellsworth and Carmella are backstage, and she deflects his offer of dinner and presumably weird sex tonight. Ambrose busts in, looking for Corbin, but the sight of Ellsworth actually makes him stop. And despite the fact that Dean, I think, still hates James, he is a good enough guy to tell Ellsworth that Carmella is using him.
Of course, this makes Ellsworth go all chivalrous, and we’re in danger of seeing him get murdered here and now before Bryan shows up. Ambrose demands Corbin’s blood, but agrees that he’ll settle for destroying Ellsworth tonight. Bryan makes the match, and Carmella definitely isn’t worried about her only sort-of friend dying in front of her.
I guess he found Corbin
Here’s Carmellsworth, and James is on the microphone. He introduces Carmella, taking exception to the audience booing her. Dean’s music hits, but he’s dragged out onto the ramp by Corbin. He looks in bad shape, but actually fires up and goes after Corbin, only getting put down after Baron catches him with a Deep Six into…a really slight drop onto some padding. Goddamn extreme.
Oh, you know what’s better than Nikki and Natalya’s pointless argument? Getting Maryse involved! Although Maryse’s ‘what the hell, bro’ pose was pretty hilarious.
Meanwhile, Bryan is backstage telling Nikki that this has to stop. I mean…Natalya attacked Nikki. This whole thing is happening because Natalya keeps attacking Nikki. Is he going to tell Nikki that maybe if she dressed differently it wouldn’t keep happening? This is the point where, if I was Nikki, I would just tell John to take care of this: Natalya actually mentions Cena more than she ever mentions Nikki anyway.
Bryan says that he’s got a solution that both women will like. Natalya, who just showed up, is sceptical. Nikki and Natalya start yelling at each other, and then Natalya throws a punch. Security separates them, and Bryan makes a Falls Count Anyway match before leaving, completely pissed off.
Baron Corbin is walking around another part of backstage, but Not-Renee leaps out at him with an interview. Wow, she’s better at finding him than Dean Ambrose. She asks him what the fuck, and he says ‘because Baron Corbin’. That is absolutely not a real reason, you irresponsible dick.
And at a third bit of backstage, Renee reminds Dolph Ziggler that he’s not only worthless but a sore loser. Renee loves to stir that goddamn pot. Ziggler says that he wanted to send a message to anyone who thinks that they’re there to replace him. Sure: lots of people would love Dolph Ziggler’s spot. Prime spot on the card is what that is. He’s riding high.
Mickie James’ generation revolutionised women’s wrestling and ruined the property market
Becky Lynch makes her way to the ring, ready for her rematch against Mickie James. Mickie comes out, really rocking those flares. On Talking Smack, Mickie went on about how people don’t remember her, without wondering whether she’s not memorable.
Both women circle each other, with Mickie locking the arm to gain the advantage. She continues to out-wrestle Becky, not allowing the younger competitor to reverse her offence. There’s a break, then they lock up again. This time, Becky is the aggressor, using waistlock-based offence to take Mickie down to the mat before switching her focus to Mickie’s arm. Mickie elbows her way out of the hammerlock, gets bridged for the pin and has to grab the ropes as Becky goes after the arm once more.
Mickie uses the referee as a shield, not allowing Becky to continue her assault. Becky manages to roll Mickie up again, then backslides her before shoving her to the ground again and again. James rolls out of the ring, needing a second to regain her composure. She takes her time getting back into the ring, talking trash along the way. When she does get back inside Becky stays on her, taking her down with armdrags before locking the arm.
Lynch wrenches on the arm continuously, trapping Mickie in the centre of the ring. Becky Irish whips Mickie into the corner; Mickie tries to leapfrog over Lynch but is thrown out onto the apron. Becky hits a springboard side kick to send Mickie out onto the floor. This time, she follows James out and both women nail each other with clotheslines at the same time, putting them both down as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Mickie is twisting Becky’s head before she slams it backwards off the mat. James applies a sleeper hold, hitting knees to the back of Becky’s head. Becky fires back up with a couple of clotheslines, a leg lariat and a back kick. Bexploder suplex puts Mickie down for a two count, but she pops right back up and tries to put Becky in the Disarmer. Lynch counters with a roll-up and gets flapjacked by Mickie, who kips back up.
Mickie heads up to the top rope but misses her aerial assault. Becky scores a snap Bexploder for a near fall, then kicks Mickie in the head in the corner. Mickie tries to trap Becky into a hurricanrana but is tossed out onto the apron and then to the floor. Becky follows again, because she never learns, and it looks like Mickie has fucked up her arm. I swear, if she can do the same gross trick that Alexa can do with hers then I’m not going to be fucking happy.
Becky is made to back off by the ref as he asks Mickie if she’s okay in different tones of voice. She waits until Becky is close enough and hits a Mick Kick to the head, pinning the former Women’s Champ. Man, hitting an Irish person with a move called the ‘Mick Kick’ is kind of racist.
Mickie needed a win, so this made sense. The story told during the match, with Becky consistently out-wrestling Mickie throughout, was a nice touch. 3 Stars.
When we come back, Renee is in the ring with Naomi, and apparently they gave the new Women’s Champ a jobber entrance: tough crowd. And apparently Naomi is injured, because I guess Finn Balor’s started a trend. It’s unclear whether she needs to surrender the Championship, but before we can find out Alexa shows up.
Bliss mocks Naomi for the injury, despite that proving that she can’t beat Naomi even when Naomi’s not at a hundred percent. The gist of this whole thing is that Alexa gives Naomi a week to give her a rematch, or she’ll beat the hell out of her. Not sure what it is about this situation, but I have never been more attracted to Alexa Bliss.
I feel like Bray and Harper won’t be spending Valentine’s Day together
It’s main event time, and the three competitors make their way to the ring. Wyatt comes out last, and when he blows out the lantern Luke Harper is behind him! Harper jumps Wyatt, beating the fuck out of him before superkicking him! We go to a commercial break, and when we come back, Styles takes shoulder tackles from Cena, then a spin-out powerbomb. Wyatt grabs Cena and drags him out of the ring, hurling him into the steps before Styles nails Bray with a Phenomenal Forearm!
Styles stays on Wyatt, putting the boots to him on the outside before sending him back into the ring and hammering him in the corner. He hits another running forearm to the Champion for a two count, but then runs right into a hard back elbow that puts him on the mat. Now it’s him going after Styles in the corner, and he hurls the Face That Runs The Place out of the ring.
As soon as Styles is gone, however, Cena is back in the ring. He hits Wyatt with shoulder tackles and puts him down with a spin-out powerbomb. Five Knuckle Shuffle connects, and he gets Wyatt up for the AA! Bray slides out of it and goes for Sister Abigail, but Cena shoves Wyatt away and right into a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles! Cena hits the AA to Styles, who only just kicks out!
Cena punches Styles right off the top rope and then…*sigh* gets scared by Wyatt doing a crabwalk. Did none of these people go to school?! Because that’s where I was fucking taught to crabwalk and it’s not scary, it’s fucking whimsical. Wyatt hits Sister Abigail to Cena, but Styles springboards out of fucking nowhere to break up the pin, and we go to a commercial break.
We come back as Styles is literally flying through the air onto Wyatt, who’s on the announce table. His splash doesn’t break the table, so he obliges the crowd’s ‘one more time’ chant and fucking leg drops Bray through it. He tries to Forearm Cena, but Cena catches him and hits the AA! Then rolls through for a second one, but Styles reverses it into the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring! Then Cena reverses it into the STF! Wyatt breaks it up with a back senton!
Well-deserved ‘this is awesome’ chant from the crowd as all three men try to recover. Bray’s up first and he tosses AJ out. He stalks Cena, but gets caught with an Attitude Adjustment for another near fall! Styles nails Cena with the Styles Clash for two and three-quarters! AJ heads onto the apron, but Cena knocks him off the top rope as he springboards; Bray surprises Cena with a Sister Abigail, and Bray Wyatt wins the match!
Awesome that Wyatt got the clean win in this match (I know it’s no DQ, but there were a lot of weaker ways to end this). Spotfest though this was, it was also awesome. Love that we can have Title matches like this on the show fairly regularly. 4 Stars.
Aaaand then Orton’s music hits. Holy fuck, is this the moment I’ve been yelling about for months? Randy comes out and walks slowly down to the ring. About five minutes later he gets there, holding a microphone. He tells Bray that he won the Rumble, but Wyatt’s the WWE Champion. He says he refuses to face Wyatt at WrestleMania, and I can’t believe he’s doing all of this with a straight face.
Orton kneels in front of Bray, who’s either really smart or really stupid. Wyatt tells Orton that he now has the keys to the kingdom, which sounds like some smutty sex talk to me, and then the two of them pose to close out the show.
This was a decent show. The main event and Mickie/Becky were definitely worth checking out; the rest of it was just shuffling things into place in advance of WrestleMania. Not sure how long they’re going to tease the Orton/Wyatt conflict, but so far I’m still enjoying it. 7/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, James Ellsworth, jbl, John Cena, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mickie James, naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, smackdown live, The Ascension, The Miz, Tom Phillips, WWE