Howdy folks, it’s your weekly review of SmackDown Live here again. Last week, we watched Randy Orton give his legal team a collective seizure. No wonder the guy got a dishonourable discharge if that’s how badly he covers his tracks.
Also, is arson, grave desecration and starting a fucking forest fire the worst thing that Orton’s ever done in a single night? Because I’m thinking about it, and there’s not a lot that comes close. God knows what the hell AJ Styles is thinking right now.
The commentators are really chipper after watching that frankly haunting event on recap. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan appear to kick things off properly, and I wonder if Bryan feels like his own defection from the Wyatt Family lacked the theatricality of Orton’s.
Shane welcomes everyone to the show, and says that they’ve really been struggling with the fact that yet another of their employees is a psychotic monster. Plus, Orton wanting his title match back has put them in a bit of a WrestleMania-related bind. Bryan backs Orton, because he won the Royal Rumble and tradition’s important when WWE wants it to be. Shane points out that Orton did abdicate the match, which is another first, and shows us all a video of that happening. #FAKENEWS
It’s amazing for how long these two can spin out what is essentially a coin toss between a triple threat match or a number one contender’s match. They say that the argument will not be settled in a debate, because what the fuck kind of gay loser shit is talking rationally anyway? They opt for the number one contender’s match between Styles and Orton, which will take place later tonight.
Later on, Bryan and Shane are walking around backstage and run into an accosting from AJ Styles. Styles blusters for a bit, and then says he’s going to go out there and destroy Randy Orton and take his match back. I kind of hope Styles wins: he’s the least angsty of all three of them.
My girlfriend and I fight other couples practically all the time
Oh wow, Ellsworth’s in the ring in his amazing new gear. He says that he’s beaten AJ Styles three times, which is a lot better than John Cena’s ever done. He introduces Carmella, who joins him in the ring. And then John Cena arrives. If Maryse lays him out with a steel pipe too, she will be my favourite person on the roster. At least Cena and Bella don’t make their entrance together; that interview with them from last week was basically a laundry list of reasons I don’t go in for PDA.
I mean, all that aside, it is kind of sweet that Cena and Nikki are finally wrestling together, and even more so if this is going to lead up to Miz and Maryse teaming up too.
Carmella and Nikki begin the match…right before the Miz’s music hits and he and Maryse walk down to ringside. Not seeing a steel pipe in Maryse’s hands, but I live in hope. Carmella hits a superkick to a distracted Nikki, and normally I’d call Nikki out on that, but after the main event of Fastlane I’m just assuming that every single wrestler has ADHD. Also, it’s going to be really weird if Cena ever has to break up Carmella’s pins.
We have a commercial break, and when we come back Carmella has Nikki in a sleeper. Nikki breaks out and is able to throw the Princess of Staten Island out of the ring. Nikki gets the tag, and now Cena and Ellsworth are legal! Ellsworth is clearly very loathe to get in the ring, finally does, and then immediately backs off. Carmella takes him to task and then shoves him right into Cena. At some stage, hopefully this one, Ellsworth needs to realise that you can, in fact, put a price on sex and that it’s lower than this.
Ellsworth tries a superkick, but gets hit with a spin-out powerbomb. Cena wants the Five-Knuckle Shuffle but is stopped when Carmella yells at and shoves him. Nikki decks Carmella, because Cena doesn’t hit women who aren’t Lita. Stereo Five-Knuckle Shuffles, and they hit the Rack Attack and AA together, then lock in STFs for the double win.
This was just harmless fun, but I enjoyed it. 2.5 Stars.
Miz drags Cena out of the ring, because the man clearly has a real deathwish. He throws Cena into the steel steps, then Maryse shoves Nikki into the ring post. They get in the ring, and Miz says that he just couldn’t take it anymore. Apparently Cena and Nikki are an insult to anyone who shares true love. Miz and Maryse love each other, but Cena apparently doesn’t have the capacity to love.
Miz calls out the contract-signing aspect to John and Nikki’s relationship, and I cannot deny that that was a little weird. Miz claims that Cena is an emotionless husk and does everything for ratings. This is sort of a surreal kind of promo, but I’m willing to see where this feud actually goes.
Maryse then gets on the microphone, calls Nikki a bitch and then makes out with the Miz. Well, sex and violence are often intertwined in literature, so I guess it was only a matter of time before wrestling tried it.
Backstage, Renee is being forced to interview Randy Orton. Jesus, why would you make anyone approach this man? Randy is mostly fairly polite and says that he’s going to face Wyatt at WrestleMania and the only thing standing in his way is AJ Styles, who should feel really terrified right now. Really, as long as Randy’s not burning more shit, I’ll call it progress.
Curt Hawkins has been putting out some great matches lately
Oh boy, Curt Hawkins is in the ring and someone let him have a microphone. He apparently wants a rematch against Dean Ambrose, and this had better end in the exact same way as last week. Dean comes out and clotheslines Hawkins when Curt tries to charge him. He gets into the ring, picks up the microphone and says that he knows that Baron Corbin is busy being a lone wolf backstage and is too much of a wuss to fight him.
Corbin appears on the screen, offended that Dean thought that reverse psychology would work on a wolf like him. Dean says he’ll just go and find him then. Hawkins tries to jump him again, and this time eats Dirty Deeds on the outside.
Our Women’s History Month video this week is about Trish Stratus and Lita. Hard to argue about the impact they had on the Women’s Division.
Backstage, Ambrose is still playing hide and seek with Baron Corbin. Seems like an all night kind of job.
Meanwhile, Not-Renee is interviewing Mojo Rawley for some reason. He says that everyone needs their WrestleMania moment, and in the same breath enters himself in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Wow, that was tough to watch.
Dolph Ziggler interrupts Rawley with a slow clap and says that Mojo has to earn a WrestleMania moment. Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal can give you a WrestleMania moment.
Ambrose is still looking for Corbin, and WWE has really missed an opportunity to have him walk through every interview segment tonight on his search. Corbin is hiding behind a pillar, holding a security guard in a chokehold, and he throws him at Ambrose before nailing Dean with a steel pipe. Son of a bitch stole Maryse’s pipe!
Dean says ‘good talk’ as Baron is about to leave, prompting a way more protracted beating. Alright, that was pure Dean Ambrose right there. And then Corbin traps Ambrose under a forklift fork, which is just pure stupid. Referees dash to Dean’s rescue, and then we get a very serious statement from JBL, who says that it is unacceptable that Baron Corbin cannot control himself. What, seriously? After everything that has gone on backstage in this show’s history, this is what we’re going to call unacceptable? Okay, sure.
Because putting them in a match with the Undertaker would have been the wrong Teddy Long impression
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James arrive, and apparently this is going to be a ‘Blissertation’. Okay, I’ll admit I laughed at that one. Alexa says that it’s time to address who her WrestleMania opponent will be, and she has a list of people it won’t be: it’s not going to be Naomi, Nikki, Carmella, Becky…
Alexa doens’t get further than that, because Becky shows up with a microphone. She says that she has a ‘Becklaration’, and the gals are killing it tonight with these puns. She claims the WrestleMania match, only for Natalya to arrive. Oh wow, we’re finally giving this woman another shot at a Championship. It’s literally been years.
Natalya gets into the ring and says that she and Alexa are Championship calibre and that Becky’s not in their league. Alexa shoots Nattie down, saying that there’s no way she’s getting a title shot at WrestleMania before calling her ‘the worst there is, the worst there was and the worst there ever will be’. Mickie grabs the mic and yells at everyone to shut up before saying that she’s the number one contender.
Alexa seems very surprised by this, and is she aware that there are no more names on that list? Everyone starts arguing, and then Daniel Bryan arrives to
save the day make a match. He says that if Bliss really is the best, then she can defend her Championship against every available woman on the roster. Looks like SmackDown‘s women are getting screwed over this Mania with the battle royal treatment. Bryan then channels the ghost of Teddy Long, in what could have been a far more racist impression, and makes a tag team match for after the break.
When we come back, Natalya and Alexa are in the ring, locking up. Natalya takes Bliss over in a headlock, but the Champ shoves her off, scissors the head and gets back to her feet. We get a shoving match, Alexa slides out of a bodyslam and snaps Nattie’s head back to the mat. Bliss misses a knee drop and takes a dropkick to the face.
Natalya forcefully tags Becky in, then lets Alexa go so she can tag in Mickie. Mickie and Becky tie up and Becky applies a waistlock. James reverses it, but gets countered into a front facelock. Mickie counters and starts working the arm, but Becky is able to leapfrog James out of the corner, and fires up for a bit before Mickie cuts her off and tags Alexa in. Bliss clubs on Lynch, driving her head into the mat. Becky tries to fight back, but gets the back of her head whacked off the floor.
Becky ducks a clothesline and hits a dragon screw and leg drops to Bliss for two. Alexa gets out of the ring to yell about how she doesn’t need this, and is blindsided by a flying forearm off the apron. Becky throws Alexa back into the ring and then forearms Mickie off the apron. Mickie returns the favour by tripping Becky up and allows Bliss to regain the advantage as we head to a commercial break.
When we come back, Mickie has a chinlock applied to Becky. The Lasskicker fights her way free, but ends up on the receiving end of the hurricanrana. Alexa tags in to continue the beatdown, really laying into Becky before giving Mickie another go at her. Becky fires away with right hands, but is cut off before she can reach Natalya. Mickie mounts Becky and hits vicious crossfaces from left and right before locking in a sleeper.
Alex is tagged back in, but Becky fires up once again, backsliding Bliss for two. She catches Alexa with an enzuigiri and both women are down and both need to make a tag. Bliss makes the tag first and James enters the match. She ducks the enzuigiri but takes another kick to the face and then a volley of clotheslines. Flying firearm connects, but then Natalya is in the ring and hits Becky with a German suplex! Natalya makes her exit, and Alexa gets the blind tag off Mickie for the pin.
To be honest, this held together far better than I thought it would, though I’m glad they ended by ramping up the tension. This promises a good performance at the Show of Shows. 2.5 Stars.
Mickie looks a little chagrined, but Alexa doesn’t seem to notice…right up until she takes a Mick Kick to the side of the head!
We replay the Baron Corbin Forklift Incident, and JBL calls it the most unprofessional thing he’s ever seen. We literally watched one employee burn down another’s house last week. And didn’t JBL once give Eddie Guerrero’s mother a heart attack live on television? Hypocritical son of a bitch. Ambrose has been taken to a local medical facility, which is basically the professional wrestling equivalent of people having cholera in those old novels your Mum reads.
Styles makes a phenomenal point
It’s time for our main event, and AJ Styles is here and ready. He calls SmackDown Live the house that AJ Styles belt, saying that he made a B show the show. In return, all he’s been given is disrespect, whereas Randy Orton has been rewarded for arson and tomb raiding. He says that nobody’s keeping him from this title match.
Randy Orton also makes his entrance, and it boggles my mind that he’s able to walk around with law enforcement tackling him. It’s not like they’d even need Bray to understand the process of pressing charges: the guy recorded his own felony. Orton gets in the ring, and we ring the bell to start this number one contender match.
Styles rushes Orton and almost eats an RKO right off the bat. He scoots out of the ring to allow Randy to SIGN POINT, then gets back in and locks up. Orton backs him into a corner, then breaks clean. Styles applies a headlock, gets shot off the ropes but keeps it latched on. Orton back suplexes Styles, but AJ still keeps the headlock applied. The next time Orton shoots him off, Styles does run the ropes and slams right into a shoulder block from Randy that puts him down.
Styles offers a test of strength and immediately hammers away at Randy, backing him into the corner. AJ’s Irish whip is reversed by Orton, sending him super-hard into the corner. Orton stomps on Styles and then drops him onto the ropes for a two-count. Randy works AJ over in the corner, but Styles is able to turn the tables and punish Orton in return. Randy reverses another Irish whip on Styles, catches a boot and then suplexes AJ right out of the ring.
Orton follows Styles to the outside, then drops him back-first onto the barricade. He throws Styles back into the ring, but AJ is waiting for him on the inside with a chopblock, sending Orton falling off the apron and into a commercial break.
Back from the commercial, AJ is working over the left leg of Orton in the centre of the ring, as he has been doing all break. Orton fights back, trying to counter each one of Styles’ attempts to go after the limb, but Styles is relentless and manages to cut the leg out from Orton and apply a sleeper hold. Randy is able to work his way free, clotheslining and powerslamming Styles. He plants AJ with a full nelson slam, then starts stomping on Style’s leg.
Randy puts Styles on top of the turnbuckle, and seems to be looking for a superplex from the top rope. Styles slips out and drops Orton face-first onto the turnbuckle, hitting the ushigoroshi for a near-fall! AJ goes for the Styles Clash, but Orton is able to dump him out onto the apron and bring him back in for the Vintage DDT, but Styles counters that and applies the Calf Crusher to the injured leg! Orton writhes in pain, but is able to reach the bottom rope.
Orton dodges a stinger splash, gets kicked in the face and counters a Phenomenal Forearm attempt to hit the Vintage DDT! Orton wants the RKO, but Styles catches him with the Pele Kick! Orton dumps Styles on the apron, Styles wants the Phenomenal Forearm, but it was a fake to catch Randy Orton’s RKO attempt! The springboard 450 misses; the RKO hits and Randy Orton is going to WrestleMania!
Great, great match. I was certain that it was going to end with a Forearm attempt into the RKO, and am impressed that they subverted that during Orton and Styles’ first match. 4 Stars.
Not a bad SmackDown, but it felt like a breather show apart from the main event. The Champion not being here didn’t help, but at least we got some things organised for WrestleMania. Hopefully Bray is back and pissed off next week. 7/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, James Ellsworth, jbl, John Cena, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mickie James, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, The Miz, Tom Phillips, WWE