The final Smackdown PPV/Network Special of the year. Perhaps in Raw’s hands I wouldn’t have been looking forward to yet another gimmick based show but Smackdown have been doing very well since the brand split. So I went into this with decent hopes.
Overall it was a decent show but there was something missing overall. I can’t really put my finger on it specifically. That matches were okay, but not amazing. The crowd were generally quite quiet. The only reason I can think of is that the build into the show wasn’t good enough to get people hyped up enough for the matches. It makes sense, a lot of time and effort went into the survivor series build and then just two weeks later we’ve got this show. When wrestling rushes story lines it does damage the end product.
We saw two title changes though. One we all saw coming, the other a pleasant surprise. Title changes don’t equal good shows but I think it’s fair to say if the status quo hadn’t changed on this show it would have been received a lot worse.
Why do Smackdown have a four man announce booth? That’s rididculous. I thought three was too many! The problem is Tom Phillips rarely even talks, other than for the direct to camera pieces. I will say that I found Otunga less annoying than usual but when you stop and listen to him too closely he is just spewing total garbage as usual. Personally I would go back to the two man booth idea, with Mauro Ranallo and JBL. Face and heel, play by play and colour commentary. Perfect.
Tag Titles: Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs. The Wyatt Family
It could have been a thing for a while and I’ve just not noticed, but the flickering through Randy Orton’s old themes into Bray Wyatt song is awesome. It shows more conflict and is more convincing in 5 seconds than I’ve found Orton as a member of the family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it. I just want Orton to commit. A change of clothing or something! Otherwise I’m just sitting here waiting for the swerve.
Also what is with Rhyno’s facial hair? He looks hilarious.
Incredibly quick match, nothing really to it. The finish sees Randy saves Bray from a big clothesline in the corner from Rhyno, tagging himself in. Luke Harper then saves Orton from a gore on the outside. A quick RKO later and we have new champions!
The most interesting thing about this was the post match tension between Harper and Orton. Eventually seeming to come to an agreement with Randy passing him his title to carry as Bray had.
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
I don’t really want to say it, but it really does feel like a big step down in quality when watching Nikki Bella and Carmella as opposed to Sasha and Charlotte etc. I do like how Nikki has her hair up though. I’m hoping its a UFC style reference about being more serious with it being a no DQ match but I’m probably wrong.
The match is alright, but nothing special. The finish is effectively a prolonged fire extinguisher spot before the Rack Attack 2.0. It was a pretty convincing win for Nikki, the exact opposite of what Carmella needed.
After the match Carmella rather blandly declares that is wasn’t her who attack Nikki before Survivor Series, it was Natayla. Why didn’t you say that before then ya big dummy! Later in the show Nattie unconvincingly says that she didn’t do it. I’m hoping for the Eva Marie swerve down the line, otherwise this is the most obvious plot ever.
IC Title: The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
I loved the promo package hyping the importance of the intercontinental title. I love that WWE are trying to build it up to mean something again. The video showed the history of the belt though it oddly skipped most of 2000 to 2015. It’s almost as if the belt meant absolutely nothing during that era!
I’m not sure why Dolph is wearing his America tights again. Stop trying to get extra fan support you sly dog! I had no idea that Ziggles was 3-0 in ladder matches at TLC, would never have guess that in a million years.
Good match, though not as good as their No Mercy bout. It struggled, like a lot of matches on the show, for some direction for the first chunk. Eventually The Miz starts working Dolph’s leg and we get a proper match, with ladders. Rather than a ladder match. Know what I mean? The gimmick should enhance the show, not drag it down.
Why would The Miz waste time setting up a second ladder, next to an already set up ladder? Miz ya big dummy, that’s not helping you out at all. Gotta say though, Dolph loves headbutts on the top of a ladder. He does it every time!
Did we get a new champion!? No because Dolph Ziggler fannied around at the top of a the ladder when he had approximately 7 years to grab the belt. Ziggler ya big dummy! Miz retains! Good call, he’s doing top work right now.
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin
Kalisto is an idiot. He runs down to the ring and starts looking for chairs underneath it. Apparently oblivious to all the chairs surrounding the ring. You freaking idiot. Also, when did he start wearing shorter trunks? I don’t like it.
Ranallo says that Corbin is not about friends or titles, just money. Little does Baron know that you earn far more money at the top of the card when holding the title. What an idiot!
I’m not really a fan of the bully verses underdog story. I feel like I saw it too many times with Rey Mysterio. So I just don’t really care about any of it. Surely Kalisto would be better of on Raw with the other cruiserweights? Surely.
Corbin keeps falling for the ‘whatever you set up ends up hurting you’ cliche of wrestling matches. This is a pretty decent chairs match, but that’s like saying this is a pretty good turd sandwich. You still don’t want it.
There’s an awesome catch from Corbin turning a dive into a Deep Six on the outside while the finish sees an End of Days onto a pile of chairs (which surely hurt Baron more) to win the match.
It was a good showing from Kalisto as he didn’t get annihilated, much to my disappointment. The commentary team try and put over how dominate Corbin was. Despite the fact he wasn’t that dominate and almost got upset by a midget.
Women’s Title: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
This match was slow and it was quite clumsy. Alexa Bliss threw some of the worst punches I’ve ever seen too. Laughable. Come on Bliss, you’re better than that!
The crowd actually started chanting for JBL at one point The chant gets briefly and mildly booed. At least it wasn’t CM Punk chants I guess? Seriously, don’t chant stuff like that guys, JBL doesn’t deserve that support. Save it for Tom Phillips, he needs encouragement to say his first words.
The table match gimmick was a hindrance here. It stopped the flow of the match and generally removed any good story telling or match psychology. I don’t think it’s Becky or Alexa’s fault though to be honest. How are you meant to build up a match that ends in an instant?
Predictably the match does end out of nowhere. A powerbomb off the apron to the outside and we’ve got a new champion! I did not see that coming! Will the feud continue? I assume so.
Immediately after the match Generic Backstage Interview #4 shoves a microphone in Becky’s face asking “how do you feel?”. How do you think she feels! Get out of here you idiot.
WWE Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
The promo package before this match shows just hoe much James Ellsworth has been involved in this feud. Too much. However, credit to AJ Styles for making those matches entertaining in fairness. Can I just say how great it is to have Styles in the WWE? He should have been here years ago but better later than never I suppose!
2 hours in an we’re at the main event? This one is going to go the distance! promo package shows just how much James Ellsworth has been this feud. credit to aj for making the matches work so well in fairness.
Straight out of the gate Dean Ambrose throws punches even worse than Alexa Bliss in the previous match. Pathetic stuff.
AJ Styles is so good that even when he tears a hole in his tights mid match he can still put on a clinic. He makes everyone look a million bucks. I’m pretty sure I heard Dean laughing about it to Styles moments after being put through a table though and Kevin Dunn seemed obsessed with having it in shot at one point.
I really enjoyed this match, highlight of the show. It was pretty much a spot fest but they kept upping the stakes every time. It was awesome.
Ellsworth comes out to interfere and the crowd boo. I think the honeymoon period is definitely over for everyone’s favourite jobber. Luckily he’s there to turn heel and cost Dean the match by pushing over a ladder causing him to crash through two tables. Ellsworth is a delusional idiot. If WWE do it right, he can still be an interesting character. Or, and far more likely, they’ll continue to overuse him too high on the card and drive everyone nuts.
Ellsworth comes out to interfere. the crowd boo. honeymoon over james? aj wants to do another styles clash off the stairs, but dean saves him and hits the dirty deeds. taking roughly 8 millenia to climb the ladder aj catches him. and then Ellsworth finally turns heel, sending dean crashing through two tables!
AJ wins! The champ that runs the camp retains. Excellent.