WWE Smackdown LIVE!- January 10, 2017
by Scrooge McSuck
- Smackdown Live Episode #908 is coming from the Raising Cane River Center Arena (what a mouthful) in Baton Rouge, LA. The big news this week is that WrestleMania: Next Year is returning to New Orleans. That will be WrestleMania 34, but they decided not to number them any more for stupid Vince reasons. Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and David Otunga are calling the action, while Tom Phillips keeps a 4th seat warm for whoever decides to stop by and interfere in a match later in the show. Advertised ahead of time is John Cena vs. Baron Corbin, American Alpha defending the Tag Titles against the Wyatt Family, and Nikki Bella vs. Natalya.
- We recap the last few weeks and the turmoil between Dean Ambrose, Miz, and Renee Young, capped off by Dean Ambrose winning the Intercontinental Championship despite efforts by Maryse to get the Miz disqualified.
- Dean Ambrose comes out to kick off the live portion of the show. JBL does his worst ranting and raving that is basically recycled from his same ranting and ravings when Ambrose was challenging for the WWE Championship. I guess he's hosting the Ambrose Asylum, and he's entering his name for the Royal Rumble Match. He has an Alligator head in the ring that he named Maryse (or maybe Maurice). The Miz interrupts and says Ambrose taints the prestige of the IC Championship, and also announces his participation in the Royal Rumble Match. Miz gives Ambrose the opportunity to do the right thing and hand over the IC belt. Ambrose teases doing the "right thing" and gives him his own Participation Award. That's cold, Obi-Wan. Miz doesn't take the joke well and attacks with a flurry of strikes. Mauro calls Miz "Mercurial" (subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind). Maryse accidentally hits Miz with a slap and Ambrose lays him out with Dirty Deeds.
- Recap of the Natalya/Nikki Bella storyline that began at Survivor Series. Nikki is WALKING but Natalya comes up from behind and throws her into the steel shutters. Natalya, Champion Back-Fighter since Survivor Series 2016.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya:
I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that this match won't have a clean and/or decisive finish. Almost no pop for Nikki's music. I feel like her ring gear gets skimpier every week. She gets in the ring and tackles Natalya for some ground and pound. Nattie escapes to the floor, but Nikki runs her down and they trade blows, rolling around on the ramp. Natalya rams Nikki into the security wall and throws a flurry of rights. Natalya rolls her back in the ring and lands a sweet boot to the face. Nikki turns the tide, so Natalya tries running, again unsuccessfully. More referees come out to break things up, so the scheduled match won't take place. Crowd chants "let them fight" as Nikki breaks through the defense and gets a few more shots in. Natalya comes from behind to clip the left knee and tosses Nikki to the floor. She gets an unnecessary slap in and the world's sloppiest Sharpshooter (since the Rock did it a few WrestleMania's ago).
- Dasha Fuentes is backstage with Dolph Ziggler. Last week, he paid back Kalisto making the save with a Super-Kick, then got into a pull-apart brawl in the locker room with Apollo Crews. He'll be facing Kalisto later in the show, and walks off without giving an explanation. Creative Writing 101, the "you want to know why? You can't handle the truth" turn.
Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler:
I don't know why, but I have a sneaky suspicion this match won't have a decisive finish, either. Kalisto lays into Ziggler with kicks and forearms. Whip to the ropes and a hurricanrana sends Ziggler to the floor. Back inside, Ziggler picks the ankle and cradles Kalisto for a one count. Half-nelson cradle for two. Boot to the midsection and hangman's neck breaker for two. Ziggler with a modified Fujiwara arm-bar into a crucifix for two. Kalisto counters a neck breaker with a back slide for two. Ziggler goes for the Famouser, but Kalisto side-steps. Whip to the corner and Kalisto with a jumping kick to the face. He goes for a springboard, but Ziggler knocks him off the apron. We return from commercial break with Ziggler in control of a chin-lock. Kalisto escapes with a jaw breaker. Ziggler meets an elbow charging into the corner, but recovers and boots Kalisto in the midsection. Kalisto with a kick to the face and a spinning head scissors. School boy gets two. Ziggler with a dropkick to the face for two, and Kalisto counters with a crucifix for three at 4:57 (shown). Flukes aren't decisive. Post-match, Ziggler lays out Kalisto with a short clothesline. He brings a chair into the ring and smashes it across the back of Kalisto. Crews decides to show up a little late to pick up the fight, but gets laid out with the chair as well. *1/2 It was all Ziggler on offense until the fluke finish.
- American Alpha are backstage preparing for their title defense and have unkind words for Bray Wyatt.
- Renee Young is backstage with John Cena. I guess only she can get the A-List Interviews. Cena runs down Baron Corbin and says he's going to have to make a statement tonight to shut up his critics.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
(Chad Gable & Jason Jordan vs. Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton)
American Alpha © vs. The Wyatt Family:
Will the Wyatt Family become the 1st 2-time Smackdown Tag Team Champions? We'll know in about 15-minutes. American Alpha won the belts two weeks ago when Orton "accidentally" struck Luke Harper, leading to their defeat. It still surprises me that Orton took the loss, but I guess him losing is a much better rub for American Alpha. Wyatt rushes in on Gable and pounds away. Whip to the ropes, Gable ducks a clothesline, and Jordan comes in via blind tag and connects with a dropkick. Jordan with a waist-lock takedown into a roll-up for two. Wyatt traps Jordan in the corner, and in comes Orton to put the boots to him. Orton blocks a suplex with an elbow to the side of the head. Gable with the blind tag and takedown. Wyatt rakes the eyes across the top rope. He sets Gable up in the corner but gets caught with the hanging arm-bar. Gable escapes a uranage and Sister Abigail to roll him up for two. Wyatt to the floor and Gable follows with a somersault senton. Back inside, Wyatt takes over with his diving tackle. He tosses Gable to the floor, and Orton drops him across the security wall. Back inside, Orton with the Garvin Stomp. Wyatt with a modified stomach buster for two. Orton with a slingshot suplex for two. Gable ducks under a clothesline and tags in Jordan. He takes Wyatt over with an Exploder, and gives Orton a tear drop suplex. Jordan takes down the straps and hits charging shoulders to the midsection for two. Harper with a distraction, allowing Wyatt to nail Harper from behind with a lariat. Orton hangs him up across the top rope, causing Jordan to fall to the floor.
We return from commercial break, with Orton in control of a front face-lock. Sneaky of them to have Jordan do his "end of match" routine, only to make him the face-in-peril. Wyatt charges into the corner with an avalanche for two. Running senton for another two count. Wyatt goes for another avalanche, but Jordan meets him with a hard clothesline. Gable with the hot tag and comes off the top with a body press to Orton. Gable with a Northern Lights Suplex, followed by a twisting body press on Wyatt. German Suplex on Orton gets two. Wyatt dumps Jordan, and Gable pulls the ropes down on Wyatt. Gable to the top and hits Orton with a diving clothesline for two. Harper hops on the apron for a distraction. Orton "accidentally" knocks him off with Gable and hits the draping DDT. He sets up for the RKO, but Harper is on the apron again. Gable rams Orton into Harper, and cradles him for three at 12:17. I honestly expected another title switch here. *** Another good match in a series of them between the teams. The games between Orton and Harper continues afterwards, with Harper and Orton getting into a shoving match. Harper accidentally hits Wyatt with a Super-Kick while trying to play moderator.
- Hype video to promote the Main Event between John Cena and Baron Corbin, and highlights of the press conference to confirm WrestleMania (XXXIV) coming to New Orleans.
- Becky Lynch is backstage to show Daniel Bryan highlights from last week's match with "La Luchadora." Daniel Bryan wants to know who the other masked woman is ("Eva Marie, maybe?). Alexa Bliss interrupts and tries to persuade Bryan from not giving her another Championship opportunity. Next week, Alexa Bliss defends the Women's Championship against Becky Lynch, and to keep the "Luchadoras" from interfering, the match will be defended inside a Steel Cage. Becky Lynch needs to act like she's been there before.
Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. C.J. Lunde:
C.J. Lunde looks a lot like Thunderkitty. Carmella goes for the arm and takes her down with a handful of hair. Lunde (the real last name of Arn Anderson, also used as a joke by Chris Jericho months ago, and C.J. as probably a rib on Lana) with a roll up. Carmella stomps her down in the corner and shows off with a moonwalk. Carmella with the Bronco Buster for two. Lunde gets out of the corner to avoid a charge and comes in with an elbow. Whip to the corner and Lunde with another elbow. Carmella trips her up, in full view of the referee. Carmella with a hard strike for two. Lunde's style is worse than retro. Ellsworth with another bit of interference. Carmella with an awful STO and the Code of Silence finishes at 2:41. This was bad. The work was sloppy and JBL buried the enhancement talent for her (seriously) outdated appearance.
- Highlights from Monday Night Raw, where "Smackdown for Life" Undertaker announced he will be participating in the Royal Rumble Match.
- Carmella has a "little surprise" for James Ellsworth. He acts like a 32-year old who hasn't gotten a kiss. She grabs him by the non-existent chin, says all good things come to those who wait, and will take him on a shopping spree.
- A.J. Styles interrupts to tell Baron Corbin he's going to be at ringside doing commentary and tells Corbin to do his best A.J. Styles impression and #BeatUpJohnCena.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin:
Here's an interesting dilemma... do you put Corbin over Cena, or give Corbin his first real loss since being put on Smackdown for the brand split? I smell a DQ finish, especially with only 10-minutes left for the telecast. Cena ducks under a right and lands some rights. He bounces off the ropes and runs into a big boot. Corbin with a knee to the midsection and a hard whip to the corner. He tosses Cena to the floor as we take a break. Cena fights out of a rest-hold and goes for the Attitude Adjustment, but can't keep Corbin up on his shoulders. Corbin pounds away and yells at Styles. Cena comes from behind and unloads some rights. Corbin quickly regains control and pounds on Cena while talking more trash to Styles. Back inside, Cena pulls the ropes down on a charging Corbin, and comes off the apron with a double axe-handle. Corbin misses another charge and meets the ring steps. Back inside, Cena goes for a body press, but Corbin counters with a Power-Slam for two. Cena teases another comeback and gets planted with a side slam, incorrectly identified as the Deep Six by Mauro. Styles actually calls out the mistake. Corbin gloats too much, allowing Cena to fire off comeback attempt #7. Corbin misses a clothesline and meets boots in the corner. Cena with a Tornado DDT, the back suplex, and Five-Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment... and gets three at 7:41. Well, damn. * Not much to this one, but if you're putting Cena over, why not make it a bit more than "lazy house show formula?" I know Cena needs a "big win", but they could've fed him Miz or something.
Final Thoughts: Odd pacing this week. The first hour or so went by at the usual pace, but then things hit the breaks and kind of coasted by on fumes as soon as we finished up with the Tag Title Match. In about 50-minutes, we got a short backstage segment to set up next week's Women's Title Match, an awful squash match with Carmella and James Ellsworth, and an underwhelming Main Event. Not a whole lot considering how much was packed into the 1st hour, with segments dedicated to Ambrose/Miz, Ziggler/Undercard faces, Natalya/Nikki, and the Tag Title Match and further drama within the Wyatt Family. Still a good enough show, but not a home run.
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