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WWE Smackdown LIVE!- December 6, 2016

by Scrooge McSuck


- Last week on Smackdown Live, it was the go-home show for TLC... Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt defeated American Alpha for the #1 Contenders spot to the Tag Team Championship... A.J. Styles finally had enough of James Ellsworth and gave him a Styles Clash from the ring steps to the arena floor... Carmella promised to knock Nikki Bella’s "Bella Twins" so hard with a chair that they’ll pop out of her back... Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss did a contract signing and a table was broken... Dolph Ziggler and Kalisto battled the Miz and Baron Corbin and nothing was settled with TLC 5 days away... Luke Harper failed to send Kane back to hell, but did get a decent match out of him...

- Smackdown Episode #903 is presented live from the Toyota Center in Houston, TX, with Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips hanging around ringside for various duties that revolve around telling stories and pushing social media on everyone. We’re 48 hours removed from TLC, and the only thing advertised ahead of time is a World Championship Match between A.J. Styles and James Ellsworth.

- A.J. Styles comes out to open the show, sporting a walking cast on his left ankle (there was legit concern of a minor injury that happened during the TLC Match). Styles wants to address the elephant in the room... the torn tights, and the exposing of his buttocks. "Don’t it look good?" He calls people a bunch of gullible geeks for thinking he was referring to his walking cast. Styles announces he is not medically cleared to defend the WWE Title tonight. James Ellsworth comes out to a mixed response, ready to dispute the announcement. Ellsworth basically calls him a coward for trying to avoid defending the title, rubbing in that he has 3 victories over Styles. Delusional Ellsworth is a great idea. Styles says if he believes any of what he says, he must be drinking his own "chin-and-tonic." Styles warns him that Ambrose, unlike himself, will not stop beating on him until his face is caved in like his chin. Dean Ambrose comes out now. He makes a casual approach to the ring, hits Ellsworth with Dirty Deeds, and casually walks away, with Styles laughing his ass off at ringside. Indeed JBL, that was awesome.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton © (w/ Luke Harper) vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno:

I don’t have any detailed research done, but I’m positive this is the first time a set of third generation wrestlers have held the Tag Titles. They’re also nice enough to let Harper carry both belts to the ring. Will Slater and Rhyno have a new strategy to try and regain the Tag Titles, or will this be more of the same from TLC? I like the new distorting of Orton’s entrance music segueing into the Wyatt entrance. Slater and Orton start. Slater with a waist-lock into a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and Slater with a diving forearm. Orton counters a back-drop attempt by slamming Slater backwards. Slater gets a boot up on Wyatt and hits a cross body press. Rhyno in with a clothesline and elbow, followed by an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. He teases the Gore, but Wyatt rolls to the floor. We come back from break with Wyatt in control of Rhyno with a chin-lock. Wyatt with a hard whip to the corner, lariat, and running senton for two. Orton shrugs off some strikes and connects with a dropkick for two. Whip to the corner and Rhyno comes back with a shoulder tackle. Hot tag to Slater. He knocks Wyatt off the apron and throws a flurry of rights and lefts to Orton. Whip to the ropes and Slater with a high knee, followed by a leg lariat and hangman’s neck breaker for two. Slater goes for Wyatt again and walks into a snap Power-Slam, but Rhyno breaks the cover. Wyatt throws Rhyno to the floor and walks into a roundhouse right, but recovers and responds with a short clothesline. He goes for Sister Abigail, but tags Orton in, tosses Slater back, and Orton finishes with the RKO, and one of the greatest casual covers of all-time, at 5:27 (shown). ** Mostly the same formula as from TLC. I wanted to boost it up a bit just based on the cover, but that would be a bit unfair to everything else.

- Dasha Fuentes interviews Kalisto about his upcoming rematch against Baron Corbin. Her delivery was as poor as you can get. Kalisto issues a warning to Corbin: Speed kills. Good to know.

- The next scheduled match is Natalya vs. Carmella, all based on Carmella throwing the accusation that Nattie was behind the attack of Nikki Bella at Survivor Series. Much like most segments involving Carmella, the match never actually starts, but does involve some physicality. I guess she has a punch-able face when it comes to the other women. Carmella makes a Tonya Harding reference to describe Natalya’s alleged gloating. Is that seriously still a relevant excuse for the modern audience? Natalya finally has enough of Carmella’s trash-talking and chases her backstage after a brief flurry of offense. She runs into Nikki Bella, who looks a bit... I don’t know. Is she going for angry? Disappointed? Constipated? Nattie pleads her case, but Nikki doesn’t want to hear any of it and storms off. They’re making it obvious that Natalya really didn’t do it, otherwise they wouldn’t constantly slap us in the face saying it was her. Maybe Eva Marie makes a triumphant return?

- Dasha Fuentes interviews Baron Corbin and my GOD, someone please fire her. Is her awkward dialogue intended, or is she really this bad? If she’s really this bad, why do they insist on putting her on television (and don’t bother answering "her looks", it was rhetorical).

The Hype Bros vs. The Ascension:

(Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley vs. Viktor & Konnor)
Both teams are once again looking to join the hunt for the Tag Team Titles, and we get inset promos from both teams. Ryder and Viktor start, since anything else would flush the match down the toilet. Ryder takes him to the corner and unloads with shoulders to the midsection. Ryder goes for Konnor and gets nailed by Viktor with a running high knee. Konnor pulls Ryder to the floor and does nothing with him. Viktor slaps on a chin-lock while JBL tries to hype up Rawley (no pun intended). Ryder counters a suplex and takes Konnor down with a neck breaker. Hot tag to Rawley. He runs over Viktor with shoulder tackles and a clothesline. Mojo with a pair of Stinger Splashes and a Full-Nelson Slam for two. Viktor with a school boy roll-up for two. Blind tag to Ryder, and the Hype Ryder finishes Viktor at 3:28. * Not much to this one, with Ryder doing all the selling but the Ascension doing little of note the entire time. I don’t think any other team on either show has more meaningless wins than the Hype Bros. Are they going to be groomed for the next title shot, or hey, how about American Alpha?

- The Miz and Maryse are standing by for the latest edition of Miz-TV. He gloats about putting Dolph Ziggler in his rear-view mirror and introduces his guest, Dean Ambrose. Had Ambrose come out, give Miz Dirty Deeds, and casually leave again, it would’ve been the greatest follow up to the segment earlier, but instead, he sits down for an actual interview. Ambrose tries to play it cool when it comes to the James Ellsworth situation. Ambrose quickly starts losing his cool at the constant antagonizing from the Miz, so Miz hides behind his wife’s back to offer Ambrose the 1st-ever Miz Participation Award... and the crowd chants "You Deserve It." "You may not have won, but you tried." Daniel Bryan comes out to calm things down... and announce Miz vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Title. Tonight. Miz is furious.

Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin:

Rematch from TLC, and standard rules this time. Will 50/50 booking show up, or will they continue to let Goliath win? Kalisto is back to wearing his regular tights. Kalisto with a go-behind, but Corbin throws him off and knocks him halfway across the ring with a shoulder tackle. Corbin with mounted forearms across the back of the neck. He tosses Kalisto to the floor and gloats. He’s willing to accept a Count-Out, but Kalisto beats the count. Kalisto with a jumping roundhouse kick, followed by a springboard moonsault from the second rope, to the floor. Kalisto with a running kick to the face and a school boy into a rolling kick. Springboard Tornado DDT and Spike-Rana for two. Corbin rolls away from a moonsault attempt, and End of Days finishes at 2:51. Way too short, but decent action while it lasted.

- John Cena hosts SNL this Saturday Night!

Chad Gable (w/ Jason Jordan) vs. Tyler Breeze (w/ Fandango):

I guess the match was set up earlier in the day when Breezango gave American Alpha a fashion police ticket. Gable and Jordan didn’t seem to take them seriously at first, playing along with their goofiness. Gable tore his ticket in half and told them to shove it, including their rent-a-cop outfits and their book of tickets. Gable quickly takes Breeze out of the corner with a monkey flip and hangs across the top rope with an arm-bar. Gable with a body press, taking both men to the floor. Fandango trips himself up in the camera cord, but Breeze uses the minor distraction to take control. Back inside, Breeze with a back suplex for two. Gable fights out of a chin-lock and takes Breeze over with an Exploder Suplex. Gable with mounted punches and a twisting body press. Jordan catches Fandango trying to interfere with a belly-to-belly suplex. Gable in with the O’Connor Roll into a bridging German Suplex for the three count at 2:32. Another match that was way too short, but featured some decent action.

- Alexa Bliss comes out for her Championship Celebration. I can’t believe I didn’t point this out before, but all the Championships on the Smackdown "Brand" are held by heels (Styles, Wyatt and Orton, Bliss, and the Miz). "Ding dong, the witch is champ." Enough with the Fairy Tale quotes. "This little bitch runs the Smackdown Women’s Division." That’s better. Becky quickly interrupts and continues to insist on calling her "Lexi." Becky wants her rematch now, but that isn’t going to happen.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Miz © (w/ Maryse) vs. Dean Ambrose:

Main Event of the night. With Daniel Bryan constantly throwing Miz into the fire, there has to be an end-game where someone from NXT (or Bryan himself, as unlikely as it seems) comes up to destroy the Miz to finally end his stranglehold on the Intercontinental Title. They do the big ring introductions to give fans the perception there might be a title change. Miz quickly goes to the arm and grabs a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and Miz with a shoulder tackle. Ambrose with a hip toss and a side headlock takeover. Ambrose with a clothesline to send Miz to the floor. He gears up for a tope suicida, but Miz conveniently hides behind Maryse to stop him in his tracks. Ambrose exits the ring and tosses Miz into the barricade as a consolation prize.

We return from commercial break with Miz doing his impersonation of Daniel Bryan. He hits a pair of running dropkicks in the corner, followed by the Awesome Clothesline. Miz sets up for the double axe-handle, but Ambrose greets him with a boot to the chest. Whip to the ropes and Ambrose with a diving clothesline. He charges into the corner with a forearm and takes Miz down with a bulldog. La Magistral cradle for two. Ambrose counters the Skull Crushing Finale, and Miz counters Dirty Deeds. Miz wraps the leg in the ropes and hits a running dropkick to the knee. Miz works the knee, but Ambrose avoids a Figure-Four. Miz with the shin breaker and smashes both knees into the canvas. Ambrose gets an elbow up on a charge. Miz counters a missile dropkick and slaps on the Figure-Four, but Ambrose is close enough to the ropes to force a break. Ambrose pulls the ropes down on a charge and follows with a limp version of tope suicida. Back inside, a series of counters leads to a roll-up from Ambrose for two. Miz with a DDT for two. Miz with the Yes-Kicks. Ambrose ducks the roundhouse and rolls him up for two. Lunatic Lariat turns Miz inside out. Maryse straddles Ambrose across the top rope and Miz hits the Busaiku Knee for a near fall. James Ellsworth decides to wander down to ringside and dispute what happened. The referee misses Ambrose having Miz locked in a cradle. Ambrose sees Ellsworth, and the distraction allows Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale to retain at 10:00 (shown). *** Good match, and perfectly acceptable TV Main Event. I don’t find it too logical for Ambrose to casually accept an IC Title shot, but they have 7 or 8 weeks until the Royal Rumble, so we need to stretch for time.

- This week’s Talking Smack featured segment was what appears to be the breakup of "Beauty and the Man-Beast." Slater talks about their loss to the Wyatt Family and trying to regain their standing in the tag team division. Rhyno wasn’t aware he was going to be the only one in the ring tonight. Slater says he won the titles, but Rhyno reminds everyone he hit the Gore to set him up for the cover. Slater says he didn’t know they were keeping score, and actually points out Rhyno lost the titles for them, if you want to go there.

Final Thoughts: Mostly a filler episode, with so much time between big shows. The Wyatt Family seem poised for a long run with the belts (or at least long enough to get to WrestleMania), and they teased the Hype Bros might be the next challengers. The Styles-Ambrose-Ellsworth saga is still unresolved, although it feels like they’re shifting the focus on Ambrose eventually doing what Styles suggested and that’s pummel Ellsworth until he’s dust. They continue to protect Baron Corbin, and Daniel Bryan still has it out for the Miz. Not a heck of a lot moved in new directions, but again, every segment served a purpose and there wasn’t worthless filler like "The Tussle for Texas" or whatever the heck was happening on Raw.

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