12/22 Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live Review: Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler for the IC Title

By Jason Powell

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WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Live from Des Moines, Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena

[Q1] The opening montage opened the show… Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T were on commentary… Eden Stiles wore a Santa hat and announced the tag title match was up first… The stage was had Christmas trees and presents on it, and there was another tree at ringside…

New Day made their entrance wearing Santa hats with unicorn horns. They delivered a promo as they headed to the ring and once they were there said they wanted to promote their upcoming Christmas album. They ran through some silly names and finished by singing “We wish you a booty Christmas and a happy New Day”…

Powell’s POV: New Day are doing a better job of coming off as heels rather than being too entertaining to boo. I guess WWE trust Cole more than Rich Brennan, who will get one more Smackdown to call next week before Mauro Ranallo takes over in the new year. By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett tonight, but he will be back on Wednesday with a WWE Smackdown Hit List.

1. Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. The Lucha Dragons for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Kingston kicked Sin Cara through the ropes at ringside, then Woods played the trombone heading into the break. [C]

[Q2] Big E ran Kalisto into the barricade at ringside and drew a gasp from the crowd. Woods continued to play his trombone while his partners isolated Kalisto. The Dragons came back and Kalisto hit his finisher on Big E. The referee got tied up with the other team members. Sin Cara dodged Woods swinging his trombone at him, but Big E recovered and caught Sin Cara springboarding off the ropes and put him down with The Big Ending for the win…

New Day defeated The Lucha Dragons to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship in 13:05.

Powell’s POV: A good match to open the show with given all the nonsense we saw last night during the Slammy Awards. New Day dominated enough of the match that I wondered if the babyfaces were going over, so the comeback of the Dragons worked well.

The broadcast team hyped The Uso Brothers vs. Alberto Del Rio and Rusev, and the Intercontinental Title match… Backstage, put on The Cobra glove to put a star on top of a Christmas tree. However, a man with a red glove showed up and took the star down…

A video package aired with Dolph Ziggler wishing viewers a Merry Christmas. Charlotte acted nice once she realized she was on camera. Tyler Breeze didn’t play along. Roman Reigns delivered a straight forward Merry Christmas from his family to yours… [C]

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Dean Ambrose, who spoke about his injuries and then spoke about metaphors vs. literal. He vowed to remain the Intercontinental Championship. He said he’s sorry, but tonight is not Owens’ or Ziggler’s night. “That’s not a metaphor, that’s a fact,” Ambrose said…

[Q3] 2. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman vs. Ryback, Kane, and The Dudley Boyz in an eight-man tag match. They took an early break as the crowd was chanting “Feed Me More.” [C] An ad hyped John Cena as returning to Raw to face Alberto Del Rio on Monday.

Strowman checked into the match and called for Kane to be tagged in. Kane obliged after getting a big reaction from the crowd. Kane got the better of the initial exchange, but Strowman took advantage of Harper distracting Kane and clotheslined him to the mat before tagging out. Later, Ryback performed a missile dropkick off the second rope. The crowd didn’t care, so he played to them until he got a reaction. [C]

[Q4] Kane and Strowman had another exchange with Kane clotheslining Strowman to the floor. However, Strowman recovered and ran Kane into the post. Ryback was taken out at ringside by Rowan. The Dudleys set up for the Whassup spot, but Devon dove onto Strowman at ringside and was caught and then kicked by Harper. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Bubba and pinned him…

The Wyatt Family beat Ryback, Kane, and The Dudley Boyz in 16:10.

Powell’s POV: Has anyone else reached the point of feeling like The Dudley Boyz should just give up their quest of beating The Wyatt Family in eight-man tag matches? They could keep it more interesting if they gave Bubba some mic time and let him talk about how they’re not going to stop until they finally beat them.

Backstage, Tyler Breeze and Summer Rae left Santino’s party because there were no decorations or food. Adam Rose and Damien Sandow also split. Santino returned and found the mess. Stardust and The Ascension showed up and mocked him. Neville showed up wearing an elf hat. He told them they don’t mess with Christmas. Titus showed up and joined Neville while putting him over as the breakout star of the year. This is leading to a match of some kind…

Cole hyped The Uso Brothers vs. Del Rio and Rusev for after the break… [C] Cole and a graphic boasted about WWE’s work with the troops. Cole hyped the Tribute to the Troops special for Wednesday night…

League of Nations made their entrance and footage of their attack on the Uso Brothers on Raw was shown. The Uso Brothers made their usual entrance and then Cole pimped the Chicago house show, meaning it’s probably not selling well…

Powell’s POV: Two guys who had their asses kicked by four men the night before shouldn’t be worried about what the f’n live crowd is chanting. They should be pissed and charge the ring in search of revenge.

[Q5] 3. Rusev and Alberto Del Rio (w/Sheamus) vs. The Uso Brothers. The Usos performed a couple of dives onto their opponents on the floor, but the heels were back in control as they went to break. [C] The heels remained in control coming out of the break. The Usos battled back. Del Rio had one of them tied up in the ropes and set up for his finisher, but the Uso sat up. Barrett distracted the referee and then Rusev kicked the Uso, allowing Del Rio to hit his double stomp for the win…

Alberto Del Rio and Rusev beat The Uso Brothers in 10:25.

After the match, League of Nations ganged up on the Uso Brothers. Sheamus was about to deliver a Brogue Kick to an Uso who had the U.S. Title belt in front of his face, but Roman Reigns ran out for the save. Reigns and the Uso Brothers cleared the ring…

Cole hyped the Intercontinental Title match… Another holiday montage aired with Dean Ambrose, Santino Marella, Becky Lynch, and New Day delivering separate holiday greetings…

Powell’s POV: The live crowd was flat during the match and I couldn’t help but wonder how much more enthusiastic they would have been if the Usos shook up their entrance as I mentioned previously or if they had been given some promo time and showed good fire. However, the crowd was certainly responsive to Reigns making the save, so that’s a positive. By the way, one can only hope that Del Rio will get some mic time to address his Raw match against John Cena.

[Q6] [C] With Stardust and The Ascension in the ring, Santino Marella came out and introduced “Santino’s Little Helpers” as their opponents…

4. Neville and Titus O’Neil (w/Santino Marella) vs. The Ascension (w/Stardust). Neville brought his Slammy Award to the ring with him. Ugh. At ringside, Santino was surrounded by all three opponents and teased using the Cobra, but he wiped his brow instead. Neville took out all three men with a dive. Back in the ring, Neville hit the Red Arrow on Viktor for the win…

Neville and Titus O’Neil beat The Ascension in 3:10.

Powell’s POV: One can only hope that Neville doesn’t have to carry around that stupid award after tonight. Just thing, WWE dedicated more promo time to setting up this match than they did the previous match and even John Cena’s return match.

The broadcast team recapped footage of Dolph Ziggler superkicking Dean Ambrose on Smackdown last week and questioned whether it was accidental…

Backstage, Young interviewed Ziggler, who said he feels stuck in the middle of the Owens vs. Ambrose feud. He said he’s better than that. He said the IC Title is special to him because it’s the first title he won on his own. Ziggler spoke about 2016 and then borrowed a recent Tony Romo tweet that was actually taken from the movie Major League by saying the only thing left to do was win the whole thing… [C]

Powell’s POV: Let’s hope this works better for Ziggler than it did Romo, who re-broke his collarbone in his first game back after borrowing that line.

[Q7] 5. Charlotte vs. Brie Bella. Becky Lynch sat in on commentary and spoke about winning the right way and her friendship with Charlotte. Team BAD came out wearing Christmas wear and poured eggnog over the head of Lynch. Charlotte saw them, yet applied the Figure 8 to win her match rather than help Lynch. Afterward, Charlotte laughed when she saw Lynch, who was not amused…

Charlotte defeated Brie Bella in 3:30.

Powell’s POV: The angle and commentary was effective in showing how self-centered Charlotte is. I just don’t know if Lynch is really connecting with fans in a way that it’s going to feel like a big deal when she finally snaps on Charlotte. Team BAD continue to be female New Day. I’m also not a fan of Charlotte’s match just being thrown out there. It should be treated as important when champions wrestle.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Kevin Owens, who spoke about taking back what he considers his from Dean Ambrose. Owens said he has no problem powerbombing Ziggler if he gets in his way again. Owens said Smackdown is the Kevin Owens show and he’s walking out Intercontinental Champion…

Dean Ambrose made his entrance for the main event… [C] Ziggler and then Owens made their entrances. Footage aired of them fighting on Raw…

[Q8] 6. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Title. Booker said he thinks Ziggler is getting tired of being a whooping boy in WWE. They cut to an early commercial break. [C] All three men ended up at ringside after the break. Cole said Owens was so upset during the break that he threw a Santa hat at them.

The wrestlers fought to the stage where Owens threw Ziggler into the Christmas set. Owens picked up a tree and threw it at Ambrose. Owens set up to powerbomb Owens off the stage, but Ziggler superkicked him. Owens and Ziggler teamed up to throw Owens off the stage and onto another Christmas set below. Ziggler and Ambrose traded punches and fought there way back into the ring.

Owens returned to the ring and there was a cool rapid fire spot with Ziggler superkicking Ambrose, Owens superkicking Ziggler, and then Ambrose clotheslining Owens. Owens ducked to ringside to recover. Ziggler caught Ambrose on the top rope and performed a facebuster and went for a cover, but Owens broke up the pin. Owens pulled Ziggler to the floor and ran him into the steps, then raced back inside and covered Ambrose for two.

Ziggler placed Owens in a sleeper. Owens performed a senton that resulted in Ziggler landing on Ambrose to break the hold. Cool spot. Owens threw a wicked suplex on Ambrose and covered him for a two count. The replay showed Ambrose was dropped on his head. Cole praised the official for making Owens back off so that he could check on Ambrose. Cole said there are no DQs in a Triple Threat, but you have to show concern for the wellbeing of the wrestlers.

Later, Ambrose set up for Dirty Deeds on Owens, but Ziggler performed a Zigzag on Ambrose instead. Ziggler went for a superkick, but Ambrose dodged it. Ziggler superkicked Owens instead, but then ate Dirty Deeds, which resulted in Ambrose getting the win. Ambrose immediately grabbed his neck after the match, but then went to ringside and swung his title belt around while celebrating at ringside…

Dean Ambrose beat Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler to retain the Intercontinental Title in 13:30.

Powell’s POV: That was a vicious landing for Ambrose. He landed on his head and then his neck bent awkwardly. Hopefully he’s okay once the adrenaline from the match wears off. Putting that aside, this was a very entertaining main event to close off the best Christmas themed show you’ll see from WWE. I guess they got most of the zaniness out of their system via the Slammy Awards. The two title matches were both entertaining and I enjoyed this show so much more than the Slammy Awards sports entertainment nonsense we saw the night before. Thanks for watching along with me. Jake Barnett will be by on Wednesday with the WWE Smackdown Hit List. Have a Merry Christmas.

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The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ODB discussing the fire that destroyed her food truck, the fundraising drive to help her buy a new truck, her appearance on the latest Impact Wrestling television show, Triple H telling her to go to TNA, and much more...


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