By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Live from Ottawa, Ontario at Canadian Tire Centre
Video was shown of the Men’s Survivor Series match, and Bray Wyatt picking up the win for Team Smackdown. Mauro Ranallo welcomed us to the show and Shane McMahon made his way out to the ring. He surveyed the crowd and said they had to excuse him for not being his energetic self, he feels like he’s been in a car accident. The crowd told him “You still got it”, and he gave a shout out to Team Raw for competing hard, and said he was happy that Team Smackdown got the win. He mentioned the names of Team Raw, and said Roman Reigns almost separated him from his Jordans.
He the moved onto Team Smackdown, and gave thanks to Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt, and admonished Ambrose and Styles for being unable to put aside their differences. Before he could move on, Dean Ambrose interrupted him. Ambrose asked Shane why he was so low energy, and told him that there was fresh snow on the ground in the Great White North, and that it was brand new day. Shane brought up that he didn’t know they would win when he came down to help his Shield Buddies, and Ambrose said he was too focused on the negative. He then brought out the man who single handedly eliminated Braun Strowman, James Ellsworth.
Ambrose said Shane had a surprise for James Ellsworth, and Shane said he wanted to tell him privately in the back. Ambrose spoiled it and told him he was getting a Smackdown Live contract, and then Shane capitulated and made him the formal offer. He said Ellsworth is undoubtedly happy about receiving a new contract. He told Ambrose that because he had been so out of control lately, he was giving him a new contract. He then went a step further and asked him to leave the building. The crowd booed, but Dean walked to the back.
AJ Styles made his entrance, and said that he wondered when Smackdown Live became the land of undeserved opportunity. He said Dean Ambrose didn’t even deserve to be on Smackdown anymore, let alone a title shot. He then said Ellsworth didn’t deserve anything. He had been given an opportunity, and he hadn’t earned anything. Guys like AJ have scratched, clawed, bled, and cried for their shot, and Ellsworth had done nothing. Styles proposed that he have a match with Ellsworth later tonight, because he needed a tune up.
He proposed a ladder match with Ellsworth’s contract on the line. Styles said he would tear it up right in his face. Ellsworth responded that he didn’t mind having the ladder match, but he not only wanted a contract if he won, he wanted a World Championship opportunity too. Shane then made the match. AJ gloated and left, and suddenly Ambrose was back in the ring with his arm around Ellsworth.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan confront The Miz and Maryse, who were in the middle of a photo shoot. Bryan said he better call this short, because he’s going to be busy tonight. Miz said he was ready for his big celebration, because today was Mizgiving. Bryan said there wouldn’t be a celebration because he had embarrassed Smackdown with the way he won on Sunday. He said Baron Corbin had ruined Kalisto’s Cruiserweight Championship opportunity as well, so Bryan was giving him a chance to capture the Intercontinental Championship. He said Miz better not waste any time, because the match was next.
A #1 Contenders Match for the Tag Team Championship was made for later…[c]
My Take: I can’t believe they are still making Ellsworth a fixture on this show. He’s probably going to win later and get a title shot next week, which would complete this odd build where Ambrose and Styles have been fighting a proxy feud through Ellsworth. Where do you go with him after this is over? It’s hard to imagine him doing anything but being a comedy act on the low end of the card.
Backstage, Shane walked Ambrose out of the building. Ambrose said he was going to get something to eat, and that he would bring something back. Kalisto was already in the ring, and the Miz made his ring entrance.
1. The Miz vs. Kalisto: Kalisto controlled the pace early and sent Miz flying out to the floor…[c]
Miz took a run at Miz in the corner, but ate a kick. Kalisto hit a springboard seated senton, followed by a sprinboard twisting back elbow for a two count. Kalisto reversed a powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana, and then attempted to climb the top rope. He spotted someone and the camera panned, but the camera missed it. Kalisto jumped off the ropes and landed on his feet, and Baron Corbin jumped up on the apron. The Miz used an opportunity to hit a Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
The Miz defeated Kalisto
Corbin attacked Kalisto after the bell and hit End of Days. Ziggler snuck up behind Miz and hit a Superkick on the ramp. Maryse tended to him as Ziggler walked away. Backstage, Bryan and Shane said things were out of control and they needed to put a stop to it. Bryan walked off, but was interrupted by Alexa Bliss. He said he didn’t have time, but Shane did. Alexa demanded her title shot, and Becky walked up and said she would get it at TLC. Natalya interrupted and said she thought long and hard with her cat Two Paws, and blamed Becky for their loss at Survivor Series.
Nattie said Becky was afraid of Alexa and it caused the distraction that forced them to lose. Shane said if she was so sure, she should have a match later with Becky Lynch. Nattie then quoted Celine Dion’s “My Heart will Go On” from Titanic, and Alexa rolled her eyes and walked off. Dean Ambrose walked up with Pizza, and offered some to Shane and Becky. They refused, and Shane told Dean to leave. Becky made a pun about taking a pizza Nattie’s arm, and walked away. Dean shouted from off screen that he heard it and loved it. Shane was left baffled. The announce team threw to a video hyping WrestleMania ticket sales. Tag Team Turmoil for the #1 Contendership is next…[c]
My Take: This show is off the rails tonight. They have a PPV in two weeks, and the show feels like a bit of a farce. Hopefully they get things together for the final hour. They need to move on from all these feuds in two weeks.
The Ascension were already in the ring. The Hype Bros made their entrance to start Tag Team Turmoil.
2. Tag Team Turmoil: The Ascension took out Mojo Rawley out on the floor and worked some double team on Ryder in the ring. Ryder turned the tables with a double neckbreaker, reversing a double suplex attempt. Mojo recovered and quickly ran in and delivered a running right hand to Konnor. They then hit the Hype Driver on Victor and got the pin.
The Hype Bros defeated The Ascension
Breezango ran down the ring and got cleared out to the floor immediately by Mojo and Ryder…[c]
Ryder hit a missile dropkick on Breeze, but was unable to hit the Broski Boot. Breeze hit a slingshot into an elbow from Fandango, who then hit a springboard elbow drop for the pin.
Breezango defeated the Hype Bros
American Alpha ran down, and Fandango took it straight to Chad Gable. They hit a double team kick and went for the same slingshot, but Gable outsmarted them and hooked the legs in Fandango and got the pin.
American Alpha defeated Breezango
The Vaudevillains ran down and Gable cleared English from the ring with a clothesline. Jordan grabbed Gotch, and they hit a dropkick German Suplex combo and picked up a quick pin.
American Alpha defeated The Vaudevillains
The Usos took their time to get to the ring, and the match began on their time table. Gable and Jimmy started the match…[c]
Jimmy hit an elbow to the chest of Jason Jordan, who was draped over the apron on the outside. He then applied a rear chin lock, while Rhyno and Slater looked at a television in the back. Jay tagged in, and he hit a boot to the face and went back to the chin lock. They cut off the ring and worked some double team offense. Jimmy hit a running forearm in the corner, and then hit some driving elbows while he was on the ground.
More frequent tags from the Usos, and Jey Uso made a cover for a near fall after a kick to the gut. Jordan made a cover after avoiding both Usos flying forearms, and Gable ran in and cleaned house. He hit twisting clothesline from the top on Jey that sent him to the outside, and a German suplex on Jimmy that got a near fall. Jimmy rolled out to the floor, and Gable followed. Jimmy was able to shove Gable into the post. They then hit a double team Demolition style pendulum backbreaker splash in the ring that got a near fall. Alpha fired back with Jordan recovering and sending Jey out to the floor. They then hit an avalanche bulldog on Jimmy to get a near fall of their own. Jey recovered and hit a superkick on Jordan. He then went for a splash, and Jordan got the knees up and turned it into a cover for a near fall. Things broke down and the match ended up with rapid fire spots. Alpha got the best of it by hitting Grand Amplitude and getting the cover on Jey for the win.
American Alpha defeated The Usos
The Wyatt sounder hit and the Wyatt family was on the tron. They said that Alpha shouldn’t celebrate yet, as they haven’t faced all the teams. He said next week, he and Randy were coming for them. Backstage, Daniel Bryan pleased with James Ellsworth to think twice about what he’s doing tonight. Ellsworth gave a sob speech about any man with two feet being able to climb a ladder, when Dean Ambrose walked up dressed like The Mountie. Bryan said Shane is going to freak out if he sees him, and then Shane walked up. He just about lost it, when Bryan told him he needs to take the rest of the night off because he’s too stressed out. Ambrose asked if he wanted to know why he’s dressed like The Mountie, and Shane said no and left.
Bryan turned back to Dean and said he had to go, but said he was curious about why he was dressed that way. Dean took off his glasses and said he has a message for AJ Styles. He said The Mountie always gets his man. Both Bryan and Ambrose cracked up trying to get through the line…[c]
My Take: Ambrose and Wyatt in the tag division seems like the path to their eventual implosion. They’ll probably capture the Championship and eventually lose it to Alpha, which would be a good way to transition the title to them. Tag Team Turmoil was amusing at first, but then got very good down the stretch with The Usos and Alpha carrying the brunt of the load.
Nattie was in the ring. Becky Lynch made her ring entrance while Alexa Bliss was introduced on commentary.
3. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya: Nattie and Becky worked some chain wrestling to start, and worked to a couple of stand up stalemates. They then traded punches, and Becky got the better of it initially. She went up top, but Nattie stopped her and hit a sit out powerbomb for a two count. Nattie celebrated her near fall for some reason by taunting the crowd…[c]
Natalya had an abdominal stretch applied, and then covered for a near fall. She then hit a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. She then pulled out one of Becky’s hair extensions, but then got rolled up for a two count. Becky fired up and got the crowd into the match with a series of forearms. She tried several times for the disarmer, but Natalya reversed. Becky hit an exploder suplex, and then took a run at Nattie in the corner, but got tripped into the second turnbuckle, Nattie then attempted a sharpshooter, but Becky reversed into the Disarmer for the tap out victory.
Becky Lynch defeated Natalya
After the match, Becky celebrated for a few seconds before being assaulted by Alexa Bliss, who it a DDT and then jawed at Becky as she walked up the ramp. The announce team then threw to the Hype Bros, who sold you holiday merch from WWE Shop. The main event was hyped, as well as Kane and Baron Corbin for next…[c]
My Take: I liked the match. Nattie and Becky have good chemistry in the ring, and Nattie sells better than Alexa has for Becky’s comeback. The post match attack was expected, and Alexa’s work at the announce team was better than average for what we’ve seen from the women’s division. I don’t think they move the title at TLC, but I’m looking forward to the match.
Daniel Bryan was on the phone, and Miz interrupted him. He demanded Dolph Ziggler be suspended for super kicking him for no reason. Bryan shrugged off the comment about Ziggler not having a reason, and said that he was owed a rematch. He made a match for TLC, and said it would be their last match no matter the outcome. He said they would go out with a bang, and it would be a ladder match. Miz said he would put an end to Ziggler with a Skull Crushing Finale.
In the locker room, Carmella was having her own phone conversation when Nikki Bella walked up. She accused of attacking her before the survivor series match, and Carmella denied it. Carmells said it was likely Charlotte, or Dana Brooke, or any number of people at the E! Network. She said her boyfriend might be about Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, but she was no Mother Theresa. Nikki said she had spoken to her brother in law, and they were going to sort out their problem once and for all. She said Bryan had made a no DQ match between them at TLC.
In the arena, Kane made his entrance, followed by Baron Corbin…[c]
My Take: TLC is getting booked in a hurry tonight out of necessity, but it’s coming together nicely. In 2017, WWE should really consider making single brand Smackdown shows 2 hours, because it would give them some flexibility about which feuds actually require PPV matches.
4. Kane vs. Baron Corbin: Kane grabbed a choke immediately. Corbin fought out and hit the ropes, but ran into a big boot. Corbin hit a strike that rattled Kane, and then went after him in the corner. Kane fought out of the corner and Corbin ran to the outside and used his speed. Kane followed and Corbin got back in the ring and assaulted him when he jumped up on the apron. Kalisto appeared and assaulted Corbin in the ring. The bell rang for a disqualification.
Baron Corbin defeated Kane via DQ
After the match, Kalisto rolled to the outside and Kane entered to hit a chokeslam on Corbin. Kalisto ran to the outside and grabbed a chair, but Corbin rolled to the outside. Kalisto dared him to get back in the ring, and he did. Kalisto surprised him with a Van Daminator, and Corbin was forced to retreat. The main event is next…[c]
My Take: Kalisto looked pretty good here, and Corbin did a nice job of looking tough while still selling the Van Daminator. The match didn’t last long enough to leave a real impression.
We got ring entrances for the Main Event. Ellsworth was still in the neck brace.
5. AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth: Styles was gloating at the start. Ellsworth missed a punch and grabbed at his neck. Styles pried off the neck brace and sent Ellsworth to the floor. He then grabbed a ladder and put it in the ring. Ellsworth grabbed at the ladder, but Styles pulled it away from him and pulled Ellsworth into the ring apron. Styles climbed, but Ellsworth grabbed his leg.
Styles climbed down and gave Ellsworth a backbreaker. He then tied him up in the ladder and kicked him in the chest. Styles placed the ladder on Ellsworth’s chest and started to climb the ladder, when Ambrose ran in wearing Ottawa Senators gear. He threw Styles into the ladder and sent him to the outside. He tried to wake up Ellsworth to no avail. Styles hit a phenomenal forearm on Ambrose, and then tried to climb the ladder again. Ellsworth pushed over the ladder and Styles spilled out to the floor.
Ellsworth looked to climb the ladder, and Styles climbed back into the ring. Ellsworth hit the No Chin Music and Styles foot got caught up in the ropes. Ellsworth climbed the ladder and grabbed the contract to get the win.
James Ellsworth defeated AJ Styles
Styles ended the show in disbelief. Dean Ambrose carried around Ellsworth as he cried. Ambrose placed him on the announce table and they stood on top of it and celebrated.
My Take: Well, that was predictable. I wish they would put the same effort into getting James Ellsworth over on Sami Zayn, Cesaro, or the Cruiserweight Division. They got a lot of booking done for TLC on this show, but a lot of this felt comedic that isn’t what sells me on wrestling PPV’s. There’s too many jokes and puns and attempts to make the roster feel like a family that puts on a television show rather than athletes feuding over important Championships.