12/13 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Four-way determines No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship, battle royal to determine No. 1 contenders to the Smackdown Tag Titles

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By Jake Barnett

WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Taped earlier tonight in Washington, D.C. at Verizon Center

Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon watched James Ellsworth footage from last week on the Tron. Ellsworth walked up backstage and sneezed repeatedly, and Bryan and Shane told him to go home because he was in no condition to compete. They said they needed to find a new number one contender…

Miz was in the ring to start the show and welcomed everyone to MizTV. He said while MizTV is always a star studded event, tonight was special because it featured two the most important Champions in WWE. He then introduced AJ Styles, who made his entrance. Miz mentioned Shane and Daniel Bryan postponing James Ellsworth’s title shot, and Styles said he came down with a case of chinfluenza. They complimented each other about Miz’s sense of humor and AJ Style’s hair. AJ said he was going for Shampoo and Conditioner endorsements.

They got around to business, and Miz put himself over. He said he’s the only one who brought a title back from obscurity, and that he beat Dean Ambrose last week. He said AJ thinks no one is on his level, and he’s right, because he’s above it. Miz said it was about time he made the WWE Championship legendary. Dean Ambrose made his entrance to interrupt and everyone cleared out to the apron, and then Dolph Ziggler followed with a microphone.

Dolph said they were talking a lot of game for two guys who can’t seem to win without cheating. He said if he didn’t have Maryse’s skirt to hide behind, he could just use AJ’s. Miz got back in the ring and brawled with Dolph, giving him a Skull Crushing Finale. Ambrose gave Miz a Dirty Deeds, and AJ just started a walk up the ramp. Ambrose gave Ziggler Dirty Deeds, and then hit the Wyatt sounder hit. Luke Harper appeared in the ring and hit Ambrose with a clothesline. He stared down Styles on the ramp. Natalya vs. Carmella is set for next…[c]

My Take: Solid opener with a few surprises. Nice to see Ambrose get after Dolph a little, as they have no reason to like one another. Harper is a wildcard here and it’s nice to see him get a little rub by being involved at the top of the card. He’s criminally underutilized so I’m interested to see if this is just a one night thing or something more long term.

Backstage, AJ Styles asked Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles for protection. They said he could get protection at the pharmacy. Shane announced Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz in an elimination match for the number one contendership. Outside interference will cause an elimination. The winner will face AJ at the final Smackdown of the year on December 27th.

Nikki Bella was on commentary. Natalya came out and pleaded with Nikki that she wasn’t the one who attacked her. She said she had to do it this way because Nikki wouldn’t take her calls, and she wanted to say something before Carmella came out and ran her mouth.

1. Natalya vs. Carmella: Nattie jumped Carmella with a double leg takedown and some mounted punches. Carmella escaped to the outside briefly, but they rinsed and repeated the spot a second time. Carmella hit a slap to Nattie’s face after she escaped a second time to rattle Nattie, and then took her down and hit some mounted punches of her own…[c]

Carmella continued in control with a clothesline and an elbow drop for a two count. She continued with stomps in the corner and then moonwalked. She hit a bronco buster in the corner for another two count. She then applied a waistlock in the ring, which turned into a guillotine after attempted to reverse into a position where she could land punches from the BJJ guard position. Nattie powered out eventually and hit a sit out powerslam. She then rolled to the outside to have words with Nikki, and ended up getting distracted and rolled up when she got back in the ring for the win.

Carmella defeated Nattie at 9:03.

A Tag Team Battle Royal was advertised for later…[c]

My Take: The drama over who attacked Nikki is running low on traction at this point. They need to find a way to make the mystery more interesting than just having Nattie plead to Nikki, because they don’t have anything interesting for Nikki to say in reply. Carmella has been fine as the instigator, but they have exhausted the material.

Backstage, Gabriel Iglesias walked up to Apollo Crews and said he was excited to be there, and said he was excited to be there tomorrow at Tribute to the Troops. Maryse and Miz walked up and said he looked ridiculous in his fluffy shirt. He told Miz he looked out of this world in his suit, and asked if he got it on planet your-anus. Miz blew them off and said that he didn’t have time for a fluffy piece of sh… or “Creed”. I think he meant to say Crews, or there may have been a joke I missed. In the arena, American Alpha and the Hype Bros made their entrances for the Battle Royal…[c]

My Take: Miz is always good for interacting with celebrities because he’s easy to clown on. Crews seemed out of place there. They needed a babyface for Iglesias to interact with, but he’s to devoid of any real character that it just felt a bit forced.

2. Tag Team Battle Royal: Mojo eliminated Simon Gotch nearly immediately. The rest of the guys broke off into pairs for the standard Battle Royal Fare. This went on for several minutes, with a few near eliminations to Heath Slater and Aiden English. Viktor was eliminated by Chad Gable with an over the top armbar into an arm drag of sorts. Gable climbed back into the ring, only to be eliminated by Konnor immediately with a clothesline. Rhyno got sent out to the apron, only to be eliminated on accident by Heath Slater…[c]

Jason Jordan eliminated Aiden English with a big pancake from the apron out to the floor. Fandango and Slater both brawled on the apron as well, with Fandango dropping him. Slater recovered to sweep the leg and send Fandango crashing to the floor. Mojo Rawley was eliminated by the Fashion Police in a highlight during the commerical break. It was down to Slater, Jordan, Breeze, Konnor, and Zack Ryder. Jordan fired up and hit spears and suplex all over. Jason Jordan jumped at Konnor, but was caught and dumped over the top to be eliminated from the match. Breeze and Konnor teamed up temporarily, but Slater took them both out with strikes.

Konnor sent Slater out onto the apron, where he had to fight off Konnor and Breeze to get back in the ring. He was eliminated shortly afterward by Konnor, who simply picked him up and tossed him out. Breeze tried to sucker in Konnor for a double team elimination of Ryder, but Breeze overplayed his hand and Konnor threw him out on the apron. Ryder hit him with a dropkick to eliminate him. Ryder went for a Rough Ryder on Konnor, but got caught in position for a powerbomb. Ryder reversed and eliminated Konnor with a headscissors to get the win.

The Hype Bros are your Number One Contenders at 16:11

The main event was hyped for later. Alexa Bliss was plugged for next…[c]

My Take: Blah. They Hype Bros vs. Orton and Wyatt? They must want to put off Alpha chasing the Wyatt’s for as long as possible to build a fan appetite for it, but I think it’s already there. The Hype Bros feel bush league and out of place in comparison with the champs.

Alexa Bliss made her ring entrance. Alexa grabbed a microphone and told the ring announce she’d heard enough. Deonna Purrazzo would be her opponent, but Alexa said she doesn’t do charity cases. Deonna got in her face, and Alexa quickly attacked her and tossed her out of the ring. Becky Lynch interrupted and said she was terribly rude last week. She apologized for catching her off guard asking her for her rematch when she wasn’t in her ring gear. But, since Alexa was in her gear, and she was in hers, why don’t they have that rematch right now?

Alexa told her she’s got her match….just not tonight. She left up the ramp, and said it would be on her terms. Shane McMahon’s music hit and he headed out on stage. Shane said hello to the crowd and said she does have a rematch, and the match is up next…[c]

My Take: Too bad we didn’t get to see some of what Deonna Purrazzo can do, although a cameo isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m surprised to see the rematch take place tonight, but I’m guessing this isn’t the final stop on this train.

3. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Alexa ran away to start the match, and tied herself up in the ropes to force a ref separation. Becky attempted a disarmer right away, but Alexa escaped. Becky hit some arm drags and a springboard sidekick in the corner. Alexa timed a springboard out of the corner coming off an irish whip, and kicked Becky in the gut. They went back and forth with hard strikes, with Becky getting the best of it. She went for an exploder suplex, but couldn’t get any leverate out of the corner. She then went for the disarmer a second time, but Alexa quickly found the ropes and rolled outside.

Becky followed and hit a nasty forearm. Alexa jumped out of the ring again and pretended to sprain her knee, and got herself counted out. She lost the match, but retained the Championship.

Becky Lynch defeated Alexa Bliss via countout at 6:39

Becky followed her to the outside after the match and they brawled back into the ring. Becky put a beating on her, but couldn’t get the crowd back after the deflating countout finish. The main event was plugged for next…[c]

My Take: That match never quite got going. They both put forth a good effort, but it didn’t last long enough to reach any level of suspense, and they worked a relatively low impact match that didn’t have many crowd pleasing high spots. I think it might look a bit better if Alexa was able to sell Becky’s comeback in a more animated way, because she’s playing a vulnerable champion but not really working the match that way when she’s selling.

John Cena’s return was plugged for two weeks away. Dean Ambrose made his ring entrance in the arena. He was then followed by Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and Luke Harper. The announcers said AJ Styles would join them on commentary next…[c]

4. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper: Harper immediately hit a kick on Ambrose and vaulted Ziggler into the air for a pancake. He then hit a suicide dive on Ambrose, and turned his attention to the Miz. Harper hit a big slap across the Miz’s face, and then hit a sit out slam for a two count. Miz and Ambrose returned and took out Harper with kicks and a double clothesline out to the floor. They then turned their attention to one another until Miz low bridged Ambrose out to the floor. Miz went after Ziggler and hit a neckbreaker for a two count.

Miz hit some Yes Kicks and then some corner dropkicks. He went for a third, but Ambrose entered the match again and hit a clothesline and a bulldog. Ambrose attempted a suicide dive onto Harper on the outside and got blocked, and then attempted a lunatic lariat, but Harper kicked him in the face. Harper then entered the ring and went after Ziggler. Harper hit a mean clothesline and then took out Ambrose and chased off Miz on the outside. Everyone got back in the ring and there were some rapid fire high impact clotheslines between Harper, Ziggler, and Ambrose. Miz tried to capitalize and pin all three of them, but Ambrose played possum and pinned him for the first elimination…[c]

Miz and Ziggler brawled in the ring, and eventually worked their way into a superplex spot in the corner. Luke Harper joined the fray and set up for an electric chair on Ziggler, but he slipped out and hit Harper with a zig zag. Ambrose hit an elbow from the top and covered for a near fall. Harper hit a spinning side slam and nearly got a three on Ambrose. He then hit a sit out powerbomb and got another close near fall on Ziggler. Harper walked into a superkick and Dirty Deeds a moment later to be eliminated, which got some vocal boos from the crowd. People are hungry for new blood. Ziggler fired up and hit a nice sequence of moves on Ambrose, including a nice neckbreaker.

They fought out onto the apron, where Ambrose hit a catapult that sent Ziggler into the ring post. Ambrose then tossed a lifeless Ziggler back into the ring. He climbed up to the top rope, where Ziggler hit an avalanche facebuster. Ambrose rolled him up after he fought to his feet to make a pin, but only got a near fall. The Miz reappeared and got Ziggler’s attention, and he went to the outside. Ambrose hit him with a suicide dive, and then Ziggler hit Miz with a superkick. Ambrose tossed Ziggler into the ring post again, and then back into the ring. Miz held up Ambrose from getting back in, which set him up for a superkick and Ziggler covering for the win.

Dolph Ziggler is the number one contender

Ziggler stared down Styles to close the show.

My Take: Man, I was really hoping for Harper to get a win there. Large parts of the crowd were pretty disappointed too. Swapping feuds between the two champions might actually be the least interesting option they could have gone with, although I understand if they are just biding their time waiting to get to The Royal Rumble and a soft reset heading into WrestleMania. Cena returning in two weeks will be a shot in the arm, but they really couldn’t have used a new infusion into the main event scene on Smackdown. Harper is one of the few guys on the show that can slot right in and feel like he belongs there. Hopefully this isn’t a one night event for him.



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