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WWE SmackDown live results: AJ Styles & John Cena contract signing

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Date: January 3, 2017
Location: Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL

The Big Takeaway --

Dean Ambrose won the IC Title from The Miz, and there was a terrific contract signing segment with John Cena and AJ Styles. Oh, and Dolph Ziggler turned heel.

Show Recap -- 

No intro or fireworks this week as Maryse and The Miz kick off SmackDown instead. Miz called themselves the “it couple” and the “ratings spike.” He called himself the greatest IC champion ever and Maryse the hottest woman on the planet. His only new year’s resolution was to be more forgiving. That led to him calling out Renee Young because she owes him an apology.

Renee didn’t show, so Miz said SmackDown would not continue until he gets his apology. He was pissed Renee and Ambrose set him up last week and that Ambrose was just gifted a title shot. The crowd chanted “We want Ambrose,” while Miz claimed Renee sacrificed her integrity by doing dirty deeds with Dean.

That brought out Ambrose, but Miz fled the ring while Maryse stood her ground. She slapped Ambrose and left with Miz. As they were leaving, Ambrose said the worst part of his evening was over, because Maryse hits way harder than he does.

They announced the Styles-Cena contract signing for tonight hosted by Daniel Bryan. 

Mauro Ranallo thanked the fans for making SmackDown the number one rated “sports entertainment” show last week. They still shoot the four-man announce booth at an angle to make Tom Phillips look completely out of place.

Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler

Corbin gained the heat quickly by simply swatting Ziggler away on a dropkick attempt. Ziggler was able to hit a dropkick after a few minutes, but Corbin gained control again after a break by using a short-arm clothesline. Ziggler came back with a Stinger splash, swinging neckbreaker and elbow drop for a two count. Corbin countered a fameasser into a clothesline for two.

Ziggler avoided a shoulder tackle and hit a fameasser for a near fall. Corbin went for yet another clothesline, but Ziggler ducked and hit a Zig Zag for a near fall. Ziggler tried a quick flurry of punches but Corbin just grabbed him and hit End of Days for the win.

(For whatever reason, they would show replays during the match by using the entire screen instead of doing the usual side-by-side shot, which is weird. Perhaps it's to differentiate the show from Raw, but it’s not an improvement.)

Afterwards, Corbin grabbed a chair to attack Ziggler, but Kalisto ran out to make the save. With Corbin gone, Ziggler superkicked Kalisto and yelled at him, claiming he didn’t need anyone. The crowd chanted “Yes” of course.

Backstage, James Ellsworth approached Carmella but was all flustered and told her, “I just wanted to kind you for the thank words last week.” He had a gift--He gave her the t-shirt he was wearing. He was still all flustered but she asked him to accompany her to the ring later.

Elsewhere, Ziggler barged into the locker room and was tossing stuff around. Apollo Crews confronted him because Kalisto is his friend. Ziggler headbutted him and they brawled but were separated by Mojo Rawley and Rhyno.

Becky Lynch defeated La Luchadora

Lynch beat the crap out of La Luchadora for a while, until La Luchadora bailed and crawled under the ring. A second La Luchadora appeared from the other side of the ring and tried to hit Twisted Bliss, but Lynch moved and applied a Disarmer for the submission win. I’m glad Lynch didn’t fall for this trap.

After the match, Lynch removed the mask to reveal it was Alexa Bliss. The other La Luchadora reappeared and teamed with Bliss to attack Lynch and leave her laying.

Royal Rumble WWE World Championship Contract Signing

Daniel Bryan came out to a good reaction. He introduced Cena, who got his usual reaction, then AJ Styles. The crowd chanted for Styles once he hit the ring. One of the facts listed on the graphic for Styles’ entrance was “the face that runs the place.”

Styles asked Bryan why they were doing this. He said he’s known Bryan for a long time--they’ve wrestled everywhere, including in front of almost nobody in the audience, and said Cena wasn’t like them.

Bryan said SmackDown was on a roll and they needed to keep the momentum going. They beat Raw in the ratings last week because Styles main evented and because Cena was back. He wanted to make the biggest match possible. The crowd cheered when Bryan said they beat Raw, and Cena shook his hand. Bryan said Styles shouldn’t be worried because he has three wins over Cena already. Bryan left the ring to leave Styles and Cena to it. Styles said Cena was gifted a title shot by Bryan, who is basically Cena’s brother-in-law.

Styles said the tables have turned. It was a year ago that Cena, holding the title, said that Styles needed to beat him to prove that he belonged. Now it’s Styles telling Cena that he needs to win to prove that he belongs. Styles said we can’t see Cena because he’s never there. SmackDown beat Raw because Styles is the champion, not Cena, and they can succeed without him.

Cena said he respected Styles, but Styles stopped him because he didn’t want to hear it. He reminded Cena what he said about The Rock and how he backtracked on his comments. Styles claimed Rock left them high and dry, and now Cena is doing the same. Styles called Cena a has-been, which led to chants from the crowd.

Styles said Cena will never be as good as The Rock in Hollywood, and in the ring, he will never be as good as AJ Styles. Styles signed the contract. The crowd chanted for Styles, but that was followed by a Cena chant.

Cena said Styles just made the biggest mistake of his life by pissing him off. Cena admitted he does need to win to remind everyone that he hasn’t left. Cena no longer respects Styles and called him a punk bitch. Cena knows fans who hate him think Styles can replace him, but Cena has made a career shutting people up. Cena said he would make Styles feel as stupid as he looks.

Cena talked about his passion--returning early from an injuries and doing this because he wants to, not because he has to. The difference between him and everyone else is that someone else in his shoes would’ve left for Hollywood a long time ago, but he’s still here. Cena said they both need this match, but Styles is no different than everyone else who tried to stop him. Cena told Styles to bring his friends, his family, and his “A” game to the Rumble, and Cena is still going to kick his ass.  Cena signed the contract.

Baron Corbin interrupted to announce that he’s entering the Rumble match (the first guy from SmackDown to do so) and said he would leave WrestleMania as champion regardless of his opponent. Cena was glad to see him because he knew Styles wouldn’t fight, but figured Corbin would. Corbin was ready, but Styles blindsided Cena and knocked him out. Corbin told Cena his time was up. They could’ve done this without Corbin, but either way, this was really great.

Backstage, Maryse approached Renee Young and slapped her in the face. Maryse warned Renee to never touch her husband.

Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) defeated Aliyah

Ellsworth distracted Aliyah (from NXT), allowing Carmella to hit a superkick and apply the Code of Silence for the win. Carmella hugged Ellsworth afterwards.

Non-title: Tag Team Champions American Alpha defeated Breezango

Jordan and Gable won in like 30 seconds with Grand Amplitude. After the match, the Wyatt Family (all three members) appeared on the screen. Bray said their loss last week didn’t darken their light, it brightened it, and they will reclaim their titles next week. Randy Orton told American Alpha to “run.”

They plugged a segment between Nikki Bella and Natalya up next. After a break, they were both in the ring already. Nikki told Natalya that her and Brie worked hard to make the Bella name mean something, whereas Natalya was just using her family’s name. Nikki said we think about the Hart Foundation when we hear her music and cheer for Bret Hart when she uses the sharpshooter.

Natalya showed a tweet from Bret to prove she doesn’t get anything from her family, where Bret put over Nikki as one of his favorites. Natalya didn’t want to know what Nikki did to get Bret to say that, and she claimed to be better than Bret ever was. Natalya said Nikki’s beauty will fade, and when it does, John Cena will leave her and she will die alone. Nikki slapped Natalya and left. I suppose this was fine, but it felt too much like a fake stage play.

Backstage, Ambrose was storming toward Gorilla, when he was approached by Dasha Fuentes. Fuentes, who screwed up Ellsworth’s name in front of Ambrose a few weeks ago, stumbled over the word “Intercontinental.” Ambrose cut her off as she tried to recover and said he would take away the thing Miz cares about most, and he doesn’t mean Maryse.

They announced three matches for next week: Nikki Bella vs. Natalya, Baron Corbin vs. John Cena, and American Alpha defending the tag titles against the Wyatts.

Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz (w/Maryse) to win the Intercontinental Championship 

Ambrose paced around the ring before the match and tackled Miz as soon as the bell rang. He chased Miz around the ring and went for Dirty Deeds, but Miz escaped the ring. Miz didn’t want to get back in, so Ambrose turned his back to let him in. Miz jumped back in the ring, but Ambrose attacked him, tossed him around ringside, and crotched him over the barricade.

Ambrose tossed Miz over the announce table, then back in the ring. He was distracted by Maryse allowing Miz to dropkick him and toss him into the steel steps. After a break, Ambrose nailed a flying elbow drop to the outside. Ambrose knocked Miz off the top, but Maryse jumped on the apron to distract Ambrose. Ambrose hesitated coming off the top, allowing Miz to hit a Skull Crushing Finale for a near fall. Miz followed up with Yes Kicks, which led to “No” chants, but Ambrose ducked the last one and hit a rebound clothesline.

Ambrose hit a suicide dive so Maryse slapped him. The referee was about to disqualify Miz, but Ambrose begged him not to and convinced him to toss Maryse from ringside instead. As Ambrose watched her leave, Miz nailed him from behind with the title belt, but Ambrose kicked out. Ambrose countered another Skull Crushing Finale attempt into a Dirty Deeds for the win.

Ambrose is the new champion. Big pop for the win. JBL screamed that the match should’ve ended in a DQ earlier.

Final Thoughts --

Another entertaining show highlighted by the Cena-Styles segment. Ambrose winning in the main event was also a nice surprise. Hopefully they aren’t just switching titles around simply to extend feuds. The Wyatts get American Alpha next week and the program between Bliss and Lynch is still going, so we’ll see.