Date: January 10, 2017
Location: Raising Cane’s River Center Arena in Baton Rouge, LA
The Big Takeaway --
Alexa Bliss will defend her Women’s championship in a steel cage match against Becky Lynch next week on SmackDown. American Alpha successfully defended the tag team titles against the Wyatt Family, thanks to a mistake by Luke Harper. The Wyatts showed more dissension, but did not break up. Finally, John Cena pinned Baron Corbin clean in the main event.
Show Recap --
The show started with a dramatic recap of the storyline involving Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Renee Young and Maryse. Ambrose was introduced as the new Intercontinental champion and he came out for the Ambrose Asylum. The set is the same as before, except now there’s an alligator head where Mitch the plant used to be. He named it Maryse. He wanted a live alligator but they couldn’t get the permits. Ambrose also announced himself as an entrant for the Royal Rumble.
The Miz and Maryse came out as his guests. Miz said Ambrose was tainting his title, and also added himself to the Rumble match. Miz said Ambrose coerced the referee last week, but instead of suing him, he said Ambrose could just hand the title back to him. The crowd chanted “No” as Ambrose pretended to consider it. Ambrose said he did have something that belonged to Miz and gave him back the Miz Participation Award. Ambrose led the crowd in applause and a “You tried” chant.
Miz attacked him and held him back so Maryse could slap him, but Ambrose ducked and she slapped Miz instead. Ambrose gave Miz a Dirty Deeds. Crowd chanted for Ambrose who gave the Participation Award to Maryse.
They recapped the Nikki Bella-Natalya storyline. Nikki was shown backstage walking toward Gorilla as the SmackDown theme played when she was suddenly attacked from behind by Natalya and the music abruptly stopped. With Nikki down, Natalya sad, “See ya out there Nikki.” This was well done, aside from Nikki’s selling.
Natalya vs. Nikki Bella
The match didn’t happen. Nikki didn’t come out right away when her music hit, but she eventually did. She stormed to the ring and tackled Natalya, leading to a brawl. Natalya tried to escape through the crowd but Nikki pulled her back in. As Nikki continued the attack, referees ran down to break it up and the crowd chanted “Let them fight.”
Natalya chop blocked Nikki’s bad leg (the one she attacked before) and applied a Sharpshooter outside the ring. This was well done too. Also, Nikki has new shorts and they seem even shorter than her other ones. She kept propping them up during this segment.
Dasha Fuentes asked Dolph Ziggler about turning on Kalisto and attacked Apollo Crews. She said Kalisto demanded a match with him, and said the fans want an explanation for his actions. Ziggler looked somewhat remorseful and just left without saying anything.
They announced Ziggler will be on Talking Smack tonight with Renee Young and Shane McMahon.
Kalisto defeated Dolph Ziggler
There were dueling chants of “Let’s go Ziggler” and “Lu-cha, Lu-cha,” which was pretty wacky. They went back and forth for awhile until Ziggler dropped him over the top rope. Kalisto fought out of a chinlock and used a hurricanrana, but Ziggler came back with a dropkick. Ziggler went for a nonchalant cover, but Kalisto reversed into a crucifix pin for the win.
Afterwards, a frustrated Ziggler clotheslined Kalisto and beat on him as the crowd booed. Ziggler grabbed a steel chair and crushed Kalisto with it a couple of times. Apollo Crews ran out for the save but Ziggler cut him off easily and attacked him with the chair too. Some fans chanted “Yes” again of course. Ziggler hit Kalisto one more time with the chair. This was another good segment, aside from Crews getting cut off way too easily.
Backstage, Jason Jordan told Fuentes that Bray Wyatt thinks of himself as the “alpha and omega” but they disrespectfully disagree. Chad Gable said they beat the Wyatts before and they’ll do it again.
Renee Young (wearing leather overalls) asked John Cena about Baron Corbin. Cena noted that Corbin and AJ Styles calling him a has-been. Cena said it “has been” a long time since he had to prove himself, but tonight, Cena “has been” fired up and would take down Corbin. Recognize John Cena, because his time is now.
They ran a promo for Total Divas focusing on Paige’s injury.
Tag Team Championship: American Alpha defeated Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton (w/Luke Harper)
They worked over Gable for a while until he made a hot tag to Jordan. Jordan showed off his strength hitting suplexes to both Bray and Orton, but the Wyatts took control again after a distraction from Harper. Gable made the hot tag and hit Orton with a diving crossbody, Northern Lights suplex and German suplex. Bray broke up the cover and sent Jordan out of the ring, then Gable sent Bray out of the ring.
Harper distracted Gable, allowing Orton to nail a draping DDT (Orton’s set up for this knocked Harper off the apron.) As Orton stalked Gable, Harper jumped back on the apron for some reason, leading to an argument with Orton. Gable shoved Orton into Harper and applied an O’Connor roll for the pinfall win. Good match that went 15-16 minutes. Second time Gable has pinned Orton.
Orton and Harper argued afterwards. Harper tried to kick Orton but caught Bray instead. Bray got up, said something to each man, then walked out on them. The post-match had good heat. American Alpha retaining didn’t seem to get a big reaction, and it’s probably time they move away from the Wyatts.
They aired a video package of Cena’s 2008 Royal Rumble victory. I like these features over the usual numbers video.
They plugged WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.
Backstage, Becky Lynch showed Daniel Bryan footage from last week. Bryan asked if La Luchadora might be Eva Marie, but Lynch said she’s way too vain to wear a mask. Alexa Bliss happened to be near by and joined the segment. Bliss said she was trying to find out the identity of La Luchadora, which is why she went undercover last week. Bryan told her she would have to defend the title against Lynch again next week, and to ensure no interference, it would be a steel cage match. Bliss was pissed.
Carmella (w/James Ellsworth) defeated CJ Lunde
Carmella won quickly with her finisher, which followed a badly botched downward spiral... or something. Ellsworth interfered a couple of times as well. This segment sucked, mostly for JBL making cracks about Lunde’s (Thunderkitty's) appearance. He couldn’t understand why she was there. I mean, she’s a wrestler, presumably.
Backstage, Carmella told Ellsworth she had something special for him. He thought she was going to kiss him and said he’s been waiting 32 years for this. She actually planned on taking him on a shopping spree, which sounds like a comedy segment for next week.
Elsewhere, Baron Corbin told Fuentes he doesn’t blame John Cena for saying his time is now, but these aren’t his glory days, they’re his end of days. AJ Styles showed up and got a big pop. Styles said tonight was Corbin’s tonight, but suggested Corbin do his best AJ Styles impression and beat up John Cena.
Noam Dar plugged his match with Cedric Alexander on 205 Live.
John Cena defeated Baron Corbin
AJ Styles was on commentary. Corbin got in his face a couple of times, which Styles didn’t understand because he was rooting for Corbin. Cena went for a shoulder tackle, presumably to start his usual comeback, but Corbin no sold it and nailed a slam for a two count. Corbin followed with a sidewalk slam, which Mauro Ranallo called a Deep Six. Styles corrected him and said it just looked like a sidewalk slam.
Cena came back with a tornado DDT, five knuckle shuffle and AA for the win. Match was about 11 minutes and was just ok. Cena posed for the crowd as Styles stood on the announce table holding up his title.
Final Thoughts --
While this show wasn’t as good as the last few weeks, this was a perfectly fine edition of SmackDown. I also had no problem with Cena beating Corbin clean. Corbin isn’t going for the world title anytime soon and losing to Cena doesn’t hurt him. Also, if I checked this right, Cena only had 5 wins in 12 televised matches in 2016, so as strange as this is to say, Cena could use the win.