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WWE SmackDown live results: The last stop before the Royal Rumble

Date: January 24, 2017
Location: Huntington Center in Toledo, OH

The Big Takeaway --

Luke Harper was defeated by Randy Orton and laid out afterwards by Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles and John Cena had another verbal debate, and Dean Ambrose successfully defending the IC title against The Miz.

We’ll get to see Mickie James’ in-ring return at the Royal Rumble as she will join Alexa Bliss and Natalya in a 6-woman tag match against Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella and Naomi. Also, Mojo Rawley earned a spot in the Rumble match.

Show Recap -- 

Daniel Bryan was backstage about to take a bite out of an apple when Miz and Maryse jumped in to complain about being in Toledo and about having to share a locker room with the roster. Byan suggested they use a stall in the public restroom. Miz and Maryse fake-laughed at this.

Bryan instead gave him an IC title rematch against Dean Ambrose. Miz wanted a no DQ match but Bryan knew better and made it a Lumberjack match so the entire locker room can be at ringside. Bryan asked if Miz was happy, but Miz left and the crowd chanted “Yes.” Bryan bit his apple.

Randy Orton defeated Luke Harper

All three Wyatt Family members came out together. Bray watched from ringside in his rocking chair. Orton was cheered, Harper was booed. There was a spot where both guys went to the outside in front of Bray but he did not look at them. Instead, he kept his eyes locked on the ring.

Orton was all over Harper, hitting a draping DDT early on, followed by a backdrop onto the barricade and announce table. Harper came back with a big boot and both guys were laid out. Bray picked them both up and tossed them back in the ring. Commercial break.

Harper was in control after the break, but Orton managed to hit a superplex off the middle rope. Orton went for the RKO a couple of times, but Harper countered into a superkick for a nearfall. Orton then countered a discus clothesline into an RKO for the win. Match was ok and went just under 11 minutes. Crowd was super into Orton.

After the match, Bray shook Orton’s hand. Bray picked up Harper and gave him a hug but then followed by hitting him with Sister Abigail. Orton smirked at this. The announcers wondered if this was the end for Harper in the Wyatts or if it was just tough love.

They aired a dramatic recap of Alexa Bliss defeating Becky Lynch last week thanks to Mickie James. James is up next. They also aired a Royal Rumble feature on Triple H winning the 2002 Rumble match, last eliminating Kurt Angle. Triple H claimed he was told he would never come back from his quad injury.

AJ Styles will call out John Cena later tonight.

Mickie James Interview

Renee Young asked James about attacking Becky Lynch and revealing herself as La Luchadora. James told Renee that she won her first Women’s championship by defeating Trish Stratus at WrestleMania, was a 5-time Women’s champion and former Diva’s champion. Renee noted that James didn’t answer her question.

James said people like Becky Lynch want to claim to be leading a revolution as if her accomplishments meant nothing. Renee wanted her to elaborate and asked if Alexa Bliss was not part of the revolution. James said Bliss has been fighting the revolution and at least she remembered James’ accomplishments. James said Bliss was the reason she was here.

James said to forget the revolution, this is the reinvention of Mickie James. Becky Lynch marched to the ring and attacked James. James ran away into the crowd, but Biss suddenly appeared from the crowd to attack Lynch. They double teamed her again and Bliss finished her off with Twisted Bliss. James had some advice for Lynch: always be one step ahead. The crowd chanted “What” at James throughout this segment.

The Royal Rumble pre-show starts at 5pm ET and will be two hours. Yikes. Jerry Lawler and Shawn Michaels will be there.

They aired a pre-taped segment of Carmella and James Ellsworth out shopping. Ellsworth was wearing his ring gear, meaning he wasn’t wearing pants. Ellsworth tried on various outfits, all of which Carmella hated. She said one of them made him look like Sami Zayn but they shouldn’t dress alike just because they both got beat up by Braun Strowman. Carmella found a gaudy outfit for Ellsworth and they were both happy. This was bad.

Mojo Rawley won a 10-man Battle Royal to earn a Royal Rumble spot

Competitors were Heath Slater, Rhyno, Simon Gotch, Aiden English, Mojo Rawley, Curt Hawkins, Konnor, Viktor, Fandango and Tyler Breeze. Rawley won by last eliminating Fandango and Breeze. Not much to it. I guess I should note that the Vaudevillains were eliminated within seconds. Baron Corbin was on commentary and put over winning the Andre the Giant battle royal at WrestleMania.

They showed an interview Dasha Fuentes did with Nikki Bella as she arrived at the arena. Nikki pointed out one of the production trucks that featured both herself and John Cena on it. Nikki said the trucks featured a bunch of superstars, not just her, and her success has “nothing” to do with John Cena. Natalya showed up and noted that she’s not on any of the trucks. Nikki tried to attack her, which seemed like an overreaction, but Natalya ducked and tossed her into the side of the truck. Nikki came off poorly here to say the least. They should’ve just had Natalya attack her from behind.

John Cena announced on Twitter that he will be hosting the Kid’s Choice Awards.

AJ Styles calls out John Cena

Styles was super over. Before calling out Cena, Styles showed the Rumble poster on the big screen and complained about being positioned all the way at the back. He specifically blamed Shane McMahon (not Daniel Bryan) for this. He was about to complain about something else but called out Cena first.

Cena came out and got loud duelling chants. Cena was about to talk, but Styles stopped him. Styles showed a clip from the Today Show where Cena talked about having to face “some guy from Atlanta.” Styles was pissed. He called himself the champ who runs the camp and claimed nobody missed Cena while he was gone. This led to a “Cena” chant. Styles called them morons.

Styles called himself the face that took Cena’s place and that eats Cena up inside. Styles claimed Cena always had an excuse when he lost, but Cena himself is the only excuse because he’s a sorry excuse for a wrestler. He asked Cena what he has to do to earn respect around here and said he was going to stick his foot in Cena’s ass on Sunday.

Cena wondered where his respect was when people chanted that he sucked. He said Styles has been hot for 6 months, but Cena’s been running the place for a decade. Styles might call Cena a sorry excuse for a wrestler because he didn’t spend time on the indies, but Cena wasn’t built for the indies, he was built for the WWE.

He said Styles wasn’t a level below Cena, he was on the level below that. He called Styles “just a guy” holding onto the championship because Cena let him. He called Styles unoriginal, like every guy before him just trying to be like Cena, calling himself the face that runs the place. Cena called himself a bad man and said his time is now. Cena left to his music and Styles just looked on.

Dolph Ziggler defeated Kalisto

Ziggler won in under a minute. Kalisto tried a springboard move but Ziggler caught him with a superkick for the win. Afterwards, Ziggler grabbed a chair, but as he argued with JBL, Apollo Crews jumped him from behind. Crews tried to use the chair but Ziggler managed to escape.

Naomi vs. Natalya

The match never happened. Naomi entered first, but Natalya never showed. They cut to the back and Nikki had attacked Natalya. Some officials came in to separate them.

Naomi grabbed a mic and wasn’t happy with this. She challenged anyone from the back to a match. Alexa Bliss came out. She told Naomi to calm down because she wasn’t about to accept a challenge from a nobody. Naomi dared her to get in the ring so she could rip her hair out. Naomi wanted the title. Bliss teased getting in the ring but didn’t. Bliss told Naomi “say hi to obscurity for me.”

Talking Smack will once again be co-hosted by Shane McMahon and not Daniel Bryan. Guests will be AJ Styles, Mickie James and Mojo Rawley.

Dean Ambrose told Fuentes he trusts his instincts, which will help him overcome 29 other men to win the Rumble on Sunday, and no amount of lumberjacks will stop him from retaining the IC title tonight. I wish they did more for Ambrose as a Rumble contender. He likely won’t win but he is SmackDown’s top contender outside of the Wyatts.

They announced a 6-woman tag match for the main Royal Rumble card--Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella & Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & Natalya. So I guess Bryan and Shane had no problem offering James a contract after all that stuff she did? 

Lumberjack Match for the Intercontinental Title: Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz (w/Maryse)

Mauro Ranallo said Ambrose was cut from the same cloth as Steve Austin, Terry Funk and Roddy Piper. David Otunga called Miz a habitual line-stepper, which is the only good thing he has ever said on commentary.  

Ambrose fought off some lumberjacks early on, but after sending Miz to the outside, pretty much all of the lumberjacks attacked Miz. After a break, Ambrose tried a rebound clothesline, but was pulled out of the ring by the heels and attacked. Otunga noted how unfair that was. The crowd chanted “Let’s go Ambrose” but stopped once Miz attempted Yes kicks.

Ambrose was sent to the outside again but fought off the lumberjacks, including Corbin who he tossed into the ringpost. Ambrose sent Miz to the outside and followed by hitting a suicide dive on Miz and a bunch of lumberjacks. Maryse held Ambrose back from entering the ring, which distracted him long enough for Miz to hit the Bryan running knee for a nearfall.

Miz did running dropkicks as well but Ambrose ducked the last one and sent him to the outside. Miz tried to run but the lumberjacks grabbed him and Ambrose did a big dive onto the pile. “This is awesome” chant.

Ambrose managed to hit the rebound clothesline but Corbin broke up the cover. All the lumberjacks got in the ring and brawled. The referee let the match continue. The ring was cleared after Ambrose sent Corbin over the top. Miz used the distraction and did a schoolboy but Ambrose kicked out. Ambrose followed with Dirty Deeds for the win. 

This was pretty entertaining and the crowd was into it. As Ambrose posed alone in the ring, the announcers wondered if this would be the scene at the Rumble.