Date: March 14, 2017
Location: PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
The Big Takeaway --
AJ Styles was fired by Daniel Bryan after violently attacking Shane McMahon backstage. However, McMahon dragged himself out at the end of the show to announce that he would be Styles’ opponent at WrestleMania.
Maryse & Miz vs. Nikki Bella & John Cena was made official for WrestleMania after an entertaining MizTV segment. Carmella was added to the Women’s title match, and American Alpha lost a non-title match to The Usos, which was actually tonight’s main event.
Bray Wyatt appeared for the first time since Randy Orton burned down his compound and seems pretty content about the whole thing.
Show Recap --
The show started with a recap of AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton last week and video of Styles confronting Shane McMahon afterwards.
Daniel Bryan was on the phone and laughed about Miz saying he has a very special MizTV tonight. He also made Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss. Styles barged in on him looking for Shane. Bryan told him to calm down, but Styles said he would slap the next person who said that. Bryan got in his face, but Styles said they both know he can’t do anything to Bryan--but he can do something to Shane. Styles went to the ring. The crowd cheered Styles throughout this and he came off sympathetic in the opening video.
Styles marched to the ring as JBL called him one of the best performers they have. The crowd chanted for Styles, who was sick of the treatment he’s been getting from Bryan and Shane. He’s had to jump through hoops unlike John Cena, who simply went to his brother-in-law to get a WWE title match at Royal Rumble. Styles admitted he lost, but he never got a one-on-one rematch.
Styles also recalled the battle royal and defeating Luke Harper. He also brought up Randy Orton, who should be in jail. Styles said he had the best 2016, he put SmackDown on the map and put people in the seats, which the crowd cheered. Despite all that, he doesn’t have a match at WrestleMania, which the crowd booed. He called Daniel Bryan a puppet and would address Shane about his career tonight. If it wasn’t clear, the crowd loves Styles.
Tom Phillips and JBL are alone on commentary. Phillips said David Otunga is filming a movie and Mauro Ranallo had travel issues. Has anyone checked for a crowbar in Phillips’ locker?
Becky Lynch defeated Natalya
The announcers still don’t know exactly what kind of match the WrestleMania Women’s title match will be. Natalya called for a timeout then offered a handshake, but Lynch smacked her in the face instead.
Lynch had full control through a commercial but Natalya cut her off and nailed a Michinoku driver on the floor. Natalya slapped Lynch but that just fired her up and she eventually managed to catch Natalya in a Disarmer for the tap-out win. Carmella (with James Ellsworth) attacked both women afterwards.
Styles was shown backstage waiting for Shane to arrive to the building.
They showed clips of John Cena and Nikki Bella at the Kids’ Choice Awards. MizTV is next.
Carmella told Dasha Fuentes that Daniel Bryan announced that “every chick” will have an opportunity for the title and called herself the next champion. Ellsworth is still selling the beating he took from Cena last week.
Miz announced that their very special guests were the “it couple” -- Miz and Maryse. They replayed their attack on Cena and Nikki from last week and clips of Miz’s comments on Talking Smack. The live crowd cheered as Miz said Cena’s words were all crap. (They didn’t show Bryan saying Cena was almost fired or Miz saying that Cena stole his girlfriend from Dolph Ziggler.)
Miz said Cena was the most plastic person he ever met, and he lives in L.A. Maryse claimed Nikki was even worse and recalled a story from Total Divas. Maryse said she was offered a contract to return to WWE to be on the first season of Total Divas with the Bellas and Kelly Kelly. However, Nikki convinced her not to sign it claiming she would get them a better deal. WWE told Maryse there was no deal and Nikki texted her to let her know her and Brie would be on Total Divas.
Maryse stood up and faced the camera to tell Nikki that she stole money from her and took three years of her life. She wanted to expose Nikki as a lying, backstabbing bitch.
Cena and Nikki ran out (to Cena’s music) and chased Miz and Maryse from the ring. Nikki asked how Maryse could be standing there now if she wanted to block her from being here. Nikki said Maryse was never her best friend and tried to make up a story once her and Brie got success.
Nikki challenged her to a match but Miz responded, “You don’t get to make up matches, Nikki. Who do you think you are, John Cena?” Miz said Maryse didn’t have to prove herself. He told them to continue being terrible people and was about to leave when Daniel Bryan interrupted.
Bryan said Miz wasn’t the GM either and his time wasn’t up. Bryan was promised a special MizTV but didn’t get it and wanted to punch Miz in the face. Bryan also wanted to punch Miz in the face for every time Miz reminded him that he can’t wrestle and for every time Miz stole one of his moves. The fact that he can’t punch Miz in the face makes Bryan want to punch him in the face even more.
Bryan said he knows two people who can punch Miz in the face and made Nikki Bella & John Cena vs. Maryse & The Miz at WrestleMania/The Face Punching Extravaganza. The crowd seemed disappointed they weren’t getting the match now, but they wouldn’t dare boo Daniel Bryan and they chanted Yes along with him. This was a really good segment outside of Nikki Bella, who I didn’t believe for one second.
Non-title: Mickie James defeated Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss
Mickie won in 8-9 minutes with a Mick Kick. Bliss seemed to have the match won with a forearm shot but she didn’t go for the cover and Mickie caught her with the Mick Kick. The crowd was quiet for this. (Yes, it’s Pittsburgh.)
Renee Young caught up to AJ Styles, who was still waiting backstage. Styles told Renee that WrestleMania was the ultimate thrill ride, so he was going to get his thrills where he can. The garage door opened and Styles ducked behind a car.
It wasn’t a swerve. Shane got out of the car, thanked the driver, and Styles jumped him. Styles proceeded to beat the crap out of Shane and smashed his head through a car window. Fit Finlay showed up to push off Styles. Renee joined and they called out for help after noticing Shane was bleeding from the head. Styles kicked him in the head one more time before leaving. This was great.
They replayed the segment after a break. It was such a great beating.
Shane was being tended to by the EMTs and there was a trail of blood over the side of his face. They wanted to take him to the emergency room but he refused to go to the hospital. They agreed to take him to the trainer’s room and they had to help him walk. He could barely move.
Styles got his stuff from the locker room as the Usos admonished him for what he did. As Styles left, Daniel Bryan confronted him with a team of officers. Bryan told Styles what he did was an act of a coward. Bryan said he has lost all respect for Styles and he didn’t care how good or how valuable he was. Styles asked if Bryan was going to fire him and Bryan responded, “Damn right I’m going to fire you.” They kicked Styles out of the building. The crowd booed. They booed Daniel Bryan after all. This was also great.
Mojo Rawley defeated Dolph Ziggler via countout
Rawley won via countout in two minutes. He tossed Ziggler over the top rope (as one would in the Andre battle royal) and Ziggler just left.
They replayed Shane’s face going through the car window, including a replay from inside the car. I don’t think anyone in the world as a camera positioned in their car where this person did. They shouldn’t have bothered with this shot.
They announced Eric LeGrand getting the Warrior Award, although they didn’t show the video.
They showed an exterior shot of PPG Paints Arena, home of the 2016 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Randy Orton address Bray Wyatt
Orton said he waited for the perfect opportunity to strike on Bray Wyatt. Just attacking him with an RKO wouldn’t have been enough. He found the one thing Bray loves most and now Bray is completely alone. Orton swore to God that he would finish the job at WrestleMania and take everything from Bray.
Bray appeared on the screen from the gravesite. Bray said Orton was right about him. He said Orton thought he burned her soul, but she’s the spawn of Satan, her heart still beats, and she has bestowed her power onto him. Bray said it was his duty to purge all of the world’s infidels and would start with Orton. Bray was born again and rubbed the ashes on himself. “Follow the buzzards.” Man, Orton went through all that for nothing.
They showed a replay of Baron Corbin trying to kill Dean Ambrose last week. Fuentes found Corbin at this exact moment backstage and asked him about crossing the line. Corbin said there were only actions and consequences. Ambrose came after him, so Corbin put him in the hospital. Corbin said Ambrose is supposed to be the man who can come back from anything, so if he can get out of his hospital bed, Corbin will take the IC title from him at WrestleMania.
Non-title: The Usos defeated Tag Team Champions American Alpha
During the match, they did a split-screen showing Shane being escorted through the building by Finlay and Jamie Noble.
When they came back to the match, the Usos were on the top presumably getting ready to hit dive, but Jordan and Gable saw it coming and dared them to jump. They stalled for a bit then Jordan and Gable hit dropkicks, leading to commercial. I could be wrong, but it felt like they were waiting for the referee’s cue to make sure they were clear of the split-screen. Anyway, the crowd chanted “We want Angle.”
They cut to the split-screen again. Shane was about to leave the building but turned around. Phillips was informed that Shane was headed to the ring.
The Usos won. Jordan and Gable seemed to have it won, but Jimmy pushed Gable off the top and hit Jordan with a superkick allowing Jey to make the cover for the win.
After the match, the cut to the back where Shane was walking through Gorilla. He grabbed a mic, appeared on stage and said, “AJ Styles said he doesn’t have an opponent for WrestleMania? He does now.” The show ended.
Final Thoughts --
While I don’t like the idea of Styles vs. Shane at WrestleMania, I thought tonight’s angle was really well-done. I enjoyed the show up until the Styles-Bryan segment backstage, but SmackDown’s lack of depth was very apparent from that point on. I’m not a fan of the Orton-Wyatt stuff and I didn’t even realize American Alpha vs. The Usos was the main event until they mentioned Shane was coming out and there were only about 3 minutes left in the show.