Happy New Year all my wrestling fans and friends! Tonight was Smackdown Live’s first show of 2017 and the blue brand aimed to pick up where they left off from the fantastic Smackdown Super Show last week, beating RAW in the ratings at the same time.
Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler.
Becky Lynch defeated La Luchadora (Alexa Bliss).
Carmella defeated Aliyah.
American Alpha defeated Breezango.
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz (c)
Kicking the show off in dramatic fashion, The Miz and Maryse emerged to a hail of boos. The crowd booed The Miz before he even spoke a single word. The Miz went on record, saying his only new year’s resolution that he is going to be more forgiving, before requesting the presence of Renee Young, following their confrontations over recent weeks. The Miz questioned how Renee Young could sacrifice her journalistic integrity for Dirty Deeds with Dean Ambrose, which immediately brought out Ambrose. Maryse slapped Ambrose before the two promptly head to the back.
Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler
Another pair that have had a great start since the brand split, Corbin and Ziggler have both hugely benefited from the rosters being stretched, both men competed in a triple threat for the WWE Championship last week.
The pair have battled a fair few times in recent history and it showed as Corbin immediately chose to use his strength to gain the upper hand in the opening stages. Similar to how the triple threat match went, Corbin dominated for long periods of time. Ziggler staged a small comeback but it was quickly squashed by Corbin, only for Ziggler to fight back again, this time successfully, dropping the big man for the first match in the contest. The match, after another fight back, really turned into an entertaining 50/50 contest, both men were hitting each other with their best moves, amounting to nothing until Corbin took advantage of a distracted Ziggler, pinning him for the victory following a devastating End of Days. Just as Corbin looked poised to attack Ziggler, Kalisto emerged and sent Corbin out of the ring. Ziggler then superkicked Kalisto, turning heel in the process despite the crowd chanting ‘yes!’
Ellsworth bumped into Carmella, thanking her for the kind words and wishing her good luck for her match tonight. Carmella asked if Ellsworth wanted to accompany her to the ring tonight, Ellsworth quickly agreed. Awfully cringeworthy segment.
Ziggler brawled with Apollo Crews backstage after Crews stuck up for Kalisto. The brawling pair were separated by Rhyno and Rawley before Ziggler stormed off.
Becky Lynch vs La Luchadora
This was bizarre as La Luchadora wasn’t the same woman as it was last week. La Luchadora tried to evade Lynch’s early attacks but it didn’t amount to much as Lynch eventually won the match with a Disarm-her. La Luchadora was unveiled as Alexa Bliss, until the other La Luchadora came into the ring and the pair attacked Becky Lynch.
Daniel Bryan emerged ahead of the contract signing between AJ Styles and John Cena to a thunderous pop, I notice that Smackdown tend to use the GM and Commissioner sparingly in comparison to RAW where Stephanie McMahon insists on being on screen at least once per hour, burying her employees in the process. Both Cena and Styles received a big reaction from the crowd.
Styles immediately berated Cena for being different to himself and Bryan, before Bryan explained perfectly why Cena is challenging Styles for the WWE Championship. Daniel Bryan noted that Smackdown beat RAW in the ratings and that Cena vs Styles is the biggest match that Smackdown can produce. As Bryan left the ring, Styles and Cena engaged in a brutally honest but hugely entertaining war of words. The promo that followed was one of John Cena’s all time great promos. The pair signed the contract and just before they faced off, Baron Corbin emerged and announced his intention to enter the Royal Rumble. As Cena squared off with Corbin, Styles cheap shotted Cena before leaving the ring.
Backstage, Maryse slapped Renee and threatened her to never touch her husband again.
Carmella vs Aliyah
Making her Smackdown Live debut, tricky task for Aliyah who’s still reasonably green in the ring. Carmella dominated in the early stages, much to the delight of Ellsworth who cheered her on at ringside. Carmella picked up the victory after Ellsworth distracted Aliyah when the Smackdown Live debutant looked poised to fight back. Carmella won with her patented Code of Silence submission.
American Alpha vs Breezango
Total Squash match, Ronda Rousey lasted longer than Breezango.
After the match, The Wyatts appeared on the titantron and told American Alpha to cherish the championships whilst they can. Bray then announced that The Wyatts are coming to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs.
Nikki Bella and Natalya faced off in a verbal joust in the ring. In an interesting way, these two went back and forth in very entertaining fashion. Nikki buried Natalya using/remixing Bret Hart’s theme music and using the sharpshooter. Natalya managed to get the better of Nikki Bella on the microphone so Nikki resorted to a very stiff looking forearm to drop Natalya, leaving her laid out in the ring.
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs Dean Ambrose
Immediately, Ambrose went after The Miz, the match got off to a flying start. Ambrose proceeded to really get the beat down just before the break. Returning from the ad break, The Miz was getting back into the match, only for the pure speed and aggression of Ambrose to cancel his offense out for a little. The Miz resorted to limb targeting which really got him back into the match. Ambrose kicked out of a Skull Crushing Finale. Interestingly, Maryse slapped Ambrose at ringside but instead of calling a DQ, the referee banned Maryse from ringside.
Taking advantage of the distracted ref, The Miz hit Ambrose with the belt, only resulting in a two count. Ambrose, from out of nowhere, picked up the victory with a Dirty Deeds.
Another great show full of fantastic moments. I had so much fun watching Smackdown tonight and it’s completely refreshing every week, very little GM input, new matches, shock title changes, Smackdown has it all!