Smackdown Notes: January 24th, 2017

Robbie Radford

Robbie Radford

Robbie covers NJPW, Lucha Underground and a few other promotions as well as various other articles. He is also a co-host of the PuroLads podcast. Robbie lives in Leeds, England.
Robbie Radford

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Results

Randy Orton defeated Luke Harper.

Royal Rumble qualifier: Mojo Rawley defeated Slater & Rhyno, VaudeVillains, Ascension, Breezango and Curt Hawkins to qualify for the 2017 Royal Rumble.

Dolph Ziggler defeated Kalisto.

Naomi vs Natalya was postponed after Nikki Bella attacked Natalya backstage.

Intercontinental Championship Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose (c) defeated The Miz.

Notes
Miz and Maryse kicked off the show, pestering Daniel Bryan about not having a private dressing room. In order to calm things, Daniel Bryan announced that The Miz could have his Intercontinental Championship rematch against Dean Ambrose tonight. The Miz requested a No-DQ match, only for Bryan to refuse and make it a Lumberjack match instead.

Randy Orton vs Luke Harper
Following the pair coming to blows last week, Bray demanded they settle their problems inside the ring, leading to tonight’s match. Interesting to see, they made their entrance at the same time, still, heads hanging low, behind Bray as if it was a teacher leading two naughty students to the headmasters office.

The pair wasted very little time in landing some solid shots on each other, helping progress the story instead of just working rest holds from the opening bell. A total brawl, whilst the pair laid motionless following some big moves on the outside, Bray sauntered over and threw them both back in the ring, Harper narrowly avoiding the count-out in the process. Bray was a big part of the match as well, his body language and focus as he sat perched on the edge of his rocking chair told the story very well. Orton, after two failed attempts, managed to reverse a discus lariat into an RKO for the victory. After the match, Bray ushered Harper to his feet before delivering a Sister Abigail to Harper. Interesting times ahead for this angle.

Going back to last week’s huge Steel Cage match between Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss, the biggest talking point was La Luchadora being unmasked and revealed to be none other than Mickie James.

Mickie James had an in-ring interview with Renee Young. Mickie James, whilst not fully resorting to her bizarre gimmick in her first run, came off a little deranged in her interview. Mickie James took the side of Alexa Bliss because Bliss valued and remembered all of James’ achievements. James mentioned that this no longer is the Women’s Revolution but it’s the reinvention of Mickie James. Becky Lynch came to the ring and got the better of James, who retreated to the crowd. As Becky gave chase, Bliss appeared out of nowhere and the pair got the better of Lynch, standing tall in the ring.

They ran a segment where James Ellsworth went clothes shopping with Carmella. Ellsworth was in his ring gear. It was a really bad segment, like something out of a mid-2000s romcom. Eventually, Ellsworth came dressed like Enzo Amore, which popped Carmella.

Royal Rumble qualifier: Slater & Rhyno vs VaudeVillains vs Ascension vs Mojo Rawley vs Breezango vs Curt Hawkins
VaudeVillains were eliminated immediately, quickly following them was Curt Hawkins after Rawley caught him with a big shot. Viktor was then eliminated by Heath, who was then eliminated by Konnor. Slater looked to have a huge bruise on his midsection, presumably from house shows. Konnor and Rhyno were eliminated after the remaining superstars teamed up to throw them out. Breezango were part of the last three with Rawley. Rawley won the match after eliminating both Fandango and Tyler Breeze in quick succession.

Prior to today’s show, Natalya attacked Nikki Bella in the car park.

At the top of the hour, AJ Styles arrived to call out John Cena. AJ Styles has been WWE Champion for 134 days and looks to continue that streak when he faces John Cena for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble on sunday. Styles complained about the Royal Rumble poster, where he wasn’t featured on the front row of superstars, or even the second row. In all honesty the official Royal Rumble poster is really bad this year, AJ Styles is literally near the back of the poster. Before getting more enraged about it, Styles called Cena to the ring.

Styles refused to let Cena talk, as he’d heard enough of the same promo over and over again. Enraged, Styles showed Cena from the Today Show, where the other panelists called Styles ‘the guy from Atlanta.’
AJ cut a great promo, calling Cena a sorry excuse for a wrestler before dismissing Cena’s new merchandise, wondering what he had to do to earn respect around the place. Cena retorted with some real good lines, saying Styles has been hot for 6 months whilst Cena has held down the WWE for a decade. Cena also mentioned that he wasn’t built for the Indie Scene, he was built for the WWE. Cena left Styles motionless and speechless in the ring, which gives you a good indication of how great Cena’s promo was. All in on this rivalry.

Kalisto vs Dolph Ziggler
Kalisto wasted little time in going after Ziggler, following their heated rivalry in the past few weeks. Despite Kalisto being the aggressor early on, Ziggler made short work of the former Lucha Dragon, hitting him with a Superkick for a quick victory. After the match, Ziggler went for a steel chair but JBL stalled Ziggler long enough for Apollo Crews to make the save.

Naomi vs Natalya
Following Naomi’s big entrance, Nikki Bella beat down Natalya backstage. Disgruntled, Naomi challenged anyone backstage to a match. Alexa Bliss emerged, although she announced she wasn’t answering the call. Alexa dressed down Naomi with a pretty ruthless promo, telling her to enjoy her return back to obscurity before heading to the back.

Intercontinental Championship Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs The Miz
It didn’t take long for the Lumberjacks to play their part, Dean Ambrose got distracted by the presence on the outside, leading to The Miz trash talking the Lumberjacks, only for The Miz to get beat down by the entire set of superstars acting as Lumberjacks, before being thrown back into the ring.

Ambrose went looking for the Lunatic Lariat, only for the heel Lumberjacks to pull Ambrose out of the ring and beat him down. Wisely, The Miz utilised the aggressive heels as much as he could, only for Ambrose to eventually catch on and start fighting the Lumberjacks. There wasn’t a great deal of action between Miz and Ambrose, nothing we haven’t seen before, although every move used had a big impact instead of just going to the next move. The Miz utilised some of Daniel Bryan’s signature moves. Ambrose took out all of the Lumberjacks and The Miz with a top rope elbow drop to the outside when Miz retreated. Eventually, everyone piled into the ring, Baron Corbin eliminated most of the men left in the ring, interesting. The finish came when Ambrose kicked out of a roll up before nailing a Dirty Deeds for the victory.

Final Word
Another solid Go Home show for the WWE. RAW played their part, Smackdown played theirs very well. I’m all in on the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View, perhaps some matches more than others though.

ShowGrade: B+

Robbie Radford
About Robbie Radford 137 Articles
Robbie covers NJPW, Lucha Underground and a few other promotions as well as various other articles. He is also a co-host of the PuroLads podcast. Robbie lives in Leeds, England.

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