By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario. SD Live didn’t fare well at Survivor Series as they failed to bring the Cruiserweight Division to the blue brand. Plus, they fell short as the Women and Tag Teams were defeated by Team Raw. However, The Miz kept the Intercontinental Championship on SD Live and the Men’s team beat Raw which gives Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan something to brag about heading into tonight’s broadcast.
However, the gloating might be cut short because SD Live has a PPV to promote as TLC takes place next Sunday. Did the creative team do a good job making fans care about the final major SD-exclusive event of the year? The answer to this question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.
· AJ Styles will face James Ellsworth in a ladder match with Ellsworth’s SD Live contract hanging above the ring. If Ellsworth wins, he’s an official member of the SD Live roster. If Styles wins, he is going to rip the contract up and send the Chinless Wonder to the unemployment line. Ellsworth also wanted a future WWE World Title shot if he won. Shane McMahon signed off on it as the opening segment came to an end.
· McMahon gave Ambrose the night off because he almost cost his team the match at Survivor Series. Knowing how things work in WWE, expect Ambrose to get involved during the main event.
· The Miz successfully defended the Intercontinental Championship when he defeated Kalisto with the Skull Crushing Finale. Baron Corbin interfered, but Kalisto kicked him off the ring apron. However, the distraction allowed Miz to take advantage of the situation which led to the tainted finish.
· Kalisto and the WWE Production Crew earned a few demerits for telegraphing the finish as the camera cut to the time keeper’s area while Kalisto was perched on the top rope. JBL berated Kalisto for not getting back on offense. Also, the director almost missed the shot of Corbin making his way to the ring. The element of surprise was ruined which caused the match to fall apart from a television standpoint.
· As The Miz and Maryse were celebrating on the main stage, Dolph Ziggler surprised the IC Champ with a super kick to send a message that he was owed a rematch after last week’s controversial finish. One can presume that Miz and Ziggler will face off at TLC in a couple of weeks.
· American Alpha thought they punched their ticket to TLC, but The Wyatt Family had other plans. Bray Wyatt announced that Tag Team Turmoil will continue next week as Chad Gable and Jason Jordan will face Wyatt and Orton to determine the number one contender for Heath Slater and Rhyno’s SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
· American Alpha vs. Wyatt and Orton should be good because the match has a lot of storyline implications attached to it. American Alpha vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno poses a conflict because they are both babyfaces who can split the crowd 50/50.
· Even though The Viper sacrificed himself at Survivor Series in order for Wyatt to pick up the win for SD Live, the believability of him being a sheep is still shaky at best. Will he turn on Wyatt during the match or will they go on to face the Tag Team Champs at TLC and show his true colors when Wyatt least expects it? This bout could go in a number of directions which is a very good thing. The action should be top notch if both teams are given the time to put on a show in the ring.
· American Alpha and The Usos had a nice match, but it lacked heat. Both teams are not over even though they should be two of the hottest acts in the tag team division. Jordan and Gable finally got a much-needed win against The Usos as they pinned Jey Uso with Grand Amplitude. I expect both teams to face off in the future with American Alpha’s coming out party taking place at WrestleMania next year. It’s risky to put them on ice that long because they are not over right now, but the creative team has enough time to heat them back up if everything goes according to plan.
· The order of Tag Team Turmoil Eliminations were as follows:
vThe Hype Bros defeated The Ascension
vBreezango defeated The Hype Bros
vAmerican Alpha defeated Breezango
vAmerican Alpha defeated The Vaudevillians
vAmerican Alpha defeated The Usos
· Becky Lynch made Natalya tap out to the Dis-Arm-Her, but she didn’t get a chance to celebrate the victory because Alexa Bliss attacked her from behind. Bliss nailed Lynch with a DDT to send a message heading into their Women’s Title match at TLC. Lynch’s match with Natalya was solid while it lasted.
· Two high profile matches were announced for TLC. The Miz and Dolph Ziggler will face off in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. This will be their final match as both men move on to other feuds.
· Nikki Bella and Carmella will settle their differences in a No Disqualification match at the PPV as well. Their traditional bouts have been hit and miss. With the rules thrown out the window, expect a physical match that could turn into something special if it’s not overbooked to death.
· Kalisto got a measure of revenge on Baron Corbin as he attacked The Lone Wolf during his match against Kane. Kane chokeslammed Corbin followed by Kalisto kicking a steel chair against his face. This might be a precursor to both men having a Chairs Match at TLC. Corbin vs. Kane was short and inoffensive.
· James Ellsworth is an official member of the SmackDown Roster thanks to an assist from Dean Ambrose. Ambrose attacked Styles while disguised as a hockey player. Ambrose tried to help Ellsworth get back on his feet, but Styles nailed The Lunatic Fringe with a Phenomenal Forearm.
· Styles climbed the ladder, but Ellsworth mustered enough strength to tip Styles off the ladder. Styles tried to get back in the ring, but Ellsworth nailed him with No Chin Music. Styles’ foot got tangled between the ropes which allowed The Chinless Wonder to climb the ladder and achieve his boyhood dream of becoming a WWE Superstar.
· Ambrose hoisted Ellsworth over his shoulder and carried him around the ring for a bit. Afterwards, both men stood on top of the announcer table as they soaked in the cheers from the crowd while Styles sulked in the ring as the show went off the air.
· Ellsworth is 3-0 against Styles. Most importantly, The Chinless One has more wins over Styles than John Cena. That is a stunning stat that will stand the test of time.
· Ellsworth is in line for a future title shot. When will he choose his spot? Will it be next week or at the TLC PPV? Most importantly, when will Ellsworth turn on Ambrose and pledge his allegiance to Styles? It’s bound to happen sooner or later. The James Ellsworth saga is one of the best things on WWE programming. The twists and turns have fans on the edge of their seats. However, this storyline will reach its peak at some point which might cause an Ellsworth Backlash from fans. Let’s hope the Powers That Be keep things fresh until the other shoe drops.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. There was a lot of talking on this show. Between the opening segment and various backstage skits, the in-ring action felt disjointed at times. American Alpha and The Usos had the best match on the show, but it lacked heat. Everything else on the broadcast ranged from serviceable to solid. That’s been the recurring theme as of late which is unfortunate because the blue brand was on fire a couple of months ago.
· However, there are a few good things bubbling beneath the surface when it comes to The Wyatt Family. The Wyatt-Orton feud has done a complete 180 and is now one of the more intriguing storylines on SmackDown. It’s extremely rare for the creative team to get a second chance after screwing up a feud, but they’ve made the most of this opportunity. The endgame should be interesting to say the least.
· The Intercontinental, Women, and WWE World Title feuds are clicking on all cylinders at the moment. However, I wished SD Live was a more cohesive show when it comes to utilizing talent. The matches are too short which kills the flow of the show at times. It makes the roster look thinner than it already is. The Cruiserweight Division would have given the blue brand a much-needed boost from a wrestling standpoint. Here’s hoping that Daniel Bryan can pull off an 11th-hour deal by signing Sami Zayn and Cesaro to SD Live. I know. More wishful thinking. A girl can dream...
· Believe it or not, the go-home show for TLC is next week. WWE was wise to announce the four main title matches along with Nikki vs. Carmella’s No DQ bout. Two weeks is a quick turnaround to get fans excited for another PPV. However, the card looks strong on paper which might help SD Live end their PPV year on a high note. Fingers crossed!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with another installment of The Raw Exposé. Happy Thanksgiving, boys and girls!