By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The fallout from TLC continues as James Ellsworth is a marked man after costing Dean Ambrose the WWE World Championship during his TLC match against AJ Styles. How did Ambrose get back at the Chinless Backstabber? Also, did Styles defend the WWE World Title against Ellsworth despite injuring his ankle at the PPV? The answer to these pressing questions can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.
· James Ellsworth bit the hand that fed him and paid the price when Dean Ambrose nailed him with Dirty Deeds to wrap up the opening segment.
· The show started with AJ Styles coming down to the ring wearing a walking boot. Styles suffered a minor ankle injury during his TLC against Dean Ambrose. He’s not medically cleared to compete and will not defend his WWE World Championship against Ellsworth as scheduled. He did poke fun at his minor wardrobe malfunction which might have been a blessing to the ladies and a curse for the fellas who had to see the Phenomenal One almost assed out.
· Ellsworth came out and poked fun at Styles’ injury. The Chinless One accused Daniel Bryan of protecting Styles from losing another match to the man that is 3-0 against The Champ.
· Styles warned Ellsworth that Ambrose was out for blood and wouldn’t stop until he beat Ellsworth to a pulp. Phase One of Ambrose’s plan took place when he laid out his former buddy while Styles cackled at ringside.
· This was a solid way to start the show. The crowd was lukewarm which bogged down the segment a bit, but Styles carried things nicely on the mic while Ellsworth did a great job being a naïve pest who is in way over his head when it comes to his championship aspirations. Ambrose is in revenge mode which means only one thing. Ellsworth better get the hell out of dodge. Fast.
· Heath Slater and Rhyno put up a good fight, but they failed in their quest to regain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship as Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton defeated them to retain the titles.
· Slater showed fire, but it wasn’t enough because Wyatt had him position for Sister Abigail only for Orton to finish him off with an RKO. This was the first time that Orton and Wyatt reaped the rewards of victory together instead of one them being the sacrificial lamb to will the other to victory.
· This unholy alliance is clicking on all cylinders which gives the Tag Team Titles some much-needed legitimacy. I still think that Orton is plotting against Wyatt, but their latest game of cat and mouse is a zillion times better this time around.
· Carmella stirred the pot by continuing to accuse Natalya of attacking Nikki Bella before the Women’s Tag Team Elimination Match at Survivor Series a couple of weeks ago. She chalked it up to Natalya being jealous of Nikki’s success on Total Bellas and claimed that Nattie was envious of Carmella’s beauty as well.
· Natalya came out and immediately went after Carmella. Both ladies had a brief brawl before taking their fight backstage.
· Natalya ditched Carmella and ran into a pissed off Nikki Bella. She tried to plead her innocence, but Nikki walked away in a huff. The mystery continues...
· The Hype Bros defeated The Ascension when Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley laid out Viktor with The Hype Ryder. The match was fine, but it was slightly marred by Viktor completely missing Ryder with a leg drop. The fact that Ryder still sold the “devastating” move made it even worse. It was such a weak spot that couldn’t be ignored.
· Daniel Bryan announced that Dean Ambrose will face The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship later tonight after Miz trolled Ambrose by giving him the first-ever Miz Participation Award. It was a great callback to his promo from TLC as he made fun of Ziggler for earning a similar award.
· Ambrose threatened to shove the award down Miz’s throat before Bryan intervened.
· It was a good segment as Miz made some valid points about Ambrose using Ellsworth only for Ellsworth to cut the puppet strings by taking matters into his own hands. I don’t think the heel is supposed to be the voice of reason in this situation, but I digress.
· The fans got in on the fun by chanting “You Deserve It” at Ambrose for getting his Participation Award. I don’t think that was supposed to be the desired effect, but I digress once again.
· Baron Corbin defeated Kalisto by nailing him with the End of Days. Corbin’s finisher is a thing of beauty because he can hit it at any moment. Kalisto and Corbin have stringed together a series of good matches that have over-delivered in terms of excitement and execution. Corbin still needs to clean up certain aspects of his in-ring game, but he has the potential to be a breakout star next year.
· As for Kalisto, he needs to be in the Cruiserweight Division where he can showcase his Lucha style. With 205 Live taking place after SD, it’s feasible for him to be on the show but WWE doesn’t want to pull the trigger for some reason.
· Chad Gable picked up a quality win over Tyler Breeze after their backstage confrontation earlier this afternoon. At least the live crowd was clued in as to why this match was taking place. American Alpha is slowly getting their heat back which will do them a world a good heading into WrestleMania season. Breezango are terribly underutilized, but I hope they are showcased more because they are a talented team despite being saddled with the fashion police gimmick.
· Alexa Bliss’ Championship celebration featured a pyro show and a little trash talk as she relished being the little bitch that sits atop the Women’s Division on SD Live.
· Becky Lynch came out and couldn’t believe that a whiny little girl was the new face of the division. Bliss noted that everyone was living in her era as Women’s Champ which caused Lynch to challenge her to a rematch on the spot. Bliss declined as she ran with her tail tucked between her legs. Considering the fact that SD Live has a lot of downtime between now and the Royal Rumble, expect this feud to drag out for a while with a couple of copout finishes leading up to their blow off match early next year.
· James Ellsworth cost Dean Ambrose the chance to win his second Intercontinental Championship when tried to tell the referee that Maryse knocked Ambrose off the top rope. Ambrose had The Miz rolled up for the win, but the ref was too late to make the count which allowed Miz to kick out at two.
· Ambrose eyeballed Ellsworth which gave Miz enough time to hit Ambrose with the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
· SD Live went off the air with Miz and Maryse celebrating Day 21 of the IC Championship Reunion Tour while Ambrose tried to regroup in the ring.
· The match between Ambrose and Miz was solid, but it was clunky in spots. There were a couple of near falls that had the crowd going, but it was obvious that Ellsworth was going to factor into the finish. It gave Miz an easy out while giving Ambrose more ammunition to destroy Ellsworth in the not too distant future. Therefore, the outcome made perfect sense from a booking standpoint.
· Ellsworth is still acting like a babyface who wants to help his buddy, but his noble actions ring hollow at this point. It’s very reminiscent of what happened a couple of months ago when Ellsworth cost Ambrose several matches against Styles before helping him in the clutch. I don’t think The Chinless One is as chivalrous this time around. The man has a plan and it involves putting the screws to Ambrose.
· If WWE plays it smart, Ambrose shouldn’t destroy Ellsworth until the Royal Rumble. The beat down needs to be milked for all its worth.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was serviceable. AJ Styles being sidelined with an injury sucked, but he needs to take it easy because he is the most valuable wrestler on the show. His in-ring presence was missed, but the rest of the broadcast soldiered on without him.
· The rest of the in-ring action ranged from decent to good. There were two rematches from TLC that served as blow offs to ongoing feuds. Heath Slater and Rhyno are no longer in the tag team title hunt while Baron Corbin took care of Kalisto once and for all. The former allows Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt to face legit competition in the tag team division while the latter will probably attack someone backstage in order to jumpstart another feud until he is ready to vie for a major championship.
· As for Styles, he noted that he should be out of action for a week. Expect the company to play things by ear to ensure that The Face That Runs The Place is back in tiptop shape before giving the all clear.
· In the meantime, Ambrose will be busy trying to annihilate Ellsworth. The shtick is bound to get tired, but we are entering the winter months which means only one thing: The blue brand blues is in full effect. Soak it in, maaaannnnnn.....
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 a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!