By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. After a two-week delay, the match of the century is finally taking place as AJ Styles will face James Ellsworth for the WWE Championship. Was there a Miracle on Ellsworth Street or did Styles crush The Chinless One’s hopes and dreams? 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 successfully defended his WWE Championship by demolishing James Ellsworth. What can I say? The Chin had it coming.
· After the match was over, Styles said he was ready to celebrate Christmas and ring in 2017. Dolph Ziggler made his way to the ring and reminded Styles that he had a match against him next week for the WWE Title. Styles didn’t forget because Ziggler is complete afterthought who’s easy to beat.
· Ziggler taunted Styles for losing to Ellsworth three times before finally taking care of business tonight. Both men continued to exchange words until Baron Corbin came out and claimed that Ziggler wouldn’t be the number one contender if he was in the Fatal Four Way Elimination Match last week. Ziggler responded by saying that he earned the right to face Styles while Corbin was too busy walking on the black carpet at the Revolver Awards.
· Corbin guaranteed that Ziggler was going to lose and proceeded to sucker punch The Showoff. Ziggler tried to get back on offense but got caught with Corbin’s End of Days as the opening segment came to an end.
· Corbin being inserted into the WWE Championship picture is a little random, but I guess it’s time for the creative team to start building up people for the Royal Rumble match next month. Corbin has a long way to go in the ring, but he has potential due to his flashy signature moves.
· Also, the personality he displays on Talking Smack needs to translate to SD Live as well. Corbin’s weaknesses are exposed on the mic when he has to recite overly scripted dialogue.
· Ziggler continues to be portrayed as a loser. When the fans go from chanting “What?” at Corbin to chanting “One More Time” after he laid Ziggler out says a lot. As I have stated on numerous occasions, Ziggler needs to turn heel. Stat!
· Ziggler confronted Daniel Bryan backstage and demanded a match against Corbin. Bryan agreed, but it didn’t come without a caveat. If Corbin defeated Ziggler, he would face Styles next week for the WWE Title. The Showoff agreed since he is used to putting his livelihood on the line.
· The Miz retained the Intercontinental Championship by defeating Apollo Crews with The Skull Crushing Finale. Miz gained an unfair advantage when he raked Crews’ eyes before hitting his finisher.
· Crews took 90% of the match and looked impressive, but he can’t get over the hump when it comes to winning high profile matches. Hopefully, the creative team will flesh out his personality next year because he has all the tools to be a top-tier star.
· Renee Young came out to interview The Miz and things took quite the turn when Miz said that Young was obsessed with Ambrose because she was sleeping with him. The fans gasped as Young slapped the taste out of Miz’s mouth before storming out of the ring.
· I didn’t see that one coming. Young’s relationship with Ambrose has been public knowledge for a couple of years, but it hasn’t been acknowledged on WWE television until now. The Total Divas storylines are bleeding into the main show once again. Yippee! *Insert Sarcasm Here*
· The world’s most obvious mystery was finally solved when Natalya admitted that she attacked Nikki Bella at Survivor Series last month after Carmella ratted her out.
· Natalya called Carmella a Staten Island snitch which led to both ladies getting in a brief scuffle which ended with Natalya tossing Carmella into the Christmas tree and presents display on the main stage. Carmella ran backstage while Natalya ripped Nikki to shreds on the mic.
· Nattie was jealous of Nikki’s success and said that John Cena would never marry her as the segment came to a close.
· Natalya did a nice job, but her reasoning is seriously flawed. She is jealous of Nikki when they are both making money with their side projects. One can only assume that future episodes of Total Divas are going to show both ladies being the best of friends unless they manufacture an argument for the cameras.
· Despite my issues with Natalya’s explanation, I am glad she has an edge to her character. Here’s hoping that her days of reciting song lyrics are over. It’s time for the Queen of Hearts to unleash her inner badass.
· As for Nikki, she needs to speak from the heart instead of acting like an android. When given the right material to work with, she is a good talker. The sad puppy eyes and sexy pout can only carry her so far. She needs to be vulnerable babyface that fans can relate to on an emotional level. I think Nikki can pull it off if she is allowed to be herself instead of a second-rate clone.
· Dean Ambrose defeated Luke Harper with a rollup in a decent match. Ambrose didn’t get a chance to celebrate because Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton jumped him from behind.
· Orton nailed Ambrose with an RKO as The Wyatt Family left him lying in the ring. The Miz came out with Maryse in tow to pick the bones as he dropped Ambrose with The Skull Crushing Finale.
· It appears that Miz and Ambrose will be feuding over the IC Title. With Renee Young being thrown in the mix, I expect this to be an all-couples affair as WWE tries to give some cross-promotional love to Total Divas. Oh, joy!
· I knew La Luchadora looked familiar. Becky Lynch pulled a fast one on Alexa Bliss when she made her tap out to the Dis-Arm-Her. It was a cute strategy because Lynch proved that she could beat Bliss fair and square whether she was in disguise or not. Let’s see if Lynch can do it again when she faces Bliss for the SmackDown Women’s Championship next week.
· Mojo Rawley knocked Curt Hawkins into next week when he nailed him with a wicked punch for the win. The match was serviceable while it lasted.
· The match between Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin ended in a double count-out after Corbin tossed Ziggler into AJ Styles while the champ was on guest commentary.
· Styles whacked Corbin and Ziggler over the back with a steel chair repeatedly until Daniel Bryan appeared on the main stage.
· Bryan announced that Styles would defend the WWE Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Ziggler and Corbin next week on SD Live. Styles was livid as the show went off the air.
· This was an interesting booking decision as Corbin and Ziggler are not exactly fan favorites at the moment. Their main event match was decent at best, but it was nothing special as both men have struggled to have a good match against each other dating back to their feud earlier this year. Gifting both men with a WWE Title opportunity guarantees two things.
· First, Styles is going to be viewed as the babyface in Chicago next week.
· Second, The Phenomenal One is retaining the WWE Championship. Anything less would be asinine.
· On the plus side, Corbin will get a chance to work with Styles which should tell us a lot about his career trajectory heading into next year. As I said last week, Styles has the Midas touch when it comes to getting people over. If he can elevate Corbin’s in-ring game, Vince McMahon needs to give King Styles a post-Christmas bonus for a job well done. Let’s see if The Lone Wolf can step up to the plate.
· As for Ziggler, he is twisting in the wind until he turns heel if the creative team is ballsy enough to pull the trigger. He can take all the bumps in the world, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing because he’s damaged goods as a babyface. He needs a fresh look and attitude heading into next year because the fans will continue to chant “One More Time” when a heel is kicking his ass. It’s a sign that the fans no longer care about Ziggler from an emotional standpoint. The best way to remedy this situation is for him to tell them to kick rocks and be his own man. Here’s hoping that The Powers That Be will get the hint.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was okay at best. The in-ring action was light for the most part with the women getting most of the shine as Natalya admitted that she was Nikki Bella’s attacker while Renee Young entered the WWE storyline fold when Miz brought up her relationship with Dean Ambrose. Those moments popped the crowd more than any match that took place on the show outside of AJ Styles destroying James Ellsworth.
· SD Live was in pre-Christmas cruise control, but I liked how WWE hyped next week’s show as it is the Wild Card Finals. I guess the company decided to skip the quarters and semis for whatever reason.
· The Wyatt Family will defend their SmackDown Tag Team Titles against The Usos, American Alpha, and Heath Slater & Rhyno in Four Corners Tag Team Elimination Match.
· Alexa Bliss will defend the SD Women’s Title against Becky Lynch while Styles will defend his WWE Title in a Triple Threat Match against Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin.
· Plus, John Cena returns which should put the show over the top in terms of anticipation and excitement. I don’t know if the Chicago crowd is going to shower him with love, but he knows how to win over the hardcore male contingent. It should be a hot show as three championships are on the line. Let’s hope the blue brand ends the 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 a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. Merry Christmas, boys and girls!