By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Raising Cane’s River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dean Ambrose crushed The Miz’s hopes and dreams by winning the Intercontinental Championship last week. Miz had an epic meltdown on Talking Smack and one can only assume that his anguish will spill over into tonight’s show.
Meanwhile, John Cena is fending off the “Has Been” label bestowed upon him by AJ Styles and Baron Corbin. Did Cena prove the naysayers wrong or did the chumps still have something to chirp about? That answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.
· The Ambrose Asylum featuring new Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, The Miz, and Maryse was very entertaining. Miz wanted Ambrose to relinquish the IC Title before filing a lawsuit alleging that the referee was coerced into ejecting Maryse from the match instead of ending the bout via disqualification last week.
· Instead, Miz was re-gifted the same Participation Award he gave to Ambrose last month. It was a great callback which made sense because Miz got a dose of his own medicine.
· It appeared that Miz appreciated the rib, but he tossed the award in Ambrose’s face and proceeded to beat him up. Miz held Ambrose up so Maryse could slap him, but The Lunatic Fringe ducked out of the way causing her to slap her husband instead.
· Ambrose kicked Miz in the groin and nailed him with Dirty Deeds for good measure. To show how gracious he was, Ambrose gave Maryse the Participation Award before leaving the ring. Maryse smashed the award against the canvas and tended to Miz as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was a hilarious way to start the show. The continuity was spot on as the Participation Award came into play for all the right reasons.
· Also, both men announced that they were entering the Royal Rumble Match. The Rumble is shaping up to be a stacked show with superstars galore. Expect the feud between Miz-Ambrose to continue heading into WrestleMania season as well.
· Natalya vs. Nikki Bella never got underway because Nikki took the fight to her former best friend when she laid her out with a Spear. This was in retaliation to Natalya attacking Nikki backstage prior to their match.
· They brawled for a bit until a group of referees came out to break things up. They couldn’t stop Natalya from delivering a chop block to Nikki’s leg which allowed her to lock in the Sharpshooter on the floor to add insult to injury.
· Postponing this match was a good idea. There is no need to waste television time if they are going to trade wins back and forth leading up to their inevitable rematch at the Rumble. The crowd was receptive to their impromptu fight which speaks well for their bout when it takes place in an official capacity. This bubbling blood feud has the potential to be very good if everything is executed properly.
· The Downward Spiral of Dolph Ziggler continued as he suffered another loss at the hands of Kalisto. The Luchador pinned The Showoff with a Crucifix which caused Ziggler to snap. He attacked Kalisto as the hardcore male contingent cheered him on.
· He grabbed a steel chair from the timekeeper’s area and whacked Kalisto in the back with it. Apollo Crews came out to defend his friend, but Ziggler quickly gained the advantage and attacked him with several chair shots to the back as well. He gave Kalisto a parting shot in the literal sense as the segment came to an end.
· Ziggler showed great aggression, but he didn’t get the desired reaction because half the crowd cheered him. Ziggler needs that career defining promo to push his heel turn over the top. Otherwise, fans will continue to celebrate his liberation as a babyface when they should be booing him out of the building instead.
· American Alpha successfully defended the SmackDown Tag Team Titles when Chad Gable knocked Randy Orton into Luke Harper which caused Harper to fall off the ring apron. This allowed Gable to pin Orton with the O’Connor Roll for the win.
· The match between American Alpha vs. The Wyatt Family was good, but the heel/face dynamic was off-kilter because Orton is perceived as a face in a heel faction while Alpha is seen as the opposition whenever they attack him. It almost killed their heat, but their skillset kept the jeers to a minimum for the most part.
· The Tag Team Champions should not be window dressing to get over another feud despite how compelling the implosion of The Wyatt Family is. Hopefully, Chad Gable and Jason Jordan can move on to big and better things which allow them to get over as a hot babyface team. A feud with The Usos might do the trick, but they’ve had several matches already that felt more conclusive than open-ended. Let’s hope the creative team can revive their feud in the same vein as Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton.
· Tensions between Orton and Harper boiled over when Harper was knocked off the ring apron when Orton slung Gable in position for the Draping DDT through the middle rope. Orton was about to nail Gable with an RKO, but Harper got on the apron to confront Orton which led to the finish.
· After the match was over, Orton and Harper got into a shoving match. Bray Wyatt tried to calm his boys down but he suffered an inadvertent kick to the stomach by Harper. Wyatt whispered something to both men before they exited the ring.
· The Wyatt Family falling apart at the seams is one of the best aspects of SD Live. Orton is tearing the family apart from within and it’s only a matter of time until he shows his true colors. Harper sees The Viper for who he truly is, but Wyatt is still wearing blinders. Or is he? We shall find out soon enough. In any event, their impending doom needs to take place in its own universe where they are not chasing championship
gold silver which waters down the babyface pop of their opponents.
· Daniel Bryan announced that Alexa Bliss will defend the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch inside a steel cage next week. According to Bryan, La Luchadora will not be able to interfere. With all due respect to the SD Live General Manager, he is an idiot. Has Bryan seen steel cage matches throughout WWE history? There is bound to be outside interference. La Luchadora can scale the cage, enter through the door if it’s unsecured, and hide under the ring before the cage is lowered. Despite his reasoning being seriously flawed, Lynch and Bliss have the potential to have a good match inside the cage. Their championship bouts have not been barn burners, but I expect both ladies to show up and show out next Tuesday.
· Carmella vs. CJ Lunde was rough in spots. James Ellsworth grabbed Lunde’s foot on a couple of occasions which allowed Carmella to lock in the Code of Silence for the win. The transition leading up to her finisher was ugly, but the storyline of Carmella using Ellsworth in order to pick up cheap wins against enhancement talent is a fun secondary storyline.
· AJ Styles owned the commentary team when he told them that Baron Corbin dropped Cena with a Sidewalk Slam instead of The Deep Six. I knew my eyes weren’t deceiving me. 50 points are awarded to the House of Styles for getting them together even though I have a soft spot for Mauro Ranallo.
· John Cena made an example out of Baron Corbin as he dropped him with an AA for the win. It was a solid match, but it was nothing special in the grand scheme of things. After Corbin’s stellar month, he suffered a setback by losing to Cena. If WWE is trying to build him up as a main eventer, this is not the way to do it.
· AJ Styles could have gotten involved to make sure the match ended via Disqualification to keep Corbin’s heel heat. Instead, Cena beat The Lone Wolf clean as a sheet to build momentum heading into the WWE Championship match against Styles at the Royal Rumble. Corbin had moments to shine during the match, but eating the pin did more harm than good in terms of his current push. Perhaps he can track down Kalisto and attack him backstage next week because that is the only person he can beat decisively. He might have to get in line behind Dolph Ziggler, but I digress…
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent. It wasn’t a great show from an in-ring standpoint, but several storylines were forwarded in a meaningful way. The creative team has shown great restraint when it comes to milking feuds leading up to major PPVs. There are a handful of rematches that take place from time to time, but it is never monotonous in nature.
· Despite Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss facing off for the fourth time, the outcome has never been definitive and their feud still feels fresh. However, it probably needs to come to an end soon because Lynch is starting to lose a little steam based on crowd reactions as of late. Bliss’ heel character is clicking, but her in-ring game needs more refinement. Next week’s steel cage match is going to be a good test for her. Let’s hope she passes with flying colors.
· With two more live shows until the Royal Rumble, expect more SD Live wrestlers to announce their entry into the Rumble match. Throw in the drama with Nikki Bella vs. Natalya, The Wyatt Family vs. Randy Orton, Ambrose vs. The Miz, Ziggler vs. The World, and Cena vs. Styles; the main event scene is firing on all cylinders at the moment. If the Tag Team Division can join in on the party, the blue brand will be red hot heading into WrestleMania season. Fingers crossed!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!