By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. Alexa Bliss defended the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch inside a steel cage. The cage was supposed to prevent La Luchadora from interfering. Knowing how WWE History works, it’s a sure bet that the masked woman got involved. Did we get the big reveal or did the guessing game continue? The 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.
· It appears that Shane McMahon borrowed his Skinny Jeans from the Dave Batista Collection.
· McMahon announced that the WWE Championship will be defended inside the Elimination Chamber in four weeks at the eponymous PPV.
· AJ Styles was not pleased with this news and threatened to take his talents back to Japan.
· John Cena came out but was quickly shot down by Styles as he complained about people stealing his spotlight. The Miz and Maryse made their way to the ring and did just that.
· Miz dropped a few truth bombs on Styles by saying that he beat Cena at WrestleMania 27 before “Beating up John Cena” was the cool thing to do. The Hollywood A-Lister stated that he made the Intercontinental Championship more prestigious than Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose ever could. Miz also claimed that everyone was talking about SD Live because of him. Cena tried to stir the pot by saying that Miz thought he was better than Styles.
· Styles had a nice comeback when he reminded Miz that he knocked his teeth out the last time they had a match in Memphis. He was surprised that Miz didn’t walk away with a limp, but Maryse might have something to say about that. Cena The Instigator added fuel to the fire by encouraging Miz to man up.
· Shane McMahon decided to book Styles and Miz in a match which took place after the commercial break.
· Styles and Miz had a nice match that featured a surprising amount of mat-based wrestling which showcased Miz’s flexibility and in-ring technique. Maryse got involved which caused Styles to eat a kick to the face by Miz midway through the match.
· Styles eventually got back on offense and nailed Miz with the Pele Kick and followed by a stiff knee shot to the head. Styles tried to toss Miz into Cena at the announce table, but Cena blocked the impact and slammed Miz against the barricade. Cena and Styles traded punches which caused the match to end via Disqualification.
· Cena chased Styles in the ring which allowed Miz to attack Cena from behind. Miz tried to drop Cena with the Skull Crushing Finale, but Cena countered with the AA. Styles tried to nail Cena with the Phenomenal Forearm, but he also got dropped with an AA. Cena posed with the WWE Championship before leaving the ring to wrap up the segment.
· The opener and subsequent match to kick off SD Live were very good. I thought Styles and Miz did a great job on the mic as they were two heels who had a strong dislike for each other. Cena playing the role of Shit Stirrer was a nice touch as he took advantage of the situation while not getting his hands dirty. He eventually came out on top, but he did it by maneuvering the chess pieces across the board like a wily veteran. Overall, this was a nice way to hype the Rumble while putting over the main event players at the same time.
· Dean Ambrose remembering that he owed The Wyatt Family a receipt after getting beat down a few weeks ago was a nice callback to history. WWE Logic exists and it makes sense for a change!
· Nikki Bella and Natalya had another good brawl which added more heat to their feud. Natalya complaining about not having any merchandise at the concession stand was petty, but entertaining nonetheless. WWE is playing it smart by stalling their match until the Royal Rumble. This is one of the better feuds in WWE and both ladies have delivered the goods in terms of physicality and intensity.
· Dean Ambrose defeated Randy Orton with a roll-up, but it wasn’t without controversy. Orton had the match won until Luke Harper got in the ring to confront Ambrose after being laid out with a Tope outside the ring earlier. It should be noted that Orton moved out of harm’s way while his buddy took the fall. Harper and Orton to trade punches with Bray Wyatt being caught in the middle.
· Wyatt punched Harper in the face to send a message that he needed to get his head back in the game. Wyatt chided Orton as well before they headed backstage.
· Harper hinted that everything will come to a head at the Rumble. Expect the implosion of The Wyatt Family to take place at the Alamo Dome with Orton playing a key role in its destruction.
· King’s Court featuring Jerry “The King” Lawler and Dolph Ziggler got personal when Lawler asked pointed questions to an uncooperative Ziggler. Ziggler eventually responded by showing a clip of him dropping elbows on Lawler’s chest from September 2012. Lawler claimed that he suffered a heart attack due to those elbow drops. He even joked about it on commentary to rib Ziggler from time to time.
· However, this was no laughing matter when Ziggler vowed to finish what he started if Lawler asked him another question. Lawler told Ziggler that he will always be a loser no matter how many times he changed his attitude. Ziggler nailed Lawler with a Superkick to the chest as the crowd showered him with boos. JBL came to Lawler’s aid as The King called out Ziggler to finish what he started, but The Showoff went backstage as the segment came to an end.
· Ziggler did a nice job being a cold-blooded heel towards Lawler. He was hated for all the right reasons and I hope he carries this momentum beyond the City of Memphis. He needs to embody this attitude at every arena in order to get over as a believable heel. Ziggler laid an egg on Talking Smack last week, but he redeemed himself tonight. Let’s hope he stays the course.
· Bray Wyatt announced that Randy Orton and Luke Harper will face off next week to work out their problems. We shall see how his theory tests out.
· Alexa Bliss retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship when she nailed Becky Lynch with a DDT thanks to an assist from La Luchadora. As I mentioned last week, Daniel Bryan was an idiot for thinking that a steel cage would prevent outside interference when WWE history suggests otherwise.
· Lynch had Bliss locked in the Dis-Arm-Her when La Luchadora kicked her in the head. This allowed Bliss to hit her finisher for the win.
· La Luchadora and Bliss double teamed Lynch, but Lynch fought back and unmasked the mystery woman. Mickie James was revealed as the lady under the hood as Lynch looked on in shock. Bliss attacked her from behind which allowed James to nail Lynch with a stiff kick to the face. SD Live went off the air with James raising Bliss’ hand in victory.
· I had a feeling that Mickie James would be revealed as La Luchadora. I question this decision because she received an awesome ovation in Toronto during her NXT Women’s Championship match against Asuka last November. James is a natural babyface, but she is a great heel as well. It’s a damned if you, damned if you don’t situation.
· Also, I can’t see James being a heel long-term because one has to assume that she wants to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship at some point. She still has that crazy look in her eyes and a smirk that can bring the division to its knees at will. If Bliss pisses her off, all hell will break loose. For that reason alone, I can’t wait for this alliance to come to an end sooner rather than later.
· The title match between Bliss and Lynch was good for the most part. The bout could have gone a bit longer, but I thought both ladies made good use of the time they were given. This was their best match to date, but the outcome rings a bit hollow because the heel keeps winning by the skin of her teeth. Let’s hope that a definitive finish to this feud is in sight because it is time for both ladies to move on as we head into WrestleMania season.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was solid. This was a tight two-hour show that continued to hype the WWE Championship Match featuring John Cena vs. AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble next Sunday. The Wyatt Family continues to fall apart at the seams while SD Live is gearing up for the Elimination Chamber PPV in a few weeks to determine who will be heading into WM WWE Champion.
· The Tag Team Division took a backseat this week along with Baron Corbin, James Ellsworth, and Carmella. If I’m not mistaken, I thought Carmella was supposed to take Ellsworth on a shopping spree this week. Oh well.
· American Alpha are the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, but they're directionless at the moment. They need legit opponents heading into WM season. Here’s hoping that the creative team can work their magic because the division feels cold at the moment.
· The final live show before the Rumble takes place next week. WWE announced Orton vs. Harper, but the broadcast needs a little more oomph in order to push things over the top. We shall see what the company does to excite fans as the Showdown at the Alamo Dome draws near. Twelve days and counting…
On that notes, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next Monday with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!