By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The SD Live WrestleMania main event is set as Randy Orton will face Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship. Meanwhile, AJ Styles is looking for a palm tree give him warmth and shade since he is left out in the cold heading into the biggest show of the year.
Styles confronted Shane McMahon backstage after his match with Orton and one can only assume that their beef spilled over into tonight’s show. How did McMahon respond to last week’s scuffle? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s get down to business!
· AJ Styles laid out a believable case of getting screwed out of the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania.
· Unlike John Cena, Styles had to jump throw hoops like a circus monkey in order to get a title shot. He was put in the Elimination Chamber, a Battle Royal, and two number one contender matches only to come up short.
· Styles is not booked for a match at Mania which caused him to lose his cool last week when he confronted Shane McMahon backstage. He vowed to have a conversation with his boss about his career as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was a good way to start the show. Styles was passionate with a legitimate point to prove because he was the best wrestler in 2016, but he didn’t have a match on the WM card. He’s the one that put SD Live on the map and put butts in the seats.
· We shall see how Shane responds to Styles’ comments later in the show.
· Becky Lynch defeated Natalya with the Dis-Arm-Her, but she didn’t get a chance to celebrate the win because Carmella nailed her with a Superkick. Natalya suffered the same fate as Carmella put both ladies on notice that she was also gunning for Alexa Bliss’ Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. She’s not a serious threat to win the title, but it’s smart to make everyone seem like legit competition heading into the PPV.
· Daniel Bryan’s desire to punch The Miz in the face caused him to book Miz and Maryse vs. John Cena and Nikki Bella in a mixed tag team match WrestleMania.
· A special edition of Miz TV got the ball rolling as Maryse spilled Nikki Bella’s dirty little secret about how she blocked Maryse from returning to WWE four years ago.
· Nikki, Brie, and Maryse had a pact to return as stars on the first season of Total Divas. Initial contract negotiations went south, but Nikki promised Maryse that she had her back because her relationship with John Cena made her untouchable behind the scenes.
· However, plans changed when Nikki and Brie re-signed with the company and returned on an episode of Raw in early 2013. Maryse felt betrayed and vowed to expose Nikki as a backstabbing bitch.
· John Cena and Nikki Bella ran down to the ring, but Miz and Maryse got out of dodge before things got physical.
· Nikki got on the mic and called Maryse delusional and denied the claims that she blocked Maryse’s return to the company. If that was the case, she wouldn’t be on SD Live leeching off her husband for an easy paycheck each week. Nikki challenged Maryse to a fight, but Miz declined on his wife’s behalf.
· Bryan came out to make the mixed tag team match at Mania official as Cena and Bella celebrated in the ring.
· This was 1000 times better than the dreck Miz had to recite last week. Maryse did a great job conveying her side of the story because it was based on a true story that played out on an episode of Total Divas last November. Mixing in a hint of realism makes this feud easier to digest when it’s rooted in Faction (Fiction mixed with Facts).
· Nikki Bella’s character took a minor hit because Maryse’s comments were somewhat true. She was in sink or swim mode until Bryan saved the day. Despite people throwing shade at her, Nikki can’t counter due to the weak material she's given. Maybe she can take a few tips from Cena when it comes to reading haters for filth.
· Mickie James defeated Alexa Bliss with the Mick Kick as she got a measure of revenge on her former partner-in-crime. James and Bliss had a nice match, but the crowd heat was almost non-existent. That’s the perils of having a show in Pittsburgh because the fans are notoriously lukewarm.
· AJ Styles decided to get his WrestleMania thrills by attacking Shane McMahon in the garage. Styles kicked McMahon’s ass from pillar to post as he talked about getting screwed out of multiple championship opportunities.
· Styles crashed McMahon’s head through a backseat car window as a sharped dressed Fit Finlay came to his boss’ rescue.
· McMahon suffered a laceration in the back of the head as he was checked out by WWE’s medical team. Shane refused to go the hospital and opted to get examined in the trainer’s room instead.
· AJ Styles was about to head out of the arena when he was confronted by Daniel Bryan and security. Bryan was so abhorred with Styles’ actions that he fired The Phenomenal One on the spot. Styles was escorted out of the building as the crowd booed in the background.
· Something tells me that Styles will be re-hired by the end of the show.
· Mojo Rawley defeated Dolph Ziggler via count-out when Ziggler refused to get back in the ring before the count of ten. The match was fine while it lasted, but the ending was lame.
· It appears that Randy Orton’s master plan has gone up in smoke (pun intended) because Bray Wyatt went back to the scene of the crime to baptize himself with Sister Abigail’s ashes.
· Wyatt was reborn and vowed to wipe out all the infidels on earth. Orton would be the first to go at WrestleMania as he told The Viper to “Follow The Buzzards.”
· Moral of the story: Burn down a man’s house and he will still find a way to become a God among men.
· The psychological mind games from Wyatt continue, but the follow-up made Orton’s act of arson seem like child’s play in hindsight.
· The Usos defeated American Alpha when Jimmy Uso stopped Chad Gable and Jason Jordan’s Electric Chair attempt on Jey Uso by knocking Gable off the top rope. This allowed Jimmy to nail Jordan with a Superkick behind the referee’s back. Since Jey was the legal man, he was able to pick up the win which puts them in line for a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania.
· American Alpha vs. The Usos was fine, but it was hampered by a lack of crowd heat. The fans did a half-hearted “We Want Angle” chant as a way to entertain themselves.
· The presentation of the match for the television audience was terrible as WWE cut to a split screen of Shane McMahon walking backstage alongside Jamie Noble and Fit Finlay midway through the “main event.”
· It made the two top teams in the Tag Team Division seem second-rate which is a shame considering the talent involved. The outcome became a blimp on the radar because of Shane McMahon’s announcement at the end of the show.
· McMahon announced that he will face AJ Styles at WrestleMania. The show abruptly came to an end before fans had a chance to digest the news.
· The rumored AJ Styles-Shane McMahon match is now official and it was booked in a logical way. Styles crossed the line by attacking his boss which gave Shane a legitimate reason to get back in the ring. As I have mentioned on several occasions, this is not the sexiest matchup in the world but it should be a beautiful disaster if it’s booked properly. Styles is the best wrestler in the world while Shane is a madman when it comes to pulling off incredible stunts under the right circumstances.
· With those two things in mind, I am cautiously optimistic about their WM match. Let’s hope these good vibrations carry over into next week’s show.
· Overall, I thought this was another middling episode of SmackDown Live. The Pittsburgh crowd lived up to their reputation of being meh, but WWE didn’t help matters by putting on a ho-hum show.
· Numerous WrestleMania angles were forwarded in a meaningful way, but the in-ring action was so-so for the most part. Several internet reports have noted that the company tends to play down major storylines for a week because the Steel City crowd has a reputation of being
doused with Nyquil dreary during most live shows. That theory rang true, but the fans managed to wake up for the AJ Styles-Shane McMahon segment, Miz TV, and Orton’s Promo.
· The rest of the broadcast was fluffed up by matches that the crowd didn’t care about. From a viewer standpoint, it was a chore to get through with the saving grace being that SD Live is a two-hour show. If this was Raw, I would have been nodding off between commercial breaks.
· Hopefully, the blue brand will get back on track next week as the show emanates from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. With 19 days to go until WrestleMania, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the SD Live side of the card. Let’s hope the creative team can get the job done. 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!