By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. After Randy Orton burned down Bray Wyatt’s house along with the spirit of Sister Abigail last week, the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania was placed in limbo after Orton decided to cash in his Royal Rumble win.
AJ Styles defeated Luke Harper to become the new number one contender for Wyatt’s WWE Title. In an attempt to resolve the situation, WWE announced that Orton and Styles will face off in a match with the winner moving on to face Wyatt for the Championship at Mania. Who finally punched their ticket to the big dance? 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.
· After much debate and consideration, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon announced that Randy Orton will face AJ Styles with the winner going on the face Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. This news originally broke this past Friday on the WWE App. The fact that the company decided to waste 12 minutes of television time to regurgitate this information was pointless. This was a bland way to kick off the show.
· John Cena and Nikki Bella picked up the win against James Ellsworth and Carmella when Cena made Ellsworth tap out to the STF while Nikki had Carmella in the Fearless Lock to keep things in perfect stereo.
· Cena and Bella’s celebration was short-lived when The Miz and Maryse attacked them at ringside. Miz rammed Cena into the steel steps while Maryse slammed Nikki back-first into the ring post.
· Miz proceeded to cut a cringe-worthy promo about how he and his wife were fighting for real love by discrediting the plastic relationship between Cena and Bella. The only thing that somewhat saved Miz’s performance was when he discussed the contract Cena made Nikki sign before they moved in together during the first season of Total Divas.
· The material was too insider and Miz’s comments on guest commentary were equally as bad. Last week’s segment between the foursome was better in terms of execution and entertainment value. This week’s verbal joust session sucked. Hopefully, they get back on track next week because my guilty pleasure turned into a waking nightmare.
· Thanks for coming, Curt Hawkins! Dean Ambrose laid out Hawkins for the second week in a row when he dropped him with Dirty Deeds onto the floor.
· Ambrose called out Baron Corbin, but Corbin refused to take orders from Ambrose. Their game of cat and mouse continues leading up to their presumed Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania.
· Who knew Mojo Rawley could be so shady? Dolph Ziggler tried to rain on Rawley’s parade by telling him that WrestleMania moments are earned and not given away freely. Rawley had a great retort when he asked Ziggler if that’s why he hasn’t had a Mania moment yet. Ziggler told the former Hype Bro to keep chasing that brass ring as he walked away. This was a decent way to setup Rawley’s announcement that he was entering the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WM.
· Dean Ambrose tracked down Corbin, but he was met with a lead pipe attack instead. The Lone Wolf laid Ambrose out, but The Lunatic Fringe managed to make light of the situation by saying that they had a good talk.
· Corbin continued his assault which led to Ambrose getting pinned underneath a forklift while Corbin pressed the machinery against his chest and waist. WWE officials pulled Ambrose from the contraption as Corbin marveled at his handiwork from behind the wheel.
· Alexa Bliss declared that she was the best woman on SD Live. Daniel Bryan decided to put that theory to the test by booking Bliss in a match against every available female superstar on the SD Live roster at WrestleMania with the Women’s Championship on the line.
· Bryan also announced that Becky Lynch and Natalya would team up against Alexa Bliss and Mickie James after the commercial break.
· The segment almost went off the rails with the women gossiping like a gaggle of hens in the ring, but it was saved by Bryan’s announcement that Bliss would defend her title against every available woman on the roster at Mania. This might open the door for Naomi to make a surprise appearance in her hometown of Orlando if she is medically cleared within the next few weeks.
· It was only a matter of time until Mickie James put Alexa Bliss on notice that she was gunning for the Women’s Title when she nailed Bliss with the Mick Kick after Bliss stole the pin during their tag team match against Becky Lynch and Natalya.
· Lynch had the match well in hand until Natalya dropped her with a German Suplex. James was about to capitalize on the situation when Bliss made the tag and cover moments later.
· The announcers stressed that they don’t know what type of match the women will have with the title on the line. I guess we shall find out the special stipulation soon enough.
· Randy Orton officially punched his ticket to WrestleMania when he defeated AJ Styles with an RKO out of nowhere. Orton will face Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at the biggest show of the year while Styles’ dream of headlining Mania was dashed in heartbreaking fashion.
· Orton and Styles had a very good match that served as a nice appetizer of what’s to come in the future. Styles worked on Orton’s left leg throughout the match which grounded The Viper’s offense for the most part.
· However, Orton got back on track when he nailed Styles with a Draping DDT. Orton was about to nail Styles with an RKO when Styles countered with a Pele Kick.
· Styles was about to hit Orton with the Phenomenal Forearm, but he noticed that Orton was in position to hit him an RKO in mid-air. Styles psyched Orton out by jumping off the top rope while Orton fell back first against the mat.
· Styles attempted to hit Orton with the 450 Splash, but Orton moved out of the way which led to the finish.
· SD Live went off the air with Orton doing his signature pose while Styles sat on the bottom of the entrance ramp with a sad look on his face.
· It should be noted that Bray Wyatt never appeared on the show. I guess he is rebuilding his house after Orton burned it to the ground last week. Poor thing..,
· After several weeks of twists and turns, the SD Live main event is set. Will Orton complete his mission by defeating Bray Wyatt for the WWE Title? We shall find out soon enough.
· As for Styles, he’ll probably face Shane McMahon in a gimmick match at Mania. It’s not the dream scenario most fans were hoping for, but The Phenomenal One will try his best to turn these sour grapes into a vintage fine wine. The idea of Styles vs. McMahon still sucks, though. L
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was middling at best. WWE took a step back after last week’s strong show. The John Cena/Nikki Bella-Miz/Maryse feud went from a soap opera delight to an E! News hit piece with information sourced from Star Magazine. It was a hot mess that needs to be rectified next week.
· The Women’s Division is a little bit more interesting with Mickie James finally turning on Alexa Bliss. Let’s hope James reverts to her babyface ways because she was super over at NXT Takeover: Toronto last November. She is too talented to let a character miscast derail her second run in WWE.
· The Tag Team Division remained MIA with American Alpha and The Usos not appearing on the show for the second week in a row. WrestleMania is three weeks away and it’s time to kick this feud into high gear. They don’t have to trade wins back and forth, but some mic time would go a long way towards getting their presumed WM match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship over in a meaningful away. The 12-minute segment that kicked off tonight’s show could have been used to add heat to this lifeless feud. At this rate, the Tag Team Titles will probably be the first match on the Mania Kickoff show which is a shame considering the talent involved.
· The rest of the show was fine, but it was nothing special. With SD Live emanating from Pittsburgh next week, they need to turn up the heat as the Road to WrestleMania hits the home stretch. Unfortunately, the Steel City isn’t known for having hot crowds which might make next week’s show a chore to get through. Let’s hope the creative team remedies the situation by giving the crowd something to cheer for. That goes for the viewing audience at home as well. 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. See you later, boys and girls!