January 10, 2017
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Commentary: Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga, Tom Phillips
Results by: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
“Then. Now. Forever.” The WWE video leads us into the show.
A video recaps the events from last week’s show. After having his wife, Maryse, attack Renee Young for slapping him the week before, The Miz faced Dean Ambrose in the main event with the WWE Intercontinental Championship on the line. After a hard-fought match, Ambrose defeated The Miz to win the championship.
The Ambrose Asylum kicks off the show
WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose makes his way to the ring for another edition of The Ambrose Asylum. Ambrose welcomes us to the first edition of this show in 2017. This is also the first time the episode has been hosted by the Intercontinental Champion. While we’re doing firsts, he wants to be the first member and champion of Smackdown Live to officially enter the Royal Rumble Match. Since we’re in Cajun Country, he thought it would be cool to have a live alligator on the show, but they don’t have the permits. An alligator head is on a bench, which he picked up at a gas station, and has named it “Maryse.” Since you can’t interview an inanimate object, he’s settling for something a little better. This guest runs his mouth but never have anything interesting to say.
The Miz’ music interrupts Ambrose’s introduction. The Miz and Maryse make their way to the ring looking none too pleased. The crowd boos them while they enter the ring. The Miz says that each day Ambrose carries his title, he taints its value, prestige, and undoes the hard work he put into it to restore its former glory. Now Ambrose is going to taint the integrity of the Royal Rumble match. Miz won’t let that happen. For the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home, he’s officially entering the Royal Rumble Match. Miz says that’s the future. He wants to talk about last week when Ambrose stole his title. Everyone saw Ambrose coerce the referee into continuing the match when it should have been thrown out due to outside interference. Before he takes legal action, he wants Ambrose to have the opportunity to do the right thing right now. Miz wants him to hand over the Intercontinental Championship. The crowd chants, “NO!” Ambrose thinks about it before saying Miz is right. He does have something that belongs to The Miz, and he deserves to have it back. Miz says Ambrose has come to his senses. A lot of people think Ambrose is unhinged, but he’s a sensible guy doing the right thing. Miz goes to reach for the title, but Ambrose brings it back. Ambrose then pulls out a black bag and presents Miz with his own “Miz Appreciation Award.” Miz is flabbergasted.
Miz looks at it and says that Ambrose is a funny guy. Miz then throws the award in Ambrose’s face and punches him down to the mat. Miz takes off his jacket and delivers some more clubbing blows to the face. Miz holds up Ambrose for Maryse to slap. Ambrose moves, and Maryse accidentally slaps her husband. Ambrose then gives Miz the Dirty Deeds. The crowd chants Ambrose’s name. Ambrose picks up the award and smiles while giving it to Maryse before walking off.
John Cena will face Baron Corbin in tonight’s main event. The Wyatt Family will face American Alpha for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships in a rematch. We’ll also see Nikki Bella face Natalya.
A video package highlights the Nikki Bella vs. Natalya feud.
Nikki Bella is walking backstage when she’s attacked from behind by Natalya. Natalya throws her into a garage door. Nikki holds her leg in pain. Natalya says, “See you out there, Nikki!”
Mike’s Thoughts: I really liked this edition of The Ambrose Asylum. Dean Ambrose’s comedy is sometimes hit or miss and this was kept quick enough that it leaned toward the “hit” side. I liked that Miz and Maryse didn’t come out doing their usual entrance. Nothing bugs me more on WWE television than a character coming out after a devastating loss and acting like nothing happened. Ambrose got even with them tonight, but I can still foresee a mixed tag match with Ambrose and Renee Young taking on Miz and Maryse.
Natalya vs. Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella charges her way down to the ring and immediately attacks Natalya before the bell even rings. Natalya goes outside and tries to go up the ramp, but Nikki takes her down and punches away at her. Natalya comes back by sending her into the barricade and punching away at her. They brawl at ringside before Natalya throws her into the ring. Natalya boots her in the face and continues punching away at her. This match has not officially started yet. Nikki starts making a comeback, but Natalya gets away and leaves the ring. Natalya tries to escape into the crowd, but Nikki catches her and slams her down on the floor. Nikki gets her back in the ring and the brawl continues until more referees come down to break them up. The crowd chants, “Let them fight!” They pull Nikki back, but she escapes from their grasps and takes Natalya back down. The referees pull Nikki off, and Natalya chop blocks the knee. Natalya throws her out of the ring and slaps her in the face. Natalya then applies the Sharpshooter outside the ring. Nikki screams in pain. Natalya eventually releases the hold and walks off. This match never officially started.
We go backstage to see a new person interview Dolph Ziggler. She says before she asks “pertinent questions,” she wants to show a replay from last week. We see footage of Kalisto saving Ziggler from Baron Corbin. Ziggler then superkicked Kalisto. Later that night, Ziggler attacked Apollo Crews for standing up for Kalisto. Ziggler will face Kalisto tonight. The interviewer asks for an explanation. Ziggler breathes into the microphone, but he says nothing. Ziggler looks very conflicted before walking off.
Mike’s Thoughts: That was a really good brawl with Nikki Bella and Natalya. The women’s presentation on Smackdown compared to RAW is night and day. They have just as limited a roster as RAW, but they bring out the most in their characters. On RAW, you have Stephanie McMahon murdering “The Boss” gimmick of Sasha Banks. On this show, the women thrive and are protected. There is something to be said for that. As for that Dolph Ziggler interview (or lack thereof), these robotic interviewers really hurt the presentation. The verbiage is so embarrassingly forced. Yikes.
The bell rings, and Kalisto immediately starts kicking away at him. Ziggler reverses a whip, but Kalisto takes him down with a hurricanrana. Ziggler quickly leaves the ring to recover. Ziggler takes a moment before getting back in the ring. Ziggler takes him down and rolls him up for a one count. Kalisto twists out of a facelock. Ziggler fights up and takes him down for a two count. Ziggler continues to try some pinning combinations to no avail. Kalisto applies a hammerlock, but Ziggler twists out and knees him in the midsection. Ziggler hits a neckbreaker and picks up a one count. Ziggler applies an arm bar before turning it into a pin for a near fall. Kalisto fights up from a chin lock. The crowd is chanting, “Let’s go Ziggler/Lucha, lucha.” Kalisto gets a backslide pin for a two count. Ziggler pops up and immediately elbows him down. Ziggler kicks him and goes for a boot to the head, but Kalisto avoids it. Kalisto puts him in the corner, and Ziggler drops him to the apron. Kalisto kicks him back and goes for a springboard, but Ziggler uppercuts him off the ropes and to the floor. Kalisto grabs his leg in pain.
We come back from the break to see Ziggler tying Kalisto up in knots. Kalisto counters into a pin for a two count. Ziggler transitions to a chin lock and keeps him grounded. Kalisto eventually fights up and counters out with a jawbreaker. Kalisto connects with a back elbow, but he soon runs into a boot. Ziggler sends him into the ropes, but he lowers his head and eats a kick. Kalisto connects with a head-scissor takeover. Ziggler pops up and goes for a superkick, but Kalisto blocks it and rolls him up for a near fall. Ziggler immediately dropkicks him down and casually covers him. Kalisto counters into a crucifix pin for the win. Ziggler looks disgusted.
Winner by Pinfall: Kalisto
Kalisto celebrates before Ziggler viciously clotheslines him down. Ziggler punches the mat in frustration before looking conflicted over what he just did. Ziggler looks at the fallen Kalisto before punching away at him. Ziggler then just as quickly stops and looks upset by what he’s done. Ziggler rolls out of the ring and walks away looking quite dejected. Ziggler then turns around and grabs a chair from ringside. Ziggler gets back in the ring and viciously cracks it off Kalisto’s back. Kalisto screams in pain. Ziggler connects with a second shot, and the crowd chants, “YES!”
Ziggler goes to leave, but Apollo Crews cuts him off. Crews punches Ziggler and throws him into the ring. Ziggler kicks him while he enters the ring and grabs the chair. Ziggler hits him in the midsection with the chair and smacks it off his back. Ziggler is shaking with anger. The crowd continues to chant, “YES!” Ziggler smacks it off Crews’ back once again. Kalisto is pulling himself up on the ropes. Ziggler shakes with fury and smacks Kalisto’s back with the chair one more time before leaving the ring.
American Alpha are backstage warming up. The new interviewer asks them for how they’re preparing for The Wyatt Family. Jason Jordan says The Wyatt Family is one of the most intimidating groups in the WWE. Bray Wyatt thinks he’s alpha and omega, but they’re the alphas in the tag division. Chad Gable says they’re ready for war and will leave as champions. Jordan says it doesn’t matter if you’re a god, a serpent, or whatever Luke Harper is, no one can hang with them.
Tonight’s main event will see John Cena take on Baron Corbin. We’ll hear from John Cena, next.
Mike’s Thoughts: My initial instinct with Dolph Ziggler losing to Kalisto was one of frustration, but I get why they did that. Ziggler has been losing nonstop, which has led to him turning heel. This one last loss to Kalisto completely sent him over the edge. I liked Ziggler demolishing Kalisto and Apollo Crews with the chair while looking conflicted all at the same time. I also really liked how they toned down Ziggler’s in-ring work so it’s less flash and more heel. Overall, that was a successful segment.
Renee Young is backstage with John Cena. She asks how he feels about Baron Corbin wanting to make a statement at Cena’s expense. Cena says the Lone Wolf has run through every single thing that’s been put in his path since he stepped in WWE. Now his sights are set on him. Cena says he’s the one that needs to make a statement. Cena has been called a lot of things in WWE, but last week AJ Styles called him two words he’s never heard before, and Corbin agreed: they called him a “has been.” Cena got to thinking about it and agrees with them. It has been a long time since he’s had to fight to prove that he belongs. These New Era chumps believe their own hype. Tonight, John Cena HAS BEEN fired up, and that’s not good for Corbin. Cena makes statements by knocking the toughest guy’s teeth down his throat. AJ Styles will get a glimpse of what’s in store for him at the Royal Rumble. Tonight, the Lone Wolf may be on the prowl, but he’s John Cena, and his time is now.
The Wyatt Family’s video flashes on the screen. Bray Wyatt says he hopes American Alpha has enjoyed their run with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Unlike the bonds in this family, nothing lasts forever. Now the devil is at their doorstep. Randy Orton looks into the camera and says, “We’re here.”
The Wyatt Family makes their entrance. They’re followed by their opponents, American Alpha. Replays are shown of American Alpha defeating The Wyatt Family for the titles two weeks ago. The Smackdown Tag Team Championships are on the line, next.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships Match
The Wyatt Family vs. American Alpha (c’s)
Bray Wyatt will start the match against Chad Gable. Wyatt quickly kicks and clubs him down. Wyatt head-butts him down and sends him into the ropes. Gable ducks a pair of clotheslines, and Jason Jordan tags in. Jordan dropkicks Wyatt down. Randy Orton runs in, and Gable dropkicks him down. Jordan covers Wyatt for a one count. Jordan shoulders Wyatt in the corner before slamming him down for a one count. Jordan applies a front facelock and rolls around with him. Wyatt fights up and powers him to the corner. Orton tags in, and he kicks and punches away at Jordan. The crowd chants for Orton. Jordan puts the brakes on a toss into the corner and goes for a suplex, but Orton counters. Orton applies a side headlock. Gable blind tags in and takes Orton down. Orton elbows out of a waistlock and tags Wyatt back in. Wyatt rakes Gable’s face on the ropes and puts him on the top rope. Wyatt taunts the crowd, so Gable hooks an arm bar over the top rope. Gable comes off the second rope into a one-armed slam attempt from Wyatt, but Gable gets out. Wyatt immediately goes for Sister Abigail, but Gable counters into a near fall. Gable quickly gets him out of the ring and comes off the apron with a summersault senton. Gable gets Wyatt in the ring and ducks a clothesline from Orton. Gable gets in the ring, hits the ropes, and gets wiped out by a body block from Wyatt for a near fall. Orton tags back in, and he throws Gable out of the ring. Orton then gives him a back suplex on the barricade. Orton scoops him back up and repeats the move. Orton gets him in the ring and covers for a near fall. Orton starts doing the Garvin stomps and tags Wyatt in. Wyatt hits a modified rib-breaker on Gable for a near fall. Wyatt then applies a chin lock. Gable soon fights up, but Wyatt slams him down. Orton is tagged back in, and he gives him a slingshot suplex for a near fall. Orton drags him to his corner and tags Wyatt back in. Wyatt stomps him and taunts the crowd. Gable gives him a jawbreaker, but Wyatt sends him into the ropes. Gable rolls under him and tags in Jordan.
Jordan hits Wyatt with a clothesline and knocks Orton off the apron. Jordan gives Wyatt a t-bone suplex and gives Orton a back suplex. Jordan pulls the singlet down and shoulders Orton before shouldering Wyatt for a near fall. Jordan goes to the top rope, but Luke Harper gets on the apron. Wyatt quickly attacks Jordan from behind. Orton is tagged in, and he gives Jordan a front suplex onto the top rope. Jordan falls out of the ring in pain.
We come back from the break to see Jordan grounded in a headlock applied by Orton. Jordan fights up, but Orton takes him down and chokes him on the middle rope. Wyatt tags in and viciously clotheslines him in the corner for a near fall. Wyatt immediately follows up with a senton splash for another near fall. Wyatt punches away at him and shouts at him to “stay down.” Wyatt puts him in the corner and charges, but Jordan clotheslines him down.
Orton and Gable are tagged in. Gable hits Orton with a cross-body block and punches Wyatt down. Gable hits a northern lights suples before punching him in the corner. Gable then leaps off the second rope to take Wyatt down before he interferes. Gable gives Orton a German Suplex with a bridge, but Wyatt breaks it up. Jordan runs in, but Wyatt gets him out of the ring. Gable then pulls the top rope down to get Wyatt out of the ring. Gable forearms Orton and gives him a diving clothesline off the top rope for a near fall. Luke Harper gets on the apron to distract the referee. Orton rakes the eyes and accidentally sends Gable into Harper. Orton then gives Gable a nasty draping DDT. Orton then looks around. The crowd senses what is to come. Orton drops down for an RKO, but Harper gets back on the apron. Orton looks at him angrily. Gable sends Orton into Harper before rolling him up for the win!
Winners and still Smackdown Tag Team Champions: American Alpha
Orton looks furious while American Alpha celebrates with the titles. Orton shouts at Harper as he gets in the ring. Harper pushes Orton, so Orton pushes him back. Wyatt gets in the ring and separates the two of them. Orton charges past Wyatt and tries to attack, but moves when Harper goes to kick him. Harper’s kick then connects with Wyatt’s midsection. Harper and Orton look at each other furiously. Wyatt angrily gets up and shouts at both of them. Wyatt looks at them before walking off on his own. Harper and Orton then separate without touching each other again.
A pre-taped promo is shown with Baron Corbin. Corbin talks about how he’s on the hunt and his target is John Cena. His path of carnage will continue. Hustle, loyalty, and respect will be replaced with pain, humiliation, and annihilation. Cena’s time is up. Tonight will be his end of days.
Baron Corbin faces John Cena in tonight’s main event. A video then plays of John Cena winning the 2008 Royal Rumble.
Mike’s Thoughts: That was a very good match with American Alpha and The Wyatt Family. Great intensity. I have to admit that when Randy Orton “joined” The Wyatt Family after a really lame feud against Bray Wyatt, I thought it was stupid. I figured Orton would immediately turn on Wyatt after tricking him into thinking he’s part of the family like Daniel Bryan did a few years ago. While that’s still going to happen, the writing staff on Smackdown Live have managed to turn this into a very good slow build until the rivalry between the two eventually resumes. I’m as surprised as anyone that this turned out as well as it has.
A video highlights WrestleMania 34 coming back to New Orleans in 2018.
Becky Lynch is backstage with Daniel Bryan watching footage of her beating Alexa Bliss (as La Luchadora) last week on Smackdown. Lynch was then attacked by another La Luchadora. They wonder who it could be. Alexa Bliss comes in and says if Lynch is trying to get a rematch because of a miscommunication, she shouldn’t get it. She was just trying to figure out who La Luchadora is. Bryan interrupts their back and forth bickering. Bryan says he doesn’t know who La Luchadora is, but he knows that Bliss tapped out to Lynch last week. Next week, Becky Lynch will face Alexa Bliss for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. To ensure there is no interference by La Luchadora, they will fight in a Steel Cage Match! Lynch celebrates while Bliss walks off disgusted.
They announce the jobber’s name as CJ Lunde, but JBL calls her Millie Burke, Mildred Burke’s granddaughter, so there’s miscommunication between production and the commentators. Carmella quickly takes her down by the hair. Lunde angrily gets up, but Carmella quickly takes her back down. Lunde rolls her up for a one count. Carmella kicks her and pulls the hair. Carmella puts her in the corner and stomps her down. Carmella moonwalks and does a Bronco Buster for a one count. Carmella powers her to the corner and shoulders her. Lunde quickly avoids her and uppercuts her. Lunde puts her in the corner and elbows her. Lunde has a whip reversed, and James Ellsworth grabs her ankle. Carmella forearms her down for a near fall. Lunde punches away at her, but Carmella leaves the ring. Ellsworth grabs the ankle again. Lunde slowly gets in the ring. They botch something, and Carmella applies the Code of Silence for the submission.
Winner by Submission: Carmella
Carmella and James Ellsworth celebrate in the ring and high five.
Footage is shown of The Undertaker announcing he’ll be in the Royal Rumble last night on RAW. If anyone stands in his way, they will Rest In Peace.
John Cena will face Baron Corbin in the main event.
Mike’s Thoughts: First bad segment of the night. The person they found to face Carmella was either nervous, green as grass, or a mixture of both. What a mess. I’m not sure I get the Carmella/James Ellsworth thing nor where it’s going to go. Not sure I care either. Next!
Carmella is backstage with James Ellsworth talking about her winning streak. She says she has a surprise for him. Ellsworth says he’s been waiting for this for 32 years and sprays some breath mist in his mouth. She says good things come to those who wait. She says she’s taking him on a shopping spree next week. Ellsworth says he hasn’t bought a new suit since he was supposed to graduate high school.
Elsewhere backstage, Baron Corbin is being interviewed. Corbin doesn’t care what John Cena said earlier tonight. He alters outcomes. Tonight, he’ll make John Cena out to be a liar. Cena thinks these are his glory days, but it’s his end of days. AJ Styles walks up to him and says tonight is his night. Styles’ music hits to a big pop from the crowd. Styles says he’ll be on commentary for the match, so he should do his best AJ Styles impression and beat up John Cena.
AJ Styles makes his entrance to a nice reception from the crowd. Styles will be on ESPN SportsCenter tomorrow night. Styles joins the commentary table. Footage is shown from the contract signing last week. Baron Corbin interrupted it and threatened John Cena. Styles then attacked Cena from behind and left the ring. Baron Corbin will face John Cena, next.
Noam Dar talks about Cedric Alexander and kissing Alicia Fox. We’ll see more of that on WWE 205 Live after Smackdown Live.
Baron Corbin vs. John Cena
The bell rings, and they circle the ring. A “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chant fires up. Cena ducks a clothesline and punches Corbin. Corbin just looks at Cena angrily. Cena ducks another clothesline and punches away at him. Cena hits the ropes, but Corbin big boots him down. Corbin knees him in the midsection and talks some trash. Corbin then whips him hard into the barricade. Corbin shouts at AJ Styles on commentary. Corbin then throws Cena out of the ring.
We come back from the break to see Cena power out of a facelock and try for an Attitude Adjustment, but he collapses under the weight. AJ Styles smiles on commentary. Corbin punches away at Cena. Corbin then shouts at Styles again. Corbin gets out of the ring and approaches Styles. Cena turns Corbin around and punches him. Corbin quickly knees him and forearms his face against the barricade. Styles roots Corbin on and wonders why he’s so mad at him. Corbin puts Cena in the ring and shouts once more at Cena. Corbin gets in the ring and charges Cena. Cena pulls the top rope down to get him out of the ring. Cena hits him with a double sledge off the apron. Cena then gets out of the way as Corbin charges, causing him to hit the ring steps. Cena gets in the ring and hits the ropes as Corbin reenters. Cena hits a shoulder block, but Corbin doesn’t go down. Cena tries again, but Corbin grabs him and slams him down for a near fall. Corbin shouts at the referee over the count. Corbin talks trash to Cena while he pulls himself up. Cena starts punching away at Corbin before hitting the ropes, but Corbin floors him with a sidewalk slam for another near fall. Corbin hits the ropes and lays Cena out with a right hand. Corbin taunts the crowd before talking trash to Cena. Cena punches him in the face twice before hitting the ropes. Corbin counters him with a bear hug. Cena powers out, but Corbin kicks him back. Cena ducks a clothesline and boots him in the face. Cena then lays him out with a tornado DDT.
Cena drops Corbin with a back suplex powerbomb before following up with the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Cena immediately follows up with the Attitude Adjustment for the victory.
Winner by Pinfall: John Cena
AJ Styles stands on the commentary table and holds up the WWE Championship while John Cena celebrates.
Mike’s Overall Impression: While there is absolutely no way John Cena should lose any match due to him being the number one contender for the WWE Championship, Baron Corbin shouldn’t be losing clean either. They did a good job establishing Corbin as a dominant force over Cena during the match, but then Cena barely made a comeback before picking up the squeaky clean victory. I’d rather they just didn’t do the match at all. Corbin needs to be protected like Braun Strowman is on RAW to establish him as a real monster. Overall, the first hour and twenty minutes of the show was very good before trailing off into a lackluster second half. Still, the flow of this show is just spectacular compared to RAW. The whole presentation just feels different. Even when the stuff is bad, it’s not a chore to watch. RAW would probably be just as good if it were two hours. Anyway, I digress. Next week should be good with the Steel Cage Match between Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss. Until then, thanks for reading!
Quick Match Results
* Kalisto def. Dolph Ziggler
* American Alpha def. The Wyatt Family to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
* Carmella def. CJ Lunde
* John Cena def. Baron Corbin