January 24, 2017
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.
Daniel Bryan is backstage getting ready to bite into an apple when The Miz and Maryse walk in complaining about not having a private locker room for themselves. He told the “supporting characters” in the locker room to clear out, but they refused. Miz talks about how his star power pays their salaries. Miz asks what Bryan is going to do to make this right. Bryan says he could block off a stall in the public restroom. Miz and Maryse fake laugh. Bryan, thinking they’re actually laughing, joins in until he realizes they’ve stopped laughing. Bryan says he’s going to give Miz a rematch for the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose. Miz wants to do one better and make it a No DQ match. Bryan says he only wants that so Maryse can interfere, so he declines. Bryan then mentions since Miz pays for the salaries of all the superstars, they’ll be ringside to make it a Lumberjack Match. Miz is not pleased and leaves with his wife while Bryan takes a bite of his apple.
A video is shown from October 2016 when Randy Orton joined The Wyatt Family. We then see clips of the problems Orton has had with Luke Harper, including footage of Bray Wyatt accidentally being hit in the crossfire. Last week, Wyatt struck Harper.
Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
The Wyatt Family made their entrance together. Bray Wyatt will be at ringside for this match.
The bell rings, and they stare at each other. A loud “RKO” chant fires up. They lock up and tussle into the ropes. Harper gives a clean break and lets out a roar. They lock up again, and Orton gives the clean break this time. They trade punches before Orton takes him down with a back elbow. Harper quickly gets out of the ring to recover. Harper goes near Wyatt, but Wyatt doesn’t even acknowledge his presence. They fight in front of him, but he doesn’t look. Harper gets Orton in the ring and punches him before pushing him to the corner. Harper whips him to the corner, but Orton pops out and connects with two clotheslines. Orton goes for a powerslam, but Harper hangs onto the ropes. Orton quickly sidesteps him and sends him out of the ring. Harper gets on the apron, so Orton hits him with the draping DDT. Orton gets the crowd going and sets up for an RKO, but Harper gets out of the ring. Orton follows him out and punches him before giving him a back suplex onto the barricade. Orton bounces him off the commentary table before giving him a back suplex onto it. Harper stumbles around before rebounding with a desperation big boot. Wyatt gets up from his chair and surveys the damage. Wyatt then throws Orton into the ring. Wyatt looks down at Harper and throws him back into the ring to prevent the double count-out.
We come back from the break to see Orton trapped in a chin lock. Orton tries to fight up, but Harper keeps him grounded. Orton finally gets to his feet, but Harper scoop slams him down. Harper goes to the top rope, but Orton gets up and cuts him off. Orton punches away at him before climbing the ropes. Orton then takes him out with a superplex for a two count. Orton punches him into the ropes. Harper responds with a right hand before hitting the ropes, but Orton soon drops him with a powerslam for another two count. Harper counters a whip into a back elbow and connects with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. JBL just called Wyatt, “Bray Harper.” Harper sets up in the corner and counters an RKO attempt into a roll-up for a two count. Harper counters out of another RKO and superkicks him down for a near fall. JBL now just called Orton, “Randy Harper.” Wyatt is seen smiling at ringside. Harper punches the mat in frustration before circling the ring. Harper sets up for a powerbomb and points at Wyatt. Orton slides off and rolls him up for a two count. Harper goes for a Discus Clothesline, but Orton counters with an RKO for the win. Wyatt sits back in his rocking chair and stares stoically at him.
Winner by Pinfall: Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt gets into the ring and shakes hands with Randy Orton. Wyatt then offers his hand to Luke Harper to help him up. Harper accepts and gets to his feet. Wyatt then gives Harper the Sister Abigail! Wyatt and Orton then walk off together.
A video recaps the Steel Cage Match between Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss from last week. Bliss retained the Smackdown Women’s Championship after Mickie James interfered on her behalf.
Mickie James is seen walking backstage. We’ll hear from her, next.
Mike’s Thoughts: Great way to kick off the show with the Orton/Harper match. The match was actually better than expected, but then again, Harper is sneaky athletic and usually has pretty good matches when given some time. Of course, it didn’t hurt that his opponent was Orton. I loved the cliffhanger with Wyatt hitting Harper with the Sister Abigail following the loss. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I cannot believe how they’ve turned this Wyatt Family thing with Orton into a highly compelling storyline. I’m very interested to see what’s next.
Later tonight, AJ Styles will call out John Cena.
Mickie James addresses her actions from last week
Renee Young is in the ring, and she introduces the newest member of the Smackdown Live roster, Mickie James. Mickie James makes her entrance to a nice reception. Renee mentions that it’s been almost seven years since she’s been in a WWE ring. Everyone was surprised that she was La Luchadora. Why did she do that? Mickie asks if Renee knew that she won her first WWE Women’s Championship when she beat WWE Hall of Famer, Trish Stratus, at WrestleMania. She is a five-time WWE Women’s Champion and former Diva’s Champion. Renee says she has one of the most impressive resumes in WWE history, but she didn’t answer her question. Mickie says she did. Renee mentions that she just ran down her resume. Mickie says the fact that she had to do that answers the question. She might not have been around for a bit, but she never stopped watching WWE. Becky Lynch and the women of “the revolution” want to pretend like they were the first real female athletes of WWE as if everything she accomplished and sacrificed meant nothing. They would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for one person: Alexa Bliss.
Renee asks her to elaborate on her relationship with Bliss and wonders if she’s part of the revolution. Mickie says Bliss has been fighting the self-righteous of the revolution from day one. Bliss remembers everything about Mickie James. She has a lot of respect for Bliss. If it wasn’t for her, she wouldn’t be standing here right now. Renee asks if she had a problem to help Bliss cheat to beat Becky Lynch. Mickie says Becky Lynch likes to claim she was the first female draft pick of Smackdown Live and was at the very center of the revolution. Mickie says to forget about the revolution. This is about the reinvention of Mickie James. Mickie James matters…
Becky Lynch’s music interrupts her. Lynch charges down to the ring and takes James down before unloading on her with punches. James escapes and runs through the crowd. Lynch goes to follow her, but Alexa Bliss blindsides her from the crowd. Bliss gets her in the ring. James follows and wipes her out with a Mick Kick. Bliss goes to the top rope and connects with Twisted Bliss. James grabs the microphone and says she should have learned this lesson a long time ago from Alexa: always be one step ahead. They stand over the fallen Lynch.
Later tonight, we’ll see The Miz take on Dean Ambrose for the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a Lumberjack Match.
Mike’s Thoughts: It’s nice to see Mickie James back in the WWE ring. The memorized promo sounded clunky in some spots, but overall it was pretty good. I like that they seem to be going back to semi-crazy Mickie James, only this time she’s consumed with jealousy. The brawl with Becky Lynch was well done. I love that Lynch came out furious over losing her match last week because of her. Nothing takes me out of a segment quicker than a face coming out after losing a big match like nothing happened. Overall, this was another good segment.
The commentators run down all the events for this weekend’s Royal Rumble.
Footage is shown from last week. Carmella took James Ellsworth out shopping. Carmella wants to make him “g’ed up from the feet up.” Ellsworth is concerned about the prices before wondering if he should get a fur coat. She says they should start with pants. It’s revealed that Ellsworth is shopping in his wrestling gear. Ellsworth wants to pick out his own clothes. Ellsworth asks for the finest pajama bottoms. Moments later, Ellsworth comes out in bleached jeans. They keep showing Ellsworth in increasingly ridiculous outfits including Elvis Presley and The Godfather. Carmella gets fed up and says she’s going to dress him herself. Finally, Ellsworth comes out in a shiny gold shirt with a gold chain and a hat. The fashion designer there doesn’t like it, but Carmella loves it.
Baron Corbin makes his way to the ring. There will be an over-the-top-rope Battle Royal. The winner will be in the Royal Rumble.
Baron Corbin will be on commentary for the next match.
Battle Royal – Winner is in the Royal Rumble
Heath Slater vs. Rhyno vs. Mojo Rawley vs. Viktor vs. Konnor vs. Aiden English vs. Simon Gotch vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Fandango vs. Curt Hawkins
The bell rings, and Rhyno immediately sends his tag team partner, Heath Slater, over the top rope, but he holds on. Slater gets back in and yells at Rhyno. They then pull the top rope down to eliminate Aiden English and Simon Gotch immediately. A brawl breaks out between all the remaining competitors. Viktor nearly eliminates Slater, but he holds on. Mojo Rawley eliminates Curt Hawkins. Viktor punches away at Slater in the corner. Rawley concentrates on Viktor. Breezango tries to eliminate Rhyno, but he holds on. Slater then eliminates Viktor. Viktor grabs Slater’s foot, and Konnor spears him off the apron to eliminate him. Rhyno and Konnor trade punches before Breezango tries to eliminate them, but they can’t. Rawley then shoves Rhyno and Konnor over the top rope. Breezango double-teams him down before sending him into the ropes. Rawley kicks Breeze in the face and sends Fandango to the apron. Breeze accidentally superkicks Fandango off the apron. Rawley then sends Breeze over the top rope to win.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley celebrates in the ring. Rawley will be in the Royal Rumble match.
Earlier today, Dasha Fuentes caught up with Nikki Bella. She mentions that she’s more than friends with John Cena. Natalya thinks this is the main reason why she’s a success. Nikki says she hears that all the time. She’s on the WWE trucks next to John Cena, but there are a ton of great superstars on the trucks. Natalya walks up and says she doesn’t see her face on the truck. They briefly brawl before Natalya sends her headfirst into the truck. Natalya then walks off.
Coming up next, AJ Styles will call out John Cena.
Mike’s Thoughts: Between the god awful James Ellsworth/Carmella segment and this short, but largely pointless Battle Royal, the momentum of the show has kind of come to a halt. I think they were going for a “so bad it’s good” reaction on the Ellsworth segment, but it just came off as really bad comedy. As for the Battle Royal, it was short enough to not be offensive, but it was pointless. Why was Baron Corbin out there on commentary? I was expecting him to attack Mojo Rawley after the match, but it wasn’t to be. Just strange. No doubt the show will pick back up with the next segment.
John Cena will be hosting Nickelodeon’s Kid Choice Awards this year.
AJ Styles calls out John Cena ahead of the Royal Rumble
WWE Champion AJ Styles makes his way to the ring. We see replays of John Cena dropping him with an Attitude Adjustment last week on Smackdown Live. An “AJ Styles” chant breaks out. Styles says before he calls out John Cena, he’s got to get something off his chest. You would think as the WWE Champion he wouldn’t have to deal with things such as this. The Royal Rumble poster is shown with Styles all the way in the back row. Styles is furious over this. Styles sarcastically praises Shane McMahon for showing him some respect. Styles then stops and calls John Cena out.
John Cena makes his way to the ring to his usual mixed reaction. Cena stands in the ring as the crowd chants, “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks.” This goes on for a few moments. Styles cuts him off before he can really speak. Styles says we don’t need to hear another one of Cena’s speeches. Monday morning, he turned on the television to see him on “The Today Show.” What does he hear and see? A replay is shown from the show where they don’t know Styles’ name and calls him, “Guy from Atlanta.” Styles says Cena has forgotten who he is. He’s “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles. He is the champ that runs the camp. He’s the unbeatable, unstoppable champ that has held down Smackdown Live since he’s been gone. Nobody missed Cena. A loud “Cena” chant fires up. Styles says a couple of morons apparently did miss him. Styles says he didn’t just take Cena’s place. He’s the face that replaced him. Styles says that must get to him that he’s the man on this show and not Cena. Every time Cena gets in the ring with him, he knows that he’s the better man in it. Each and every time, Cena has come up with an excuse like Styles doesn’t play fair or he wasn’t ready to come back from an injury. Styles says Cena is a sorry excuse for a wrestler. Cena smirks at that. Styles makes fun of Cena’s shirt. What does he have to do to earn respect around here? Will he get respect when he beats Cena at the Royal Rumble? He’s fought for everything in the WWE. At the Royal Rumble, he’s not settling for an inch. He’s taking a foot and putting it in Cena’s ass.
Cena says the champ is a little tense tonight and complaining that he doesn’t get any respect. How many times has he come to the ring and 10,000 people tells him he sucks. Styles will try as hard as he can, but if he fails, it’ll be his fault because he buried him. Styles has been hot for six months whereas he’s held the place down for a decade. A guy like Styles can stand in the ring and call him a sorry excuse for a wrestler. Why? He didn’t put time in on the indy scene? Cena wasn’t built for that scene. He was built for the WWE and moments like right now. Regardless of how good Styles thinks he is, he’s not on his level or the level below him. Cena has gotten more done in a day than Styles has in an entire career. Cena just puts in the work and shuts mouths. Cena says he doesn’t give a damn about a poster. Styles is just a guy holding onto that championship because he let him. Styles is so unoriginal and just like every other guy before him that hates him, but does whatever they can to be him. Styles is also just the guy that will find out on Sunday what everyone knows: there’s only one John Cena, and he’s a very bad man. His time is now. Cena then walks off while his music plays.
Later tonight, Dean Ambrose and The Miz will fight in a Lumberjack Match for the Intercontinental Championship. Coming up next, Dolph Ziggler will take on Kalisto.
Mike’s Thoughts: Yes, that definitely got the show back on track. Great final segment for Styles and Cena before their big match this Sunday. That’s probably as close to a heel John Cena as you can get. Cena really came off rough in that segment, but it was powerful. I think Cena will wind up winning, but after the tongue-lashing Styles just received, I wouldn’t be surprised with him coming out on top again. Styles has had classic after classic throughout his first year in WWE and deserves to be in a marquee style match at WrestleMania. Nothing is more marquee than the WWE Championship match. Great segment.
Replays are shown of Dolph Ziggler superkicking Jerry “The King” Lawler in the chest last week on Smackdown Live.
The bell rings, and Kalisto rolls under a clothesline before punching and kicking him. Ziggler quickly takes him down and gives him a neckbreaker for a one count. Kalisto backflips under a clothesline and kicks him in the head. Kalisto comes off the ropes with a springboard, but Ziggler superkicks him out of mid-air for the quick win.
Winner by Pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler stands tall before looking down at Kalisto. Ziggler then leaves the ring and grabs a steel chair. JBL gets up from commentary and yells at Ziggler. Apollo Crews attacks Ziggler from behind and sends him into the ring post. Crews swings the chair, but Ziggler avoids him. Ziggler runs up the ramp and escapes.
Coming up next, Naomi will take on Natalya.
Mike’s Thoughts: Quick and painless match with Dolph Ziggler going over on Kalisto. I really like Ziggler’s new character. Ziggler desperately needed a heel turn. This will hopefully do wonders for him, as long as he lives up to the hype and the machine stays behind him. The Apollo Crews run-in should have been done last week, but since it got such a lame reaction tonight, maybe it’s for the best.
Naomi makes her unique entrance and waits for Natalya. We go backstage to see Nikki Bella attacking Natalya. Referees have to run in to pull her off. Naomi is watching in the ring and is not pleased. Naomi says she’s just making her return and she’s not leaving the ring until someone steps up.
Alexa Bliss’ music hits, and she makes her way to ringside. Bliss says she’s not here to accept a challenge from a nobody. Naomi hasn’t been on TV in three months. Who is she again? The better question is who does she think she is? Naomi says she’ll show her exactly who she is. She’ll snatch that blonde hair and make her bald. She’ll be looking like Mr. Clean. She’ll be the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. Bliss asks if she wants a shot at the title and goes to get in the ring before immediately getting off the apron. Bliss says she’s not worth her time. Bliss says, “Say hi to obscurity for me. Thanks.” Bliss then walks off.
Coming up next, The Miz will take on Dean Ambrose for the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a Lumberjack Match.
Mike’s Thoughts: Like I said last week, the less talking and more brawling Nikki Bella and Natalya do, the better. Nice to see Naomi back on the show. She’s a hard worker that’s never really gotten her shot yet. She was close in 2014 until Aksana decided to blow up her orbital socket. Maybe her time is coming soon.
Dean Ambrose is walking backstage when Dasha Fuentes asks him how for his strategy against The Miz. Ambrose says anything can happen with all the lumberjacks at ringside. He’ll just trust his instincts. That’s how he’ll win the Royal Rumble. Tonight, his instincts are telling him to break The Miz’ nose and smash his head. No lumberjacks will stop him tonight.
Footage is shown from three weeks ago when Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz to become the WWE Intercontinental Champion. The lumberjacks make their way to the ring. The match is next.
WWE Intercontinental Championship – Lumberjack Match
The Miz w/ Maryse vs. Dean Ambrose (c)
Lumberjacks: Baron Corbin, The Vaudevillains, Breezango, Curt Hawkins, The Usos, Apollo Crews, Kalisto, Mojo Rawley, American Alpha, The Ascension, Heath Slater, and Rhyno
The bell rings, and they circle the ring. Ambrose kicks him and sends him to the apron. Miz slides under Ambrose and sends him out of the ring. Ambrose escapes the clutches of the lumberjacks and gets back in the ring. Miz yells at the lumberjacks to hurry up. Ambrose stomps him down in the corner and chops him. Miz avoids a cross-body, and Ambrose flies out of the ring. Ambrose fights off the lumberjacks and gets in the ring. Miz kicks him in the head as he gets back in the ring and stomps away at him. Miz punches him in the corner and sends him into the ropes. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, but Miz gets out and leaves the ring. Miz then realizes he’s in the middle of some hostile lumberjacks and quickly gets back in the ring. Ambrose then sends him over the top rope. The lumberjacks assault The Miz and put him back in the ring. Ambrose covers for a two count.
We come back from the break to see Miz going for a superplex, but Ambrose fights him off. Ambrose comes off the top rope, but Miz moves. Ambrose goes for a Lunatic Lariat, but the lumberjacks pull him out of the ring. They stomp away at Ambrose and put him in the ring. Ambrose ducks a kick and rolls him up for a two count. Miz quickly sends Ambrose back out of the ring. The faces won’t attack Ambrose, but the heels do. Ambrose is put in the ring. Miz connects with a kneeling DDT for a near fall. Miz admonishes the lumberjacks for not finishing Ambrose off. Miz starts kicking Ambrose in the chest a la Daniel Bryan. Miz goes for the big roundhouse, but Ambrose counters into a roll-up for a two count. Ambrose punches away at him and charges, but Miz sends him out of the ring. Ambrose fights off the lumberjacks and sends Baron Corbin headfirst into the ring post. Ambrose snaps Miz off the top rope and comes off the top rope with a Lunatic Fringe Elbow for a near fall.
Ambrose connects with a pair of running forearms and clotheslines Miz over the top rope. The heel lumberjacks help Miz up, so Ambrose takes them all out with a suicide dive. Ambrose punches away at Miz and gets him in the ring. Maryse holds Ambrose’s leg while he gets in the ring. Miz then his Daniel Bryan’s finisher, the Busaiku Knee Kick, for a near fall! Miz starts doing the running dropkicks in the corner before Ambrose drops him over the top rope. Miz tries to escape through the crowd, but the lumberjacks grab him. Ambrose then takes everyone out with a Lunatic Fringe Elbow! Ambrose gets Miz in the ring. The crowd chants, “This is awesome.” Miz rolls Ambrose up, but Ambrose rolls through for a two count. Miz kicks Ambrose back, but Ambrose rebounds with the Lunatic Lariat. Ambrose covers, but Baron Corbin breaks it up. A giant brawl breaks out as all the lumberjacks get in the ring. The crowd has erupted. Corbin clears most of the lumberjacks out of the ring. Ambrose pulls the top rope down to get Corbin out of the ring. Miz rolls him up and tries to get his feet on the ropes, but Ambrose kicks out. Ambrose immediately follows up with Dirty Deeds for the win!
Winner by Pinfall and still WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose celebrates with his WWE Intercontinental Championship, as Smackdown Live goes off the air.
Mike’s Overall Thoughts: Great way to end the show. I’m not a huge fan of Lumberjack Matches, but this one really worked. The Miz and Dean Ambrose work really well together, and the lumberjack spots were well done. They actually had a point for being out there. Miz was trying to use them to cheat. It wasn’t pointless like 99 out of 100 Lumberjack Matches usually are. The crowd really helped this and really came unglued once the big brawl broke out at the end before Ambrose ultimately won the match. It was a great way to cap off what was an overall a great show. It stalled for two segments toward the middle, but it rebounded nicely the rest of the way. This definitely got me pumped up for the Royal Rumble. Smackdown Live continues to be the show to watch on the WWE schedule every week. If you’re a fan of sports entertainment as it should be and missing it, shame on you.
Quick Match Results
* Randy Orton def. Luke Harper
* Mojo Rawley won a Battle Royal to qualify for the Royal Rumble
* Dolph Ziggler def. Kalisto
* Dean Ambrose def. The Miz to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a Lumberjack Match