Welcome to SmackDown Live! Coming to you from Corpus Christi, Texas, we open with a retrospective on Sunday Night’s Royal Rumble. We’re officially on the road to WrestleMania now, folks. It was a big night for SmackDown superstars, with Randy Orton taking the Rumble and Cena becoming a 16 time champion in a great match against AJ Styles.
AJ himself is awkwardly watching this retrospective on an angle in someone’s office, and Shane McMahon kind of pats him on the back for putting on a great show. AJ Styles demands his rematch, and doesn’t want it to be at Elimination Chamber – he wants one on one. Shane announces The Miz, Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt, and of course, AJ Styles and John Cena as the six competitors, but doesn’t confirm giving AJ what he wants. Dean, however, comes out and says that since Ellsworth is distracted by being in love with Carmella now, he wants to settle some unfinished business with AJ tonight.
Champion John Cena makes his way out to the ring and screams into a microphone for a little while about being champion and how he wants to celebrate making history by putting the title back on the line and fighting for it. He’s interrupted by Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. Bray is excited about John Cena being champion and yells Hooray for him! Okay, look, he might have been being sarcastic.
Bray talks some about how Cena blindly covets championships and that he’s coming for him at Elimination Chamber, and will be leaving champion. I’m not sure what Bray thinks he’s going to do when his peon Randy then has to fight him at WrestleMania, but in any case he hands the mic off to the Viper, who explains that he’ll ‘set the championship free’ at WrestleMania if Cena manages to walk away from Elimination Chamber with the title.
Randy and Bray make their way to the ring to attack Cena, but Luke Harper appears before they get the chance. Bray rolls back out of the ring and has a staredown with Harper, until Shane pops out to make this a tag-team match, as you do.
MATCH: Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton vs. John Cena & Luke Harper
When we come back from commercial, the bell rings for the match and Bray and John Cena face off against one another.
- Cena with a side headlock on Bray, then rebounding off the rope and flooring him with a clothesline. Tries to pick Bray up in a fireman’s carry, but Bray slips out and makes the tag to Randy.
- Cena points excitedly at the WrestleMania sign as Randy paces back and forth up the ring, and then Harper tags himself in, knocking Randy off his feet with a strike and a leg drop.
- Harper with more strikes on Orton, then a back elbow in the corner, then a dropkick.
- Harper catapults Randy’s throat into the ropes, and Randy rolls out of the ring. Harper follows, but has a staredown with Bray before throwing Randy into the announce table with a back suplex.
- Bray Wyatt and Harper enter the ring together and Bray stares down Harper until he backs to the corner and tags Cena – apparently Bray still has some control over him, even after the events of the Rumble.
- Bray and Cena stare each other down, until Bray makes a move and Cena catches his arm and comes in with strikes.
- Bray counters with an elbow and regains control, knocking Cena to the ground then backing him into the corner with more strikes and tagging Randy back in.
- Kicks from Randy to Cena’s knees, and Cena rolls out of the ring as we cut to commercial.
- Running senton from Bray as we’re back, but Cena kicks out at two. Randy tags in, with a draping DDT to Cena.
- Randy pounds the mat, waiting for Cena to get to his feet, but Cena fights off the RKO and knocks Randy down with a clothesline.
- Randy manages to get the tag to Bray, who goes to the opposite corner to stare down Harper before uppercutting Cena, who kicks out of the cover at two.
- Bray poses to the crowd, then goes for a second running senton, but Cena rolls out of the way. Randy tags back in, with a powerslam on Cena. Cena kicks out at two.
- Randy knocks Harper off the apron, and then Cena ducks the clothesline and knocks Randy off his feet with a clothesline and a slam, then hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle.
- Randy slips out of the fireman’s carry and hits a neckbreaker, but then Bray and Harper both enter the fray and Harper tries to attack Randy. Bray grabs Harper for the Sister Abigail, then Harper grabs Bray for the Sister Abigail. Bray manages to Sister Abigail Harper, then Randy comes back in with an RKO on Cena – Randy and Bray win!
Randy and Bray pose together for the crowds, before we cut to the rest of the card tonight – it’s a tagteam match pitting Becky Lynch and Naomi against Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, and then Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles later on tonight.
MATCH: Carmella (with James Ellsworth) vs. Delilah Dawson
James Ellsworth’s music hits and the very shiny boy makes his way out. He awkwardly shushes the crowd and excitedly introduces his “boo”, Carmella. Commentary fixate on the ‘what does she see in him?’, which is a pain. Maybe she just likes him?
- Carmella and Delilah Dawson lock up, then Carmella throws her into the corner and Ellsworth points and laughs at her. Dawson goes for a rollup, but Carmella kicks out.
- Knee to the face from Dawson, but Ellsworth pulls her off her feet behind the referee’s back and Carmella grabs her and locks in the Code of Silence. Dawson taps!
Carmella and Ellsworth embrace and high five in the ring, before the commentary booth starts shilling that Bejeweled clone game. I honestly like Supercard better, guys.
MATCH: Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler
Moving at quite a clip tonight, Kalisto makes his entrance before we cut to commercial and we come back still waiting for Ziggler to emerge. Ziggler’s new tights have ‘Hollywood Heel’ written on the ass. Just so we’re all aware.
- Ziggler floors Kalisto with a clothesline, then an elbow drop.
- Kalisto with a pair of big kicks to Ziggler, then a springboard crossbody. Apollo Crews is watching from an awkward angle backstage.
- Ziggler stomps Kalisto’s arm, then hits a hangman’s neckbreaker.
- Ziggler drags Kalisto to his feet, but Kalisto spins around with a roundhouse kick, then backs Ziggler into the corner. Referee creates separation, and Ziggler comes back with a superkick for a three-count!
Ziggler lays in on Kalisto after the match ends and starts scrabbling for his mask, before Crews come out to interfere. Ziggler jumps the barricade into the crowd to escape him, beckoning for Crews to follow him, but Crews seems unwilling to follow.
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes is interviewing Becky Lynch and Naomi. Becky is angry that Mickie James cost her the Women’s Championship, and Naomi is mad that Alexa Bliss disrespected her by calling her a nobody, so they’re bringing the ‘Glow Fire’ tonight.
MATCH: Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
Naomi looking amazing in her new gear, and I kind of like how Mickie waits for Alexa to walk up the ramp together rather than approaching separately.
- Mickie and Becky start in the ring together, but Mickie makes the tag to Alexa before anything can happen.
- Waistlock takedown from Becky to Alexa, then Becky backed into the corner and makes the tag to Naomi.
- Sunset flip from the apron gets a two-count for Naomi, then a leaping leg drop for another two count.
- Naomi flies at Alexa, but Alexa dodges and then capitalizes with a series of strikes, before dragging Naomi to the corner to tag in Mickie James.
- James with a kick to Naomi, then a dropkick for a two-count.
- Mickie tags Alexa back in, with a double axe handle, then stepping on Naomi’s neck; Naomi kicks Alexa to create separation, but Alexa hits a back slam for a two count.
- Insault to Injury from Alexa, then both Becky and Mickie tag in. A pair of lariats and a leg lariat from Becky, then the forearm in the corner and a Bex-Sploder. Mickie kicks out at two.
- Becky up to the top turnbuckle, having to kick Alexa away thus giving Mickie enough time to pull her back to the mat. Naomi interferes with the cover, and we cut to commercial.
- Alexa has Becky in a headlock when we return; Becky tries to get to her feet, but Alexa flings her back down to the ground, then steps on her hair.
- Becky dragged to the corner to tag in James, keeping her in the corner with the boto to the throat. Referee creates separation, giving Alexa time to discreetly assault Becky.
- James knocks Becky off her feet, then attempts a whip, but Becky reverses. Mickie hits a hurricanrana out of the corner, then locks in a half-nelson.
- Becky powers to her feet and fights James off with elbows, then tag made back to Alexa.
- Telegraphed back body drop means Alexa takes a kick to the face; Becky tries to tag in Naomi but Alexa holds her back.
- Becky manages to make the tag, and a springboard crossbody knocks Alexa to the mat. Naomi knocks James off the apron, then hits her series of kicks and a headscissors on Alexa.
- While the referee is distracted with Becky, James and Alexa double-team Naomi, but Becky breaks away and brawls with James on the outside.
- Double springboard split-legged moonsault, and Alexa is down for three!
That’s twice in two days that Naomi has pinned the champ! The faces celebrate together while Alexa looks to be despairing.
Dasha interviews American Alpha; they say that they’ve been waiting for someone to come in and challenge them for the titles for a month, but no one has stepped up. Gable even covers his eyes and flings around the titles, begging someone to come take it from them, before saying he’s going out to the ring to issue an open challenge.
American Alpha make their way to the ring for their open challenge, then stare up the ramp waiting to see who answers them. The Usos music hits, and I’m earnestly disappointed; with all that build I was hoping for a call-up, or at least for my precious boys. Oh, but wait – The Ascension, then the Vaudevillains make their way out, then oh my god, it’s Breezango, and Tyler is in shorts. Stop the fucking presses, Tyler Breeze is wearing shorts!
Oh, Slater and Rhyno joined them too.
It’s an all-out brawl for a few minutes, then we cut to commercial before we can find out what is happening. When we come back, three or four referees are trying to break up this brawl. Sometime during commercial, Fandango lost his shirt, so I can only describe this as business as usual. Alpha and Slater and Rhyno are the only two teams standing strong at the end of the brawl, but then they just cut to the commentators and start talking about the feud between Nikki Bella and Natalya. What a waste of a segment?
Backstage, Daniel is on the phone with Brie when Natalya comes in flanked by security to complain that she doesn’t feel safe to come to work with Nikki Bella around. Nikki appears and the two argue about John Cena and Bret Hart until Daniel screams at them to shut up and they’re going to fight it out at Elimination Chamber.
MATCH: Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles
I’m still kind of mad about the tag team division thing. I’ve been waiting weeks to find a storyline in the tag division, and that did not help. But whatever. AJ is still being announced as the face that runs the place even though at the Royal Rumble he failed to #BeatUpJohnCena. Apparently next week, Randy Orton and John Cena will fight on SmackDown, so I really hope that means Cena is losing at Elimination Chamber. Speaking of which, is that what that weird tag team segment was about? Elimination Chamber? Oh, and Miz is on commentary.
- While I’m distracted by Miz talking about his beautiful wife, AJ and Dean have started to wrestle. Dean has AJ in a wristlock, but AJ reverses into a wristlock of his own, then Dean takes AJ to the mat with a side headlock takedown.
- Rebounding off the ropes, then a shoulder block from AJ takes Dean down, but then Dean capitalizes with a pair of arm drags and a scoop slam.
- There is no play by play on this match, it’s still Miz talking.
- Dean trying to turn AJ over into a Texas Cloverleaf, but AJ slips out. Dean locks in a different submission, but AJ makes a rope break then rolls out of the ring. It looks like he’s about to confront Miz, but when Dean follows him, AJ knocks him down with a kick and throws him back in the ring.
- AJ goes for some kicks and Miz complains that AJ is copying ‘his’ kicks. Do you mean Daniel Bryan’s kicks, Miz? No, Daniel Bryan doesn’t wrestle anymore. Harsh, Miz.
- Dean stomps AJ in the corner, then whips him into the opposite corner, but goes shoulder first into the turnbuckle when AJ rolls out of the way. Dean kicks out at two.
- Chinlock on Dean, then I get distracted listening to the Miz again. Back body drop from Dean, then clotheslines AJ over the ropes.
- Dean up on the turnbuckle for a flying elbow drop to the outside, but then Baron Corbin’s music hits and the lone wolf starts to stalk down to the ring.
- Dean is climbing back up on the turnbuckle as we come back, and Corbin has settled himself in on commentary. AJ knocks Dean down and slams him.
- Knee drop from Styles, but Dean kicks out at two. Corbin tells Miz that he could never do what Corbin does, and Miz sarcastically applauds him for winning a battle royal one time.
- Big clothesline in the corner from AJ, and Dean collapses forwards onto the mat. AJ whips him into the opposite corner, and follows with a forearm, but Dean rolls out of the way. Dean sets up for Dirty Deeds, but AJ fights him off.
- Clotheslines from Dean, then he sets AJ up on the top turnbuckle for a superplex. AJ slips out then picks Dean up in torture rack position; Dean slips out and goes for a rollup. AJ kicks out at two.
- AJ on the apron setting up for a springboard, but Dean knocks him to the ground with a forearm. Dean sets up for a suicide dive, but AJ catches him just before he leaps with his own forearm.
- Phenomenal Forearm countered into Dirty Deeds; Dirty Deeds is blocked; Dean picks AJ up in what looks like a vertical suplex into a side slam? I don’t even know, but AJ kicks out at two.
- Dean catches the crossbody, but AJ slips out and hits an ushigoroshi for a two-count.
- AJ sets up for the Styles Clash; Dean tries to counter into a back body drop; AJ recovers with a Pele Kick, but Dean falls into the ropes and comes back with the pendulum lariat.
- Dean goes for Dirty Deeds again, but AJ blocks and goes to the outside, and Dean hits an elbow drop from the turnbuckle to the outside.
- Corbin and Miz start to scrap on the outside as Maryse daintily gets out of the way; the Miz tries to escape into the ring, and the referee is distracted telling Miz and Corvin to GTFO while Dean is getting a three count
- Dean suicide dives after Miz and Corbin, then jumps back into the ring into a Styles Clash for a three count.
Miz, still wearing his very nice suit, hits Dean with the Skull-Crushing Finale, then Corbin picks him up for End of Days, then Dean for End of Days. We end with Corbin standing tall in the ring, with AJ having scarpered up the ramp.