Welcome to SmackDown Live! Coming to you from Seattle, Washington, we open the show with a video package about the long-lived Randy Orton/John Cena story. I’m still hopeful that they’re giving us this match tonight because we’re not getting it come WrestleMania, but I have to wait for Elimination Chamber for that.
The show starts proper with Daniel Bryan in the ring, reflecting on the fact that a year ago he had to come out to the ring to make the worst announcement of his career, but at least now he gets to be General Manager, and he’s going to be a dad soon. Before he can reflect too deeply on that, though, The Miz’s music hits. Miz and Maryse have a quick smooch on the ramp, before the Miz gets all pouty-faced at Daniel Bryan and fake cries at him about his retirement and tells him to become a stay-at-home dad because his talents are more suited to that. More than that, he demands to know why Bryan is even here if he can’t wrestle, and Daniel fires back that not being able to wrestle hasn’t stopped The Miz yet.
Over the yes chants, The Miz plays kindergarten teacher (when my hand goes up…) then screams at the crowd to stop yelling over him because he has a microphone and can by definition be louder than them. Somehow, this doesn’t help.
Baron Corbin comes out to tell The Miz to shut up, and Miz tries to argue that people listen to him. That’s wildly apparently untrue. Did you not hear them yelling?
Our Intercontinental Champion comes out to tell Baron Corbin off for stealing motorcycle noises out of his entrance music. Good for you, Deano. AJ comes out to ask if we live in a fantasy world where facts don’t matter. I’m Australian so it’s not my place to comment on American politics, but fill in your own joke here.
I’ve watched enough SmackDown, and wrestling in general for that matter, to know that there’s four men in the ring yelling at each other and that means there’s going to be either a tag-team match or a fatal fourway coming up after the break.
MATCH: Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles vs. The Miz (with Maryse) – Fatal Fourway Match
Hey, I was right.
- Things hastily become a showdown between Corbin and Ambrose, but Ambrose dumps Corbin to the outside and turns around into an assault from The Miz. A running lariat knocks Miz off his feet, then a clothesline knocks him over the ropes too.
- AJ comes in with an attempted Styles Clash, countered into a back body drop, then The Miz is knocked off the apron and AJ is knocked onto the apron. AJ tries to springboard, but Dean knocks him to the ground.
- Corbin throws Dean into the steel steps, then manhandles Miz back into the ring for some strikes in the corner.
- AJ back on his feet, with a shoulder to Corbin’s stomach, but Corbin knocks him back to the ground with a right hand.
- Dean counters Corbin coming after him in the corner, but turns around into a thrust kick from The Miz.
- DDT to AJ from Miz, then Dean and AJ both struggle to their knees at his feet. Miz starts a yes chant, because he’s a shit that way.
- Alternating knees to AJ and Dean, but Dean ducks one and there’s a sequence of rollups between the three before the referee looks like he thinks this is a bit silly.
- Corbin enters the ring and Dean goes for a roll-up, then as he kicks out, knocks him down with a clothesline.
- When we’re back from commercial, Miz is attempting to superplex Dean, when AJ comes up to help. Corbin suplexes the whole lot of them.
- Miz manages to get Corbin in the corner for a series of kicks, then a corner dropkick to AJ.
- Deep Six by Corbin on Miz as he comes back, but Miz kicks out at two.
- Pele kick from AJ, then a forearm to the face of Corbin, as he re-enters the ring.
- Miz counters a Styles Clash by dropping AJ on his face, then knocks him to the ground.
- Dean appears as if from nowhere with an assault on both Miz and AJ, hitting a running bulldog on Miz and a clothesline on AJ at the same time, then a tope suicida onto Corbin.
- AJ follows with a springboard, but Dean kicks him out of the air, then Dean is up on the turnbuckle for a flying elbow to Corbin; AJ breaks up the cover.
- Dirty Deeds attempt countered, then AJ hits the moonsault/reverse DDT on Dean. Miz interrupts then attempts a Skull-Crushing Finale to AJ.
- AJ counters, then Phenomenal Forearm to Miz; Maryse pulls him out of the ring so he can’t be pinned.
- Corbin out of nowhere with End of Days on AJ; Corbin wins!
Corbin stands tall and sweaty as we are reminded that these four men, plus Bray Wyatt and John Cena, are the six competitors at Elimination Chamber this Sunday.
Luke Harper cuts a spooky dark room promo about how people say there’s nothing scarier than a man with nothing left to lose, except perhaps a man who never had anything to begin with. Randy Orton stole his spooky cult dad, and his flickering fluorescent lights back him up when he wants Randy Orton to feel pain.
Nikki Bella is having an interview via video! Natalya cuts in so we have like two pictures side by side like a threeway call in a teen movie to say that Nikki doesn’t have friends, just followers and coworkers on her reality TV shows. Nikki is mad that Nattie is lying about her, and Nattie starts talking about Bret Hart again, then tells Nikki that she’s obviously just bitter that Nikki isn’t having a baby like her sister is. These insults are frankly bizarre? She also says that Cena is going to find someone prettier than her and if she wasn’t married that it would probably be her. What the fuck was that segment, honestly.
MATCH: Apollo Crews vs. Dolph Ziggler
Crews is waiting in the ring as Ziggler makes his way out, and a video recaps the feud brewing between Kalisto, Crews and Ziggler.
- Dropkick from Crews to start things off, but Ziggler mounts a quick comeback.
- Ziggler strikes up the band, but Crews catches the superkick.
- Crews with a rollup, and wins!
Ziggler, furious, attacks Crews from behind and then smacks him with a chair. The crowd chants ‘one more time!’, and he obliges. Kalisto comes out for the save and tries to hit Ziggler with Salida del Sol, but Ziggler dumps him on the top rope and smacks him with the chair too for good measure. More chants of ‘one more time’, and Crews takes another strike with the chair.
David Otunga tells us that they’re celebrating Black History month, with a video with Mark Henry, Darren Young, Rich Swann, Naomi, Alicia Fox, Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews talking about Rosa Parks.
Ziggler is wandering around moodily with a towel backstage, when Daniel comes out to yell at him for throwing a tantrum. Dolph says the magic words ‘I could beat them both at the same time’, so Bryan makes a 2 on 1 handicap match for Elimination Chamber. JBL screams about how unfair this is, like that’s not the definition of a 2 on 1 match.
Renee is out in the ring for a ‘dual contract signing’ and God, please, don’t turn these three running women’s feuds into a ‘throw all the women in’ mess. While Mickie, Becky and Alexa come down wearing street clothes, Naomi is in ring gear because she’s rad. Mickie James calls Renee ‘sweetie’, which I guess is not quite the same as ‘sweetheart’ but it’s close enough that I’m not thrilled. Renee is sent on her happy way, as Mickie rants that she and her generation created the women’s revolution and that without Mickie James there would be no Becky Lynch. She punctuates this by calling her ‘honey’. The patronizing pet names are marginally more varied now, I guess.
Becky yells back that Mickie walked away from the WWE and then expected everyone to make way for her and the chip she had on her shoulder when she came back. I’m not sure I’m really okay with criticizing her for leaving, honestly. Anyway, Alexa pipes back up with the fact that Mickie James beat Trish Stratus at WrestleMania and needs to be shown respect, then pretends to get distracted by only just noticing Naomi is even present. Naomi counters by pointing out that Alexa has clearly forgotten in the build-up to Elimination Chamber that we’re only two months out from WrestleMania, and that means Naomi is going to be fighting hard to be Women’s Champion at WrestleMania in her hometown.
Naomi wore her ring gear for a reason (I mean, obviously, it’s a contract signing) by kicking Alexa in the face from across the table, then it breaks out into a brawl. Naomi dives over the ropes to take out both Alexa and Mickie, and she and Becky celebrate together in the ring as the heels slink away.
No women’s match tonight, even though there’s three on the card for Elimination Chamber. SmackDown, you keep doing well and then faltering.
MATCH: American Alpha, Breezango & Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Usos, The Vaudevillains & The Ascension
Tag champs American Alpha make their way down to the ring to join the entire rest of the tag team division. Breezango are onside with the faces for this match, I guess because a twelve-man match with 4 heel teams and only 2 face teams would look awkward and require WWE to think about their tag division.
- While I’m thinking about this, Chad Gable and Aiden English are in the ring together. English poses on the turnbuckle when I start paying attention, then dives at Gable, who dodges and drags him to the corner to tag in Jordan.
- Dropkicks in stereo on both Vaudevillains, then Tyler tags himself in. While he and Jordan are busy bickering, the Vaudevillains take out Alpha.
- Both members of Breezango hit a spinning heel kick on the Vaudevillains, and Fandango takes off his shirt because he’s contractually obligated. More arguments break out between the ostensibly face team as we cut to commercial.
- When we’re back, both Usos are laying a beatdown on Heath Slater. One of them goes for a pin, but as Slater kicks out at two, Aiden English tags himself in.
- Viktor tags in next with a chinlock on Slater, and Rhyno frantically tries to start a clap to get Slater to his feet. Slater fights out with strikes, but Viktor rams him into the corner then tags in Konno, whipping him into the corner for a clothesline on Slater, then Viktor catches Slater with a knee.
- Infighting amongst the heels breaks out a little as Aiden English tags back in, and Slater tries to make the tag to Rhyno, pulled back by his foot at the last moment.
- Slater kicks him away and makes the tag; Rhyno lays in a smackdown with a clothesline and some big strikes, then it’s a mess as all members of all teams make their way into the ring.
- Breezango face off the with the Usos, Fandango eating a superkick and Tyler being unceremoniously knocked over the side, then Alpha dump both Usos over the ropes.
- Gable thrown over the ropes, landing on most of the other competitors, until it’s just Rhyno and Viktor in the ring.
- I’m actually blown away, like, totally baffled, as Viktor hits a missile dropkick on Rhyno then a three-count. The Ascension win it for the heels!
MATCH: John Cena vs. Randy Orton (with Bray Wyatt)
Cena comes out first, and the commentary team talk a little about how Cena has to defend his newly earned title only two weeks after winning it. As Randy and Bray make their way out, I hear someone in the crowd wolf-whistle twice. Maybe spooky cult dad is sexy cult daddy. Or perhaps they’re whistling at the Viper. Hard to say.
- Orton and Cena circle each other, while Bray watches from his rocking chair. Randy stares straight into the camera to make a face at the dueling chants of ‘Let’s go Cena’ and ‘Cena sucks’ before they lock up.
- Shoulder block from Cena knocks Randy to the mat, then the two circle each other some more. Cena with a side headlock on Orton, but Orton breaks out with a kick.
- Cena wrapped up in the ropes, until the ref creates separation, then Randy knocks him to the mat. Cena kicks out easily of the lateral press, then Randy locks in a chinlock.
- Bray stands up to see what’s going on, I guess, as Cena powers to his feet then rolls out of the ring after breaking the hold.
- Orton follows with a right hand to Cena, then whipping him into the steel steps. Mauro calls them chairs, then I nearly call them chairs too. Thanks, Mauro.
- When we’re back, Cena is prepping for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Randy strikes him away then goes for the RKO, but Cena blocks.
- Orton sets up for the draping DDT, but Cena dumps Orton over the top rope instead, then follows to bounce his head off the steps.
- Cena picks Orton up in the fireman’s carry, taking him to the announce table, but Orton counters into a side slam onto the announce table.
- Orton rolls Cena back into the ring, but Cena kicks him as Randy follows, and the two men trade strikes in the ring.
- Five Knuckle Shuffle from Cena, then up into the AA – Randy kicks out!
- DDT from Randy to Cena, then pounding the mat – Cena gets up into an RKO, but Cena kicks out!
- Bray makes his way over to the ring again, yelling something I can’t hear at Randy. Randy goes for a second RKO, but Cena counters and picks Randy up into the fireman’s carry.
- Randy grabs the rope to stop the AA, and as Cena pulls him back, kicks the ref out of the ring.
- Randy taps out to the STF, but Cena realizes only after getting up that there’s no referee. Bray enters the ring, and tries to do the Sister Abigail/RKO combination, but Cena counters with a clothesline. A regular Sister Abigail takes him out, but then Luke Harper appears and he and Bray stare each other down in the ring.
- Bray points backstage, sending Harper back to his room, but a discus clothesline sends him out of the ring. Orton with an attempted RKO on Harper, but Cena appears again with an AA, and the ref has managed to recover – it’s a three-count!
Cena celebrates his victory as we’re reminded again that it’s only five days until Elimination Chamber – we’ll see you then!