We open this week with a recap of the previous week’s events; AJ Styles lost the number one contendership to Randy Orton, then confronted Shane McMahon over how absurd the whole thing was. Which, he’s not really wrong.
Next we have Daniel Bryan on the phone, explaining that tonight will be a Very Special Episode of Miz TV. I don’t know what that means in this context, but I assume we’ll all be learning an important lesson. AJ comes in to interrupt him a moment later, though, to demand to know where Shane is and telling us that he’s thinking about his career tonight.
AJ’s music hits and he makes his way out to the ring, where in a perplexing turn of events the only two men on commentary are JBL and Tom Phillips. AJ complains that this whole thing has been ridiculous; instead of a one-on-one match, he got a triple threat match, he got the elimination chamber, he got a battle royal, he beat Luke Harper, but now Randy “arsonist” Orton is getting a title shot at WrestleMania. For this, and because he’s the reason why people watch SmackDown, he wants a chat with Shane McMahon.
MATCH: Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
This match opens with a reminder of the women’s tag match from last week, with betrayals basically all around. JBL blames Becky for Natalya having betrayed her last week, because she should have seen it coming as everyone betrays Becky, I guess.
- “Let’s go Becky!” chants from the crowd as the match begins.
- Natalya whipped into the turnbuckle, and Becky follows with strikes until the ref creates separation. Natalya calls for a time-out, then offers her hand to Becky.
- Becky responds with a slap to the face, then a forearm and a jumping side kick in the corner.
- Waistlock from Natalya, but Becky drops and reverses into some kind of awkward submission; Natalya makes a rope break before it can be properly locked in.
- Becky with a leg lariat when we return from commercial, then Natalya rolls out of the ring.
- Becky follows with a clothesline, but Natalya counters and reverses into a Michinoku Driver on the outside.
- Back in the ring, and Natalya with a snapmare followed by a low dropkick to Becky’s spine for a two-count.
- Rear chinlock from Natalya, but Becky makes it to a vertical base and breaks out with strikes.
- Becky whipped into the corner, then Natalya tries to follow with a splash, but Becky rolls out of the way. Natalya hits the turnbuckle.
- Strikes back and forth, then Becky with a series of lariats and a leg lariat, then the Bex-ploder.
- Natalya picks Becky up and places her on the turnbuckle when Becky tries to come for her in the corner, but Becky rolls through into the Dis-Arm-Her; Natalya taps!
Carmella steps in, flooring Becky from behind almost as soon as the bell rings. She stands tall, with James Ellsworth at her side, before sauntering away.
AJ Styles is now in a parking garage, pacing back and forth in front of someone’s very nice car.
Backstage, Carmella explains that she interfered in the match because Daniel said that all available women would be competing in the match, yet she was left out of the tag match last week. Make no mistake, though, she intends to be the new Women’s Champion.
It’s time for Miz TV – The Miz and Maryse are hosting, and also the guests on their own show. They’re wearing very sharp black formalwear tonight, and we get a brief video recapping the smooches that happened last week. I mean, that Miz and Maryse attacked Nikki Bella and John Cena while they were celebrating their victory over Carmella and Ellsworth. There was a lot of kissing going on between the couples, for some reason.
Miz and Maryse are jumping on board the “Nikki is never getting married” train as well, much like Natalya did, because that’s the only way that people can think to insult her right now apparently. This had better be ending with Cena proposing at Mania to make sense of why everyone keeps harping on it, because otherwise it’s just absurd and irritating. Maryse goes on to explain that Nikki and her used to be best friends, until Maryse was offered a season one Total Divas contract and Nikki stabbed her in the back, delaying Maryse’s return to WWE television.
Maryse is furious about Nikki delaying her return to WWE, and so vows to repay the favour. Nikki and Cena run out, and Miz and Maryse make their hasty exit. Cena goes to pick up a microphone, but Nikki tells him that she’s going to be doing the talking this time. This doesn’t really improve the segment, as Nikki hits the one-two punch of calling Maryse “sweetheart” and then comparing her to a blow-up doll.
Nikki demands a match against Maryse tonight, but Miz steps in to tell her that Maryse has nothing to prove. And in any case, isn’t in ring gear. Before they can go backstage, however, Daniel Bryan makes his way out. He’s disappointed that Miz says that it was going to be very special, and it wasn’t very special at all, so he wants to punch Miz in the face. Actually, he wants to punch Miz in the face for a lot of reasons. And don’t we all? He just has a punchable face. But Miz knows that Daniel wants to and cannot punch him in the face and that just makes it worse, and Miz makes an even more punchable ‘aww, baby’ face to punctuate the point.
Daniel makes what has long been rumoured official; WrestleMania will be home to the ‘facepunching extravaganza’ of Miz and Maryse vs. John Cena and Nikki Bella.
MATCH: Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss
To further the fallout from the betrayals-all-around tag match of last week, we have our women’s champion going head to head with Mickie James.
- Collar and elbow tie-up to start things off, from which Mickie gets the upper hand, dragging Alexa to the mat by her hair.
- The referee eventually gets between them to stop the hair-pulling, and Alexa capitalizes by kicking Mickie and sending her into the corner. Mickie reverses, with a series of strikes and kicks to Alexa in the corner.
- Alexa manages to break out, draping Mickie over the ropes, then double-knees to her back. Mickie throws Alexa to the outside.
- Wrecking ball dropkick from Mickie, but Alexa scouts it and throws Mickie back-first to the outside before climbing into the ring again herself.
- When we’re back from commercial, Alexa has Mickie in a headlock in the ring. Mickie breaks out with strikes, then locks in a single-leg Boston Crab. Alexa makes a ropebreak quickly.
- Mickie with a headlock now, then bouncing Alexa’s head off the mat. When Alexa gets to her feet, Mickie counters with a clothesline, then a dropkick to a seated Alexa.
- Fisherman’s suplex into a bridge cover from Mickie for a two-count.
- Alexa with the upper hand now, throwing Mickie face-first into the mat, then screaming furiously at the crowd about why she’s champion. Mickie with a hurricanrana, then a kick to Alexa’s jaw.
- Mickie sets up for her DDT, but Alexa gets a roll-up; Mickie kicks out and reverses into her own cover, but Alexa kicks out.
- Alexa with Insault-to-Injury, but Mickie rolls out of the way; Mick Kick, and Mickie gets the cover!
Mickie celebrates her victory, as Tom Phillips reminds us that now we’re actually only three weeks out from WrestleMania.
Renee Young comes out to ask AJ why he’s loitering in a carpark, but it becomes apparent soon enough; Shane McMahon turns up, and AJ lays into him immediately, throwing him into walls and cars and basically destroying him. Shane eventually goes head-first through a car window, and just a reminder, AJ Styles believes Randy Orton shouldn’t get a title shot because he set fire to Bray’s house, but sending the commissioner of SmackDown through a car window is fine.
In a locker room, the Usos and Curt Hawkins are yelling at AJ for attacking Shane. As AJ tries to storm out, Daniel gets in his face and tells him that he’s fired for that assault. I mean, I literally just called out that segment, so… fair play, Daniel Bryan!
MATCH: Mojo Rawley vs. Dolph Ziggler
Apparently these two are feuding now because Rawley was really hype about wanting to be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and Ziggler doesn’t think WrestleMania moments just get handed out.
- The match barely gets underway, a few strikes traded back and forth, when Ziggler rolls out of the ring and stands nearby for a count of eight. He feigns climbing back in, then turns and walks away – Ziggler is counted out!
Mojo Rawley celebrates his victory, though rather undercut by the fact that he didn’t really do anything to achieve it.
Randy “arsonist” Orton has come out to call out Bray Wyatt, our champion. Randy explains that the reason he joined up with the Wyatt Family was because he figured that finding a way to earn his trust and then tear him down would hurt more than an RKO. Sister Abigail is, or was, the only thing that Bray Wyatt loves, so setting fire to the compound was the best way to destroy him.
Bray appears on the Titantron as Randy announces that he’s going to finish the destruction at WrestleMania. Bray explains that Sister Abigail was not destroyed by Randy’s arson; in fact, Bray is all the stronger for having her power bestowed upon him. Bray leans down and it becomes apparent that he’s kneeling in the ashes of Sister Abigail’s resting place, and he smears the ashes on himself, ‘baptising’ himself in her remains.
Given how creepy that last segment was, I’m getting serious whiplash from the fact that apparently American Alpha are having a tag match against the Usos after the break.
But first, a quick recap of Dean Ambrose getting crushed by a forklift last week! Why, WWE?
Dasha Fuentes wants to know whether Corbin thinks he crossed a line last week; he says he did not, and that he wants the Intercontinental Championship, and attempted murder is the way to do that.
MATCH: American Alpha vs. The Usos
- Gable and Jimmy start together in the ring; Jey tags in promptly, but Gable tags in Jordan who floors Jey with a dropkick.
- Headlock from Jordan, Jey tries to power to his feet but Jordan counters into a cover. Jey kicks out, and Jordan resumes the headlock.
- While this match is going on, Shane is stumbling around all injured backstage. I’m so glad we respect the tag division so much, here.
- Jimmy has tagged back in, but commentary are too busy talking about Shane McMahon to call the moves. Jey tags back in and both Usos ascend to the turnbuckle; Alpha lay in waiting.
- The Usos climb back down, and Alpha with a pair of dropkicks sending them from the apron to the floor. Apparently when we get back from commercial we’ll have an update on Shane McMahon, not on this wrestling match. Good to know.
- Jordan is on the outside, and Jimmy makes the tag so he can legally kick him down and bounce his head off the apron.
- Both legal men back in the ring for a pin attempt; Jordan kicks out.
- Jey tags back in, flying in off the turnbuckle for another nearfall. If commentary doesn’t care about this match, why should I, exactly?
- Headlock from Jimmy, who has tagged back in; Jordan struggles to tag in Gable, but can’t manage it. Shane is still ambling around slowly. Apparently he’s on his way to the arena.
- Both men make the tag; Gable with a suplex on Jey, then to Jimmy as he tried to interfere. Another suplex to Jey, for a nearfall.
- Gable throws an interfering Jimmy out of the ring again, and Jey goes for a rollup, but but Gable kicks out. The ref gets distracted as Jordan gets tangled in the turnbuckle thanks to Jimmy, and a superkick from Jimmy scores a successful pinfall for Jey.
Wow, how exciting; the tag team champions lost a match! The Usos celebrate, but then we’re immediately cutting to what Shane is doing again. He makes his way out with a microphone in hand, to simply announce that if AJ wants an opponent at WrestleMania, he’s got one now.