WWE Smackdown comes at us LIVE tonight, starting at 8pm Eastern, from Memphis, TN, and it’s shaping up to be a good show. Already announced, Alexa Bliss defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch, inside of a steel cage. Will the cage actually keep La Luchadora out of the ring?
Plus, Shane McMahon has stated he will start Smackdown with a “huge announcement.” What will the announcement entail? And, Jerry “The King” Lawler returns to Smackdown to host a special edition of King’s Court, with his guest Dolph Ziggler!
All this, plus The Wyatt Family drama, The Miz, Carmella/Ellsworth, and lots more!
We will have full coverage of the show beginning at 8pm Eastern, and don’t forget to follow along on Twitter @RingRap!
The show opens up with the steel cage held high. Shane McMahon’s music hits, and he heads to the ring. Mauro Ranallo wishes him a happy birthday before hyping up the cage match main event. The fans shower Shane with a “Shane O’Mac” chant. Shane talks about the Royal Rumble in two weeks, and hypes up The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Baron Corbin, and Dean Ambrose as being in the Rumble match. He says that in 4 weeks however, the WWE World Championship will be defended inside an Elimination Chamber.
AJ Styles’ music hits, and the WWE Champion walks out. He’s upset that after he “beats up John Cena” he’ll be forced to defend the title in an Elimination Chamber match. Shane says yes, he will have to defend the title, if he doesn’t lose the belt to Cena at the Royal Rumble. Styles says it’s a hot-headed decision, and feels he should be consulted before Shane does something so stupid. The fans start chanting for Styles loudly, as Shane says he’s only consulted with Daniel Bryan. He says they want the Best of the Best in the Chamber, and the winner goes on to main event Wrestlemania. Shane agrees that AJ is one of the best, and he’s phenomenal in the ring, but his attitude is not.
AJ threatens to go back to Japan, saying he’s never been in an Elimination Chamber match before. And then, John Cena interrupts. Cena starts to speak, and AJ cuts him off. “You don’t get to say nothing, so shut up!” Styles accuses his “brother in law” of getting him the title match. He tells Shane that having him in the Chamber match two weeks after the Rumble is stupid, and he says he’s not respected. He wants to know why Smackdown Live is against AJ Styles. He asks who’s next to steal his spotlight. The Miz’s music kicks in.
Miz walks out with Maryse at his side. Miz says his spotlight has been stolen. He says when he beats Ambrose for the IC Title in his rematch, and then when he wins the Rumble, or Elimination Chamber, he’ll be where he belongs – the main event at Wrestlemania. He says he’ll walk out of Wrestlemania as a dual champion. Styles asks if he’s delusional. He says Miz does a great job of hiding behind his wife, but the best thing he can do for his Hollywood career is stay away from him and the Chamber. Miz makes fun of Styles’ accent, and says while Styles was in Japan, Miz was beating Cena at Wrestlemania and beating Cena before it was cool. He says when people talk about Smackdown Live, they’re not talking about Styles – they’re talking about The Miz.
Cena chimes in, and says it sounds to him like The Miz is saying he’s “way better” than AJ Styles. Styles reminds Miz about how he knocked his teeth out. Styles asks Maryse if Miz talks with a lisp. Cena throws more fuel on the fire, and the two start to get in each other faces. Shane holds them back and turns it into a match.
A good segment setting up Elimination Chamber, and putting The Miz in Styles’ league, which he needs to be. Not much for Cena here. He was almost an afterthought, but did a good job stirring shit up.
After the break, Dean Ambrose approaches Shane and says they need to talk. He wants a new title, says it smells like cocoa butter and is sticky, but Shane shoots it down. He also wants a match against Randy Orton, which Shane agrees to.
The Miz (w/ Maryse) vs. AJ Styles
The Winner: Apparent No Contest via DQ
The Action: Styles reverses a wrist lock, grounding Miz. John Cena is on commentary throughout, and they’re too busy talking about stuff other than the match. Miz and Styles have a test of strength, both men bridging. Styles gets the better of it. Miz kicks Styles out of the corner. Styles nails him with a dropkick. Miz cuts Styles off with a knee to the gut. Styles sneaks in a Calf Crusher, but Miz breaks it on the ropes.
Maryse distracts Styles on the apron, giving Miz a chance to kick him in the head, sending Styles to the floor. We go to break. We return to Miz in control, whipping Styles into the corner. Styles counters with a kick to the gut and goes for a Styles Clash. Miz recovers, thumbing Styles in the eye and connecting with a DDT.
Styles gets a roll up for two. He kicks Miz to the apron and hits a Pele Kick. He drives a knee into Miz’s face outside the ring. Styles tosses Miz into John Cena, but Cena diverts Miz the other way. Styles and Cena trade punches and the referee calls for the DQ.
Miz attacks Cena from behind, but Cena hits an AA. Styles misses a Phenomenal Forearm, and Cena hits an AA on Styles to end the segment.
The announcers never bothered to announce a winner, just that the match was thrown off. Since all three were brawling, I assume it’s a double DQ? Anyhow, Miz looked good in there with Styles, and he’s clearly being elevated.
Nikki Bella heads to the ring as we go to break. We return to the arena, and Bella heads to the ring. Bella talks about the attack from Natalya last week, and says tonight they’re going to finish what they started. She calls Natalya out. Nothing. Bella says she’s not surprised. Natalya calls to her from the stands, saying it’s time for Bella to shut her mouth and open her eyes. She tells her to turn her attention to the Titantron, and then walks up the steps. She goes to the lobby, and heads into a merch stand. She asks where the Nikki Bella merchandise. It’s right under the John Cena merch. There’s no Natalya merch, but there’s a Bret Hart shirt. She’s pissed. She starts taking all the merchandise – “If I don’t have merchandise, she doesn’t get merchandise.” Bella makes it up the stairs finally and attacks Natalya, tackling her through a table. The two brawl as security pulls them apart.
Good brawl. Straight to the point. I like it.
After the break, the announcers re-hype the steel cage match. Backstage, Dasha Fuentes asks Alexa Bliss if she’s afraid of being inside the steel cage. She say’s she wasn’t afraid in their tables match. She tells her to lock the door and throw away the key, and says the look on Lynch’s face will be priceless when Bliss walks out champ.
The WWE Hall of Fame package for Kurt Angle’s induction airs.
Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton (w/ Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt)
The Winner: Dean Ambrose
The Action: Ambrose comes out first as a video reminds us of why Ambrose wanted the match in the first place. We go to break. We return and Orton comes out with The Wyatt Family. Before the match begins Wyatt gives direction to Orton. Harper circles the ring. Orton goes for an early roll-up off of a distraction from Harper. Wyatt distracts Ambrose too, but Ambrose it on to them, connecting with chops to Orton. Orton bails out of the ring after getting knocked to the mat.
Ambrose works the wrist, taking Orton to the mat. Back and forth, Ambrose hits a drop toe hold and claws the face. Orton slams Ambrose to the mat and hits a suplex. He gains control and locks in his obligatory mid-match chin lock.
Orton bails out of the ring and the brawl continues. Ambrose hits a clothesline on the floor, but Orton sends Ambrose into the steel post. He slams Ambrose’s head into the announcer’s table, then tosses him onto the table as we go to break.
Orton still has control after the break, but it’s short lived as Ambrose fires off a clothesline out of the corner. Orton counters a rebound clothesline with a powerslam for two. He sets Ambrose up for a superplex. Ambrose fights out. Two two reverse their finishers. Ambrose connects with the Lunatic Lariat for two. Ambrose sends Orton over the top rope, and Harper heads over to help out. Ambrose dives through the ropes, hitting Harper, but giving Orton a chance to get back in. He hits Ambrose with a draping DDT. Orton sets up for an RKO, but Harper walks into the ring, about to attack. Wyatt and Orton get Harper out, but not before Ambrose gets a roll-up victory.
After the match, Orton shakes his head in frustration. Harper heads into the ring and he and Orton start swinging. Wyatt keeps the two separated. When Harper moves back in to attack, Wyatt hits him with a right. Wyatt turns to Orton and begs him to attack him. Orton begs off. Harper leaves the ring.
Not a bad match, but we’ve seen better from both men. Obviously, they’re continuing the Harper/Orton feud, but it’ll be interesting if we see Orton stay with Wyatt or split off, leaving Wyatt and Harper together.
Dasha interviews Becky Lynch backstage. Lynch says she’ll never forget Alexa’s face when she tapped her out. She never runs from a fight, but tonight they’ll find out who Alexa Bliss is – and it won’t be champion.
After commercial, Jerry Lawler is introduced, and he stands mid-ring, crown, cloak and all. He says it’s good to be back. He talks about Dolph Ziggler’s ego, and introduces him. Lawler welcomes Ziggler to The King’s Court, but Ziggler doesn’t say anything. Lawler says he’s known him for a long time, and he’s known him to be a good person, but lately that good has faded almost as much as the bleach in his hair.
Ziggler again, no response. Lawler says he thinks Ziggler is frustrated, and that a change in attitude will win him some matches. Ziggler pauses and thinks. Lawler tries to get more out of him, and brings up some footage, illustrating that even with the change in attitude he lost. He says he went even further down the wrong path. They show Ziggler’s attack on Kalisto and Apollo Crews. Ziggler starts to walk away, and Lawler begs him to stay and talk. Ziggler says he’ll talk, and said he wasn’t gonna play his game. Says Lawler would try to dirty his name in front of friends and family in Memphis. Ziggler says he brought some footage himself, and he cues up footage from September 2012, when Ziggler dropped 10 elbows on Lawler in a match just moments before Lawler had a heart attack on live TV. Ziggler says Lawler blamed him for the heart attack, and Ziggler says he should have, and that if he doesn’t stop with the questions, he’ll finish what he started.
Lawler says he’s got one more question for Ziggler – how does it feel to know that no matter how many times he changes his attitude, he’ll always be a loser? Ziggler starts to walk away, and then hits Lawler with a superkick in the chest. JBL runs in to check on Lawler as Ziggler heads up the ramp. Lawler makes it to his feet and yells at him to get back in the ring.
Ziggler’s new persona needs a bit of work, but it’s heading in the right direction. Ultimately, all of this is just lip service if they don’t elevate him to a better position and give him some credible wins.
The announcers plug Talking Smack, and JBL talks about Ziggler’s actions being unacceptable.
Bray Wyatt announces that The Wyatt Family will be entering the Royal Rumble match, but he must attend to a personal matter – Randy Orton and Luke Harper will face off next week – one will stand, one will fall, but The Wyatts will be stronger for it.
The steel cage lowers for our Women’s Championship match.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch in a Steel Cage match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
The Winner: Alexa Bliss to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
The Action: Lynch comes out first, Bliss second. After a break, the bell rings. Pinfalls and submissions count here, folks. Lynch chases after Bliss immediately. Lynch sends Bliss into the case, but Bliss fights back. Bliss continues to try to escape, Lynch keeps cutting her off.
Bliss hits an STO, then catapults Lynch, who starts climbing immediately. Bliss yanks her off the ropes. Lynch hits a series of arm drags and a drop kick. Back and forth, Bliss goes for a suplex, but Lynch counters with a roll-up for two. The two start fighting on the top rope. Bliss kicks Lynch in the gut, and slams her into the cage face-first. Lynch grabs Bliss by the hair and drops to the mat, taking Bliss down with her as we go to break.
We return to Bliss keeping control of Lynch with nasty kicks. She tosses Lynch into the side of the cage, trapping her between the ropes and cage. The two brawl near the door, which opens, but Lynch fires back and counters, getting a near fall. Lynch climbs up top and starts to flip over the top, but Bliss grabs onto her hair, pulling her back. They trade blows on the top rope. Lynch uses the cage to hit a springboard sidekick, and then hits a top rope Becksploder for two.
The fans chant “This is awesome” as Lynch crawls to the door. Bliss holds onto Lynch, and when Lynch breaks free, she sees La Luchadora blocking the entrance. Lynch turns back to Bliss and goes for a Disarmher, but La Luchadora enters the cage, kicking Lynch in the face. Bliss hits a DDT for the win.
The referee raises Alexa Bliss’s hand, and she yells at him to get out of the ring. She holds up the hand of La Luchadora as her music plays. Bliss orders La Luchadora to attack Lynch, and both start stomping her. She picks Lynch up for Bliss, but Lynch kicks her way free. Lynch yanks off the mask of La Luchadora, and it’s Mickie James under the mask! Mickie James smiles and grins, then kicks Lynch in the face.
James raises the hand of Bliss who holds the title up in the air as Smackdown goes off the air.
A good match from both ladies, though why the referee guarding the door would allow La Luchadora to enter the ring is beyond me. That said, James can be very valuable on the Smackdown roster, and can really help take an act like Alexa Bliss and bring her to the next level.
Overall, thumbs up for this show. I’m looking forward to seeing Haper vs. Orton next week, as well as the follow up from tonight’s cage match. Please, take a moment to vote in our Reader Poll if you have an opportunity, and feel free to join me in our 205 Live coverage, right now!