WWE Smackdown comes at us from the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, starting at 8pm Eastern, and will feature the fallout from Elimination Chamber. Bray Wyatt is the new WWE Champion, and John Cena is already invoking his rematch clause. Cena will challenge Wyatt for the title tonight. Will Cena regain the belt and make it the 17th run?
Plus, Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and intends on walking into Wrestlemania as the Hometown Hero. But will Bliss use her rematch clause? And who steps up next after Bliss?
All this, plus Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, American Alpha, and much more! We will have live coverage starting at 8pm Eastern! Join in the fun here, and on Twitter, @RingRap!
Our show starts with a video recap of Elimination Chamber, with stills mixed with action. Special highlights on the major wins, including Naomi, and Bray Wyatt.
We go into the arena, and our new WWE Champion, Bray Wyatt, heads out to the ring, lantern in hand, title around his waist. JBL points out that Randy Orton is not accompanying Wyatt to the ring, and he infers that Orton vs. Wyatt will be the main event of Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship.
Wyatt blows out the lantern as the announcers advertise the rematch between Cena vs. Wyatt for the title. The fans start chanting “You deserve it” at Wyatt. Wyatt begins, “She never said this would be easy. ‘They will lie to you,’ she said.” He talks about Sister Abigail warning him they will denounce him. He says she always speaks the truth. He says he knew this day would come, and it is not a lie. He says he truly has the “whole damn world” in his hands.
Wyatt says too much power can be a scary thing – not for him, but for us. He asks the fans to open their ears and he’ll sing a melody. He promises he will lead us to paradise if we walk by his side. “Stand in my way, and you will burn in the fire.” He welcomes us all to the Era of Wyatt.
And then, John Cena’s music hits. Cena heads to the ring. He says it’s a very energetic crowd, and one that shows respect. He offers his own, and “introduces” the new WWE Champion, Bray Wyatt. Cena says Wyatt has done his job in brainwashing the fans that chant “You deserve it.” Cena says no man deserves anything – they earn everything they get. He says the whole world isn’t in his hands, but they do look at the target on his shoulder. He brings up the title match and says he wants to get it done right here, right now.
And then, AJ Styles heads out. He says Cena isn’t getting his rematch before him – he may think he can do whatever he wants, but not tonight. He accuses Cena of jumping lines at the grocery store, and says he isn’t a normal person (he has a private plane). Styles says this isn’t about him – it’s about AJ Styles. He’s beaten Cena several times, and he knows he can beat Wyatt. He wants his one-on-one rematch for the Championship right here, right now.
Daniel Bryan heads out to address the situation. He congratulates Bray Wyatt for winning the title, and says he has a conundrum on his hands – Cena is owed a rematch for the Championship, as is AJ Styles, and Bryan has promised the fans a WWE Championship match. He decides to make it a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship. Cena is pumped, Wyatt is ready, AJ is pissed.
We go to the announcer’s table, and they hype Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch in a rematch, plus Naomi giving an interview. Up next? American Alpha!
A decent enough segment. I can see Styles already getting upset about losing his one-on-one match and taking out the frustrations on Bryan, or Shane, if the Wrestlemania rumors are to be believed. Wyatt, naturally, cut a good promo here, as did Cena.
After the break, we see Dean Ambrose looking for Baron Corbin, yelling his name. We then go to the arena.
American Alpha vs. The Ascension
The Winners: American Alpha
The Action: Gable and Viktor start it off. Gable does an impressive reversal leading into a takedown. Viktor recuperates in the corner. Gable hits a huge waistlock takedown, and powers Viktor over in another takedown. Viktor cheap shots Jordan on the apron, and all four men enter the ring. American Alpha leap off the top turnbuckle and clothesline both men out as we go to commercial.
We return, and Viktor has control of Gable. He sends Gable chest-first into the turnbuckle, and gets a near fall. Konnor tags in and charges at Gable, slamming him in the corner. Gable stretches for the tag but Konnor keeps him under control. Later on, Gable gets a hanging armbar in the ropes. He makes the hot tag, and Jason Jordan is on fire. Jordan launches Viktor into the air, and hits a series of suplexes. Blind tag from Gable, and Jordan misses a charge in the corner. The Ascension slam Gable hard to the mat for a near fall, and set him up for their finisher, but Jordan runs in for the save, and sets Viktor up for Grand Amplitude for the win.
My cable skipped around a little bit, and I missed a couple of spots, but overall a fine tag match.
After the match, The Usos come up on the screen – they serve a warning to Alpha, basically telling them to watch their backs. Their music hits, and then nothing.
Backstage, James Ellsworth invites Carmella out for dinner for Valentine’s Day, but she wants to keep it professional. Dean Ambrose passes by looking for Corbin. He stops and tells Ellsworth Carmella is using him. Carmella takes offense. Daniel Bryan shows up and asks what’s going on. Ambrose says he’s looking for Corbin, and begs to beat up Ellsworth. Bryan says he does have pent up aggression, and do have unfinished business, so he makes the match. Ellsworth looks confused, and Carmella hypes it up as a chance for him to teach Ambrose a lesson.
The announces hype up Teddy Long as the newest entrant to the WWE Hall of Fame. We then go ringside, and James Ellsworth introduces his “special lady friend.” He asks the fans not to be rood, or to boo him, and says her only boo is him. He asks the fans to put their hands together for the Princess of Staten Island. And then, Dean Ambrose comes out.
Baron Corbin drags Dean Ambrose out through the entrance, Ambrose’s shirt torn up. Ambrose starts to fight back, and the two brawl. Ambrose leaps off of a crate, and charges Corbin, who catches him and hits a Deep Six, tossing him into some controls. Unfortunately, a bit of pyro goes off a second too early. Referees check on Ambrose as the announcers sell the attack, and then make a convenient segue into the next topic – Nikki Bella and Natalya.
They show Natalya’s attack on Bella backstage, with Maryse standing nearby, getting powder all over her. Daniel Bryan and Bella watch a video of the attack. Bryan says he can’t have that, and has an idea, and he think’s she’ll like it. Natalya comes in and bitches that Bella gets everything she wants, and Bryan says Nattie will like his idea too. The two bicker, and it comes to blows quickly. Bryan gets fires up and yells at them – says next week they’ll fight in a Falls Count Anywhere match!
Dasha Fuentes asks Baron Corbin for an explanation – he says people can’t be this stupid. He’s not WWE Champion because of Dean Ambrose, so now Dean Ambrose is on his way to the hospital because of Baron Corbin. “Enough said.”
The announcers go to Renee Young who interviews Dolph Ziggler. She asks about his attack on Apollo Crews and Kalisto on Sunday, and says he’s been called a sore loser. Ziggler says they’re the sore losers. What he did was a wake-up call for the new superstars, the young generation. He says everyone coming up seems to think they’re there to replace him, but they’re not. He’s just getting started, and is a long way from being done. He’ll wipe out an entire generation if he has to. Noone steals the show like him, and noone will take his place, but some people are about to get put in theirs.
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
The Winner: Mickie James
The Action: A video clip from Talking Smack on Sunday shows James still feeling like she’s not getting enough recognition. The bell rings, and the match begins. James focuses on the arm. Lynch takes James down and bridges a hammer lock. Lynch goes for a takedown into a pin for two. James makes it into the ropes to stop the armbar submission.
James bails out of the ring to get a better position. Back in the ring, Lynch continues to work over James’ arm. Lynch hits a springboard sidekick that sends James to the floor. The two connect with a clothesline, and both are laid out as we go to break.
Back form commercial, James has control, focusing on Lynch’s neck. Lynch starts to fire up, and connects with a back kick followed by an Exploder for two. Lynch goes for a roll-up for two. James hits a flapjack into a kippup. Lynch counters with another Exploder for two. Lynch goes for the Straight Fire elbow, but James cowers, and Lynch hesitates. James tumbles out of the ring and seemingly lands awkwardly. She screams out in pain and clutches her shoulder. Lynch rolls her back into the ring and the referee checks on her. James says she thinks she separated her shoulder, and as soon as Lynch drops her guard, James hits the Mick Kick. She makes the cover for the win.
Old school heat, but it works. A good TV match overall, and James gets some needed heat.
The announcers plug the upcoming HBO documentary on Andre the Giant.
In the arena, Renee Young congratulates Naomi for becoming the Smackdown Women’s Champion. The fans chant “You deserve it,” and then Young says she suffered an injury during the match. Naomi says she didn’t even realize it – she was so high on the adrenaline that she didn’t know until she got back to her room. Naomi says she’s been down this road before, and nothing will keep her from her dream. She’s taking the title home at Wrestlemania, one way or another.
Alexa Bliss walks out, and asks if the Glow Worm got a boo boo. She says everyone knows she lucked out on Sunday, and then she woke up the next morning and realized the pressure of being a champion. She looked in the mirror and said “I’m no Alexa Bliss.” Bliss says noone is. She accuses Naomi of making up the her injury because she knows she would lose the rematch. She says she won’t feel the glow – she’ll feel like someone who flopped. Bliss says she could even have her own 30 for 30 on ESPN – The Failure of Naomi. Bliss says she wants Naomi’s entire family to be at Wrestlemania so they can see the real Smackdown Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss. Naomi calls her a flea and says she can snatch her in a second. Bliss says she’ll give her a week, and either she gives Bliss the title or she’ll beat her up and down the ring and take it. “Feel that glow.”
Naomi came across as sincere, but Bliss? My goodness. She just gets better and better each week.
TJ Perkins cuts a promo hyping up his title match against Neville on 205 Live.
We go ringside for the Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship.
John Cena vs. AJ Styles vs. Bray Wyatt (c) for the WWE Championship
The Winner: Bray Wyatt to retain the WWE Championship
The Action: Wyatt makes his way to the ring, but when the lights come on, Luke Harper stands in front of him. He attacks Wyatt, and sends him flying into the barricade, and follows it up with a superkick, all before Wyatt can even step into the ring. Wyatt is laid out and Harper retreats up the ramp, as Cena and Styles look on confused. We go to break.
We head back to the ring and the match is started. Cena and Styles are going at it, Wyatt nowhere to be seen. Cena sets up a Five Knuckle Shuffle, but finally, Wyatt recovers, and he yanks Cena out of the ring, tossing him into the steps. AJ Styles flies over the top rope with a forearm, striking Wyatt in the face.
Back in the ring, Styles connects with a series of shoulders and strikes. He hits a low flying elbow for two. Styles connects with low kicks, but Wyatt fires back with a shoulder block. He connects with a series of strikes, and tosses Styles out of the ring.
Cena comes right in behind him, hitting shoulders and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena goes for an AA, but Wyatt counters with a Sister Abigail attempt. Styles with a Phenomenal Forearm out of nowhere. Cena hits AJ with the AA, and Styles barely kicks out. Cena sets Styles up on the turnbuckle, and knocks him to the apron. Wyatt hits Cena with Sister Abigail and makes the cover, but Styles breaks it up. Very frantic pace right now, as we go to break.
We return and it’s times like this that I hate the commercials in between. AJ Styles leaps off of the barricade onto Wyatt, who is laid out on the announcer’s table. The table doesn’t break, so AJ goes up top and hits a leg drop to send the table shattering. Styles crawls onto the apron, and sets up Cena for the Forearm, but Cena blocks it and hits an AA. He rolls AJ into another fireman’s carry, but Styles reverses it into a Calf Crusher. Cena powers up and rolls out, locking in the STF. Out of nowhere, Wyatt hits a senton on both men, breaking the hold. Wyatt tosses Styles out to the floor, and stalks John Cena. Wyatt goes upside down, then moves in, but Cena hits an AA on Wyatt. Wyatt kicks out at two.
Styles moves in and hits the Styles Clash on Cena. Cena kicks out. Styles rolls out of the ring onto the apron. He readies up the Phenomenal Forearm, but Cena catches him on the ropes, hanging him up. Bray follows Cena in, hits Sister Abigail, and gets the pin for the win.
An absolutely tremendous match, and one that suffered for having commercial breaks. All three men put on a pay-per-view worthy main event. Wyatt is definitely over with the title, but Styles and Cena got their share of cheers as well. Naturally, all three men are great workers and had awesome chemistry together. Really well done.
After the match, Wyatt hobbles, title in hand. He drops to his knees, holding the belt, arms outstretched. Randy Orton’s music hits, and Orton walks onto the ramp. JBL says we’re looking at the Wrestlemania Main Event. Orton walks down the ramp very, very slowly. He takes his time before getting into the ring. Orton steps up to Wyatt and says he won the Royal Rumble, and all the privileges that come with it, but Wyatt is the WWE Champion. “However, as long as you are the master and I am the servant, I refuse to face you at Wrestlemania.” Orton pledges his undying allegiance to Wyatt, and then drops to a knee. Wyatt laughs and says Orton has the “keys to the kingdom.” The two pose with the lights low as the show comes to an end.
Well, that was unexpected, and slightly confusing. The fans seemed disappointed that Orton didn’t challenge Bray for the title, and frankly I am too. But the story isn’t over, and it can still go that route. They were running out of time, and I feel that the ending segment came to an end abruptly.
Overall, an enjoyable episode of Smackdown. I’ll have lots more to say about it in tonight’s late night special edition of Around the Ring. In the meantime, I’m heading over to cover 205 Live. Join me there, won’t you?