Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 11/22/16: Mountie-Bred Madness
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
– The opening video highlighted Survivor Series, where Team Blue emerged victorious over Team Raw with the “stakes higher than ever.” We saw the bickering between WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose cost the team an elimination. Another highlight was James Ellsworth’s “revenge” against Braun Strowman as he held down the big man’s feet and prevented him from beating an in-ring count. Of course, Ellsworth was thrown off the stage and through a table, but it counted. The biggest story though – Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton were the sole survivors, as they defeated WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns.
– The in-ring segment with SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, Ambrose, Styles and Ellsworth was fine for what it was, although it was this episode in a nutshell – too much in one instance. That made sense though, with the next Pay-Per-View in TLC less than two weeks away. We got the notion that Shane appreciated that Orton/Wyatt were the sole winners and he also expressed disappointment in Styles/Ambrose. Ambrose began his reign of terror here, as he tried to convince Shane there was nothing to worry about. Shane was smart to bring up “The Shield Reunion” as a tactic for Ambrose to not be a team player. When Ellsworth was involved, Ambrose spilled the beans that the rookie had received a contract. That sent Shane over the wall, as he dismissed Ambrose for the night. That led to Styles, who tried to convince Shane that Ellsworth didn’t deserve the contract. Eventually, Ellsworth talked his way into accepting Styles’ proposal that he earn the contract in a ladder match where it hung above the ring. Another catch was that Ellsworth would get a future Title opportunity if he won. It fit Ellsworth “I have to prove myself” behavior and Styles’ overconfident self. We got another laugh when Ambrose came up from behind Shane/Ellsworth to “have a good time.” That made Shane throw up his hands.
– The backstage segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Maryse and SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan was nice hype for the IC Title match ahead. That was Bryan’s way to get one over on The Miz because of the controversial way he retained his belt over Sami Zayn at Survivor Series. At the same time, he used it as a way to make it up to Kalisto, who was attacked by Baron Corbin in his attempt to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship and bring the division to the show. Miz’s self-obsessed behavior had him believe that Bryan had a party planned and was in the midst of a photo shoot before Bryan interrupted him, which made this all the more better.
– The backstage segment with Shane and Ambrose saw Shane follow up on his order to dismiss Ambrose, as he guided him to the arena door. Ambrose tried every trick in the book to get Shane to let him back in, but they fell on deaf ears. Kind of mean of Shane to not even let Ambrose get his jacket.
– The WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Kalisto and Champion The Miz was good thanks to Kalisto’s more rapid in-ring work than usual, but it lacked drama that was necessary to convey that Miz’s reign was jeopardized. We also expected a run-in from Corbin, which made sense as a way to cast sympathy upon Kalisto and draw heat on Corbin. Surprise, surprise. Corbin appeared on the apron and Kalisto kicked him off, which set Miz up for a Skull-Crushing Finale to retain. Post-match, Corbin laid out Kalisto with the End Of Days. Meanwhile, Dolph Ziggler got some revenge on Miz as he superkicked him on the stage. With TLC close, we could probably expect Kalisto-Corbin and Miz-Ziggler as matches.
– The backstage segment with Shane, Bryan, Alexa Bliss, WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, Natalya and Ambrose was another “cram” instance, but it worked. It got over that Shane was frustrated with his roster and it was evident as the segment progressed. Bliss inquired about her Title shot and was answered by Lynch, who said it’d be at TLC. Natalya’s portion involved her belief that Lynch was the reason the ladies lost to Team Raw at Survivor Series. Shane yelled that all the ladies were to blame since original captain Nikki Bella was taken out of the match, which transitioned into his booking of Natalya-Lynch “to prove herself.” We didn’t get out of this without lame Lynch puns or another lyric reference by Natalya. To top it off, Ambrose walked back into the room with a pizza box, which annoyed Shane some more.
– The backstage segment with Corbin and Bryan set things up for later, as Bryan reprimanded Corbin for his actions and “punished” him in a match with Kane, whom he described as a “close personal friend.”
– The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Turmoil match to determine who Champions Heath Slater/Rhyno would defend against at TLC was nice while it lasted. It began more comedic, with the lower tier teams. We first saw The Hype Bros. quickly defeat The Ascension with the Hype Ryder. Breezango then eliminated The Hype Bros. with a slingshot springboard elbow. Next up was American Alpha, as Slater/Rhyno watched from backstage. We felt this was the time to lean towards an AA Title shot. Chad Gable pinned Fandango after an unsuccessful attempt to repeat the springboard elbow. Next, AA quickly defeated The Vaudevillains, as Jason Jordan pinned Aiden English in seconds with a bridge pin from a German suplex. This began the best part of all – AA-Usos. Right from The Usos’ methodical walk to the ring, we were in for a treat. Since The Usos had already had their shot against Slater/Rhyno, it only made sense for AA to go over here. The Usos worked over Jordan, as the crowd was audibly 50/50 for them. Some nice near-falls down the stretch. AA’s avalanche bulldog pinfall was broken up at two. Eventually, Grand Amplitude gave AA their shining moment. Or so you’d think. Almost instantly, The Wyatt sounder went off, which made us fear that AA’s win would be minimized. It actually transitioned to a Wyatt promo that informed AA that they hadn’t faced all the teams in the turmoil and next week, him/Orton would come for them. That left us a little baffled since it was apparent that the turmoil would carry over to next week. A simple Shane promo could’ve covered this as a “reward” for Orton/Wyatt being sole survivors. On a show where Shane has repeatedly tried to show Ambrose the door and he didn’t listen, it would’ve fit.
– The backstage segment with Bryan, Ellsworth, Ambrose and Shane gave us more entertainment and main event hype. We had our “rally cry” promo from Ellsworth, who tried to convince Bryan that he had a fighting chance. Our next Ambrose moment came, as he appeared dressed as The Mountie. Bryan tried to warn him to scram before Shane sees him, but the moment was too late. Shane called Ambrose disrespectful at this point and Bryan calmed him down as he offered to run the rest of the show. In probably the internet meme moment of 2016, Ambrose told Bryan he was dressed as The Mountie “because he always gets his man.”
– The Natalya-Lynch match with Bliss on commentary was a fine way to keep momentum on the Champ while Bliss got to stay warm with her mic skills. She stressed a bias from management towards Lynch and even argued with Commentator David Otunga that she had her foot under the rope in her last Title shot and would be Champion if not for that. We saw Natalya almost lock in the Sharpshooter, but Lynch reversed it with the Disarmer for the win. Bliss’ post-match attack on Lynch was straight-forward and excellent.
– The backstage segment with Bryan, Miz and Maryse was effective in that it set up a TLC match. Basically, Miz’s demands to have Ziggler be suspended ended with him being forced to defend his Title at TLC against Ziggler in a ladder match in a bout “to end things.” We can chalk up a Miz win for some reason. That’ll be the only true way to end it.
– The backstage segment with Carmella and Nikki Bella set things up more for TLC. We saw Bella snatch Carmella’s phone while she conversed and tried to get it out of her that she was the attacker at Survivor Series, but Carmella denied it and gave some suggestions as for who it could’ve been. She expressed that Bella was “far from Mother Teresa.” Bella revealed that they’d put things to an end at TLC with a No Disqualification match. So, there’s that.
– The Corbin-Kane match served some hard hits before its quick end when Kalisto attacked Corbin with a springboard dropkick. Next, Corbin ate a Chokeslam. Kalisto tried to further things with a chair, but Corbin slipped away. Fortunately, Corbin’s attempt to outsmart the luchador ended when the chair was kicked into his face. Chalk one up to the little guy.
– The main event Ladder match with Ellsworth’s contract on the line between Styles and Ellsworth was predictable, but the good kind as a way to advance the Styles-Ambrose program. Early on, we saw Styles humiliate the youngster and looked to win before Ambrose came down in an Ottawa Senators jersey. Ambrose was hit with a Phenomenal Forearm as Styles climbed the ladder. Unfortunately for him, Ellsworth knocked the ladder over and Styles fell over the ropes and to the floor. That was the moment where the crowd went into “Yes!” mode. Styles’ attempt to come back ended up as Ellsworth superkicked him and he fell into the ropes and got twisted in them, a la Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X. We got our moment, as Ellsworth took down the contract to make his stay official. Commentator JBL’s disgusted comments were brilliant here.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship – The Miz (Champion) (w/Maryse) def. Kalisto via pinfall to retain
- WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Turmoil Match – American Alpha def. The Usos, The Vaudevillains, The Hype Bros., Breezango and The Ascension
- Becky Lynch def. Natalya via submission
- Baron Corbin def. Kane via DQ
- If James Ellsworth Wins, He Earns A WWE SmackDown Live Contract – Ladder Match – James Ellsworth def. AJ Styles
Posted on January 31, 2017, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Breezango, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, James Ellsworth, Kalisto, Kane, Maryse, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Rhyno, Shane McMahon, The Ascension, The Hype Bros., The Miz, The Vaudevillains, TLC. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.