Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 12/13/16: Legendary Contendership
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 General Manager Daniel Bryan/Commissioner Shane McMahon/James Ellsworth opening backstage segment was good and bad news. We saw Ellsworth “sick” and it left Bryan/Shane no choice but to postpone his World Title shot and search for a new #1 Contender. Ellsworth was also reprimanded for his interference in last week’s WWE Intercontinental Championship match.
– The MizTV segment with Maryse, WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles and Luke Harper set the stage for the big main event, but the most interesting part was the Miz-Styles exchange. The two heels complimented each other briefly before Miz stated that he wanted an opportunity at the World Title to make it “legendary” like he had done with the IC Title. Styles was in an odd place with his character where he’s over enough to be a tweener and rub noses with heels and faces alike. We still don’t get why babyfaces always stop heels from beating each other up, but Ambrose came down to serve that purpose since he had issues with both men. Ziggler had the same reason as he called the heels out on their constant cheating. It didn’t take long for physicality to ensue, which was where Styles escaped, but Ambrose stood tall with Dirty Deeds on both Miz and Ziggler. Harper’s arrival elevated it as he appeared out of nowhere with the new sounder and leveled Ambrose out.
– The Styles/Bryan/Shane backstage segment made the main event official, as Bryan booked a WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way elimination with all the men from the previous segment, as Styles would defend against the winner on Dec. 27 (2016’s last show) and if anyone not involved in the match interfered, that’d cause an elimination. SD has a tendency to fill time with fancy stipulations, but it worked here.
– The Natalya-Carmella match with Nikki Bella on commentary was okay. It was basically an extension of the storyline where Natalya repeatedly denied to Bella that she was the Survivor Series attacker and wanted her to ignore Carmella’s constant criticisms that she was a liar. The match took on more of a brawl style, which made sense, but things never kicked a second gear. In the end, Carmella rolled up Natalya for an escapist victory and before that, we saw Natalya shove Bella out of the way of a Carmella attack. Seemingly. What are we supposed to react to Natalya like?
– The Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias/Miz/Maryse/Apollo Crews backstage segment was main event/Tribute To The Troops hype, as we learned Fluffy would be featured. That was Miz’s cue to silence them because he needed to train. The comedian and Miz went back and forth. The most memorable thing was Fluffy’s signature Hawaiian shirt. Crews was lifeless and could’ve been replaced by any other babyface for the same reaction.
– The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Battle Royale match between American Alpha, The Hype Bros., The Vaudevillains, The Ascension, Breezango and Heath Slater/Rhyno was a smart way to fill time and establish new contenders, but this felt like the time to give AA their worthy shot. They had come close previously, so with everyone else on the jobber spectrum (with exception of Hype Bros.), why not do it? Some highlight-esque occurrences like Jason Jordan’s “Sky High” that eliminated Aiden English and Slater’s accidental elimination of his own partner, which likely increased their tensions. The fans booed Chad Gable’s early elimination as well as when Jordan was dumped over. That said, when it was left to Tyler Breeze, Konnor and Zack Ryder, there was only one conceivable winner. Ryder’s victory was well-crafted and he made it exciting at least, as he survived being dumped over the top rope by Konnor. It appeared that Hype Bros. will just be an easy team for Champions The Wyatt Family (who now had their own “Freebird Rule” implemented) to pick on before AA are next. The Usos were also conspicuous by their absence.
– The Baron Corbin hype video was perfect, as he was portrayed as a selfish, ruthless biker who dished out punishment and followed his own rules. The grainy black-and-white footage and altered voice audio only emphasized it more. Awesome production work.
– The WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Champion Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch was a welcome twist in the buildup, but lacked any excitement as far as action. The set-up included Bliss’ fit promo where she turned down a match with Deonna Purrazzo as a “charity case” and knocked her out with a forearm, which cued Lynch’s attempt to get her rematch since Bliss was geared to wrestle. Bliss expressed she wanted no part of it and chalked it up to “doing it on her terms,” which worked until Shane made the rematch official. We don’t remember much else from the match besides for Bliss’ knee injury feign to get herself intentionally counted out to retain. We questioned why Lynch would just stand there and let it happen, but it picked up once she tossed Bliss inside the ring after the bell. The “moment” where we saw Bliss feign the injury was when she began to use the same knee to attack Lynch before she was cleared from the ring and pretended to be hurt again. Typical scrappy heel behavior that works for Bliss right now.
– The John Cena hype video advertised his return to happen in two weeks, coincidentally also on that same Dec. 27 show. Looks loaded so far. It’ll be fun to have him back again.
– The WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Elimination match between Ambrose, Miz, Ziggler and Harper with Styles on commentary was good, but not great. The constant throughout was Harper’s impressive performance, as he dominated the first minute and slapped down Miz’s attempt to work together. Miz was eliminated first when Ambrose hit him with Dirty Deeds after attempts to pin Ziggler/Harper were unsuccessful. Harper received more reactions as he had close near-falls over Ziggler/Ambrose. Eventually, a Superkick/Dirty Deeds combo eliminated Harper and the fans booed. That took us out of the match originally, until it picked up when Miz came back out. The finish appeared to set a Miz-Ambrose feud in place while Ziggler gets another World Title shot against Styles, which should be a fun television main event. Miz prevented Ambrose from getting into the ring, which gave Ziggler enough time to hit the Superkick to win. We were still confused on what exactly Miz’s intentions were, but maybe that’ll be revealed next week.
– WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann’s backstage promo was simple hype for his match against TJ Perkins to follow the show on 205 Live. He simply said Perkins “couldn’t handle this.” Not much of a lead-in to work with.
- Carmella def. Natalya via pinfall
- WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Battle Royale – The Hype Bros. def. American Alpha, The Ascension, Heath Slater/Rhyno, The Vaudevillains and Breezango
- WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch def. Alexa Bliss (Champion) via countout; Bliss retains
- WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match – Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz (w/Maryse), Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper
Posted on February 23, 2017, in WWE and tagged 205 Live, AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Breezango, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Deonna Purrazzo, Dolph Ziggler, Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias, Heath Slater, James Ellsworth, JBL, John Cena, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Rhyno, Rich Swann, Royal Rumble, Shane McMahon, SmackDown Live, The Ascension, The Hype Bros., The Miz, The Vaudevillains, Tom Phillips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.