Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 12/27/16: Wild Card Finals
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.
Wild Card Finals
– The John Cena in-ring promo got things off to an energetic start with the rabid Chicago crowd, a longtime tradition since WrestleMania 22. His banter started on a pandering note, as he played up the Arena’s history, mentioned sports teams and enthusiastically hyped the show. He spoke up the main event before a big “Undertaker” chant broke out (related to rumors of an Undertaker-Cena WrestleMania 33 match) as he instead went a different direction. It took a more intriguing turn as he played up his losses in the year and worked in speculation that he was a “part-timer” now, but he basically was back to be a Champion and boldly challenged whoever won the Triple-Threat WWE World Heavyweight Championship main event for Royal Rumble. The biggest reason? He’s Cena. A bit stuck-up, but it oddly worked. It’s probably the closest thing to a heel Cena we’ll ever get while retaining the “Never Give Up” key to his character. Color us intrigued.
– The WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz/Maryse backstage segment was good after we saw Renee Young slap him last week after he “let the cat out” that Young had slept with Dean Ambrose, a real-life relationship that wasn’t previously mentioned on television. Loved that they had Miz as the guy to use that as a chance to get heat. We saw Dasha interview Miz from his locker room door guarded by security. He claimed he’d only answer questions from the “unprofessional journalist” aka Young. More to come.
– The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Four Corner Elimination match between Champions Randy Orton/Luke Harper, Heath Slater/Rhyno, The Usos and American Alpha was loaded. Good call since these teams were the Division’s biggest and only ones to truly make a bang after the draft. The Usos’ heel viciousness was back on display as they pinned Slater early to eliminate them. We were surprised how ineffective Slater/Rhyno were here, as it sounds like their run at the top’s over and a feud’s only imminent. It was cool to see Chad Gable be the one to eliminate The uses, who attacked AA as a result. That left AA on the downturn as the Wyatts finally entered the match, a logical call for the heel Champs to avoid the action. Gable sold a catapult by Harper into the second rope awesomely. He later recovered to hit a pretty cannonball off the apron. Orton was over with the crowd and he used that several times. The finish was great in that it established tension between Orton/Harper (Orton knocked Harper off the apron to set up Grand Amplitude) and better yet, AA got the night’s first shock out of the way with a big moment to become new Champs. The crowd was hot for it and it was interesting to see Wyatt play peacekeeper with his men after the bell.
– Dolph Ziggler’s backstage promo was main event hype as we were reminded that he didn’t make the smartest decisions (putting guaranteed Title shots on the line for a chance to prove his worth) but that his best moments came from taking risks. Can’t argue with that one. The “Wild Card” schtick was somewhat cheesy give this was the show’s theme, but if it fit any character, it was him.
– The James Ellsworth/Carmella backstage segment didn’t advance things further, as we only learned Carmella found Ellsworth “uniquely attractive.” On the surface, we’ll need more, but we suppose it’s a way to divert him from the main event picture.
– The WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Champion Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch had a good backstory, with Lynch being the one with more momentum, as she made Bliss tap out last week to the Disarmer while she portrayed La Luchadora in a mask. There was some good action early as the two traded pinfall attempts. Bliss used the Referee’s five count whenever possible to extend her damage, as it fit her snarky character. In fact, Bliss was dominant. Lynch began a comeback that didn’t get the fans too involved, but they were into it, especially the spot where Lynch cranked back on Bliss’ arm. They stepped the feud up with some mystery as we saw La Luchadora come down to the ring to try to distract Lynch to lose, which didn’t work. Obviously, it wasn’t Lynch this time. Lynch blocked Twisted Bliss with her knees and worked in the Disarmer, to which Bliss got to the ropes. She made like her arm was dislocated, which Commentator JBL played up. Luchadora sprung Lynch’s head into the ring post while the Referee checked on Bliss, to set up the finish for Bliss to retain with a DDT. Good stuff, though we wondered why Lynch didn’t immediately pursue Luchadora, who stood by the announce table for a couple minutes. Anyways, smart to have Bliss play dumb about who Luchadora was, as she speculated maybe it was Raw’s Sasha Banks or Nia Jax. Funny. It gives Lynch another obstacle to climb to get to Bliss, as we’re pretty sure Bliss and Luchadora are in cahoots.
– The Young/Miz/Maryse/Ambrose backstage segment followed what we saw earlier as Young answered Miz’s requests to start an interview. Miz sent away his own security to answer her. The twist came when as he spoke, Ambrose casually stood next to him dressed like a guard. He blended in so well, he barely even noticed until he began to attack Miz. Smart in that it set up next week’s IC Title match between the two and maybe Ambrose/Young worked together to outsmart the Champ. No direct interaction between Ambrose/Young though.
– Nikki Bella’s backstage promo spoke about Natalya’s betrayal, as she put over her in-ring abilities and Superwoman-esque determination to return from a career-threatening neck injury over her own looks that got her where she was. She claimed she’d address Natalya directly to her face, which preserved things at least for another week.
– Corbin’s backstage promo fit his overconfident self as he claimed his opponents should have pressure and he should’ve been recognized as a top star a long time ago.
– The WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple-Threat main event between Corbin, Ziggler and Champion Styles was a fantastic way to close the SD Live year out, as we were treated to a classic. Each men brought something different and it was cool to see it all laid out. All three men went at each other before Corbin had portions where he dominated both men, as he even clotheslined them simultaneously. Eventually, Ziggler/Styles worked together to take on Corbin, as that was highlighted with the leg drop/elbow drop announce table spot. Very cool. Ziggler and Styles then went at it in a great exchange. Ziggler dropkicked Styles off the top rope as he went for a Phenomenal Forearm and hit a superkick. He got a two-count as Styles kicked out, though it looked like Corbin was supposed to break it up and came late. The broadcast team covered it well though, as JBL put over Styles for his kick-out. They also did a sick spot where they combined an End Of Days on Styles with a Zig Zag on Corbin for a two-count on Corbin. As we thought about how great this was, it all had to come to an end, and what better way than with a PF on Corbin after he hit EOD on Ziggler. Styles pinned Ziggler with Corbin knocked out of the ring to retain his Title and confirm a Styles-Cena Rumble rematch as Cena chased history. We think SD Live will be the one to watch as the Rumble nears. The Cena/Styles post-match interaction was also well-done, as he came down to shake Styles’ hand, who reluctantly accepted and showed off his Title.
– Neville’s backstage promo hyped the upcoming 205 Live show, where he looked to down “inferior competition,” as he probably spoke about WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann, who he was set to face. We suppose it gets you in the mood for the next show, but these are throwaway promos at best. Makes sense to go with Neville as the guy though since he single-handedly became the Cruserweight’s top draw as a heel.
- WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Four Corner Elimination – American Alpha def. Randy Orton/Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt) (Champions), The Usos and Heath Slater/Rhyno to become new Champions
- WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship – Alexa Bliss (Champion) def. Becky Lynch via pinfall to retain
- WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Triple-Threat – AJ Styles (Champion) def. Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler via pinfall to retain
Posted on March 14, 2017, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, James Ellsworth, JBL, John Cena, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Neville, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Renee Young, Rhyno, Royal Rumble, The Miz, The Usos, Tom Phillips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.