Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 1/17/17: Merch Stand Mayhem
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.
Merch Stand Mayhem
– The opening video hyped up the big Steel Cage Match main event for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship between Champion Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. Primarily, the focus was on Bliss’ repeated attempts to flee, but the bout’s basis would be that all paths were now closed off thanks to the cage. We were eager to give it a shot. Especially loved that this would be the closer.
– The Commissioner Shane McMahon/WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles/John Cena/The Miz/Maryse in-ring segment accomplished plenty in short order. Shane starting out actually made this the first appearance by an authority figure this week. As expected, he hyped the Royal Rumble match and name-dropped some biggies like Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Braun Strowman, Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin and WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose. What also came here was the big announcement that the World Title would be defended in four weeks at the Elimination Chamber. Styles’ portion here made sense, since the heel Champ shouldn’t be thrilled at having to defend his Title (assuming he beat Cena at the Rumble) against five other men. Styles accused Shane of “hotheadedness” and the Commissioner backed his claims that he wanted the “Best Of The Best” to take Styles on. Styles’ open threat to take the belt and go back to Japan were met with an interruption from Cena, which began those infamous dueling chants again. Styles shut Cena up fast and claimed he was alone against everyone. Geez, Roman Reigns, much? Miz’s involvement here was also logical, since he looked to get the IC Title back, win the World Title in the Chamber and main event WrestleMania once more. Big plans on the up and up. Sure, why not? Everybody should be looking at a brighter future for themselves. This led to the most entertaining part, as Cena egged on a Styles-Miz argument. Eventually, Shane booked Styles against Miz to start things off.
– The Shane/Ambrose backstage segment set up the Ambrose-Randy Orton match for later. Ambrose was quirky in how he wanted a new belt because Miz “left it smelling like coconut.” He also used the chance to bring up The Wyatt Family, particularly Orton.
– The Styles-Miz match with Cena on commentary was an interesting heel-heel clash with Cena assumedly scouting his Rumble opponent. The two played a mat-based submission exchange before Styles gestured to Cena. Nice moment where Maryse distracted Styles long enough for her husband to kick him off the apron. He also poked Styles in the eye at one point. Styles had Miz outside and attempted to throw him into Cena, who saw it coming and instead, threw Miz into the barricade for the DQ. Figured we’d get that, so no complaints. The three battled before Cena downed both men with separate Attitude Adjustments and held up the Title. Cena looking strong into the Rumble? Maybe Styles will get some heat back on the go-home show.
– The Nikki Bella/Natalya in-ring segment furthered their feud as this time, Bella called Natalya out after the two brawled last week. Bella’s claims that Natalya stabbed people in the back were met with an interruption from the “Queen Of Harts,” who had a video to present. It ended up being her complaining at a merchandise table about how Bella’s merchandise was placed next to her husband’s while she didn’t have any at all. She did make one worthy insult when she said her uncle Bret Hart and Bella “would die alone.” She began tossing shirts into the trash, when Bella ran over and speared her through the table. The second brawl was a success as this time, they battled through officials and got a crowd to watch them. We liked the idea of the merchandise twist added in to make it unique.
– Bliss’ backstage promo hyped the Cage match and she wanted to use the chance to finally rid herself of Lynch and prove she was better than her. Her standard confident self.
– The Ambrose-Orton match connected to The Wyatt Family’s attack on Ambrose one month prior, though it felt like Ambrose suddenly decided to remember it on this night instead of seeking immediate retribution. Also worked in were the recent tensions between Orton/Harper, to the point where Wyatt himself got kicked in the face accidentally by Harper when he tried to play peacemaker last week. We assumed there’d be more of that on tap. Wyatt gave a harsh stare to Harper before Orton got into the ring. Back-and-forth beginning, but a slower start than expected. Orton got out of an early Dirty Deeds attempt. He launched Ambrose onto the announce table back-first to head into commercial. We loved the powerslam counter to the lunatic lariat, a move only used about seven times a match. The bout got better as it progressed, as both men avoided each other’s finisher attempts. Ambrose took out Harper with a tope suicida towards the announce table. Orton hit the second rope DDT, but was distracted when Harper tried to get back into the ring to attack Ambrose for what he did. Wyatt holding him back wasn’t enough and Orton got scooped up for the pin. Nice way to work the tension into the finish. The post-match angle repeated Wyatt’s attempts to play peacemaker, but this time he slapped Harper cold in the face and threatened to do the same to Orton.
– Lynch’s backstage promo also hyped the main event, as she reacted to Bliss’ words and reminded us she made her tap out two weeks back. Short and sweet.
– The King’s Court segment with Jerry Lawler and Dolph Ziggler played up on Ziggler’s recent attitude change. Lawler had his old king garb on, which added a necessary nostalgic factor. Given how Lawler was a heel before this, we were curious what the take would be on the promo exchange. It probably also helped that this was in Lawler’s hometown of Memphis, TN. Lawler threw some zings towards Ziggler that focused on his fading bleached hair and recalled his upset loss to Kalisto last week and chair attacks on him/Apollo Crews afterwards. We got some development, as Ziggler stood quiet for the first half until Lawler goaded him to talk. Once that happened, Ziggler used a slow, somber tone to bring up a dark history lesson. They showed Ziggler’s repeated elbow drops onto Lawler’s chest on the Sep. 10, 2012 edition of Raw, or simply “The Heart Attack Episode.” His threats to “finish what he started” was on the right track to making us genuinely hate Ziggler, but it was a little bit of a stretch that that’s the first thing they’d go to. He also said it was four years ago instead of it actually occurring five years back. This is 2017 after all. Lawler got the last laugh (or so we thought) when he called Ziggler a loser no matter what his attitude was, as we felt a superkick coming a mile away. Once it happened, it was great. Loved that he aimed for the chest area specifically. JBL stumbled on his way his way to the ring from his chair to assist Lawler, which drew unintentional laughs. It was an effective heel move though and we loved that Ziggler turned his back on Lawler’s demands for him to come back into the ring. What else will they have Ziggler do? He has three ongoing feuds now. Hey, if it worked for WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens…
– Wyatt’s fog promo hyped the Orton-Harper match to take place next week and the words that were key were – “One will stand, one will fall, but the family will be stronger than ever.” Will there be a turn or reunion of some sort? Good to see things progress to this point.
– The Steel Cage match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship between Champion Bliss and Lynch was hyped well throughout, but we weren’t optimistic given there were about maybe eight or nine minutes left minus commercials. Wouldn’t be much of a story, right? Well, they tried their best and we actually got some cool stuff out of this. They utilized the cage itself as a weapon. Nothing felt too dramatic until Bliss dragged Lynch back over the top of the cage by her hair and knocked her all the way to the canvas. Spot of the night would go to Lynch’s “Avalanche Bexploder” off the top rope for a near-fall that got the crowd into it. This would lead to the finish, as La Luchadora stood in the doorway to distract Lynch. Lynch’s Disarmer attempt was thwarted by a LL kick to the head, which set up Bliss’ Snap DDT to retain the belt. It was clear that Bliss/LL were in cahoots now and the post-match beatdown angle appeared to be our ending. That was until, Lynch unmasked LL and revealed her to be the recently returned Mickie James. She shot a little bit of that classic “crazy face” as she kicked Lynch back to the canvas. Well, this has our interest almost immediately.
- The Miz (w/Maryse) def. AJ Styles via DQ
- Dean Ambrose def. Randy Orton (w/Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper) via pinfall
- WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship – Steel Cage Match – Alexa Bliss (Champion) def. Becky Lynch via pinfall to retain
Posted on June 17, 2017, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, JBL, Jerry Lawler, John Cena, La Luchadora, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mickie James, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Royal Rumble, Shane McMahon, The Miz, Tom Phillips. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.