Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 2/7/17: The Latest Chapter
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
The Latest Chapter
– Announced last week, this was a notable occurrence where the Royal Rumble winner would challenge the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, nine days removed from said Rumble event. Now, enter Randy Orton and Champion John Cena into these roles and you might have a different reaction to that in 2017. Of course, we’ve all seen their past 34,000 encounters between 2006-2011, so this wasn’t any new territory, but the opening video accomplished an almost-impossible task – it made it feel like important history. We guess all that nostalgic footage also helped out. That was the nature of it all and surely, there was lots of footage at the old video library to rummage through for this piece. Give that Production Employee a cookie, dammit.
– General Manager Daniel Bryan made his entrance as this was Seattle after all. Most over guy in history? We think so. On top of that, he wore a grey t-shirt underneath his plaid button-down that read “Home,” in the shape of Washington, of course. How fitting. He soaked in the rousing ovation and dropped a bomb that he’d be a dad soon. Cue interruption by The Miz/Maryse. More tension with these two, which is always good for business. They also gave Bryan the best comeback ever. The crowd was perfect for Miz to play off of, as they literally went back and forth with him as he tried to get out more than “Elimination Chamber” in a sentence. It’s funny – put Bryan in front of a Seattle crowd and suddenly they’re one of the better crowds. Well, here comes Baron Corbin and the mood just died a little in the room. There was at least a decent spat between Miz and Corbin. They shouldn’t get along anyway. Daniel sarcastically cast sympathy upon Miz for what Corbin threatened to do to him. Funny. Next out was WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, who was wild and crazy in a leather jacket and facial stubble and whatnot. That’s the thing he does. AJ Styles came out to round out the “Tickle Butt Bunch.” Can we call this ensemble that? It just makes sense, we’ll go ahead and do that. We’ll assume they clump these four together in a match while Cena-Orton take the main event? Makes sense if you’re pushing EC in five days. Styles tried to turn the crowd against him, but it didn’t work, so he instead turned the focus to the belt he wanted back. Sure enough, the match was set by Bryan. As far as how that went, it was all thumbs up here as a solid EC preview. No painted allies, of course. Styles had practically no luck with maneuvers that involved the top rope, as he crashed twice with Ambrose and Corbin. Also a cool sixty-second trade of school boys between Ambrose, Miz and Styles. Enter your classic “Tower Of Doom” spot too. This was certainly a car-crash, ragtag affair, for better or worse. The finish shocked us in a good way, as Corbin pinned Styles with the End Of Days after Maryse pulled Miz out before he could be pinned with the Phenomenal Forearm. Things like that give us hope that WWE’s truly serious about Corbin down the road, but damn, you couldn’t mention that he just literally pinned the guy who was Champion nine days ago?
– Luke Harper emerged from the fog backstage (or wherever they shoot these things) with a dimly lit lamp in his vicinity. This must be revenge of some sort. His promo was intriguing as he accused Orton of “stealing his family,” which sounds more like a scorned sibling than redeemable babyface, but it’s a hill to climb and we know we’re not there yet. We were more distracted that this might’ve been one of the rare times WWE actually let him cut a promo in general. He did fine by those standards and we know an EC match’s coming with him/Orton.
– In a feud complete with backstage attacks, merchandise mayhem and catty jabs, it’s certainly been something for Natalya and Nikki Bella to do. We get why they wanted to do a separate satellite interview segment simultaneously, but this was one of the feud’s lowest points. Plus, why would Tom Phillips really ask if they’d be friends again? This was just another jab-tradeoff with both ladies flubbing their lines for a moment, as this was evident this went on far too long. The only notable “diss” was that Natalya claimed she would’ve picked up John Cena had Bella didn’t get to him first.
– The Apollo Crews-Dolph Ziggler match was another way to advance this odd “Three’s Company”-styled storyline with Ziggler/Crews/Kalisto ever since Ziggler turned. Crews almost got his hands on Ziggler last week after he ran him off. The match was faster than expected, as Crews scooped up Ziggler for the three after he avoided the superkick. As if Crews wouldn’t expect a post-match attack. That just made him look stupid. Kalisto eventually saved the day, but after two chair shots from Ziggler. Ziggler meant to crotch Kalisto on the ropes, but that didn’t go so well. People chanted for Ziggler using the chair anyway, so we really don’t know the point of it all.
– Backstage, Ziggler was approached by Bryan, which we guess is how they’ll announce a three-way for EC. Ziggler said he could beat both at the same time. The announcement was odd, since it was instead a Two-On-One Handicap match. Seems like they are building to a three-way. Just, whatever.
– One of the show’s smarter ideas was to combine two contract signings into one segment, as they’d do the WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss-Naomi and the Mickie James-Becky Lynch matches. A key ingredient to all this was James’ mic work here, as it was some strong stuff and above all else, allowed Lynch to respond back so good. Basically, everyone played their part and it helped their characters. It also served as a loose push for a Mania match between Naomi and Bliss, but with Naomi walking into her hometown Champion. Naomi proved tough as she got the first kick in and like all contract signings, this ended in physicality.
– The 12-Man Tag between WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha/Heath Slater/Rhyno/Breezango and The Usos/The Vaudevillains/The Ascension was now evident that we are in SD’s no man’s land. This was a clustered mess, with some in-ring highlights brought about by AA and how over Rhyno was here. We were also confused about The Fashion Police being on the face side inexplicably. This was to push the EC Tag Team Turmoil, but it would’ve been the same with a match with two of the teams and then have everyone interfere at the end. At least we got the cool alley-oop German suplex plancha. Rhyno hit the gore and exploded the roof of the place, before the hopeless finish that saw Viktor pin him. Really, The Ascension’s who you put over here? Are you trying to be ironic or something?
– The Cena-Orton main event was knowingly there to set up Mania/EC in a way, but it’s still hard for us to be excited about it in 2017. Orton merely drops Cena onto his back on the announce table and it’s described by commentary as an “insertion of venom”? Isn’t that a little extreme? Things got better once Orton kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment. He then hit his top rope DDT, played to the crowd for an RKO and then hit it for a two. We get all the Harper/Wyatt stuff once the Referee was “bumped,” but it still looks awfully silly that he recovered just in time to count a three for Cena. Still, there was a solid moment where Wyatt was laid out by Harper’s Discus Clothesline and that was good. At least the Wyatt stuff helped elevate a Cena-Orton match for the first time ever. Now, let them go separate ways and let’s never speak of this again.
- Fatal Four-Way – Baron Corbin def. AJ Styles, The Miz (w/Maryse) and Dean Ambrose via pinfall
- Apollo Crews def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
- 12-Man Tag – The Ascension/The Vaudevillains/The Usos def. Heath Slater/Rhyno/American Alpha/Breezango via pinfall
- John Cena def. Randy Orton (w/Bray Wyatt) via pinfall
Posted on August 29, 2017, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Breezango, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Elimination Chamber, Heath Slater, JBL, John Cena, Kalisto, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mickie James, Naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Rhyno, The Ascension, The Miz, The Usos, The Vaudevillains, Tom Phillips, WrestleMania 33. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.