Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 2/28/17: A Flaming Invocation
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.
A Flaming Invocation
– As plenty of past episodes have, we opened with a close-up of a monitor backstage that aired last week’s “controversial ending” of the Battle Royale to determine the challenger for WWE Champion Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33. In reality, something appeared botched because it looked like Luke Harper had thrown AJ Styles to the floor first, even though they were supposed to land at the same time. To cover that up, of course, they only showed us the hard camera angle. which had both guys falling out of view. In the room with said monitor was Commissioner Shane McMahon, General Manager Daniel Bryan and Styles himself. In chickenshit heel fashion, Styles tried to get by without wrestling on the show. Bryan shuts that down quickly and proclaimed Styles was lucky to even get this chance. We went for a funny as they had Styles badmouth Harper for not showering or discovering Dove, but Harper crept on him from behind. It’s like all those teen dramas. Or that time Stone Cold Steve Austin did it to Stephanie McMahon. Things ended as Styles walked away in disgust, as Harper cautiously got in the “friendly” Authority’s faces and… thanked them. Well, we guess he’s supposed to be a babyface trying to right his past wrongs, so this fits that. Either way, a good start.
– Looks like we’re due for a MizTV episode as his music hit and he came out with his wife, Maryse. 33 days until Mania 33. Crazy. We’ll guess that this segments relates to last week when both heels had separate gripes with John Cena and his girlfriend, Nikki Bella. In the replays from last week, they only focused on Cena/Miz eliminating each other from the Battle Royale. Miz’s guest was Cena himself. Miz was on fire here as he complained that Cena cost him many opportunities in the past decade. We liked the “other guy” argument he put up as to why he was so frustrated. It was good that they brought the past into it – Miz losing his big Mania Title victory to Cena two weeks later. The “Hollywood” angle was also a strong argument on his side. Miz actually acknowledged “You sold out” chants towards Cena. We dug the “Barely Decent Cena” jab. They even tied in the Elimination Chamber eliminations. This was a strong segment so far thanks to Miz. Cena’s rebuttal was about as equal – he openly mentioned The Undertaker, which fed into those rumors. He also claimed Miz stole personalities and movesets. They quickly made this personal. He got some strong Cena chants. We wanted more of this. “You’re not The Undertaker but if you press me again, you’re a dead man.” Drop that mic. Oh, look at Maryse. She even threw in a package joke and a slap. There came Bella of course. The heels getting away was a good call. Wow, that worked out on every level. Bella’s closing “bitch” line was perfection.
– The Best 2-Out-Of-3 Falls match between Becky Lynch and Mickie James already felt like a great way to have a payoff given their history. James would probably benefit with the win, but it could go either way and it’d still be fun. A Mickie-DT (awful name for a finisher) got the first fall, which was uneventful, but would unravel the story. Lynch scores the second fall on a rollup after James missed a top rope leg drop splash. That was more about quickly tying it up, but we wouldn’t call it dramatic by any means. WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss came down to attempt to interfere for James, but that backfired as James accidentally kicked her off the apron. After a quick pinfall tease, it was Lynch who locked in the Disarmer for the win. We like that more because it allows things to slowly brew between James and Bliss.
– Harper spoke under those dim hanging lights about his past demons and how he now had peace with new eyes. Did they say eyes because that’s what his TitanTron video entails? We guess that’s good. Anyways, this was interrupted by Wyatt, who claimed the man with all the answers for him was Randy Orton. With Mania so close, this feels like the right story to tell.
– Backstage, Bliss ridiculed the question about Lynch and what happened out there. Hilarious stuff, despite the stupid Awards show reference. It was enough that they already did it on Raw. She did mention Naomi in her “Thank You” speech, before Natalya walked up to her and congratulated her. Her proclaiming that she was “Championship Caliber” material was laughable though. Please don’t have Bliss and Natalya fight. Two heels don’t make a right here.
– Backstage (three in a row), Styles spoke about the happenings with Harper last week and argued that Harper’s feet hit the floor first. He also questioned why there weren’t any other camera angles. Thank you. He was confident he’d be in the Mania main event. That’s something we won’t dare argue.
– The Harper-Styles match to decide who faces Wyatt at Mania would probably be wise to see Harper get the win based on the story thus far. Harper has put in some decent performances as of late. At the right time too. Such shade for them to say Styles lost the belt at Royal Rumble in his graphic. We got some good action as it progressed. The story was Harper proving himself some more with dropkicks and senton atomicos sprinkled in while Styles caught him whenever he could. Harper’s suicide dive was a big plus that got the crowd straight behind him. Styles’ stellar selling also helped, as he nearly flopped like a fish and took Commentator JBL’s hat with him to the floor. A back dragon suplex by Harper for a good two. This may be Harper’s best effort yet. A Phenomenal Forearm saw Styles get the win but Harper’s foot was on the rope. Out came Shane, who wanted a restart. Harper accidentally superkicked Shane. Uh oh. A Springboard 450 Splash got Styles the win again. Styles-Wyatt just doesn’t feel like the way it should be. However, they have the chance to insert Shane in the mix.
– Backstage, Bella/Cena were about to elaborate on earlier but they were interrupted by the other mixed couple on the show, James Ellsworth/Carmella. Only thing noteworthy here was Carmella again correcting Ellsworth’s “girlfriend” utterance before Cena suggested they all compete next week. Guess that couldn’t be better timing for the Fearless Hustlers.
– Backstage, Styles walked until he bumped into Bryan, who said he was where he should be and stuck his hand out. Styles turned it down and claimed he wanted to attend Wyatt’s invocation. Hmm.
– Out came WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, as he hit Dirty Deeds on Curt Hawkins, a match that didn’t even get underway. Poor guy. We know he was upset with Baron Corbin, so this would probably be connected to that. He laid in some typical “cool guy” Ambrose jokes before he got focused again and called him out. Corbin answered on the TitanTron that he didn’t answer to him. Ambrose insulted the tattoos and something about his about-to-expire parking space. Corbin referred to him as a speed bump and a deer. Corbin had good animosity here, but he sounded a bit robotic. That could’ve been a lot better.
– Backstage, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville complained about how fans were too much into Gentleman Jack Gallagher, his opponent for Fastlane in five days. He wanted to remind us who was the King. Why didn’t they mention the “State Of 205” address he was to give? That would’ve been a better hook, quite frankly.
– The Chairs match between Dolph Ziggler and Apollo Crews certainly had its backstory, but we can’t say we cared too much besides the stipulation that’d ensure that it wasn’t a complete snoozer. Crews attacked Ziggler from behind during his entrance, which made sense. The highlight so far was a standing moonsault by Crews on Ziggler with a chair in between them. Ziggler raked the eyes and did a drop toehold that sent Crews into the chair throat-first. He did an atomic drop with the back of the chair as the spread-eagle landing. Well, that was a very recent Ziggler way to win. What exactly did that do for the rest of us though?
– Wyatt came to the ring. He acknowledged Styles and considered himself a deity. Orton came on the screen as he was in the Compound with the rocking chair behind him. He was supposedly standing where Sister Abigail was buried. We also got a closeup of worms in a sandbox. Ew. He made the official “turn” when he said Wyatt’s world wasn’t his own, which drew a cheer. This is all a little too kooky for our taste, especially with that background music. Alright, the gasoline has our interest some more. He said he was coming for the belt at Mania – his plan all along. Again with the stupid worms. Oh, don’t kill the worms now, Orton. The ending of this is actually badass. Wyatt’s expressions were well-done. That pose with the burning shack in the background was a great closing shot.
- 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Match – Becky Lynch def. Mickie James 2 falls to 1
- Winner Faces Bray Wyatt At WrestleMania 33 – AJ Styles def. Luke Harper via pinfall
- Chairs Match – Dolph Ziggler def. Apollo Crews via pinfall
Posted on January 6, 2018, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Curt Hawkins, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, James Ellsworth, JBL, John Cena, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mickie James, Natalya, Neville, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, The Miz, Tom Phillips, WrestleMania 33. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.