Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown Live 3/7/17: Vices By Vipers

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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. 






(Aired 3/7/17)

Vices By Vipers 

– The opening video recapped the last month, aka Randy Orton’s “master plan” to sacrifice himself into The Wyatt Family to get a shot at the WWE Championship, which ultimately culminated with arson. Definitely one of the more darker angles in recent years, with the image of Orton’s pose with a fiery background probably something that’ll follow his career in the years to come. It’s still hard to determine ideologically that Wyatt wasn’t turned babyface by Orton’s actions judging by his sympathetic “Oh my god, my house is burning down” reaction. We guess this new episode will help out with that.

– Commissioner Shane McMahon/General Manager Daniel Bryan came out to address the “WrestleMania conundrum” of no active #1 Contender, despite that Orton won the Royal Rumble and Styles defeated Luke Harper clean last week to earn a chance at Wyatt when Orton seemingly forfeited his shot. It was already confirmed the two would battle for the chance to face Wyatt at Mania. They used this segment to cement that Bryan was behind Orton (the Rumble winner, following tradition, which totally is not like Bryan’s character given how he achieved Mania success) and Shane was for Styles, as he brought up Orton’s “abdication.” All in all, it was just a wordy debate and a recap of what was already announced via social media earlier in the day.

– Backstage, Bryan/Shane were confronted by Styles, who apparently couldn’t reach them all weekend. Bad bosses. Anyways, he used this opportunity to cry “conspiracy” and was determined to take out Orton and wasn’t scared of them either. Hmm.

– The Mixed Tag between John Cena/Nikki Bella and Carmella/James Ellsworth was probably meant to push Cena/Bella as a power duo with Mania coming up and their recent quarrels with The Miz/Maryse. They gave Ellsworth the floor to cut a heel promo on Cena that focused on how it took him multiple attempts to beat Styles. Commentator JBL’s reaction to this was perfect. Commentator Mauro Ranallo hilariously compared CarmEllsworth to “a mix of alcohol and social media.” Miz/Maryse made their entrance, just as Bella was clobbered with a superkick. Do The Young Bucks proud. We were back from break and Miz/Maryse were now at commentary. Miz stressed that Cena made this match and not Shane/Bryan. Ellsworth repeatedly tried to stay away from Cena, but was pushed towards him by Carmella. Cena/Bella did a double five knuckle shuffle before Cena made Ellsworth tap out. How synchronized. Post-match, the heels attacked the winners as Miz got on the mic and questioned Cena’s love for Bella. He even did the “taboo” thing and mentioned that their relationship was once off-limits on television topics. Maryse added “Bitch” to end the segment. Why? Not sure, but still a good way to cook this angle. All in short time too.

– Backstage, Orton was asked about his actions. He said no one would stop him from Wyatt now. Can’t argue with an arsonist. He said “run” Wyatt-style at the end, we guess to play mind games? We didn’t see the point of that since it’s highly unlikely Wyatt was watching the promo from wherever he lurks around.

– Curt Hawkins was in the ring and called out WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, who didn’t finish what he started last week apparently, kicking his ass if we recall. Ambrose complied, delivered a lariat on the ramp while Ranallo called him “Chad Hawkins.” Poor guy. Ambrose poked fun at Baron Corbin for “doing his lone wolf thing” and in short, referenced his lack of testicular fortitude. Corbin appeared on the big screen from a dark setting, cute beanie and all. He guaranteed to take his Title, which all but confirms a Mania match between them. Ambrose was destined to go find him and had one more Dirty Deeds for Hawkins on the floor. He’s like the Shawn Stasiak of the modern era. Guess Ambrose’s search will run through the show?

– These next segments should amuse you. They came back from break to show Ambrose walking around shouting for Corbin. Not the greatest immediate follow up. It was so fun, they showed a brief video package to hype Women’s History Month and came back to a Corbin-less Ambrose.

– Backstage, Mojo Rawley announced his official entry into the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale. It was all to give himself a Mania moment, which he referenced Zack Ryder had. This was Dolph Ziggler’s cue to zing on him that he “actually had to earn those moments.” Rawley’s comeback was that Ziggler didn’t have any Mania moments himself. Some decent tension here. Given Ziggler’s recent character shift, we’re awfully surprised he didn’t come at him with a chair.

– We cut back to Ambrose on the search, before a security guard was thrown at him by Corbin. This led to a deliberate lead pipe attack by Corbin. Those were some thuds we heard. Ambrose actually sold this really well. This all works because it puts heat on Corbin. Simply because he could, Corbin continued on the prowl (get our wolf theme?) and crushed the Champ under a forklift. How conveniently placed. We guess it’s the best way to capture a wild Ambrose. Speaking of which, why are we supposed to feel sorry for Ambrose when he was the one looking for a fight in the first place? He had this coming to himself.

– Out came WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, for the “Blissertation,” whatever that meant. It was fun as always to watch Bliss rip on the SD ladies. She even called Becky Lynch “Chucky.” The only better thing would’ve been a Beetlejuice reference, which would’ve set up Lynch’s interruption brilliantly. Lynch actually called this segment her “Beclaration.” Oh dear. She made a claim to want to be Champ at Mania. Oh, here comes Natalya. Guess she’ll say the same? Decent interaction as we saw Bliss roll her eyes when she heard Natalya refer to herself as “Championship-Caliber.” She set thing straight and even used Bret Hart’s catchphrase to grill her. Vintage Bliss. The segment went to a better place once we got tension between James and Bliss. James assumed that she’d get a Title shot, while Bliss wasn’t so eager. Bryan came out and booked Bliss to defend her Title “against every available woman on the roster.” Judging by recent Pay-Per-Views, she’ll be in a Six-Woman Scramble? In what has become a SD tradition, he booked a “Holla Holla Tag Team Match” in reference to Teddy Long. Maybe that will become an actual thing? They should just call it that from now on.

– The Bliss/James-Lynch/Natalya match was typical filler stuff to paint the “strange bedfellows” angle based on what we saw. Nothing fancy. As expected, Natalya turned on Lynch with a release German suplex and walked away. The finish was good in that we saw Bliss tag herself in and get the pin, which surprised James. We thought they would leave it here and let it fester a week, but they progressed rapidly when James delivered a Mick Kick. We’d say that probably got the biggest reaction of the segment/match.

– Backstage, Austin Aries spoke about what he did on the previous night’s Raw – shut the mouth of the Cruiserweight Champion, aka Neville. He peppered things up and promised to address his future at the top of the hour on 205 Live. Yay.

– The Styles-Orton match to determine Wyatt’s Mania challenger began with a gloating Styles promo about how he built the show. He also addressed the logical criticism that Orton was essentially rewarded for burning down a man’s house. A big “Styles” chant broke out, to which he played up heelishly. To the match – Styles avoided an early RKO. As we watched this and heard Commentary talk about how they got to this match, all we could think to ourselves was – couldn’t they just have had a Triple-Threat at Mania? Goddamn it, stop calling it the greatest SmackDown main event in history. It’s so far from the truth. Things did get better as the bout carried on. It gradually became a battle of twos. Styles had the Calf Crusher applied. Orton barely got to the ropes. He came back with the draping DDT and geared for the RKO, but was pelted with a pele kick. Okay, this is better than we originally gave it credit. Now to the truly cool stuff. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but backed down to the ropes when he saw Orton try to hit an RKO as he’d come down. He essentially faked him out. Almost everyone had to expect him jumping into an RKO. It made both men look smart and calculating. Styles tried again, this time a Springboard 450, but missed. He stood back up, but was hoisted in the air by Orton, to which an RKO met him on the way down. Nifty finish. We assume Styles gets even somehow next week. That, or they could always make the SD Mania Main event a Triple Threat.






Quick Results 

  • Mixed Tag – John Cena/Nikki Bella def. James Ellsworth/Carmella via submission 
  • Alexa Bliss/Mickie James def. Becky Lynch/Natalya via pinfall 
  • Winner Faces Bray Wyatt At WrestleMania For WWE Championship – Randy Orton def. AJ Styles via pinfall 

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on February 21, 2018, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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