I say this often, but it’s true. Every WWE Smackdown Live show should start with the Miz. Perhaps the WWE is reading the same thing somewhere else, they definitely aren’t paying attention to me, because this week’s show did just that. As Daniel Bryan was about to enjoy a nice juicy apple, Miz and Maryse made their entrance. Miz voiced his disapproval of Toledo, as well as the lack of a private dressing room for him and his wife. He was also upset that the rest of the superstars would not vacate the locker room. His reasoning was that his success paid the rest of the locker room’s salary, and they should automatically leave when asked. When asked what he would do to make this travesty up to the Miz, Daniel gave Miz a rematch against Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz tried to add a no DQ stipulation but was shot down immediately due to Bryan knowing that Maryse would obviously get involved. He instead made the match a Lumberjack match. Looks like the locker room would get a chance to thank the AWWWEESSOOOOMMMEEE one for his generosity in allowing them to profit from Miz’s greatness.
Our first match of the night was a family affair. We were shown a video package detailing the increased dysfunction inside the Wyatt family between Luke Harper and Randy Orton. However, this tension did not stop Bray Wyatt from making both Orton and Harper walk out together in the usual Wyatt Family entrance. As the lantern was blown out the two disciples of the World Eater were facing each other and Bray retired to the ouside to take his seat in the all too familiar rocking chair. It was obvious throughout the match that Bray was showing no favoritism to either superstar. Both Orton and Harper looked to the outside for approval multiple times after pulling off a successful move, yet Bray never wavered from his emotionless stare. The only time Bray moved from his chair was when Luke Harper was able to land a big boot to Orton’s face, after Randy had controlled the match pretty much from the start. Bray walked over to both men, throwing first Randy then Luke back into the ring to beat the ten count, obviously not satisfied that his family members had worked out their differences. The match concluded when Randy was able to hit Harper with an RKO after dodging Harper’s discus clothesline. A still emotionless Bray Wyatt entered the ring and shook Randy’s hand. He then turned to Harper to help him up, and give him a hug…..and a Sister Abigail. Was it tough love or a sign that Harper is not welcome in the flock anymore? What does this mean for the Royal Rumble? Could Randy have been playing Bray this entire time to take down the Wyatt family from the inside? It would make Randy’s statement of “If you can’t beat them, join them.” in October of last year far more cunning than it’s common interpretation.
Next we were shown a recap of last week’s “historic” cage match between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. A promo that made the match seem far more intense and dramatic than it actually was. Following the video Renee Young interviewed Mickie James. Renee asked Mickie what her motivation was to return to the WWE in the way that she did. In a very long winded response, Mickie listed her past achievements and essentially said that she was upset that Becky was wrong in thinking that it was her generation that started the female revolution. James thought that this assumption by Lynch negated anything Mickie James had ever done for the WWE women’s division in her career. She went on to say that the only person who actually remembered and respected what she did was Alexa Bliss. As James talked about how this run in the WWE would be a reinvention of her career the Irish Lass-kicker walked to the ring. She immediately started to lay into James, which caused James to retreat and run into the crowd. As Becky followed her, she was met with an attack from Alexa Bliss who was waiting to ambush her. Becky was brought back into the ring to receive more punishment at the hands of the new BFFs James and Bliss. James ended the segment by telling Becky that Alexa will always be “one step ahead”. I don’t buy this version of Mickie James. Her being a heel doesn’t seem believable at all. Every sentence she spoke seemed extremely forced and poorly delivered.
You will be disappointed to find out that we did not completely escape the shopping spree segment that Carmella promised James Ellsworth two weeks ago. I’ll save you five minutes of your life. She turned him into a fist pumping Jersey shore extra.
Next up was a ten man battle royal. The winner would get a spot in the Royal Rumble match. Turns out there were more than nine losers involved in this match. I don’t have the total number because I don’t know how many people actually watched Mojo Rawley win this match. It was almost like the Smackdown writers didn’t know what to fill the time with, and Vince doesn’t want people he is paying to just stand around.
Rounding out the Smackdown trinity of terrible was the ever boring Nikki Bella/Natalya feud. Nikki was being asked how she responds to the accusations that her relationship with John Cena was what got her where she is in the business. While Nikki was answering Natalya showed up and once again asked why she wasn’t getting the respect she deserved. Basically re-fried storytelling from weeks prior.
As I was about to slip into a boredom induced coma, AJ Styles and John Cena saved me from entertainment death. There was a lot going on in the exchange, and forgive me for what may seem like lazy reporting but their back and forth would not be done justice in text form. John Cena is giving some of the best promos of his career with genuine emotion guiding them. I suggest you find this part of the show and watch it for yourselves, it’s worth it.
The next match gave Kalisto a chance at payback against Dolph Ziggler for the vicious attacks he has sustained over the past few weeks from the frustrated Ziggler. Hey guys! We’re actually going to watch a match with some back story….annnndddddd it’s over. The match was over in a flash, with Ziggler victorious. Dolph was not content with his win, and went for a chair. Before Dolph could continue his steel chair rampage, JBL stood up and confronted Ziggler. This kept Ziggler’s attention long enough for Apollo Crews to hit Ziggler from behind. Crews attempted to give Dolph a taste of his own medicine and swung a steel chair at his head. He barely missed and Ziggler high tailed it away from ringside.
Why have one match turned non-match when you can have two?! A returning Naomi was scheduled to go up against Natalya, but Natalya never makes it to the ring. Guess why? Just guess. Yup, Nikki jumps her before she could come out to ringside. So no match. Naomi wasn’t having any of this nonsense and challenged anyone in the back to “feel the glow”. Enter Alexa Bliss. Sweet! They’re going to fight now right? Nope. Alexa just to the long way around to tell her she wasn’t worth it, and left without a single punch being thrown.
Finally we have our main event. Miz vs. Dean Ambrose in a Lumberjack match. Now I don’t mind gimmick matches as long as the gimmick isn’t overused in the match, but in this match it was overused and I definitely did mind. Both these competitors are capable of a really great match, but they were too busy trying to use the Lumberjacks as a weapon. This played out exactly as anticipated. When Dean was thrown outside the ring he would start the fights with the lumberjacks, being a lunatic and all. When Miz met the same group, he was beaten down, probably from his comments earlier in the show. The match ended in a melee as Baron Corbin stormed the ring with the rest of the lumberjacks following him in. It was pretty much every man for himself until Corbin was the “Lone Lumberjack” (see what I did there?) left in the ring. He attempted to level Ambrose but fell over the ropes as Dean ducked. The Miz tried to capitalize on the distracted lunatic but failed and received Dirty Deeds as punishment.
Punishment. What an interesting final word in my recap this week’s Smackdown Live. It almost felt like it while I struggled to watch. I don’t know what it is going to take to turn this ship around, but I hope they figure it out soon.