Tonight we will see The Miz defend his Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose plus John Cena and AJ Styles sign the contract for their Championship match at Royal Rumble!
Tonight’s SmackDown Live, the first of 2017, kicks off with Intercontinental Champion The Miz with his wife Maryse. Tonight he will be defending his title against Dean Ambrose. Miz says he is going to hold the show hostage until he gets an apology from Renee Young who slapped him two weeks ago. Miz feels Renee has a personal vendetta against him. Instead Miz gets his opponent Dean Ambrose. Miz runs away hiding behind his wife who slaps the taste out of Ambrose’s mouth. Dean has a great comeback, “Hey Miz. I guess the hard part my night is over because she hits way harder than you do.”
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
The beginning of this one started off as your basic power versus speed battle. Corbin does that great spot where he gets whipped to the corner, slides out, then back in. Something made famous by another big brawler, Big Boss Man. As neat as it was when he slides back in the ring he is caught by a dropkick from Ziggler. It was a great dropkick but only good enough to send Corbin out landing on his feet in a fit of anger. We come back from break with Corbin literally standing on Dolph’s head. Dolph had multiple great comebacks that only result in a two count while Corbin would hit Dolph with sick clothesline also only for two counts. It is all about Corbin’s power against Ziggler’s heart. Dolph tried coming off the top but gets caught right in Corbin’s End of Days. The referee counts three and this one is over. What a match. Amazing to see Corbin get better and better each time he goes out there.
Even though Corbin won the match he isn’t over with Ziggler. Corbin goes to the outside and grabs a steel chair. Before he could attack Ziggler with the chair Kalisto comes out to make the save. Once Ziggler comes to he superkicks Kalisto! The guy that helped him! Has the constant losing finally gotten to Ziggler? Later on in the locker room Apollo Crews took exception to Ziggler attacking Kalisto for no reason. Ziggler catches Crews with a headbutt and the two brawl.
Becky Lynch vs. La Luchadora
The match was all Becky on offense until she sent La Luchadora outside. La Luchadora crawls under the ring and comes back around super fast to catch Becky and start beating her down. She goes to the top and leaps off mimicking Alexa Bliss’ Splash. She missed and gets put in the Disarmer. La Luchadora taps and Becky immediately takes the mask off to reveal La Luchadora is Alexa Bliss, or is she? The other La Luchadora comes in and along with Bliss begin to beat down Lynch. Bliss caps off the beat down with a DDT.
The Royal Rumble contract signing between AJ Styles and John Cena was very good. What made it so good was the believable animosity between Cena and Styles. The Phenomenal One hit Cena where it hit him the most saying his past comments about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, comments Cena said last week he was wrong for, were true. Even worse Cena has become just like The Rock, leaving the WWE high and dry for Hollywood. You can literally see these words send Cena into an internal rage and he goes off. He compares his passion to that of Styles saying Styles does this because he has to while Cena does it because he wants to. A great, passionate (no pun intended) promo by Cena and I could be wrong but it seems like a good portion of Cena critics may have turned the corner on Cena. His positive crowd reactions are definitely louder than the boos as of late. Both men sign the contract and it looks as though this may be the first contract signing without any brawling. That is until Baron Corbin comes out and declares himself a participant in this year’s Royal Rumble. He says whether its against Cena or Styles, he is leaving WrestleMania as the WWE Champion. Cena is still fired up from Styles’ comments and since he can’t really battle Styles he wants to take on Corbin. Styles hits Cena with an enziguiri out of nowhere leaving him laying in the ring. Looks like WWE sees big star potential in Corbin to tease a potential program involving either Cena or Styles (or both) working with Corbin.
Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Aliyah
Really good showing from NXT’s Aliyah, even better than anything I can remember her doing in NXT. She looks like she may pull off this upset but when she looks to come off the top Ellsworth holds her foot down with the referee distracted. Carmella rebounds and puts Aliyah in the Code of Silence submission and she taps.
American Alpha vs. Breezango
This was a 90 second squash by the SD Tag Team Champions. After the match they are challenged by the former champions the Wyatt Family. That match happens next week.
Nikki Bella knocked Natalya for talking that smack. These two will face each other along with Cena versus Corbin next week.
The Miz (c) vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship
The beginning of this match saw Ambrose put the pedal to the medal and going right after Miz who kept escaping in and out of the ring. Miz didn’t get the upper hand on offense until Maryse distracted Dean long enough for Miz to hit him with a dropkick. Ambrose had a short comeback but Miz cuts that off and begins targeting the legs of Ambrose. Maryse distracts Ambrose again when he tries coming off the top. Ambrose dives and gets caught with a Skull Crushing Finale but it’s only enough for a two count! Great back and forth sequence leaves both men spent of energy. Ambrose hulks up for another comeback catching the Miz with a suicide dive to the outside. Maryse gets in Dean’s face AGAIN this time smacking him in the face…in front of the referee! I let out a loud chuckle when the ref yells, “Why would you do that?!” to Maryse. Referee is mere seconds away from disqualifying The Miz when somehow Ambrose convinces him to eject Maryse instead. He hesitates then makes the call to toss Maryse. As this is happening Miz clocks Ambrose from behind with the IC Title belt. He covers Ambrose but only gets a two count! Miz lifts Ambrose up for the Skull Crushing Finale but Ambrose reverses and hits Dirty Deeds! 1…2…3! Dean Ambrose is a two time Intercontinental Champion! Awesome match.
The show ends with Ambrose celebrating with his new Intercontinental Championship.
SmackDown once again knocks it out of the park. Every segment had meaning and the marquee matches all delivered. So much to look forward to. Continuation of Styles/Cena and now Corbin. Why did Dolph snap? Who’s the other La Luchadora? My God, I have finally found what I’ve been missing from WWE: A reason to watch the following week.
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