Date: January 3, 2016
Location: Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga, Tom Phillips
It’s the first show of the year and because this is Smackdown Live, they actually have something set up. In this case it’s a double shot with Dean Ambrose challenging Miz for the Intercontinental Title and John Cena signing his contract for the Royal Rumble World Title match against AJ Styles. Let’s get to it.
Here are Miz and Maryse to get things going as we look at a recap of Miz vs. Ambrose. Miz has a New Year’s resolution and it’s to be more forgiving. That’s very appropriate because there is a certain woman who needs to come out here and apologize right now. Miz finds it interesting that he went after Renee Young and now Ambrose has a title shot. Cue Ambrose who gets slapped by Maryse. Dean says the hard part is over tonight because Maryse hits WAY harder than Miz.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Ziggler starts fast with a failed superkick before hamming away with right hands. Corbin will have none of a dropkick though and the slow beatdown begins. Some choking in the corner is followed by even more right hands before Ziggler is sent back first into the apron. Baron finally charges into an elbow and it’s time for a break.
Back with JBL doing his very JBL-style over the top commentary about a clothesline from Corbin. Ziggler gets in his neckbreaker but the Fameasser is countered into another wicked clothesline. Now the Fameasser connects for two and CUT OUT THE STUPID REACTION SHOTS. Especially when it’s just some woman smiling. The running DDT is countered but the Zig Zag scores for two. Back up and Ziggler charges straight into the End of Days for the pin at 13:42.
Rating: B-. The more I see of Corbin, the more I’m liking the heck out of him. They’re pushing him as hard as they can right now and it’s already starting to stick. The guy is getting the hang of this in a hurry and now he’s winning matches to back it up. I’m digging the heck out of this push and that’s a good thing.
Post match Corbin grabs a chair but Kalisto makes the save. Corbin bails so Ziggler superkicks Kalisto, saying he doesn’t need any help from anyone.
Carmella is in the back when James Ellsworth comes up to offer her a shirt. She’s impressed and calls him fabulous, which means he can accompany her to the ring tonight.
Apollo Crews tells Ziggler that wasn’t cool and a brawl almost breaks out.
We look back at Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch with La Luchadora costing Lynch the title.
Becky Lynch vs. La Luchadora
Lynch easily takes her to the mat and pounds away at the mask. The Bexploder makes it even worse as we hear about how bad Luchadora’s costume is. As we hear about Los Conquistaroes, Luchadora slides under the ring and comes back out with one heck of a quick dye job. The now blonde Luchadora drops Becky and goes up for Twisted Bliss. That’s only good for a big crash though and the Disarm-Her makes Luchadora tap at 2:04.
The new Luchadora is unmasked as Alexa and the double beatdown ensues.
Here’s Daniel Bryan for the Styles vs. Cena contract signing. The guys come out and Styles starts talking to Bryan, saying they’re cut from the same cloth. They’ll wrestle anyone, anywhere at any time but Cena is gone for four months and gets handed a title shot. Bryan goes into a speech about Smackdown winning the ratings battle against Raw last week and how it happened because of how the top stars were around last week.
Bryan leaves so AJ goes into a rant about how Bryan and Cena are basically brothers-in-law. Last year, Cena told AJ to get a big win or be a big indy guy. Now the tables are turned because if Cena loses, maybe he doesn’t belong in AJ’s company. A few years back, Cena was talking about how the Rock left the WWE high and dry and he was absolutely right. Now though, John Cena is the same as the Rock because he has been great for WWE. The two words that matter there are “has been”.
What AJ thinks is bothering Cena is that he’ll never be the movie star the Rock is and he’ll never been AJ Styles in the ring. Cena finally gets the chance to reply and says part of being a man is pushing back when someone crosses the line. AJ just made the biggest mistake of his life when he ticked Cena off and now Cena has no respect for him. A lot of people have said something similar to him because they forget his passion.
Cena ripped his shoulder apart and was back in four months instead of a year. WWE tells Styles where to go but they have to tell Cena to stop doing so much. Everyone else is gone but Cena is still here because that’s passion. There’s already one signature on that contract and Cena is ready to sign because everyone needs this match. People try to say that Cena sucks but they realize on their best day, they can’t be him.
Cena signs….and here’s Baron Corbin. Baron says he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on his first day and now he’s going to be the first Smackdown star entered in the Royal Rumble. Cena is so glad that Corbin is out here because it means John might actually get a fight here. John is ready to go but AJ kicks him in the head. Corbin says Cena’s time is up and walks away.
Maryse slaps Renee and tells her to never touch Miz again.
Carmella vs. Aliyah
Aliyah is from NXT and Ellsworth is at ringside. Carmella runs her over to start and sends Aliyah into the corner for the Bronco Buster. A chinlock goes nowhere and sets up Aliyah’s comeback but Ellsworth offers a distraction. Carmella gets in a superkick and the Code of Silence is good for the submission at 2:57.
American Alpha vs. Breezango
Non-title. Grand Amplitude ends Breeze in 32 seconds due to Tyler offering Gable a ticket.
Post match the Wyatts appear and say they’re coming for the titles next week. Orton does the “run” line and Harper isn’t pleased.
Here are Nikki Bella and Natalya with something to say. Nikki thinks it’s interesting that Natalya complains about her getting everything because of Cena when Natalya copies everything from the Hart Family. We see a Tweet from Bret about how much he likes Nikki but Natalya suggests that she, shall we say, coerced him to say that. Once Nikki’s looks fade, Cena is going to leave her and she’ll die alone (a big plot point on Total Divas). Nikki lays her out with the forearm.
The new interviewer can barely ask Ambrose if he’s ready for the Intercontinental Title shot but Dean cuts her off to say he’s going to hurt Miz.
Next week it’s Natalya vs. Nikki, Cena vs. Corbin and American Alpha vs. the Wyatts for the titles.
Intercontinental Title: Miz vs. Dean Ambrose
Miz is defending. Ambrose takes him down to start and it’s already time for a chase. That means a breather with Maryse on the floor as Ambrose is almost pacing back and forth to get his hands on Miz. Dean even turns his back on Miz and lets him get in a cheap shot, which earns Miz a trip over the announcers’ table.
Back from a break with Miz being backdropped out to the floor and taken down with the standing elbow. Miz starts in on the leg but gets caught in a backbreaker for two. A superplex is broken up and the Skull Crushing Finale gets two for the champ. It’s time for the YES Kicks but Dean sends him outside for the suicide dive.
Maryse slaps him and Dean actually talks the referee into not DQ’ing Miz. Instead Maryse is ejected, leaving Miz to hit Dean in the back with the belt for a VERY close two. You can hear the fans come back to life on the kickout. Back up and Dirty Deeds gives Ambrose the title at 14:04.
Rating: B-. This worked for one simple reason: we didn’t sit around waiting for the title to change hands on the pay per view for the sake of waiting around on the pay per view. If you consider Ambrose’s character, he should have been ready to take Miz’s head off the second Miz started things with Renee. Waiting another month wouldn’t have made sense and would have allowed the feud to cool off.
Miz can get the title back later if he has to but the key thing here is Dean won the match and the title when he should have instead of when the calendar says so. That’s good storytelling and it’s no surprise on Smackdown. Also well done on not having Young out here. It wouldn’t fit for her to be there and it would have been so easy to go with the illogical move.
Overall Rating: B+. Normally I’d break down a lot of stuff here and go over why it was good or bad but what’s the point? Practically EVERYTHING here is really good as they take such simple ideas and turn them into interesting points. The wrestling was good, the talking was good and somehow this was a downgrade over last week’s classic. That says a lot because this was a heck of a great show.
Baron Corbin b. Dolph Ziggler – End of Days
Becky Lynch b. La Luchadora – Disarm-Her
Carmella b. Aliyah – Code of Silence
American Alpha b. Breezango – Grand Amplitude to Breeze
Dean Ambrose b. Miz – Dirty Deeds
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