Smackdown – January 3, 2017

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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  • Ripner Cabbit

    Good show as always. Nice to Aliyah, she’s actually pretty decent and very overlooked in NXT right now.

    • Danielbryan22

      It was a pleasant surprise to see Aliyah, my favourite blue-chip prospect on NXT.

  • taabr2

    At this rate The Miz looks to be set to break Jericho’s record.

  • Buster Abbott

    It would be interesting to see the Wyatts get the belts back next week, with Bray/Orton representing the team. Would add to Orton’s story of undermining Harper, as the argument would be that Harper cost them the first time but the ‘A team’ is unbeatable.

  • John Miller

    If the former NXT guy (Ryan Ward?) is writing/booking, i see it. Simple, understandable motivations and stories.

    • Ripner Cabbit

      Yes he has been booking it since the split (Well and before the split for about a year as well but he couldn’t do anything as a place holder show between Raws)

    • The_Bo

      He is

    • There’s some Ward deniers though giving credit to Vince for SD being good.

      • Matt_Indeed.

        That would be Duck. He says a lot of stupid things. It’s alright.

    • J. Frizz

      Yep. Not a coincidence NXT isn’t what it used to be and SD shows the same characteristics NXT used to show.

  • The_Bo

    Great show this week. Cena and AJ’s promos were fantastic, and made their upcoming match feel like it is of the utmost importance with the two of them presented as big time wrestlers heading into an epic encounter. Comparing Cena/AJ with the Reigns and Rollins vs Owens and Jericho debacle is night and day.

    • Danielbryan22

      And it’s only just been reheated in 2 weeks with almost no physical contact. Compare that to that crap on Raw that’s been going on since LATE AUGUST. That’s amazing and disgraceful.

  • Hunter

    I never thought I would say this but my favorite dude right now is The Miz, wwe had gotta find some merch for him…hell I woulda bought his stupid cloak, robe, scarf thing for $50 just so I could heel it up around my cats at home

    • simonbanks420

      You just said you want to drop $50 on Miz merch. This place has jumped the shark.

      • Hunter

        You can blame it on me, I’m a fuxkjng mark. Also, I don’t tend to buy merch since I don’t like their shirt designs, so I figure I owe em something.

  • Hunter

    Also I think the work Maryse had done when she was gone is some of the best I’ve seen. She looks flawless, and her face isn’t ever stretched or awkward from any angle which I’ve noticed can happen with younger women who get plastic surgery

  • Got Luger’d

    Great stuff but unfortunately you can see AJ dropping the title to Cena a mile away.

    • Hunter

      Are you aware of the magic that is Lex Luger selling circa 1995?

    • Ripner Cabbit

      Don’t be so sure of that . . .

      • Empian

        I agree.

        Everybody seems to think Cena/Taker is a lock for the belt but I just can’t see them hanging Dtyles out to dry like that.

        Styles defends the title at Mania I reckon.

      • HITMAN7204

        I agree too. They aren’t pushing flairs record down our throat. They mentioned it last week once but not at any point during the 20 minute segment tonight. Plus if cena is going to tie the record than Vince will want it to be a WM moment.

        • Death Rollins

          Corbin interfering, giving Cena a placeholder match between Rumble and Mania, leading to him against AJ in a gimmick match?

          • HITMAN7204

            I agree about the placeholder match but not sure about the gimmick match at WM. Not sure if its needed. Can’t wait for the Rumble though.

      • itwastyped

        I’d be surprised if Cena loses his first match/PPV match back… I hope you’re right though

  • Aaron

    Everyone is kept busy and it’s all fun. Ellsworth is in the right place after a strong debut.

  • Andy PG

    Y’all need to get to YouTube and watch Miz suffer the best Villainous Breakdown in wrestling since Stephanie at Survivor Series 2014.

    • TheWWFSpellsDanger

      That was so good. Here’s the link for anyone who is interested.

    • Big Ell

      Why not the Network? Haha.

  • Hunter

    So happy to see Taijri back, I’ve always found him incredible charismatic – he can do comedy without coming off like a goof and now as an elder statesman he brings a lot of respectability to the cdubs

    • He should go on Raw where he can grab Roman’s nose.

      • Hunter

        He should go on raw where he can put braun in a tarantula

  • Adam The Reindeer

    Is the Renee/Ambrose relationship a real life shoot that they’re now working into the show, or is it a total work?

    • simonbanks420

      They pork IRL.

      • AnInternetToughGuy


  • Hunter

    Also…in before official jack Gallagher umbrellas, get yours this wrestlemania season!

  • itwastyped

    LOL @ Ziggler finally turning heel… He was a pretty whiney face so hopefully they’ve got some ideas to freshen him up as a baddie

    Bit annoying that Ambrose is IC champ, now there’s a guy that needs freshening up. Don’t think I could be any less interested in him

  • JosephM

    Boy, that Miz sure does suck doesn’t he…

    Gonna be fun to watch a lot of people implode when he wins Most Improved in the Observer poll

    • Adam The Reindeer

      He’s arguably the most underrated guy in the company.

    • Hunter

      I think the IWC has turned a corner in its assesment of the Miz

  • Miko363

    Nikki Bella just does not fit with the current Smackdown product at all. I don’t care about her in-ring ability here. The problem is that she’s supposed to be one of their top faces but it’s still the booty shorts and backwards hat and bitchy promos that she was doing 3 years ago. It’s even more pronounced now that Smackdown has more of an old-school feel with the booking.

    I know she’s on Smackdown because of John but I wish she never came back at all.

    • Big D Wangston

      NEVER . . . . . . BITCH . . . . . . ABOUT . . . . . . THE . . . . . . BOOTY . . . . . .SHORTS

      • Hunter

        Her body is gorgeous, and this is a product where the main attraction is seeing these atheletes on a stage where their aesthetics and physique can be appreciated.

  • npavlou22

    I don’t watch Smackdown often, but really enjoyed this one. Tight, 2-hour show with multiple storyline progressions in realistic ways. Cena-Styles did good work on the mic, and that Maryse slap of Renee was no joke and really raised the stakes of that match.

  • Miz and Ambrose can have good matches against good opponents, but not against each other. Every transition and reversal felt like it was in slow motion and took me right out of the match.

    I’m also not a fan of a wrestler, especially a babyface, winning the secondary title only a few months after dropping the world title. But it’s worked so well for Roman on Raw that I’m probably wrong about this.

    • brak_attack

      I agree with your second paragraph. I think they’ve done A LOT of taking the stink off of former World Champions winning secondary titles — primarily because of Cena so proudly holding the United States Championship after being a 15 time World Champion, and to a lesser extent Daniel Bryan with the Intercontinental Title and Reigns with the US title — but Ambrose is a guy who has been so poorly handled for most of his singles run that giving him the IC title so shortly after being World Champion feels like them saying “here, this is where he belongs.” I know a lot of people here feel that way (I don’t), but it’s not a message they should be sending especially with such a depleted roster.

      • BODConscience

        I would’ve felt like you do post brand split Brak. But these rosters are so thin you really can’t get around that.

        • Big D Wangston

          Almost Zach Sabre Jr. thin.

          • BODConscience

            Let’s not get carried away here Big D.

    • Danielbryan22

      I get your plight but it was clear Ambrose wanted the title primarly to screw with the Miz the way Miz screwed with Renee. Which makes sense; he can’t touch Maryse or beat up Miz every week so taking the title was the only suitable comeuppance.

  • Danielbryan22

    Another good show and that’s an excellent summation of the IC title situation Mr Hall.

    Smackdown is owning the brand split. There’s 3 women’s stories currently running on the show (all different and independent), 3 championship feuds and a heel turn to explain. Not to mention a Baron Corbin match I’m looking forward to (vs. Cena) which I never thought I’d say.

    • Hunter

      Absolutely agree with you regarding the authors summation of the Miz-Dean Ambrose feud, one issue I’ve had since the start of the network is adhering to the ways things were booked in the ppv era. A months worth of weekly shows should have as much going on a B level pay per view

  • TPrincess

    American Alpha should brutalize most of this division, make ’em strong for the next legitimate challengers.

    • Hunter

      i anticipate they’ll have a hold over the division much like the Usos had from 2014-2016

  • TheDJR

    What a great show, the guy that left NXT to book SD is legit.

  • TheDJR

    Also, I hope the Ellsworth angle leads to him finding out that Carmella is a pre-op transsexual.

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