Date: January 10, 2017
Location: Raising Cane’s River Center Arena, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga, Tom Phillips
As is becoming the regular case around here, we’ve got a title match set up coming into the show. In this case it’s the Tag Team Titles being defended as American Alpha put the titles on the line against the Wyatt Family. Other than that we have John Cena’s first singles match in a long time as he faces Baron Corbin. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Miz vs. Dean Ambrose over the last few weeks, including all the slaps and without the new interviewer stumbling over her words.
Here’s Ambrose for the Ambrose Asylum as hosted by the new Intercontinental Champion. Let’s get this out of the way right now: he’s in the Royal Rumble. Other than that, he’s annoyed that they can’t have a live alligator in the ring due to not having a permit. He does however have a plastic alligator head named Maryse, which brings him to his guest. That would of course be Miz and Maryse, who cut him off before their introductions.
Miz is in the Rumble as well but more importantly, he wants Ambrose to hand over the title that Miz should have retained due to outside interference. Dean agrees to give Miz something but it’s the Participation Award from a few weeks back. The fight is on and Maryse slaps her husband by mistake, setting up Dirty Deeds to Miz. Maryse is handed the award as Dean leaves.
We recap Nikki Bella vs. Natalya to set up their match tonight.
Nikki is on her way to the ring when Natalya jumps her.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
Bella charges out to the ring without selling anything (because that would mean she’s not FEARLESS) and it’s a big brawl, meaning no match. Natalya takes out the bad leg and puts Nikki in the Sharpshooter on the floor.
Dolph Ziggler has nothing to say about what he did to Kalisto last week.
Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler
A very fast hurricanrana sends Ziggler outside to start so he opts for some technical wrestling to take Kalisto down instead. The masked man tries to speed things up but gets kicked in the head to put him on the floor as we take a break. Back with Kalisto being stuck in and then fighting out of a chinlock. Ziggler charges into an elbow in the corner and gets rolled up for the pin at 8:37.
Rating: D+. Dang that’s not good. I’m sure this is part of a longer form story though I’m not sure what Ziggler is going to do next. I like the idea of making Ziggler even angrier than he already was but I don’t trust WWE to be able to follow up on this. Kalisto winning is cool though there’s no secret to the fact that it’s just a way to advance Ziggler’s story.
Post match Ziggler lays Kalisto out and destroys him with a chair as CHILDREN are watching. Yes I say they’re WATCHING THE SHOW IN FRONT OF THEM! THIS IS SO FREAKING INTERESTING! Apollo Crews comes out for the fight as Ziggler goes to leave, only to get chaired down as well.
American Alpha isn’t underestimating the Wyatts but they know they can beat them.
John Cena wants to know who Baron Corbin thinks he is. Cena is the one who needs to make a statement and he’s been called a lot of things in WWE. Last week, AJ Styles called him a has been and Corbin agreed with him. Tonight the lone wolf may be on the prowl tonight but his name is John Cena and his time is now.
The Wyatts say they’ll win the titles back.
Tag Team Titles: Wyatt Family vs. American Alpha
Alpha is defending and it’s Bray and Randy for the Wyatts. Bray takes Jordan down to start with Jason easily taking over on the mat. Randy comes in and gives up a blind tag to Gable, who armbars Bray over the top rope. Sister Abigail is countered into a rollup and Gable follows it up with a dive off the apron.
Back in and Bray just runs Gable over, allowing Orton to drop him back first onto the barricade. I heartily approve of anything that means a hot tag to Jordan. The chinlock doesn’t work very well so Orton goes with a slingshot suplex for two. Gable finally gets up and makes the tag to Jordan so things can speed way up. It must be the straps coming down to slow down wind resistance. Harper grabs Jordan’s leg though and Jason gets draped across the top rope, sending us to a break.
Back with Orton raking his boot over Jordan’s eyes before handing it back to Bray, who eats one heck of a clothesline. The real hot tag brings in Gable for some bad looking right hands on Wyatt. A top rope clothesline gets two on Orton but Harper gets on the apron, only to be knocked off when Orton goes for the elevated DDT. Harper gets back up and distracts Orton, allowing Gable to ram them together for an O’Connor roll on Orton to retain the titles at 15:32.
Rating: B-. This was a storyline loss for the Wyatts and I’m getting curious about where it’s going. I’m actually not sure what Orton’s endgame is here but if it sets up a bit match against Bray, so be it. Orton really could be on either side here and that makes things all the more interesting.
Post match Harper and Orton are about to fight with Bray trying to break it up. Harper throws a superkick but hits Bray by mistake. Bray looks at both of them as the fans chant Randy. Wyatt leaves on his own.
Corbin is ready for Cena.
Clips from Wrestlemania XXXIV press conference in New Orleans.
Becky Lynch asks Daniel Bryan who was the other La Luchadora. Alexa Bliss comes in and says she was about to find out who was under the mask when Lynch messed everything up. Bryan doesn’t want to hear it and gives Becky a title match next week inside a steel cage.
Carmella vs. CJ Lunde
The jobber’s last name is probably a rib as Lunde is Arn Anderson’s real last name. Carmella runs her over a few times until Ellsworth grabs Lunde’s leg. A hard left hand gets two for Carmella so Lunde goes outside to yell at James. Back in and a badly botched Downward Spiral sets up the Code of Silence for the tap out at 2:41.
We look back at Undertaker entering the Royal Rumble last night.
Carmella is going to take Ellsworth on a shopping spree next week.
Baron Corbin is ready to end Cena. AJ Styles comes in and tells Corbin to impersonate the champ and beat Cena up.
Baron Corbin vs. John Cena
Styles is on commentary. Corbin wastes no time in kicking Cena in the face to put him on the floor as we take an early break. Back with Cena not being able to hit the AA because someone under 300lbs is too heavy for him to lift. They head outside with Cena throwing him into the steps for his first breather of the match.
As Styles talks about how he wants Cena to lose because he just doesn’t like John, Corbin gets in a powerslam for two. Deep Six gets the same so Baron opts to just squeeze Cena with a bearhug. That lasts as long as a bearhug is going to last before Cena fights out and grabs a tornado DDT. Back up and the ProtoBomb sets up the AA for the clean pin on Corbin at 11:02.
Rating: C+. This was just a match really and I’m ok with seeing Corbin lose clean here. He got to beat on Cena for a good while before going down to the biggest name in a long time. I’d have been fine with Styles causing the fall in there somehow but either way it’s a fine way to have Cena come back and Corbin doesn’t lose a ton of steam.
Overall Rating: B-. This one didn’t have as much going for it as recent episodes but it’s still far better than almost anything else WWE has been putting on as of late. Again, you can see the Ryan Ward influence here by setting up stuff for next week to keep you coming back. How many times have you seen a show completely wrapped up with nowhere to go next week? That’s bad storytelling and thankfully you never see it on Smackdown anymore.
Kalisto b. Dolph Ziggler – Rollup
American Alpha b. Wyatt Family – O’Connor roll to Orton
Carmella b. CJ Lunde – Code of Silence
John Cena b. Baron Corbin – Attitude Adjustment
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