Date: February 7, 2017
Location: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton
It’s the last show before Elimination Chamber because this is that annoying period where we have all these pay per views in the span of a few weeks. The card seems to already be set in stone, making tonight about the hard sell rather than about adding much of anything new. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long video on Randy Orton vs. John Cena as the rivalry is renewed again tonight.
Here’s Daniel Bryan to get things going in the only logical move. It feels good to be home but above all else, Bryan is grateful that he’s going to be a dad very soon. Cue Miz and Maryse to cut him off though and the heat is outstanding. During the entrance, Mauro makes a rare mistake by saying Sunday will be Miz’s second time inside the Cell instead of the Chamber.
Miz is an unsympathetic as you would expect him to be and suggests Bryan to be a stay at home dad since he can’t wrestle. Bryan: “Not being able to wrestle never kept you out of a ring.” The crowd gets into a shouting contest with Miz but here’s Baron Corbin to cut them both off.
Miz pitches an alliance but Corbin thinks he could knock Miz out right now. Bryan: “Oh no Baron. Please don’t punch Miz in the face. That would be terrible.” Cue Dean Ambrose to say he doesn’t sweat any of these people because he’s going to make some bad decisions inside the Chamber. Now it’s AJ Styles to cut them off but the fans cheer for him instead of the intended reaction. Bryan makes a four way for fun.
Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz vs. AJ Styles
Non-title. Miz heads to the floor to start and his attempt at sneaking up on Ambrose fails completely. AJ’s springboard is broken up but Corbin sends Dean into the steps to put him down again. Back in and Miz starts doing Bryan kicks to AJ and Ambrose but it turns into a battle of rollups between everyone not named Corbin. Baron and Dean clothesline each other down and we take a break.
Back with a four man Tower of Doom giving us crowd reaction shots and near falls. Deep Six gets two on Miz but AJ’s basement forearm gets the same on Baron. Miz gives AJ the running knee but it’s time for Dean to clean house with whatever he can come up with, including sending Miz into the barricade and Corbin into the post. Back in and AJ hits his moonsault into the reverse DDT on Dean with Miz diving in for the save. Now the Forearm connects on Miz, only to have Maryse make a save. End of Days gives Baron the pin on AJ at 12:57.
Rating: B. Now that works. Corbin getting the win is a surprise and it’s not like Styles is going to lose a lot of face with the loss here. Above all else though I’m glad Ambrose didn’t get pinned because we’re actually protecting a champion for a change. Good action here and that’s what matters most.
Luke Harper says Orton stole his family but he knows how to fix things. That means a beating at Elimination Chamber, though it’s not clear if that’s an official match.
Natalya and Nikki Bella come in for a satellite interview. Nikki doesn’t think they can ever be friends anymore and Natalya goes into her standard “Nikki is awful” rant. They argue over who is more bitter and Nikki’s big insult is that the only thing Natalya has ever been good at is wrestling. Natalya says that when Nikki is old and banged up, Cena isn’t going to take care of her and will move on. If Natalya wasn’t married, it would be moving on to someone like her. Nikki walks out.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews
Crews is extra aggressive here as he scores with an early dropkick and sends Ziggler into the corner. Ziggler sends him into the post though and hits the running DDT, only to have his superkick countered into a rollup for the pin at 1:02.
Ziggler beats Crews down post match and hits him in the back with a chair. Kalisto runs out for the save, only to get chaired down as well.
Post break, Ziggler is put in a handicap match against Kalisto and Crews on Sunday. What kind of face/heel psychology is that supposed to be?
Here are Mickie James, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch and Naomi for a four way contract signing. Mickie talks about having more experience than all four of them combined and tells Renee Young to get out of the ring. It seems that Becky is trying to erase Mickie from history and take the credit for the Women’s Revolution. Without Mickie James, there is no Becky Lynch so it all ends Sunday.
Mickie signs so Becky says James walked away when it got too tough. This Sunday she’s walking through Mickie with straight fire which is all she is. Now Becky signs so Alexa laughs at the idea of Becky being anything but full of orange hair dye. Alexa talks about class and signs while saying she can beat Naomi on Sunday. Naomi says she can beat Alexa and talks about Wrestlemania being in her hometown. That means she’s going to slide down the aisle (yes slide) as Smackdown Women’s Champion. The brawl breaks out and the villains run away.
American Alpha/Heath Slater/Rhyno/Breezeango vs. Vaudevillains/Ascension/Usos
Gable suplexes English down to start but a few rakes of the eyes put Chad in trouble. Aiden misses a Swanton Bomb and it’s time for Alpha to clean house. Breeze tags himself in though and Breezango cleans house, only to have the good guys get in an argument as we take a break.
Back with Slater in trouble and Viktor tagging himself in for a chinlock. The Vaudevillains and Ascension get in an argument though, allowing the hot tag to Rhyno to blow the roof off the place. Everything breaks down and Jordan launches Gable onto a pile at ringside. Back in and the Gore hits Konnor, only to have Viktor hit a middle rope knee for the pin on Rhyno at 9:46.
Rating: D+. There wasn’t any time to really make this work but it’s so cute that WWE wants us to believe Ascension could win something on Sunday. I’m not sure if Alpha retains the titles on Sunday but I’m certain that Ascension isn’t getting the belts. This was fine enough to get the point across but you knew no one was going to get to show off here.
Rock N Roll Express Hall of Fame video.
Video on the Elimination Chamber.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Non-title. They slug it out to start with Orton taking over and kicking Cena in the ankle. Bray watches from the corker as Cena is sent out in front of him for another right hand to the face. Back with Cena taking a full nelson slam but still being able to send Orton outside. It’s too early for the AA though and Orton drops him back first onto the announcers’ table.
Back in and Cena hits the usual, including the AA for two. An Elevated DDT out of the corner sets up the RKO for Orton’s near fall, though at least they waited a bit in between. Another RKO is shrugged off into a ref bump, allowing Wyatt to come in for the double beatdown. Cue Harper for the save and the discus lariat on Wyatt. An RKO attempt doesn’t work and the AA puts Orton down at 13:38.
Rating: C+. As tiresome as this match is, it still works better than a lot of combinations. Cena needed a win here to go into the pay per view and it’s not like Orton has a big match coming up or anything like that. This was all it needed to be and felt like the match you would have expected given the circumstances. Harper’s full face turn moment is a good idea but I’m not sure about where to take him next, especially after he loses on Sunday.
Overall Rating: C+. This show came and went while plugging the pay per view. If that sounds like a really basic and simple idea, you’re starting to catch on. I’m having a hard time remembering a lot of what happened on this show as it completely flew in one ear and out the other. It’s not terrible or anything but there definitely isn’t a lot of fire going into Sunday.
Baron Corbin b. AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and Miz – End of Days to Styles
Apollo Crews b. Dolph Ziggler – Rollup
Ascension/Vaudevillains/Usos b. American Alpha/Heath Slater/Rhyno/Breezango – Knee to the chest to Rhyno
John Cena b. Randy Orton – Attitude Adjustment
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