Date: December 6, 2016
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga, Tom Phillips
It’s a big night here as we’re past Tables Ladders and Chairs and getting ready for Royal Rumble. Before we get there though, two titles are on the line tonight with AJ Styles (on a bad ankle) defending the World Title against James Ellsworth and new Tag Team Champions the Wyatt Family defending against former champion Heath Slater/Rhyno. Let’s get to it.
We open with the ending of Sunday’s show where Ellsworth turned on Ambrose to cost him the title. Ellsworth’s explanation: he’s beaten Styles three times so why would he want to fight anyone else? Makes sense actually.
Here’s AJ in a walking boot and street clothes to open the show. Styles talks about the tragedy of Sunday but is talking about his torn tights. Apparently AJ isn’t cleared to wrestle tonight but here’s Ellsworth to start the match now. That isn’t happening though and Ellsworth thinks Daniel Bryan is protecting him. After all, Ellsworth has his number and can beat him a fourth time. AJ laughs off the idea that Ellsworth helped him get the title and says Ambrose handed Ellsworth every win. Cue Ambrose to give Ellsworth Dirty Deeds and immediately leave. Again, makes sense for him.
Tag Team Titles: Wyatt Family vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno
Slater and Rhyno are challenging. Heath forearms Orton down to start and Bray does even worse by charging into a boot to the face. Rhyno comes in but it’s WAY too early for a Gore as we take a break instead. Back with Rhyno in trouble as the champs take turns working him over. A shoulder lets Slater come in and Orton gets neckbreakered for two. It doesn’t last long though as Bray runs Slater over. Sister Abigail is loaded up but Bray tags Orton instead so the RKO can retain at 9:15.
Rating: D+. This is all it needed to be and should get rid of Rhyno/Slater as challengers. I’m perfectly fine with their reign ending in such dominant fashion as they were playing so far above their heads that anything they did was a bonus at this point. I could go for JBL shutting up about how the Wyatts are Brody and Hansen after like three matches but I’ll take what I can get.
Kalisto says speed kills.
Natalya vs. Carmella
Before the match Carmella insults Natalya’s weight and says she’s just jealous of everyone else’s looks. No match at the moment as Natalya tackles Carmella and chases her to the back.
Natalya goes after Carmella but runs into Nikki Bella instead. Nikki is all serious as Natalya apologizes before walking away. I know they want Nikki to be the big hero of the division but I’m really not buying it.
Baron Corbin compares cruiserweights to flies.
Hype Bros vs. Ascension
Both teams want the titles. Viktor knees Ryder in the head to start and Zack is in early trouble. Ascension takes turns with a variety of stomps to the back until a neckbreaker puts Konnor down. The hot tag brings in Mojo to clean house and the Hype Ryder puts Viktor away at 3:30.
Rating: D+. I’m assuming the Hype Bros are the next challengers and that’s a fine way to help put the Wyatts over as champions. There’s no reason to go straight for American Alpha or the Usos so just feed them the Hype Bros, who don’t exactly have much to lose at this point. Putting them over Ascension is as simple of a first step as you can get so they’re starting fine.
It’s time for MizTV with Miz asking for his “YOU DESERVE IT” chants. Anyway the guest this week is Ambrose, who should be livid at Ellsworth. Instead he’s pretty calm, even after he got Ellsworth everything he has. Miz accuses Dean of manipulating Ellsworth for his own benefit and then hides behind Maryse. Sunday was so bad for Dean that Miz has a present for him: the first ever Miz Participation Award. Fans: “YOU DESERVE IT!” Violence is teased but here’s Bryan to interrupt and make the obvious main event. That earns a YES chant so Bryan makes it a title match.
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin
Chairs not included. Corbin throws him outside to start and gets a near fall. Kalisto kicks him in the head and scores with a moonsault to the floor. Back in and Kalisto speeds things up but the springboard spinning tornado DDT is countered into End of Days for the pin at 2:49.
Nikki meets singer Sophia Grace and they get along.
Chad Gable vs. Tyler Breeze
This is due to Gable ripping up a fashion police ticket earlier today. A monkey flip sends Breeze flying early on but a trip to the floor lets Breeze take over. Tyler’s chinlock doesn’t go anywhere so Gable takes him down with an exploder suplex. Jordan suplexes Fandango on the floor, leaving Gable to hit a Rolling Chaos Theory of all things (rolling German suplex) for the pin at 2:32.
Here’s Alexa Bliss for her championship celebration, complete with a long pyro display. The fans don’t seem happy and want Becky so Bliss laughs about taking the title from her. Cue Becky to say how hard it is to hold onto the title because she wants her rematch right now. Bliss takes off the jacket but bails to the floor like you might expect.
Opening segment recap.
Intercontinental Title: Miz vs. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose is challenging and Maryse has changed her outfit. It’s a headlock to start (safe way to go) and Dean throws him outside, only to have Maryse block a suicide dive. Back from an early break with Miz having to escape Dirty Deeds. The second attempt goes just as badly as Miz takes him into the corner and starts in on the knee. A shinbreaker sets up a double knee stomp as things slow down.
The Figure Four is broken up and Dean sends him outside for another suicide dive. That leg certainly healed fast. Miz gets two off a DDT and it’s time for the YES Kicks. They head up top with Maryse crotching Dean, allowing Miz to hit Bryan’s running knee for a close two. Cue James Ellsworth to point out the crotching but it makes the referee miss Dean rolling Miz up for two. The Skull Crushing Finale finishes Ambrose at 13:31.
Rating: B-. Uh…..ok then. I guess they’re already backtracking on what seemed to be a pretty clear heel turn. It might not have been a full on version due to it mainly being about Ellsworth’s title shot but this feels like they’re stretching the story out longer than it needs to go. The match was good stuff until the ending, which is more eye roll inducing than bad.
Ellsworth is upset to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This was little more than a filler episode but the key difference is Smackdown always seems to be trying, even in episodes that don’t mean much. They have a few shows to burn before it’s really time to get started on the Royal Rumble build so this was a fine way to spend two hours. Totally watchable show but nothing you need to see.
Wyatt Family b. Heath Slater/Rhyno – RKO to Slater
Hype Bros b. Ascension – Hype Ryder to Viktor
Baron Corbin b. Kalisto – End of Days
Chad Gable b. Tyler Breeze – Rolling Chaos Theory
Miz b. Dean Ambrose – Skull Crushing Finale
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