March 7, 2017
City: Indianapolis, IN
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Commentary: Tom Phillips, Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
Last week, Randy Orton burned down Bray Wyatt’s kingdom.
Shane McMahon heads to the ring with Daniel Bryan. They discuss what to do about who will face Wyatt at Wrestlemania. Bryan thinks that Orton should get the shot because he won the Royal Rumble, but Shane thinks AJ Styles should get the shot because Orton gave his up. To determine who goes to Wrestlemania, Orton and Styles will face each other for the first time ever on SmackDown.
AJ Styles approaches Bryan and Shane in the back. He’s not happy, but he decides he’ll make the best of a bad situation by taking out Orton tonight.
In the ring, James Ellsworth says he is the “Mac Daddy” of SmackDown Live, and he’s about to “wipe the floor” with John Cena. But first, he introduces his friend who is a girl, Carmella.
Mixed Tag Match
James Ellsworth & Carmella vs John Cena & Nikki Bella
(referee: Ryan Tran; guest commentary: The Miz, Maryse)
Result: John Cena makes James Ellsworth tap to an STF
Time: 3:20 (1 break)
Not much of a match. Carmella got a cheap shot on Nikki to start. Nikki came back and tagged out, but Ellsworth wanted no part of Cena. A little comedy happened, Nikki and Cena did some moves in unison, then the match was over.
Immediately after the match, Miz and Maryse attack Cena and Nikki. With Cena and Nikki down, Miz gets on the mic. He’s disgusted by Cena and Nikki. He says that he and Maryse share true love, unlike Cena who forced Nikki to sign a contract. He says Cena does everything for the betterment of his brand, including his relationship. Maryse then calls Nikki a “bitch.”
Renee Young asks Orton about burning down the Wyatt compound. Orton says if he can do that, then Styles doesn’t stand a chance of beating him. He should be very afraid, and he should “run.”
In the ring, Curt Hawkins us upset at Dean Ambrose for his treatment before their match last week. Hawkins calls Ambrose out and quickly takes a lariat on the floor. Ambrose gets on the mic and says Baron Corbin doesn’t have any testicles. Corbin, once again appearing on the tron, says he doesn’t just show up when he’s called. When he’s ready though, Corbin will take everything from Ambrose, including the IC Title. Ambrose leaves to go hunt Corbin but Hawkins tries to attack him. Ambrose hits Hawkins with Dirty Deeds and keeps walking.
Paying tribute to Lita and Trish for Women’s History Month.
Ambrose walks around the back, looking for Corbin.
Dasha Fuentes welcomes Mojo Rawley. Rawley announces that he will be in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Dolph Ziggler slow-claps for Rawley. He tells Rawley that you don’t get handed Wrestlemania moments, you have to earn them. Rawley asks if that’s why Ziggler doesn’t have one.
Ambrose is still looking for Corbin. Corbin pushes a security guard (who he’d apparently been holding hostage) into Ambrose. He then hits him with a pipe and stomps Ambrose. With Ambrose down, Corbin tries to crush him with a forklift.
Mickie James and Alexa Bliss head to the ring. It’s time for a “Blissertation.” Alexa wants to talk about her opponent for Wrestlemania. First, she talks about who it won’t be. Not Naomi. Or Nikki. Or Carmella. And definitely not Becky Lynch. Becky Lynch then heads to the ring.
Becky has a “Beck-laration.” She is going to defeat Alexa and take back her title at Wrestlemania. Natalya heads to the ring and says she and Alexa came to an understanding last week. Alexa disagrees. Everyone starts arguing until Mickie grabs the mic and says she will be the one to face Alexa. Alexa looks confused, and everyone starts arguing again until Daniel Bryan comes out.
Bryan is not impressed with Alexa’s “Blissertation,” and he says that she will have to defend her title against every available woman on the SmackDown roster. Alexa protests, but Bryan shuts her down. He also takes a cue from Teddy Long by making a tag match for the four women in the ring.
Alexa Bliss (SD Women’s Champ) & Mickie James vs Becky Lynch & Natalya
(referee: Jason Ayers)
Result: Alexa Bliss pins Becky Lynch after Natalya
Time: 9:39 (joined in progress; 1 break)
A pretty good match. Becky never tagged Natalya, and Natalya didn’t like that. You have to wonder if Natalya would have even accepted the tag in the first place, but regardless, the division between teammates directly affected the match. The action was fine, kind of like a typical Becky Lynch match where she gets beat up but survives and manages to get a few shots in of her own.
After the match, Mickie James hits Alexa Bliss with a Mick Kick. Mickie holds up the title before laughing and leaving the ring.
Austin Aries talks about shutting Neville’s mouth on RAW last night.
AJ Styes heads to the ring for the main event of the night. He gets on the mic and talks about receiving nothing but disrespect from Shane and Daniel even though he made SmackDown Live the better show in WWE. But no one will stop him from heading to Wrestlemania and making it phenomenal.
World Title Number One Contender Match
AJ Styles vs Randy Orton
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Randy Orton wins via pinfall after an RKO and will face Bray Wyatt for the World Title at Wrestlemania
Time: 14:42 (1 break)
Really good match. There was some good psychology here, with both guys playing very good defense as well as offense. The way they approached each other showed that they had respect for how dangerous their opponent could be. The finish of this was really great as well. Even though these two haven’t faced each other on television yet, it showed how prepared they were to face each other. I look forward to seeing these guys wrestle each other again after Wrestlemania season is over. Probably (possibly) for the title.
It was another show that felt like a lot of talking with little action, but I enjoyed it. Probably because of the main event. I was pretty skeptical about the long-running story for Orton just because I think some of the specifics aren’t defined very well, but the broad strokes of the story are good. And this main event match worked well on many levels. It set Orton’s story in the right direction, and it set Styles’ story in a very good direction. Styles has some completely legitimate gripes about his treatment lately, and the fallout from this match will further his trajectory into Wrestlemania very well.
I’m not as happy with some of the other stuff on the show. I think the Cena and Nikki versus Miz and Maryse is an okay story, but it doesn’t feel like a Wrestlemania story. The payoff match for this feels like it should take place at one of the PPVs in-between the main ones. Some of the promos are good, but it just doesn’t feel important. It feels like it grew out of Total Divas/Bellas (which it did), and I’m not a fan of things bleeding over between shows like that.
Also, the Women’s title situation feels like they didn’t know what to do after Naomi got hurt, so they did what SmackDown always seems to do and decided to throw everyone in the ring all at once. It’s kind of lazy, but if they pick the right match it could be fun to watch. I want a championship scramble match. Even though the story is weak, a scramble can still make the SD Women’s segment at ‘Mania fun.
There’s not much to say about the rest of the stuff going on. I’m still not big on Corbin, and the way they’re building his feud with Ambrose isn’t helping. The stuff with Hawkins tonight was kind of funny, but that’s about it.
Match of the Night
AJ Styles vs Randy Orton
A really good match. Even though I would love to see Styles go for the title at Wrestlemania, I know that’s not what they’re building to this year. This match made perfect sense in the context of both guys’ stories, and the action was a lot of fun to watch.