Tonight, we have a Steel Cage Match for the Women’s championship! Need I say more? Nope! Read on!
Introduction Segment: Video Promo and Welcoming
A montage of Becky Lynch’s feud with Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss plays, which may (or may not) culminate tonight in the Steel Cage! Mauro Ranallo, John “Bradshaw” Layfield, David Otunga, and Tom Phillips all greet us from Memphis, Tennessee.
Commissioner Shane McMahon struts out. After putting over the Royal Rumble Match at Royal Rumble on January 29th, he moves onto the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, which will return on February 12th. Shane announces that whoever the WWE World champion is by then will be putting their title on the line inside the Elimination Chamber!
WWE World Champion A.J. Styles walks out and has a questionable look on his face. He is not pleased with McMahon’s decision, and neither are the fans as they call out “A.J. Styles.” Shane puts A.J. in his place, insisting that the Elimination Chamber Match will take place. He does put Styles over as “one of ‘the best.’” “You are what you say you are; you are ‘phenomenal.’” “The Phenomenal One” threatens to leave WWE and the USA with his WWE World championship in tow to Japan.
John Cena – who will challenger for the WWE World Championship at Royal Rumble – interrupts and runs to the ring. Styles cuts him off and shuts down Cena and McMahon; The Miz and Maryse now join, claiming to steal Styles’ spotlight. Miz is happy with McMahon’s booking, and says that he will be both the Intercontinental Champion and the WWE World Champion by WrestleMania (on April 2nd).
“The Awesome One” recaps that he already defeated Cena back in 2011 in the main-event of WrestleMania XXVII, and declares that he has brought the I.C. Title back to prominence. A.J. responds with a sexual insult against Miz and Maryse, and John eggs on Miz to retaliate. Shane breaks them
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose walks up to Commissioner Shane McMahon. He wants a new title as the I.C. one he holds smells too much like products that Miz used to keep himself clean. Shane says he really can’t do that. Ambrose moves on and wants a match with Randy Orton. Shane can do that and does!
Match #1: Single – WWE World Champion A.J. Styles VS. The Miz (with Maryse) (Non-Title)
(Note: John Cena is on commentary.)
Miz wristlocks to start, but A.J. flips out of it and grabs Miz’ wrist. He runs into a hammerlock, and then Miz goes to the outside for a break. He gets back in the ring and they perform a test-of-strength on each other, and then A.J. hits a dropkick after Miz runs the ropes a couple of times.
Styles hits a couple of forearms in the corner, but is kneed in the gut as he ran off of the ropes. A.J. soon tries the Calf-Crusher, but Miz wiggles his way to the bottom rope. A.J. continues to get the better until Miz distracts him on the apron, which allows Miz to run at him with a boot.
Miz has A.J. locked in a surfboard-stretch, and then hits a couple of running-dropkicks in the corner; he uses General Manager Daniel Bryan’s “Yes” taunt, but is hit in the gut as he dove off of the top turnbuckle. Miz soon thumbs A.J. in the eye, but Styles reverses a Skull-Krushing Finale attempt into a victory-roll for two! Miz is knocked to the floor with a Pele Kick (thanks, Mauro), and then A.J. chucks Miz into Cena, who shoves him off, but causes a dq!
Winner via Disqualification: The Miz (with Maryse)
Post-match, Miz is given an Attitude Adjustment, as is Styles after he missed a Phenomenal Forearm! Cena stands over A.J. and holds the WWE World championship high.
Up next, Nikki Bella will be out to talk about her rivalry with Natalya.
While Nikki makes her entrance, replays are shown of hers and Natalya’s brawl from last week’s Smackdown! Live. Nikki challenges Natalya to meet her in the ring and “finish what we started.” Natalya doesn’t respond for a bit until she starts calling from the crowd. She tells Nikki to watch the Titantron, and then goes to the merchandise stand. She rants about how there is nothing of hers to sell, and then Nikki charges her. They brawl once again until assistants pull them apart.
Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss is interviewed about her steel cage match with Becky Lynch tonight; she vows to retain against the “Human Chucky Doll.”
Kurt Angle’s career is highlighted. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year!
Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose makes his entrance and will be wrestling Randy Orton, next!
Match #2: Single – Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose VS. Randy Orton (with Wyatt Family members Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt) (Non-Title)
To start off, a replay is shown of Randy and Luke’s potential dissension. Ambrose tries a quick hit but Orton avoids and rolls-up for a quick two. Dean is distracted by Bray and Luke on the outside, and that allows Randy to measure Ambrose and tie him up in a side-headlock takedown. Orton runs but is tripped with a drop-toehold, and then Dean wrenches at his face.
They work each other over slowly, until Ambrose is able to dive from the top turnbuckle with an elbow onto a standing-Randy for two! They fight to the outside and “The Viper” takes control after running Dean into the ring post and backdropping him onto the announcer’s table.
Orton and Ambrose are going back-and-forth, and then they both try their finishers but reverses each other. Orton kicks Dean into the ropes and then Ambrose hits back with a clothesline! 1 – 2 – Randy raises his shoulder! On the outside, the IC Champion runs through the ropes, sending Orton onto the announce table!
They get back in the ring and Randy drops Dean with the slingshot DDT! Harper hops the apron, which distracts Randy and gives Dean the chance to roll him up for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose
Post-match, Orton and Luke want to tear each other apart but Bray stands in between them. He then slugs Luke in the mouth; Randy smirks, and then Harper walks to the back.
Up next, “The King’s Court” with Jerry “The King” Lawler and Dolph Ziggler!
Jerry “The King” Lawler is in the ring, donned in his wrestling attire with crown and robe. He is happy to be back, and then gets right to business, asking Dolph Ziggler to come out.
Dolph does join him in the ring, but does not say anything about what Jerry questions him on. “The King” then shows him his attack on Kalisto and Apollo Crews from last week’s Smackdown! Live. Lawler inquires again but Dolph doesn’t respond. Jerry tries one more time, and Ziggler finally talks. He says he didn’t want to fall into Lawler’s “game,” so he also shows a clip; this was from September 2012 when they were in a match together and Dolph elbow-dropped him several times. This was the night that Jerry had his heart-attack. Back live, Lawler calls him a “loser” and then Ziggler super-kicks Jerry in the chest. Dolph leaves and Layfield runs from commentary to aid. Lawler wants Ziggler back in the ring, but Dolph refuses.
“The Wyatt Family will be entering this year’s Royal Rumble match. But first, there is a personal matter I must attend to. You see, a family divided is no family at all. So next week, my brothers Randy Orton and Luke Harper will compete in a match. One will stand and one will fall, but The Wyatts will be stronger than ever,” Bray proclaims.
Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss make their entrances for the steel cage match!
Match #3: Steel Cage Single for the Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (Challenger) VS. Alexa Bliss Champion)
(Stipulation: Win by Pinfall, Submission, or Escape)
Alexa tries to get out but Lynch pullers her back. They battle back-and-forth, and then Becky slams Alexa’s head against the turnbuckle a few times. Bliss elbows and kicks back out of the corner, and then tries to climb again; Lynch pulls her away but is planted to the canvas. Alexa slingshots Becky into the turnbuckle, but Lynch lands on her feet and begins to climb. Bliss stops her and then takes over. They both go at it on the top rope, and Alexa rams Lynch’s head into the cage, but then Becky drops Bliss face-first onto the turnbuckle!
Alexa is still in control, trying a pin to no avail. She rams her shoulder into Lynch’s gut against the cage wall, but misses one and that lets Becky regain momentum. She is able to front-dropkick Bliss from the top turnbuckle but only gets two! Lynch scales the wall and is almost out, but Alexa pulls her by the hair back into the ring. Becky trips Bliss onto the turnbuckle and then gives her an exploder suplex!
They scrap and then La Luchadora appears; she blocks the entrance. Lynch is able to turn Alexa into her Disarmer Submission, but La Luchadora kicks Becky away! Bliss capitalizes with a DDT and covers for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall and STILL Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss
Post-match, both Bliss and Luchadora put the boots to Becky. She fights back and manages to tear off the mask, revealing La Luchadora to be former WWE Women’s champion Mickie James! They pose over Lynch to close the show.
End of Smackdown! Live.
This was a pretty-good Smackdown!, but I felt a little diminished from the first two weeks of the New Year. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: promos by Shane, A.J., Miz, Cena, Nikki, Alexa, Lawler, Ziggler, and Bray. Matches between Miz/Styles and Ambrose/Orton.
Kurt Angle in the Hall of Fame; very surprising, but well-deserved and will be great to have him back!
Alexa as champion needs to continue; she is the best on the Smackdown! Women’s Division, and I want her to keep the championship until WrestleMania, at least.
I really enjoyed the segment with Jerry and Dolph; if this leads to Lawler’s final match, it should be a good one and a great person to have it with!
The potential Triple-Threat lining up between Cena, Miz, and Styles! These three could pull it off, and I think that a match with them at WrestleMania would be fantastic! (Miz pins a non-champion Cena, and then he and A.J. feud since Styles was never pinned, but still lost his championship!)
Bogus: while the brawling and the real-heat feeling between Nikki and Natalya is great, I thought Natalya’s promo was over-the-top.
Where were Tag-Team Champions American Alpha? I believe all champions should be on every week, unless explained in storyline.
For all the hype, I was very disappointed by the Women’s Main-Event; it should’ve been longer, and I also think that La Luchadora should’ve remained a mystery and attacked Alexa after helping her win, setting up Mickie (eventually revealing herself) VS. Alexa for the title at the ‘Rumble.
All-in-all, a decent show, but it failed where it shouldn’t have. Let’s hope they pick it up again next week! Until then, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Fans!