The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota was ready to rock and roll for a great night of Smackdown Live action. This crowd had three match-ups they knew were coming: Kalisto vs. Heel Dolph Ziggler in a chairs match, Mickey James vs Becky Lynch in a 2 out of 3 falls match, and a #1 contender’s match for the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania 33 (in theory).

Rumors were swirling we could be seeing an NXT superstar make their debut at any time, so the excitement levels in the building were multiplied.

Opening Segment

Shane-O-Mac and D-Bry are backstage discussing the events of last week’s battle royal as AJ Styles walked up to them and generously offered to take the WrestleMania match but Shane refused. Luke Harper walked up to the two of them looking as scary as can be and simply said, “Thank you.”

Miz TV

It’s Miz TV time and the A-Lister and Maryse are out looking ready to conduct some award-winning interviewing. John Cena was their guest, and this was simply more fuel to build toward their eventual explosion at WrestleMania 33.

As soon as Cena was about to talk, Miz said, :cut his mic” quite a gracious host. Miz says John manipulates everyone he talks to. He equates Cena to a guy in an office who gets where he is on anything but his merit. This is when the chants for Cena started.

Miz says there was a time when he was main eventing WrestleMania against Cena and he beat him. Then he said Cena found a way to manipulate the situation to steal Miz’s title and he said John Cena is jealous of him. He said Cena is a hypocrite and brought up the fact Cena once chastised The Rock for leaving WWE for Hollywood and now he’s doing the same thing.

Miz turned Cena’s catchphrase against him by saying “now, we can’t see you John” while the “you sold out” chants started to pour from the crowd.

Miz said he is no longer “Super Cena” he’s “barely decent Cena.” That was a good line. Miz said Cena will never be the greatest because there’s only one greatest of all time then he let out a pathetic Ric Flair “woo.” But it was a cool homage nonetheless. Miz gets an A for effort on that one.

Cena’s mic was turned off and he started to unload on Miz. John said this is the portion of the program where he turns Miz’s theory into crap. John dropped a bombshell on Miz when he said if he really had all the power Miz said he did, he wouldn’t be standing face-to-face with him, he would be standing in the ring with The Undertaker. Wow. That was a shoot.

Cena said you can’t fake heart and that’s why people rallied around him. John said Miz is a dude named Mike who shortened his name on the Real World who borrowed The Rock’s electricity and once he got to WWE he stole Chris Jericho’s personality. Cena accused Miz of stealing moves from Ric Flair and Daniel Bryan and said he has no idea who he is. Miz is a dude dressed up as a dude playing another dude.

This was an amazing Miz TV. Cena capped it off by saying, “You’re not The Undertaker, but if you press me again, you’re a dead man.”

Maryse spoke up and got in Cena’s face blaming his ego and called him a “control egomaniac freak” and she also hit him with “bigger the ego, smaller the package” those were some mean French burns. Then she slapped John Cena while John started to chuckle and said, “you just made the biggest mistake of your life” as Nikki Bella’s music hit and the A-List couple scattered out of the ring.

Nikki called Maryse a b**ch and that was the end of the opening segment.

Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James (2 out of 3 Falls Match)

Neither lady got much of an entrance, they happened but they were shortened. The two ladies started off slow by exchanging a few holds but didn’t execute anything big for a few minutes.

Mickie kicked Becky in the back of the neck and looked like it hurt, she got a two-count out of that one. Becky got back on her feet and started taking Mickie out with a few clotheslines and hit a “Flying Fire Arm” in the corner. However, James threw Becky into the post through the middle turnbuckle, hit a Mickie-DT and won the first fall with a three count.

Mickie kept up the pressure on Lynch and attempted two pins in a row but only got a two-count each time. But, she was tiring Becky out the entire time. Mickie went for a high-risk move but Becky sidestepped, rolled James up and got a quick pinfall.

The match was even 1 to 1.

Alexa Bliss came strolling down the aisle with her title in tow, got up on the apron and the referee was distracted so he didn’t see Becky’s cover on Mickie. James went to forearm Becky but missed and hit Alexa. James tried to roll Becky up, but Lynch rolled out of it and into a “Dis-Arm-Her.” Mickie tapped ending the match.

Becky Lynch won the match and her rivalry with Mickie James.

Backstage Segments

Luke Harper was shown backstage giving promo while staring at some old-school lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling by a wire.

The scene switched to Bray a promo saying, “may the best man win.” He said Randy Orton is his blood. He then held up the WWE Championship and called himself a God. Great stuff.

Alexa Bliss was interviewed backstage and she gave a great heel promo. She got a nice pop when she mentioned she was the first two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion. She’s so great. Natalya walked up while doing a “slow clap” and congratulated Bliss for her victory last week saying they both had big wins. Natalya made a crack about how they are both championship superstars, Alexa tried to question her and Nattie said, “I’m just kidding, it’s all about you. Until I take that title from you”. Nattie bopped Alexa on the nose and left leaving The Five Feet of Fury looking confused.

Renee Young interviews AJ Styles where he made a great crack about Harper’s feet hitting first in the battle royal match and said, “it’s too bad we didn’t have another camera angle.” They did, WWE just didn’t use any of them because it would expose the botched ending. AJ said he was going to win and that was that.

AJ Styles vs. Luke Harper (#1 Contender Match)

This match was so special that it got its very own article. You can get full coverage on this match by clicking here.

Backstage Segment

John Cena and Nikki Bella were backstage with Renee Young when Carmella and James Ellsworth came up to trash talk them. They said John and Nikki were phonies and Cena challenged them to a mixed-tag match next week.

So, we have that to look forward to now.

Daniel Bryan congratulates AJ Styles backstage and The Phenomenal One turns down Bryan’s handshake saying he was going to take Bray Wyatt up on his invitation.

Dean Ambrose vs. Curt Hawkins

Ambrose walked right out and hit Hawkins with a Dirty Deeds before the bell rang to lay him out before the match even started. That was very Stone Cold of him. Dean grabbed the mic and cut an intense promo against Baron Corbin. The Lunatic Fringe invited Baron to the ring but Corbin appeared on the big screen instead.

Baron started talking and Dean interrupted him saying he only had 15 minutes left on his meter and he needed to move his car. That was clever. At this point Dean Ambrose is like Stone Cold meets Bugs Bunny, he’s a wise-cracking badass who isn’t afraid to bleed all over you.

Corbin cut a pretty nice backstage promo where he said he would take everything from Dean (bet you he can’t take Renee). They traded insults and the segment ended, even more, solidifying the fact The Lone Wolf will challenge The Lunatic Fringe for the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania 33.

Backstage Segment

Neville hypes his match against Jack Gallagher at Fastlane and plugs the fact 205 Live is still on.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews (Chairs Match)

There were chairs set up all around the ring. It looked like they were going to shoot an album cover for a WWE-inspired choir, but the singers hadn’t shown up yet.

Dolph didn’t make it to the ring as Crews jumped Ziggles from behind. The bell rang, but Dolph was already way behind and Crews’ stamina meter was flashing.

Apollo grabbed a chair but didn’t have a chance to use it before Ziggler hit him with a kick to the stomach and a Rude Awakening. Apollo hit Ziggler with a moonsault off the apron to a standing Ziggler on the floor and Dolph kind of caught him but it didn’t matter because the former Uhaa Nation landed on his feet like a cat.

Apollo hit a standing moonsault on Ziggler while he had a chair on his chest. It’s never made much sense to us why people do that. Wouldn’t putting a chair on someone you’re about to jump on be more like blocking your own move before you execute it. Learn to never question the unquestionable.

Crews kept bringing the fight to Ziggler until Dolph drove Apollo throat first on the top of an unfolded chair in the middle of the ring. The referee looked concerned, which was cute. Crews coughed a lot and Ziggler racked Crews’ apollos on the top of the chair.

Dolph rolled Crews up and got the three-count. The chairs match was over with 15 minutes left to go. Something else must be planned, and it’s probably going to be dark and full of intrigue. Fun.

Bray Wyatt’s Invocation

According to Google, an “invocation” is “the action of invoking something or someone for assistance or as an authority.” So, that’s what Bray was up to in the closing segment of Smackdown Live this week.

AJ Styles won the #1 contender match fair and square, so it’ll take some real storyline shenanigans to take that back, but we’re sure WWE creative is up to the challenge. One things is for sure, Luke Harper is looking to be further and further away from the title chase now.

Wyatt came out alone (if you don’t count his fireflies that dotted the entire arena). The lights stayed on and a spotlight hit the Eater of Worlds as he spoke. He said it didn’t matter either way whether it was Luke or AJ because they are both mortals and something happens to a man when they are in the ring with a deity. Wyatt is a God, we get it.

Randy appeared on the big screen and Orton was in the Wyatt’s creepy shack which he called a kingdom complete with a box of worms. Nice real estate.

Randy said he can smell the stench of evil in the air. He said it was Bray’s world, but it’s not his. Things just got Jerry Springer up in this party. Family discord.

Randy said if you can’t beat em, join em, and when it’s the right time, then screw em. Randy proceeded to talk about how sacred the shack was because underneath the floorboards is the sister of Satan, Sister Abigail.

Randy then pulled out a pick-axe and it felt like we were going to have a Katie Vick deal all over again.

Orton asked Bray how long it’s been that the maggots and worms have been eating Abigail’s bones. This is quality family programming! The Viper delivered his lines with expertise as the rocking chair next to him continued to go back and forth.

Orton said that in a momemt he will be the master and Bray will be the servant. Randy stopped the rocking chair, and things got real. Randy pulled a gas can off the floor and started dousing the entire shack with the flammable liquid, not forgetting to cover the rocking chair as well.

Randy said he was coming for Bray and his title at WrestleMania. He poured another gas can all over Bray’s pet worms, which we guess is Sister Abigail’s body. Bray remained in the ring on his hands and knees pleading for Orton not to do it.

Orton went outside the shack as he continued to pour more and more gasoline to stretch a line out to where he lit a match and the whole place went up in flames. Creepy stuff.

This was some of the best promo work we’ve seen in a long time, too bad the new #1 contender was already chosen tonight. As the shack went up in flames, Randy did his signature pose with the flames behind him. That’s sure to make a video package or four.

Smackdown Live ended with Bray rocking himself like a scared child holding his head in agony.

Best Smackdown Live all year!