WWE’s Smackdown brand is going through a transition, to say the least. They’re fresh off of the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view where two top singles champions were crowned and tonight’s Smackdown Live will see them make their first appearances on television with their new hardware.
However, Bray Wyatt had to prove that he deserved to be the big boss of the blue brand when he put his title on the line as John Cena invoked his rematch clause.
We did an entire article about this opening segment because it was pretty awesome, if you want to read it (which of course, we suggest), you can get to that here.
Excuse this writer while he marks out for a moment… BRAY IS THE CHAMPION…
Okay, thank you for that. All better now.
Dean Ambrose is shown backstage looking for Baron Corbin with his Intercontinental Title behind him.
American Alpha vs. The Ascension
The Ascension didn’t look happy and they have a brand new reason to be bitter seeing that their just had their stuff stolen from them. They made a big deal on commentary about how The Ascension almost beat American Alpha at the Elimination Chamber but they didn’t mention that it was because The Usos beat the unholy hell out of them first. This is a glaring omission to make an educated opinion of The Ascension. Because honestly, it made them look all that much weaker by not being able to finish off Alpha after they had just received such a beat-down.
But that’s WWE storytelling for you.
American Alpha didn’t receive a pre-match Samoan beatdown in Anaheim, so they came out the gate with straight fire. Alpha made Konnor and Viktor bend to their will as they simultaneously clotheslined them both outside of the ring.
American Alpha took back control because they’re really big and mean. They kept Gable away from the hot tag for a while, but Jordan eventually got the tag and started cleaning house a little bit. Jordan hit both members of The Ascension with suplexes as Mauro called him a “suplex savant,” that was cute.
American Alpha hit their double-team finisher and that was the contest.
Then The Usos appeared on the big screen with the camera feeling like an old SHIELD promo. They challenged American Alpha for their titles, and they didn’t look scared of Rikishi’s kids.
Dean Ambrose and Ellsworth Backstage Segment
Dean Ambrose is still on the hunt for Baron Corbin and runs into Carmella and James Ellsworth. Ambrose told Ellsworth that Carmella is no good and he should try online dating. Carmella said that Dean looks like he works at a gas station and Ambrose requested a match with Ellsworth from Daniel Bryan as the bearded GOAT happened to stroll by.
Daniel booked the match for later in the night leaving James to wonder what just happened.
That would be kind of an awful situation to have. One minute you’re chilling with The Princess of Staten Island, and the next minute you’re in line for a beat down from the Lunatic Fringe. No mas, for Ellsworth.
Dean Ambrose vs. James Ellsworth (Well, That Was The Plan Anyway)
Ellsworth was in the ring and told the crowd not to boo Carmella because he is her only “boo,” that’s clever. The people weren’t buying it. Then Dean Ambrose’s music hit but he was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly Baron Corbin emerged on the entrance while dragging Dean behind him like a beaten dog. It looks like Ambrose found Corbin. Ambrose tried to fight back, but Corbin ended up performing a Deep 6 through a table in the production area next to the stage. Sparks flew as Dean plummeted through the table and the crowd popped pretty heavy for that one.
So, I guess we won’t get to see James Ellsworth take a Dirty Deeds? #SadFace
Nikki Bella Backstage Segment
Nikki and Daniel Bryan were backstage watching the footage from Nikki’s brawl Bella with Nattie. Daniel said that this situation needed to end for good and he had a plan that he thought Nikki would like. Then Natalya walked up to Nikki and started some crap.
The two ended up brawling a little bit until they were pulled apart. Daniel Bryan had enough at that point and announced that since Nikki and Nattie love to fight anywhere but the ring, then they would compete in a falls count anywhere match next week.
Baron Corbin was backstage being interviewed and said that he isn’t the WWE Champion because of Dean Ambrose, enough said. Okay. That was effective.
They announce that Ambrose was taken to a “medical facility” for a check up after the ambush and subsequent Deep 6 by Corbin.
Renee Young was backstage (so obviously Dean is alright) and she interviewed Dolph Ziggler. Heel Ziggler kept up his brutal mindset and he looked like he meant business
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Becky Lynch is incredibly over, she probably had the biggest pop of the night so far apart from AJ Styles. Mickie James still looks incredible. After WWE brought her in to put Asuka over at Takeover: Toronto fans were scratching their heads as to why she got another shot. But, she more than proved herself and showed that she still had “it” in the process. Therefore she was offered a three-year-deal and fans are lucky to have her back in WWE’s landscape.
Mickie blew a little kiss to Becky, which is much better than the gesture she made at WrestleMania 22 that had to be censored. Becky then grounded James with a hammerlock and applied the pressure until James separated herself from the Lass Kicker.
Becky grabbed Mickie’s arm, but James wrapped herself in the ropes causing the referee to break them apart. Becky kept the pressure on Mickie James and started just pushing her down over and over at one point until James powered out of the ring.
James took her time getting back in the ring and started to take it to Becky with some forearms, but Becky came back with a pair of arm drag takeovers and another arm submission hold. Mickie was really selling the arm work Lynch was doing to her pretty well.
James attempted a corner hurricanrana, but Becky grabbed her and sent her outside of the ring. Lynch followed her outside and charged James, but they ended up taking each other out with double clotheslines.
Once they got back in the ring, James took control of the match once more and grounded Lynch with a chinlock. Becky charged herself up and took James out with a couple of clotheslines and a lariat. She tried to get James with a Becksploder Suplex, but Mickie blocked it.
James scaled the top rope, but Becky moved out of the way and hit James with her patented Becksploder Suplex, but James kicked out at two. Becky placed James on the top rope and after some more business, Becky threw Mickie outside and she landed hard. Mickie started selling her shoulder hard as the announce team started hyping the fact that she might have dislocated it.
Suddenly Mickey’s shoulder got all better very quickly as she hit Becky Lynch with the Mick Kick, pinned the Lass Kicker, and got the cheap victory. It was a very good match, and it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings if things are only getting started for these two.
Naomi Interview Segment
The two new champions crowned at Elimination Chamber have very commanding slogans, but this writer doesn’t know which he should do. To feel the glow or follow the buzzards, that is the question. Perhaps one should seek out the glowing buzzards and follow them, regardless, the crowd was very happy for Naomi.
Renee interviewed The Glow and she had to power through the “You deserve it” chants because obviously, they are running long. Naomi was sporting a knee brace and said that she didn’t even know she was injured until she got back to the hotel room on Sunday. Naomi said she is taking her title the WrestleMania just as Alexa Bliss’ music hit and Little Miss Bliss came out to deliver one of her awesome heel promos.
Alexa said that Naomi dreamed up her injury because Naomi didn’t want to face her again. She said that Naomi isn’t going to feel the glow, she is going to feel the feeling of someone that flopped. She’s been given better lines.
Regardless, Bliss has a swagger on the microphone and really got that crowd to hate her. Naomi called Bliss a little flea and threatened to snap her. Alexa said that she’s giving Naomi one week to get her rematch or she’ll take it back anyway.
Bray Wyatt vs. AJ Styles vs. John Cena (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship)
When John Cena invoked his rematch clause to challenge Bray Wyatt he had no idea that AJ Styles would be jumping on board to make it a triple threat match, but it happened. John Cena got a decent pop when he came out, but some might think that fans were just excited to yell that he sucked.
As soon as AJ Styles’ music hit, the Honda Center exploded almost like they hadn’t already seen him earlier in the night. The Phenomenal One had a look on his face that meant he was ready for business. He got in the ring and didn’t even let the fact that Cena was standing there phase him.
Then the lights went down, and the fireflies came up once more. Bray Wyatt sauntered to the ring in his own unique way leading some to wonder where Randy Orton was because he had yet to make his presence known up until that point. The WWE Championship glowed with the light of his lantern, and when the lights came back up he found Luke Harper standing behind him.
Harper jumped on Wyatt and took him down. He threw Bray into the barricade and nearly took his head off with a kick to the head before Bray even got in the ring. This was not the best way for Bray to start his first title defense.
The match got started without Wyatt in the ring as AJ and Cena went at it to prove why they just had a 4 3/4 star match at Royal Rumble. The action made it to the outside and AJ took Cena out for a moment allowing him to turn his focus to Bray Wyatt. He threw Bray in the ring and started ramming his shoulder into Wyatt’s midsection as the “Eater of Worlds” was trapped in the turnbuckle.
Styles kicked Wyatt’s leg out from underneath him and hit him with a DDT for a two-count. Bray hit Styles with a stiff shoulder block as AJ bounced off the ropes and started to take the fight to the former face of TNA.
John Cena jumped in the ring and picked up where AJ left off. He slammed Wyatt and hit him with a 5 knuckle shuffle. Bray set Cena up for a Sister Abigail, but AJ hit Wyatt with a Phenomenal Forearm out of nowhere nowhere. Cena got Styles with an Attitude Adjustment, but AJ kicked out at two.
Bray started doing his creepy spider walk and caught Cena with a Sister Abigail for another two-count. This match was so full of big spots it was almost too much to keep up with. The fans in attendance were electric and you could tell that you were watching something special. All three of these guys are a the top of their games and coming off of amazing angles, theoretically, any one of them could very well hold the title for the blue brand.
Bray ended up going for another Sister Abigail, but Cena turned it into another AA for a close two-count. This crowd popped hard for Bray’s kick out, but no more than they did when AJ Styles hit Cena with a Styles Clash. Two count!
All three men were laying on the mat at this point and they looked spent. AJ got to his feet first and got outside to prepare for a Phenomenal Forearm, Cena hit the rope and AJ went tumbling down. By the time Cena turned around, he found himself in a Sister Abagail.
1-2-3 and John Cena put Bray Wyatt over clean!
This is a huge rub for Wyatt as he didn’t get that clean win from Cena during their previous feud. Now that he’s the WWE Champion, having John give Bray the clean win like this is a huge feather in his hat. Not only did Bray survive a pre-match attack from his former Wyatt Family brethren, but he came from behind to win like a bearded member of the Patriots.
Suddenly Randy Orton’s music hit and The Viper appeared on the entrance ramp. He walked slowly to the ring to get a closer look at Bray because he looks so damn good with that title. Randy took his time getting to the ring and took even more of his sweet time climbing up onto the apron.
Randy got a microphone and the two stood toe-to-toe. They were both quiet for a moment, but Orton broke the silence eventually by saying, “I won the Royal Rumble and all the privileges that come with it, but you are the WWE champion. However, as long as you are the master and I am the servant, I refuse to face you at WrestleMania. I pledge my undying allegiance to you, Bray Wyatt.”
Bray laughed and Orton handed him the microphone as he got on his knees and did the “Follow the Buzzards” sign. Bray said that he had the keys to the kingdom. The two men posed during the closing moments of the show.
Wow. This is getting good.