A lot happened this past Sunday at TLC, and I’m sure most fans were excited to see the fall out on this episode of Smackdown Live. I for one believe they did a good job at showcasing the follow up while improvising the main event scene.
AJ’s opening line in this promo was magnificent. On Sunday night, his torn tights were all people could talk about, and it was awesome how he was able to joke about it. Along with that, I loved how he put Ambrose over when speaking to Ellsworth. It was simply meant to scare James, but it also showed the audience what AJ thinks of Dean as a competitor. At the same time, it keeps the lunatic fringe strong after a big loss.
Styles wasn’t the only one that cut a solid promo, as Ellsworth executed his quite smoothly. Since the day he debuted, he’s always been booked as a comedic character, but his serious tone in this segment gave him another layer. At this point, he’s simply a delusional person, which makes for great character development. Also, Ambrose’s involvement in this promo was perfect. Without the use of words, he very much got his message across to Ellsworth, and hopefully that isn’t the last we’ll see of them.
Wyatt Family vs Beauty & The Man Beast
Usually I prefer title rematches to occur several weeks after the first match, but it made sense in this case. While Slater and Rhyno have a decent job at making the tag titles feel important, I believe they’ve run their course. It’s time to let the Wyatts take the titles to a whole new level.
Thankfully, this match never dragged. It was given the right amount of time, and it kept all the attention to the Wyatt Family. Once again, they feel like a dominant force within the WWE.
Carmella vs Natalya
It’s brilliant how fluid Carmella has become on the mic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wrestler improve in that department more than she has. While the material she had to recite was nothing more than “high school drama”, it completely worked for her. With that being said, it’s great to see how she’s being used in this feud with Nikki and Natalya. I always love it when heels don’t get along, and that appears to be the case for this program.
Hype Bros vs The Ascension
One thing I love about Smackdown is that we always get insert promos for the most meaningless of matches. It allows for them to create a small amount of context out of nothing.
The commentary team acknowledged that if either team won, they’d be moving one step closer to a match with the Wyatts, and I find that to be a smart way to give the fans a sense of ranking. This sense of ranking is a simple illusion that keeps the entire show competitive.
Miz TV w/Dean Ambrose
I don’t think Dean and the Miz have ever gone this deep in a promo together. Yes, they’ve interacted in the past, but not to this extent. If this, and his feud with Ellsworth, are just filler programs heading into the Royal Rumble, I don’t mind at all. Both have a legs to go deep into January.
Baron Corbin vs Kalisto
If they truly wanted to continue this feud, I believe some sort unsanctioned brawl would’ve worked better. We just saw these two in a chairs match, at least give them a break from each other. In terms of the outcome, it made Kalisto look like garbage. He got beat faster hear than on Sunday.
Chad Gable vs Tyler Breeze
The ironic part about this match is that at one point I’m sure Gable was jobbing out to Breeze down in NXT. Oh, how times have changed.
This was nothing more than an easy win for Chad Gable, but I’m glad it was on the show. AA did lose to the Wyatts last week, but as the top babyface tag team, it’s important they’re still booked as strong competitors.
Alexa Bliss Celebration
Since Bliss’ debut, I don’t believe she’s ever had to deal with a crowd chanting at her during a promo. It was obvious she stumbled a bit, but I applaud her for adapting on the fly. After that, her promo was as smooth as a whistle.
Kayfabe wise, Becky sounded like a sore loser while addressing Bliss. Considering her character’s personality, she should’ve been angry, but humble at the same time. Also, this promo felt way too short for a championship celebration. I wish both women were given some more content to further their feud.
The Miz vs Dean Ambrose
Since AJ was unable to compete on this show against Ellsworth, I thought the Smackdown writers did a good job at making this the main event. Based on the characters of Ambrose and Miz, I believe this made for an entertaining match. Along with that, I was happy that it was for the IC title, because it’s important that the championship is a factor in everything the Miz does.
In terms of in ring work, these two proved to have chemistry with one another. They didn’t have to do anything fancy, and I felt that the simple pace worked for telling their story. I’d still consider Ambrose higher on the food chain than the Miz, so I thought the finish they came up with was just right. Heading into this I was almost certain Maryse would be the reason behind Miz’s win, but thankfully she wasn’t. In fact, it’s refreshing to see her interfere, but not make a too much of a difference. Hopefully this trend continue’s for a while.
As for Ellsworth costing Dean, it was an excellent way to tie this in with the opening segment. The look on Ambrose’s face when he saw James was priceless, and it completely sold his hatred towards the chinless wonder. This worked great as hook for next week’s episode.
Considering how the writers for this show had to readjust the main event angle, I thought it was entertaining.Knowing that the next PPV isn’t until late January, and we’re upon the holiday season, I was impressed that this episode flowed as well as it did. As usual, the show was given a decent amount of context for most feuds, and there wasn’t much that felt like filler. I say this often, but this a good trend that Smackdown has started. The low point was Kalisto vs Corbin, while the high point was the opening segment. Overall, I give this show a well deserved 7/10.