Not only was this episode of Smackdown exciting to watch, it gave the fans a reason to tune in next week. It’s incredible how the WWE isn’t afraid to grow feuds throughout the holidays, and that shows their determination to give the fans a solid product.
AJ Styles vs James Ellsworth
I for one was accepting of this match opening the show. It’s what fans were anticipating, and there’s no better way to kick off the show than giving them a title match.
The ass kicking AJ handed was brutal, and fun to watch. I was expecting something longer, but Styles’ quick win added to the charm. Of course James isn’t supposed to be any kind of competition, but this loss made AJ look like an absolute beast. In a odd way, it also babyfaced the champ.
Dolph Ziggler interrupting AJ’s post match promo was a nice touch. It built towards next week’s show, which obviously keeps both the championship narrative going. Along with that, Corbin was a solid addition to this promo, and his attack on Ziggler gave the fans something else to look forward to on this show.
Apollo Crews vs Dolph Ziggler
Who would’ve thought we were going to see two titles matches on this show?
Based on Apollo Crews’ lack of entrance, it was fairly obvious what the outcome was going to be. Also, seeing Crews challenege for the IC title isn’t anything note worthy. He definitely needs much more build up before he becomes a credible personality on Smackdown.
As for the finish, it was completely overshadowed by the Miz’s post match comments. I actually shouted “oh sh*t” when he made that smart remark towards Rene Young. It was funny and fitting for a character such as the Miz. One can say that was “straight savage”.
Natalya/Nikki Bella/Carmella Promo
Wow, the non-PG jokes were running rampant on this episode of Smackdown. The silicone remark from Carmella was a bit of a shocker. I’d definitely say she was the highlight prior to Natalya’s attack.
Natalya’s post brawl promo was excellent. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such strong mic work from her. It was certainly mark out worthy, and I for one can’t wait to see how this feud plays out. This may not be the most meaningful of feuds, but the wrestlers involved are doing a great job at playing their roles.
Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper
There was a tad bit of split focus going on during this match, but it worked. While the writers are pushing a Miz-Ambrose feud, it’s great to see that the two still have matches outside of that.
Harper and Ambrose have feuded in the past, so their in ring chemistry isn’t a mystery. The two worked a simple match that was exciting. I didn’t think Orton or Wyatt would be dragged in, but that was simply a bonus for the fans. The post match beat down added depth into the overall Smackdown narrative. Even though Ambrose is set to feud with the IC champ, he’s still not safe from the Wyatt Family, which is a great way to intersect two stories.
Once Ambrose was laid out, I didn’t expect the Miz to attack him, so that was somewhat of a swerve. Overall, it was incredible to see how much this program was furthered on this show.
Alexa Bliss vs La Luchadora
Initially I thought Alexa was wrestling a local jobber, but once the match went longer than expected I had a feeling something was up. After La Luchadora locked in the disarmer, I couldn’t help but laugh. This was smart way to further the feud while giving both women a chance to wrestle each other. There’s been so many occasions where the two wrestlers involved in a feud simply wrestle a match, but this was a creative spin on that.
Curt Hawkins vs Mojo Rawley
This match was given some context, but it was nothing but filler. There was no reason to care about it. Well, if you’re a fan of Shooter, this may have been the highlight of the show.
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin
It was neat to see this match as the main event. Earlier in the show it was given context, and most importantly, it had meaning. As fans, we knew that something would emerge from the end result.
In the past, these two have had some dull matches, but this wasn’t one of them. Since they had a story to tell, the intensity was strong. Corbin was perfectly showcased as a dominant competitor, while Ziggler allowed his pesky character to get him over. Basically, the two played to their strengths.
It’s worth noting how amazing AJ was on commentary. His fear of Corbin was intriguing, and it put over the main roster rookie. I didn’t think he’d get involved after the count out, but it allowed for him to look more aggressive than usual. Overall, the champ was booked to look like the best on this Smackdown roster (which isn’t quite common for WWE heels).
Once again, Smackdown continues to showcase why it’s the superior brand. From start to finish, this show included a ton of substance. It appears the WWE is doing their best to keep fans watching during the holiday season, and it should work.
The low point was Rawley vs Hawkins, while the high point was the opening match. Overall, I give this episode a 8/10.