Follow along with our review of Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live.
Tuesday on SmackDown Live, a tag team turmoil match will take place. The winning team will receive the number one contenders spot for Beauty and the Man Beast’s Tag Team titles.
Before the female elimination tag match took place at Survivor Series, an unknown assailant attacked Nikki Bella, effectively removing her from the match. At the present time, no one knows who is responsible, but you can expect that answer to be revealed tonight.
Fresh off of his controversial victory over Sami Zayn, current Intercontinental champion The Miz looks to continue his hot streak. The Awesome One still seems to have unfinished business with Dolph Ziggler, especially when you consider that the Showoff is likely to receive his rematch for the title soon. Look for this feud to progress more before potentially heading into what could be their final showdown at TLC.
After costing Kalisto (and SmackDown Live) the Cruiserweight Championship, Baron Corbin finds himself in dangerous waters. Disrespecting SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan did little to help his case, so expect Bryan to address this situation tonight.
At the conclusion of the all-star five on five Survivor Series matchup, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton emerged as the sole survivors for the Blue Brand. Riding a wave of momentum into tonight’s show, it’s likely that they will announce their next target during the episode.
Finally, with Survivor Series behind him, how will Dean Ambrose continue to be a thorn in the side of AJ Styles? With their TLC match on the horizon, the Lunatic Fringe will look to gain considerable momentum here on Tuesday.
The show starts with a recap of the male five on five elimination tag match at Survivor Series. Moments later Shane McMahon slowly made his way to the ring, clearly feeling the wounds from his latest match. The crowd showed their appreciation for Shane’s sacrifice on Sunday, delivering the “you still got it” chant. Before long Dean Ambrose made his way to the ring to a pretty decent crowd reaction. Hyping up SmackDown Lives’ victory, Ambrose invites a pretty banged up James Ellsworth to the ring.
Sporting a neck brace, Ellsworth became ecstatic when he learned that Shane McMahon was going to offer him a SmackDown Live contract. However, Shane’s good graces ended there, because he ejected Ambrose from the building due to his actions at Survivor Series.
As Ambrose headed to the back, AJ Styles made his entrance as well, complaining that the Lunatic Fringe should lose his title shot and his spot on SmackDown. Turning his attention to Ellsworth, he challenged the underdog to a ladder match here tonight. If Styles wins, Ellsworth must forfeit his newly acquired contract. Ellsworth agreed, so long as he receives a title shot should he win tonight. Styles gladly accepted the terms, and then Shane made the match the main event for tonight.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match The Miz (c) vs. Kalisto
Result: The Miz defeated Kalisto via pinfall to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Shifting to the backstage area, Daniel Bryan interrupted a photo shoot involving The Miz and Maryse. Although Miz boasted about his win at Survivor Series, Bryan brought up the fact that Maryse’s interference brought humiliation to the Blue Brand. He then announced that Miz would defend his championship against Kalisto following the commercial break.
Before the match, Shane escorted Ambrose to the arena exit. Waving goodbye to one of his top talents, it’s obvious that Shane is agitated that team SmackDown nearly imploded on Sunday.
A rather quick encounter, Kalisto appeared to have Miz beaten following a flurry of unique offense. As Kalisto made his way to the top turnbuckle, a timely distraction by Baron Corbin allowed Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. As Miz left the ring, the Lone Wolf hit Kalisto with the End of Days, furthering their feud. Moments later, Dolph Ziggler snuck up behind Miz and hit him with a superkick.
While this wasn’t a great match by any means, it served to progress two different storylines. Considering that SmackDown only has two hours to work with a week, it’s understandable why short matches such as this are common. Hopefully, all four talents are given the chance to shine whenever they compete in their respective matches.
Tag Team Turmoil to Determine Heath Slater and Rhyno’s TLC Opponent
Result: American Alpha win Tag Team Turmoil.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
Quick eliminations defined the match early on, but everything changed following the emergence of the Usos. The encounter they had with American Alpha showcased why both teams are on the rise, and tonight it was the right move for the Usos to put over the younger team. American Alpha was given no time to celebrate, though, because immediately after their victory the new Wyatt family appeared on the titantron. They announced that next week, American Alpha will face them to determine the true number one contender.
Following that match, Ellsworth and Bryan met backstage and talked about the determination of an underdog. Yet again, Ambrose made his way into the arena. This time he was dressed as a Mountie, but the humorous situation didn’t last. Shane discovered Ambrose and was understandably livid, and rather than deal with Ambrose tonight he left the show at the behest of Bryan.
Result: Becky Lynch defeated Natalya via submission
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
As No. 1 contender Alexa Bliss provided guest commentary, Becky Lynch and Natalya put on a solid encounter. A quick counter out of an attempted Sharpshooter by Natalya allowed Lynch to lock in the Disarmer for the win. Before Lynch could even get her hand raised, Bliss rushed into the ring and left the champion laying on the mat following a vicious DDT.
Although Lynch and Bliss have lost some of the luster since their first encounter, both women are performing at an exemplary level. Bliss’s organic heelish nature is a perfect personality to bounce off the proud and respectable Lynch. Expect these two to outdo their previous match when they clash at TLC.
For the final time tonight, Daniel Bryan made an appearance backstage. Talking to Miz and Maryse, he announced that Miz will face Ziggler once more at the TLC event. To ensure that this is the match that ends the feud, Bryan decided to make the encounter a ladder match. During a backstage segment involving Nikki Bella and Carmella, it was also announced that the two women will face off in a no disqualification match at the next pay-per-view.
Result: Baron Corbin defeated Kane via disqualification.
Up next is Kane versus Baron Corbin. Before the match could even get into gear, Kalisto rushed to the ring and drew the disqualification finish. This distracted Corbin long enough to allow Kane to hit him with a chokeslam, and then Kalisto hit the Lone Wolf with a steel chair before the heel retreated up the ramp.
An interesting match on paper was thrown away due to time constraints and the ongoing feud between Corbin and Kalisto. Although Kane isn’t one of the greatest workers on the roster, as a solid veteran of the main roster he should be built more accordingly. He can still be a great asset for helping to put over younger talent.
Result: James Ellsworth defeated AJ Styles to earn a WWE contract.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
In the main event of the evening, a cocky AJ Styles toyed with James Ellsworth. As if things weren’t unfair enough heading into the match, the injuries Ellsworth. Right when it appeared as though Styles was going to rid the WWE Universe of Ellsworth, Ambrose made the save and attacked the champion. He attempted to get Ellsworth back into the match, but Styles managed to recover and hit the Phenomenal Forearm on the Lunatic Fringe. Once again Styles went for the win, but then Ellsworth knocked Styles off the ladder and hit the No Chin Music. While the move did little to effect Styles, it did cause the champions foot to get tied in the bottom rope. This allowed Ellsworth to climb the ladder and win his third straight match against the WWE Champion.
Even though the match result was obvious from a mile away, it’s still nice to see an underdog like Ellsworth in such a prominent spotlight. The repeated victories over Styles are starting to get a little repetitive, however, and it’s only serving to hurt Style’s credibility in the eyes of the fans. Beyond the upcoming title match, it would be wise for WWE to finally allow Ellsworth to part ways with the main event scene. He should still be featured on SmackDown LIVE, but not at the level that he is currently.