Follow along with our review of Tuesday night’s episode of WWE SmackDown.
On Tuesday night, the latest episode of WWE SmackDown took place. The show looked to follow up on what had been seen to open up 2017. This included a big match being set up, Dolph Ziggler turning heel, and more direction being brought to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
The main event of SmackDown would see John Cena and Baron Corbin battle. This comes after their interaction during last Tuesday’s WWE Championship contract signing. This is Corbin’s highest profile match singles yet, including his title shot in the six-pack challenge in September. Would he be able to walk out with a surprising win over the Leader of the Cenation?
American Alpha would defend the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against the Wyatt Family in a rematch. Tensions have surrounded Randy Orton and Luke Harper in recent weeks, which seems set to send this stable into chaos. Would there be a new development?
One week after turning heel, Dolph Ziggler would be back in action to show off his newfound attitude on SmackDown. He faced Kalisto after their surprising encounter from the January 3 show. Would Ziggler be able to start winning? Or would the Lucha Dragon make his presence felt?
Dean Ambrose and the Miz also stood face to face in the ring to continue their feud. Nikki Bella, Natalya, Carmella, and others were also seen on SmackDown to continue the road to the Royal Rumble.
So, what would go down on SmackDown? Follow along with our review of the show from January 10.
Ambrose says he’s the first champion of SmackDown Live to enter the Royal Rumble match. He then shows an alligator head on his barstool and brings out the Miz and Maryse. Miz then announces he will enter the Royal Rumble match.
The A-lister claims that his match with Ambrose should have ended early due to outside interference. He tells the Lunatic Fringe to hand over his Intercontinental Championship. Instead, Ambrose breaks out the Miz Participation Award and hands it to him. Miz then attacks him, but eventually leads to Ambrose hitting Dirty Deeds after Maryse accidentally slapped her husband.
We have two more entrants into the Royal Rumble match, both of whom are not surprises to be joining the field. They will not be favorites to win, but both should have a significant run through the match. Ambrose and Miz would even be intriguing candidates to be two of the first ones in the match and last the longest out of everyone else.
Overall, though, these two have had an entertaining mid-card feud and has been one of the main focuses of SmackDown. The Intercontinental Championship continues to remain important with the Miz around, and Ambrose having the title for the second consecutive year only helps it.
As Nikki Bella headed out for her match against Natalya, the Hart family member attacked her from behind. The odds are being set up for Natalya to pull off a victory here, unless Bella recovers. This could end up being a quick match.
Nikki went after Natalya before the bell could even ring. The Fearless One went right after her foe and brawled around ringside. Natalya ended up trying to escape, but got pulled back into the ring area and continued the fight.
No match needed to happen for this, especially with the blood that these two have out for each other. Why would Bella want to have a civilized wrestling match when she could just get revenge for the person who just tried to injure her?
It also looks like we’re about to get an injury storyline with Natalya after she seemingly hurt Nikki’s left knee. Could this be a way of taking one of the “Total Divas” stars off TV for a little while?
Result: Kalisto defeated Dolph Ziggler via pinfall.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
Ziggler displayed a more methodical style of wrestling with this match, using a lot of rest holds and showing off his amateur moves from Kent State. He did not show too much aggression, but definitely played the role of a heel here. Maybe as he continues to develop his new bad guy persona, he will show off a darker side to his character.
An amazing part of this came from the crowd who chanted for Ziggler, something mostly unheard of since his feud with Rusev in 2015. It represents the fresh persona that the former Intercontinental Champion has taken on, which always helps with fan support (e.g the “YES!” chants).
And people are actually excited for a matchup for once because the damn story makes sense and hasn't been seen 5 times in 3 weeks. #SDLivehttps://t.co/CYHjYUmqdm
The quick win from Kalisto also surprised, which led to Ziggler clubbing the Lucha Dragon with a clothesline. He then broke out a chair and destroyed him with the object. Crews making the save also interjects him into this feud, but he got overpowered by Ziggler too, who looked strong once again.
Cena says that Baron Corbin has his sights set on him. The Leader of the Cenation discusses how AJ Styles called him a “has-been.” Cena then spoke into the camera and called out both Corbin and Styles.
This edginess from the 15-time world champion has been intriguing. It may just be a new side to him, or eventually leading to a heel turn down the road. This has not happened in well over a decade, but maybe with Cena somewhat being a part-timer now, it could be time to pull the trigger. There would still be a long road needed to get there, however.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match American Alpha (c) vs. The Wyatt Family
Result: American Alpha defeated the Wyatt Family via pinfall.
Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Like Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton would receive his own chants for being a heel. Not quite the scenario that the Showoff had been in, but the fans have been behind Orton and this new stable since they came together last fall.
As always, one of the fun parts of an American Alpha match is the Jason Jordan hot tag. The guy can move around with momentum like few others in WWE with his power arsenal.
We would see a sign of tension with Orton and Luke Harper when the Viper knocked his stablemate off the apron by using Chad Gable. Harper then tried arguing with the referee, leading to Orton getting distracted and rolled up for the American Alpha win.
Orton and Harper arguing and shoving each other represents the weeks, if not months of frustrations between the two. Harper accidentally kicking and knocking down Wyatt also seems like a goal of Orton’s from the beginning, even if he has not officially announced this as his intention (yet).
Lynch is backstage with Daniel Bryan reviewing the tape from last week’s match with two La Luchadoras. Alexa Bliss says she tried to find the identity of La Luchadora last week and mocks Lynch. Bryan announces that Bliss vs. Lynch for the SmackDown Women’s Championship will take place next week. He puts them in a Steel Cage match.
Steel Cage matches are never anything significant, but getting a women’s one should be something different.
Corbin got aggravated at John Cena’s words from earlier in the night, and said it would be his “End of Days.” AJ Styles then approached him and said it’s Corbin night. Styles then made his way out for commentary.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
Result: John Cena defeated Baron Corbin via pinfall.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Well, Corbin did not live up to the hype he talked about throughout WWE SmackDown. He took a big AA from Cena and faced his defeat, a result not too surprising. The Face That Runs the Place in less than three weeks away from potentially winning his 16th World title, so there would be little to no reason for WWE to give him a surprising loss in a TV match.
As for the Lone Wolf, this should not do too much to hurt him, especially if he goes back on Talking Smack to cut a promo like he has in recent weeks. His words have been strong because he has backed them up. However, if WWE decides to have Corbin speak later tonight, he will have to still be made to look intimidating as he heads into the Royal Rumble match.