WWE SmackDown Live 02/14/17 promises a WWE Championship match between Bray Wyatt and John Cena. Clearly, they’re wasting no time getting Cena’s contractually obligated rematch out of the way. Will the match feature the return of Erick Rowan to help Bray? Will Miz get involved to further the alleged Cena / Bella vs. Miz / Maryse match at WrestleMania? Also on deck tonight is another Elimination Chamber rematch as Becky Lynch will be facing Mickie James. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE SmackDown Live 02/14/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a video package that gives brief highlights of the Elimination Chamber. No standard SmackDown Live video credits, no pyro, and we cold open on Bray Wyatt’s entrance. Wyatt bathes in the “you deserve it” chants a bit after the lights come up and then cuts a Sister Abigail themed promo. Bray finishes by saying that now that he holds the title he truly holds the whole damn world in his hands. Bray welcomes us to the Wyatt Era and then Cena’s music hits to ruin the party.
Cena hits the ring and cuts one of his edgy “heel” promos where he berates the crowd for chanting “you deserve it” and claims that Bray has a massive target on his back now that he has the belt. Cena doesn’t want to wait until later tonight for his rematch, he wants to go right now.
This brings out AJ Styles, who correctly calls out Cena for trying to get his one on one rematch for the title first. AJ claims that Cena line jumps at the grocery store and the airport, no, wait. Cena is a private plane flyin’ son of a gun! But the fact remains this is about AJ and he wants HIS rematch right here, right now.
Daniel Bryan is out, congratulates Bray on his win, but says now he has a conundrum. Both Cena and AJ are owed one on one rematches for the WWE Championship. Bryan’s response to that? Make a Triple Threat match, which shouldn’t really sate either guy. But, Cena sells this by running around in place and pointing at Bray and AJ like he’s a five-year-old. I guess we’re doing this.
Later tonight? Becky vs. Mickie in a rematch from the Elimination Chamber. Even later tonight? New Women’s Champion, Naomi, will address the crowd.
Up next? American Alpha has a match. They’re backstage right now, and they’re… walking!
Back from break, Dean Ambrose is storming down a hallway in the back looking for Baron Corbin.
Meanwhile, American Alpha are out for a match. They’re facing The Ascension who are out next.
Match #1: American Alpha vs. The Ascension
After the seemingly random resurgence of the Ascension the past few weeks, I had hoped WWE remembered they had them on the roster still and were going to do something. Heck, maybe even do the Makeover of the Ascension into the Ascesionlina. But no such luck. I mean, they look better than usual in this match. However, this match seemed to exist to put Alpha over as the division killing top tag team that they’ve become. We get a brief tease of an Ascension upset towards the end when Jordan is tossed out of the ring and Gable is isolated. But, moments later, Alpha is hitting a Grand Amplitude out of nowhere.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I like Alpha well enough, but this is already getting stale and they’ve only been champs for six weeks or so.
Post-match, the Usos appear on the screen and the Usos vs. Alpha feud is teased yet again, but time will tell if WWE ever pulls the trigger on that.
Next, we see Carmella and James Ellsworth backstage. Ellsworth wants to take Carmella out for Valentine’s Day, but she reminds James they have to stay professional. Ambrose, still searching for Corbin, comes in and gives James Ellsworth a “nickel’s worth of advice”. Said advice is that Carmella is playing James and he should try online dating. Carmella calls Dean a “gas station attendant” and wants James to stand up to Dean. Daniel Bryan appears, Dean begs Bryan for a chance to “beat the crap” out of Ellsworth, so Bryan makes a match. Ellsworth looks worried and Carmella tells James he just got a chance to teach Ambrose a lesson tonight.
Later tonight? Beck vs. Mick.
Back from break, anyone that didn’t watch Raw or read social media this week learns that Teddy Long is going into the Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, Ellsworth and Carmella are already in the ring. James calls Carmella his “boo” and puts her over. Ambrose’s music hits and he doesn’t come out. Finally, a battered Ambrose is drug out through the entrance area by Corbin. They start brawling by a tech area the side of the stage. Dean dives off a road case, but Corbin hits Ambrose with a Deep Six onto a table that causes sparks to fly. A bunch of refs come out to check on Dean and get Corbin to leave. Jimmy dodged a bullet tonight!
Next, we see the Nikki / Natalya backstage brawl at Elimination Chamber that caused Maryse to get powdered. This fades into Daniel Bryan admonishing Nikki and telling her this stuff has to stop. Nikki says that she keeps getting attacked and needs to be able to defend herself. Nattie eventually shows up and they start arguing again about the same old stuff. They start brawling and security guards pull them apart. Bryan loses it and makes Falls Count Anywhere match between the two for next week. He’s so frustrated he even exclaims “JESUS!” before leaving.
Later tonight? The main event is now a triple threat match.
Back from break, we’re reminded that Dean Ambrose’s body just set off some pyrotechnics at the hands of Baron Corbin.
Meanwhile, Corbin is now backstage… walking… when Dasha has the audacity to do her job and attempt to interview him. Corbin banters about how stupid everyone is and says that Dean Ambrose is on the way to the hospital now “because Baron Corbin”.
Somewhere else backstage, Renee Young is with Dolph Ziggler. Dolph’s new vibe is that he has a problem with the entire “new era” for coming in and thinking they’re going to take his spot. Ziggler says he’ll single-handedly wipe out “an entire generation” if he has to. No one takes Dolph’s place, but a lot of people are about to be put in theirs.
Back in the arena, Becky’s music hits and she’s out for her match.
Back from break, Mickie James is out. I’m assuming they’re running with her entrance theme because it’s what she used to use during her last run. But, man, especially with her as a jaded heel, she needs to come out to something else.
Match #2: Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Wow. I actually enjoyed this match a lot more than their Elimination Chamber match. I’m not sure if it was because they went on first on the PPV, or because they needed time to work out their in-ring chemistry, but the PPV match felt kind of flat to me. Here, not so much. Becky works Mickie’s arm to soften her up for the Disarmer. Mickie attempts to fight back but only gets in a fleeting spot here and there. Becky gets a rash of 2 counts until Mickie gets knocked off the apron to the floor. It gets really good from here on out because Mickie sells a false injury to the degree the ref keeps holding Becky back. The ref starts to call for the trainers when Mickie hits Becky in the head with a Mick Kick and covers her for the win. The ref did a great job of selling shock / disgust as Mickie covers for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – This is the kind of stuff I was hoping their PPV would match would be so I’m glad we finally got it. Their next meeting should be “straight fire”.
Up next? We’re going to hear from Naomi.
Back from break, Naomi is already in the ring, wearing street clothes… and is that a knee brace on her leg? What? Thanks to the “completely accurate” internet reports (side-eye at Wrestling Inc. and several other sites) it was reported that Naomi worked a six-woman match at the live event in Oakland Monday night. But, that was incorrect as many quickly informed me on Twitter. So I guess this injury is legit, but it’s minor enough that they’re not going to strip her of the title. Anyway, Renee interviews Naomi, who mentions the injury but vows it will not prevent her from walking into WrestleMania with the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Cue Alexa Bliss. Alexa comes out and cuts a promo on the “glow worm” mocking the injury. Alexa implies that Naomi’s injury is fake and she’s just dodging Alexa because she realized she got lucky on Sunday night. They banter back and forth a bit and Alexa says she’s giving Naomi a week to either surrender the title or take a beating from Alexa. Bliss is in top heel promo form as is typical from her. Considering Naomi is out of action right now, this was a more than suitable segment to replace an actual match.
Next, we learn tonight’s 205 Live main event is Neville vs. T.J. Perkins. T.J. cuts a brief promo on Neville to hype everyone up for tonight’s show.
Cena is out first for the main event and AJ follows him. Bray’s music hits after a pause. When he gets to ring side, he blows out his lantern and Luke Harper is standing there staring at him. Harper proceeds to kick the crap out of Bray and leaves him on the ground. Refs try to restore order as we go to break. I guess we now know what it means when it’s Tuesday.
Back from break, we join the triple threat already in progress.
Match #3: Bray Wyatt (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. John Cena (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship)
As far as triple threat matches go, this one was pretty good. Harper’s interference only seemed to take Bray out of the part of the match that happened during the commercial break. Everyone seemed to expect Miz to show up here and cost Cena the match, but they wisely refrained from doing that. Instead we got another great match from three of the top guys on SmackDown. The AJ / Cena chemistry continues to be off the charts as the sequences between them were just as golden as their entire run together has been. Wyatt ends up retaining by hitting Cena with the Sister Abigail and getting a clean pin. Cena really is doing his part to put people over if he’s going away soon as has been rumored. They actually protected AJ Styles in this match by having Cena take the clean pin in a title match. 2017 is a crazy time.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A strong main event between three of the top guys on the SmackDown roster. They avoided the cliché interference finishes they could have ran with which just helps everyone in the match across the board. Well done.
Post-match, Bray starts to pose in the ring when Orton’s music hits. Randy slowly heads to the ring and then faces Bray. He tells him that he won Rumble and is entitled to the spoils that come with that. But, so long as Bray is the master and Randy is the servant, he refuses to face Bray for the title at WrestleMania. Randy then kneels before Bray. They pose together to end the show.
Another strong SmackDown Live episode, as has been the rule. My only gripe is that the tag team division needs some shaking up, but I’m pretty good with how just about everything is turning out on this brand heading into WrestleMania.