WWE SmackDown Live 03/07/17 has promised us a match between Randy Orton and AJ Styles to determine who faces Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. That’s right, we’re still trying to figure that out. Add to that, John Cena and Nikki Bella are teaming together for the first time to face Carmella and James Ellsworth. Other than that, SmackDown didn’t give the entire show away ahead of time like they usually do, so I’m expecting some WrestleMania revelations for the blue brand tonight. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE SmackDown Live 03/07/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a dramatic video package detailing the Orton / Wyatt Family break up. I’ll give WWE this, they made the corny stuff from last week seem a little less corny in this package. No SmackDown credits, no pyro, and we’re live from Indianapolis.
Shane McMahon is out first tonight, and he’s followed soon after by Daniel Bryan. They proceed to burn up almost 15 minutes of the show reminding us how we got to a situation where we don’t have a definitive challenger for Wyatt’s WWE Championship at WrestleMania yet. We even see the “Wyatt Compound fire” footage for the second time in under 10 minutes. There really isn’t anything to add here beyond Daniel thinks that Orton deserves the shot and Shane thinks that AJ deserves it. They’ve decided to have a match tonight between the two, which was announced publicly by the WWE all over the internet days ago.
That’s it. AJ doesn’t come out to complain. Orton doesn’t make an appearance. No Wyatt. No Harper. Nothing. This was the kind of crap I expected for the Raw after Fastlane. Not on SmackDown. Ugh. I don’t recap recaps so that is what you’re getting out of me for the first segment tonight. It was so inconsequential that WWE didn’t even bother to put a clip of this on their YouTube channel.
Up next? Battle of the people wearing ballcaps as the team of John Cena and Nikki Bella faces the team of James Ellsworth and Carmella.
Back from break, AJ confronts Shane and Daniel Bryan backstage. Why this couldn’t have happened in the opening segment is beyond me. AJ complains that they’ve not been returning his phone calls and says there is a big “anti-AJ conspiracy” at SmackDown Live. AJ says he’s not afraid of fire or a viper… or Shane and Daniel for that matter.
Meanwhile, James Ellsworth is in the ring to introduce Carmella. He also puts himself over for having three wins over AJ Styles and reminds everyone he got wins over Styles before Cena did. Ellsworth declares himself the “Mack Daddy” of SmackDown and says he puts the “mack in SmackDown”. Oh boy. Carmella is out next. Cena enters alone and Nikki comes out last.
Before the match can start, Miz’s music hits and he and Maryse are out for commentary. Carmella takes this opportunity to dish out a superkick to the distracted Nikki Bella as we head to break.
Back from break, the match actually happens.
Match #1: John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. James Ellsworth & Carmella
So, this is a thing that happens. Carmella and Nikki have a brief sequence and then Nikki tags Cena. We get the predictable comedy spot of Ellsworth not wanting to get in the ring. Ellsworth tries for a superkick but Cena easily counters this. This devolves into Cena and Nikki doing a “10 knuckle shuffle” to Carmellsworth. We get stereo “AAs”, but Nikki’s doesn’t look all that great, and stereo STFs as Carmellsworth both tap out.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – This episode of SmackDown is off to really, really rocky start. The only thing that saves this segment is the Miz stuff in the post-match, but the match itself was rather unnecessary.
Post-match, Miz and Maryse lay out Cena and Nikki respectively. Miz cuts a borderline shoot promo on them, saying their relationship is a “fraud” and is disrespectful to anyone who values true love. Miz makes a lot of good points and once again I find myself siding with a WWE heel in a feud, which is nothing new I suppose. Maryse gets on the mic and tells Nikki to “break that bitch” and then drops the mic, possibly down onto Nikki outside the ring. Miz and Maryse kiss to end the segment. Finally, this is starting to feel like the SmackDown Live I know and love.
Later tonight? We’re getting Alexa Bliss’ “Blissertation”. I imagine this is like a “dissertation” but with way better reaction facial expressions.
Meanwhile, Renee Young is backstage and knocks on Orton’s dressing room door. Randy finally is able to deliver a promo from somewhere other than “Bray’s smoky room” and/or a remote log cabin. Orton puts over committing arson last week and says AJ has no idea what he’s in for tonight. In fact, if Randy was AJ he’d… “run”.
Back from break, Ravishing Rick Rude is finally going into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
Meanwhile, Curt Hawkins is in the ring and cuts a promo on Dean Ambrose. Dean heads out, dispatches Hawkins in the aisle, and calls out Corbin. Dean says that Corbin does the “lone wolf” thing because he’s a scumbag, and that’s coming from Dean – and Dean knows scumbags! Things escalate when Dean questions if Corbin has testicles and that finally makes Corbin appear on the Titantron.
Corbin says he doesn’t show up for Dean or anyone else. He also has no idea why Dean is in such a hurry to get beaten by him. When Corbin is ready, he’s going to take everything from Dean, which includes the IC title. Damn, watch out Renee!
Dean decides he’ll come to Corbin and heads to the back. He delivers a Dirty Deeds to Hawkins on the way up the ramp.
Next, we see the Women’s History Month profile on Lita and Trish they showed on Raw.
Later tonight? AJ vs. Orton.
Meanwhile, Dean is wandering backstage looking for Corbin.
Back from break? Dean is still backstage… walking… and looking for Corbin. If this continues we could just have a show on the Network called “Dean Ambrose… walking”.
Meanwhile, Dasha is backstage with Mojo Rawley. Mojo is wearing a dress shirt and a tie and through this we learn that Zubaz doesn’t make dress shirts and/or ties… yet. Mojo mentions watching Zack Ryder’s “WrestleMania moment” last year and how he wants to make his own this year. Mojo enters himself in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. That receives a “slow clap” from Dolph Ziggler who wanders into frame. Ziggler tells Mojo he’s seen a bunch of guys like Mojo come and go. Ziggler adds that you have to earn a WrestleMania moment. Mojo fires back that having to earn one must be the reason Ziggler doesn’t have one. Ziggler tells Mojo not to hurt himself grabbing for the brass ring and leaves.
Meanwhile, Dean. Still backstage. Still walking. Corbin finally pops around a corner and throws a security guard he’s apparently been holding hostage at Ambrose as a projectile weapon. Corbin attacks Dean with a pipe. Dean eventually says “good talk” to Corbin after the beating, which infuriates Corbin even more. Baron lays Dean out under a forklift and then pins Dean under the lift. Some refs run up, start freaking out, and try to free Ambrose from under the machine.
Next, Alexa Bliss heads to the ring with Mickie James to deliver her “Blissertation”.
Back from break, it’s time for the “Blissertation”. Apparently, the “Blissertation” is where Alexa gets to decide who she’s facing at WrestleMania. What is it with the WWE Women’s Division and the initial “hands off” approach from storyline “authority figures” as far as making PPV matches? Last night, Bayley was apparently going to get to name her challenger. Tonight, same deal for Alexa. We could have solved the WWE Championship controversy weeks ago by just asking Bray Wyatt who he wanted to wrestle in April!
Anyway, Alexa starts by saying who she’s not going to face and names off Naomi (at home feeling the ow), Nikki Bella (getting nursed to health by her square-jawed Superman), Carmella (taking care of a chinless troll under a bridge), and Becky (aka – Chucky from Child’s Play).
Becky’s music hits and she’s out to make a “Beckleration”. Becky claims she will beat Alexa at Mania for the title. This brings out Nattie, who claims she came to an understanding with Alexa last week that she’ll be her WrestleMania opponent. Alexa cuts Nattie off and tells her she’s the “worst there is, the worst there ever was, and the worst there will ever be”.
Mickie James now chimes in and says that she thought she was out here with Alexa because Alexa was going to give her the match. Everyone starts to bicker and finally Daniel Bryan comes out. He comes out, grades the “Blissertation a “F”, and says that Alexa gets to defend her title at Mania against “every available woman on the roster”. OMG EVA MARIE IS GOING TO LEAVE WRESTLEMANIA THE CHAMP!!
Because Daniel is GM, it’s his job to make matches, so he channels Teddy Long and puts everyone in the ring in a tag match that starts right now.
Back from break, we join the match already in progress.
Match #2: Alexa Bliss & Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch & Natalya
This is a standard tag match. Nothing really happens until it becomes blatantly obvious that Becky doesn’t trust Natalya and won’t tag her in. Natalya snaps, enters the ring, and German suplexes Becky. Natalya leaves Becky high and dry, and the opportunistic Bliss gets the pin for her team.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Eh, okay I suppose. I like the concept of “anyone on the roster is in the match” because it gives them an “out” if Naomi isn’t ready AND could lead to a surprise debut (but, no Kelly Kelly, please…)
Post-match, Alexa and Mickie celebrate in the ring, until Mickie delivers a “Mick Kick” to Alexa’s skull and poses over her with the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Didn’t really see that one coming, but I guess it makes sense if they’re building up this match as “every woman for herself”.
Next, the announcers shill SummerSlam travel packages. We follow that up by learning that Ambrose has “bruised or cracked ribs” and has been taken to a “local medical facility”.
Meanwhile, AJ and Orton are both backstage… and they’re both… walking!
Back from break, Austin Aries sells us on 205 Live by saying he’s going to answer all of the questions about A Double to kick off tonight’s show.
Meanwhile, AJ is out for the main event. He cuts a promo saying that SmackDown is the “House that AJ Styles Built” and he took a “B” Show and turned it into “THE Show”. But, all he gets is disrespect from Bryan and Shane. AJ claims he was built for the main event of WrestleMania.
Orton enters next and we go to break.
Back from break, the match starts.
Match #3: AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Winner Faces Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania)
Match of the night. Also, its only real competition was the women’s tag that didn’t even a have a real finish. But, really, this is a solid match. Orton starts using his size to his advantage, but AJ is able to counter and start working Orton’s legs. AJ actually goes for the Styles Clash at one point, which was odd to see since Orton is so much bigger than him. We get some false finishes here, but they’re executed really, really well. When it looked like we were getting the “Phenomenal Forearm into RKO” finish, AJ pulled back to avoid the trap. Great stuff. Orton ends up hitting a pop-up RKO (out of nowhere, natch) to head to the “main event” of WrestleMania.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – AJ looked really good here. Orton could have maybe sold for him a little more, but that’s just some nitpicking. This was a solid main event and I’m actually sort of glad it didn’t have any Wyatt Family or ex-Wyatt Family interference to muddy the waters any more.
Post-match, Randy Orton points to the WrestleMania sign as we go off the air. No Wyatt, no Harper. Maybe next week?
Well, not one of the best SmackDown episodes since the brand split, but at least we finally got closure on the “who is in the Mania match?” saga. The Women’s Division is now set for Mania, so here’s hoping something happens next week for the tag division. And it better not be the SmackDown Live Tag Team Division default of “all of the teams versus the champs” that they’ve done so many times before. Besides, they’ve already burned that stipulation up with the Women’s Championship match.