THE CHAMP IS HERE!!! – Smackdown Recap (12/27/2016)

Night Two from Chicago opens with the return of the champ, John Cena.  A testament to how much better Smackdown Live is….a sold out crowd for Smackdown is somehow more people than a sold out crowd for Raw, in the exact same arena.

I’m in Orlando with family for the holiday, including my niece and nephew who have chairs pulled up right in front of the television in anticipation for the return of Cena.  They’re in the way, otherwise that’s where my chair would be.  I’ll pretend to be a grown up for their sake.  I’ll let them chime in on what they think about the show at the end here.

I’m going to ignore the CM Punk chants tonight, because damn that’s obnoxious.  Cena spun it about as well as Steph did, saying it sounding like they were giving him a “Cena Sucks” chant.

Cena was essentially the hype man for the evening, and did a great job doing it.  I was excited for his return above all else, and now we’re all hyped for the THREE TITLE MATCHES TONIGHT!  I still don’t necessarily understand the Wild Card Finals thing, but whatever.

And why is Cena here?  Because whoever wins the main event tonight has been officially challenge to lose the belt to John Cena at Royal Rumble for his 16th Championship.  Now what if The Undertaker turns up in the Rumble to set up one final title match at Mania?  Speculation is so much fun.

The Tag Team Championship

Tonight’s Tag Team Championship match will be a four corners elimination match.  The Champions (Harper-Orton are competing under Freebird Rules) will defend against the teams of American Alpha, Rhyno-Slater, and The Usos.

So for those of you who aren’t familiar, a four corners elimination match involves two competitors at a time in the ring, rather than the four because that’s just too many people in the ring at one time, and when one member of a team is pinned or submits, both members of the team are eliminated and must leave.  Any person can be tagged by any competitor, so they don’t even necessarily have to tag in their teammate.

Heath Slater is still the crowd favorite, even in a match that involves American Alpha, who get a huge pop themselves.  I love the way Alpha works.  Either guy can come in on a hot tag, and I really love when Chad Gable comes in on the big tag because that’s not how most teams operate.  I’ve been quite vocal of my love for these guys anyway.  This version of Randy Orton is pretty great too.  American Alpha are the new Tag Team Champions.  Watching Jordan cry at the top of the ramp was a great moment.


Jimmy Uso eliminates Heath Slater on a Superkick

Chad Gable eliminates one of the Usos with an awkward roll up

Chad Gable eliminates Randy Orton following Grand Amplitude

The Women’s Championship

Becky Lynch is the best, they went to commercial post Alexa entrance, so I’m going to take the time to show you this:

Match was off to a good start, back and forth like most of the battles between these two, then another commercial.  I realize you’ve got to pay for it somehow, but seriously, you keep taking a ton of commercials during the matches and it takes me out of it.  They went to four commercial breaks during the tag title match.  Now they’ve already gone back to commercial in this one.  Just do lengthy commercial breaks between matches.

Randomly, La Luchadora came down to distract the competitors, removing the middle turnbuckle cover in one corner, later driving Becky into it.  She was never revealed during this segment.  Here’s hoping it was Eva Marie, although skin tone would lead one to think it wasn’t.

The Miz vs Renee Young

They didn’t actually have a match, unfortunately.  Miz refused to be interviewed by anyone but her, and when he did, he was surrounded by security that he sent away for taking away from his “shot”.  At this point, Ambrose turned up and jumped him dressed like a security guy.  They’ll undoubtedly have a title match at Royal Rumble, if they wait that long. Update: It was revealed later (like 10 minutes later) that they will have a title match next week on Smackdown.

Ongoing Saga of Bella-Mella-Natty Neidhart

I don’t know why I made a header for this.  It was a video package about the confession from last week, followed by a very brief backstage interview with Nikki.  It didn’t really do anything to progress anything.  I do hope that this doesn’t lead to Carmella slipping by the wayside.

As an aside, there was a weird moment in the back where James Ellsworth was being interviewed and Carmella turned up to say she found him handsome and the two left together.  Please, Creative, PLEASE, do not give me a reason to turn on Carmella.  I really like Carmella.

The WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Corbin has gotten a lot better cutting promos.  Prior to this one, they got to him backstage and he talked about how it took entirely too long for people around the WWE to recognize he was a top star, and the only people who should be nervous are his two opponents.

Ziggler is fired up right out of the gate, but like most matches, you know it won’t last long before he spends most of the match getting his ass kicked.  Another commercial.  This is getting ridiculous.

Corbin was the front runner through the majority of this match.  I sort of expected it to go this way because they are trying to build him as the monster of the Smackdown roster.  He’s not as dominating in appearance as Strowman, but they’ve done a great job of building him up as that guy on this brand.

And another commercial.  It’s really hard to stay invested when you keep taking us out of it throughout.

At least coming back from this commercial Corbin was still in control of the match.  Corbin has even gotten so much better in the ring.  I was worried that them working him against tiny luchador guys might set him back when he was against quality opponents, but he’s holding his own in this one.  It took the two of his opponents working together to take him down, performing duel flying moves off the barricade on Corbin through the announcers table.  That was a pretty cool spot.

These three all work great together.  There was another spot where AJ ate an End of Days that Ziggler used Corbin’s own momentum to simultaneously land a ZigZag.

An End of Days on Ziggler, but AJ comes off the ropes for the Forearm, landing the pin on Ziggler to retain.

Here comes Cena.  He took the hat off and threw the shirt into the crow, but rather than going right at him, Cena extends a hand for a handshake.  AJ has accepted the challenge for Royal Rumble.  Cena will be a 16 time champion by the end of January.


Final Thoughts

Matt:  Watch the Hulu broadcast if you have the commercial free subscription.  The commercials took away from these three incredible matches.  The main event was awesome.

Brooklyn:  Why didn’t John Cena fight anybody?

Carter:  Yeah, John Cena didn’t fight anybody.

Brooklyn:  I don’t like him as much when he’s just talking.

Show – B