The One With the Lackluster “Massive Announcement” – Smackdown Live Recap 1/17/17

Welcome to Memphis, Tennessee, Home of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken….I think there’s a WWE HoFer or two from there as well, but seriously….Fried Chicken.

All day on Twitter/ there was talk about Shane McMahon kicking off the show with a massive announcement.  Turns out that announcement was simply to remind people that Smackdown has a PPV two weeks post Rumble (which we already knew) called Elimination Chamber (which we already knew) and that the WWE Championship would be defended inside the Elimination Chamber.

This feels a lot like the open from Raw last night…

Only with significantly better promos (I’m sorry, Mr. Heyman.  You have no idea how much respect I have for you).  AJ would confront Shane in the ring, expressing his concerns and then threatening to just disappear back to Japan with the title in hand.  Then Cena would have to make an appearance, so hopefully we get the hot mic from Cena again tonight because it’s not a fun promo unless he calls somebody “a little bitch.”

AJ shuts Cena down, but then asks who else was back there to try to steal his spotlight.  From the back, you would get The Miz, who taunts Ambrose and puts his hat in the ring for EC.  The back and forth between AJ and Miz was only made that much better with John Cena playing the role of the hype man stirring the pot but not really being part of the conversation.

Shane gets amped up and announces that AJ Styles would take on The Miz right now.

Leading up to Smackdown, Jeremy and I had a lot of fun speculating what the announcement might be, and throughout this recap, I’m going to share some of our wonderful ideas.  And let me go ahead and tell you, most of them are absolutely ridiculous and the sort of lunacy that you’ll only find right here…..on The Dark Match.

Ridiculous Announcement Speculation 1:
Renaming the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Image result for wwe heavyweight championship

Our first ridiculous idea was that in an effort to further one up the Raw brand, they would be renaming the World Heavyweight Championship to sound more important than the Universal Championship, so we concocted the idea that he would bring out special guest Neil Degrasse Tyson to unveil THE WWE COSMOS CHAMPIONSHIP.  Can you picture it?  Airbrushed galaxy scene along the leather like the side of that windowless van that is inexplicably always parked off to the side of that gas station you only go in because the Monster Energy Drinks are 2 for $4.  Bright blue main plate in the front.  Side plates will be star shaped instead of the lame regular circular ones.  Yep, we were only getting started.

With our competitors already in the ring….

A quick scene in the back where Shane and Ambrose discuss a few things.  One involves Shane adding Dean to the Elimination Chamber match.  The other is Dean wanting revenge for the attack from the Wyatt Family, and though Shane offers him Bray, the Lunatic wants a piece of The Viper.  I could be on board that as a short feud.  Commercial break with our first XXX: Return of Xander Cage ad of the broadcast, so more of our incorrect announcement speculation.

Ridiculous Announcement Speculation 2:
Hollywood Hogan joins the Blue Brand

Image result for hollywood hoganThis one was a combination of his suggestion that the announcement would be Hogan and me just running with it.  If Jimmy Snuka, suspected murderer, can get the sort of tribute he was given on Raw, then a man who has apologized for what was, admittedly, a horrendous rant filled with racial slurs.  While both could be chalked up to a moment of weakness, as a society would we ever really equate murder with racist statements?  But let’s not digress into a societal analysis here.  Given the heat that will come with his return from a large segment of the Universe, bring him back as Hollywood, the bad guy, and let the heat just naturally flow for the bad guy.  He’ll be back soon.  Hell, it could be next Sunday night at this point and I truly wouldn’t even be surprised (excited, but not surprised).  Michael Cole did make mention of Hogan during the UK Championship Tournament, which was completely forbidden for quite a while.  They also discussed it on “Bring it to the Table”.

This match continues…

Styles hit some kind of rolling senton forearm thing.  It was pretty awesome.  But over time the two competitors fight to the outside and AJ throws Miz into Cena on commentary.  Bad move.  Cena runs into the ring after Styles, but Styles slides out the other side.  Miz attempts a sneak attack and gets an AA for his troubles, and Styles efforts at a Phenomenal Forearm were dodged, leading to a second AA of the evening for John Cena.  Cena holds the belt high before respectfully handing it to the official and leaving the ring.  Cena will get 16 at Royal Rumble and drop it back to AJ in the Elimination Chamber match.  Mathematically, that would give Big Match John the opportunity to eclipse Ric Flair in Orlando.

No Ridiculousness this commercial break.  Enjoy the John Wick 2 Trailer:

 You can look but you can’t touch…

Because John Cena would break every bone in your body.  Oh no, Bella’s got a microphone.

Oh hell, so does Natalya.

Natalya is in the corridor you used to see Roman Reigns emerge from.  She has a camera crew follow her to the merch stand, where she whines about the fact that the John Cena and Nikki Bella merch is front and center, and even Bret Hart has a shirt, but there’s no Natalya merch anywhere.  She throws a tantrum and pulls it all down to throw in a trash can, but Bella comes through the crowd to attack her…in a merch stand…over t-shirts and Funko POP! dolls.  Yikes.  Why do they have to use the John Cena relationship?  Miz using the Ambrose relationship with Renee made sense with the “Shoot-Miz” persona.  They keep harping on this Nikki Bella-John Cena thing and I think it is detrimental to the Women’s Division, especially on a broadcast where two fantastic women will meet for the Championship in a Steel Cage to close the show.

Ridiculous Announcement Speculation 3:
Smackdown Challenges both NXT and RAW to add a Women’s Royal RumbleImage result for women's royal rumble

Can you imagine?  6 Women from Raw.  6 Women from Smackdown.  3 NXT entrants selected by William Regal.  The Winner gets to choose which of the 3 Women’s Championship belts they will challenge for.  While I’ve long been a voice for a Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase, I think this would be just as great for the division and add dimension, especially for those women who aren’t in the one or two storylines they consistently run with at any given time.  Imagine for a moment if Dana Brooke had the MitB briefcase during any of the Charlotte-Sasha matches.  I’d have been on the edge of my seat to see if she’d actually use it against Charlotte.  If she’d been hiding under the ring at Hell in a Cell with the briefcase and cashed in.  Rollins-esque.

The Lunatic against the Viper

Ambrose isn’t afraid, even though Orton brings the whole family out with him.  I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t have Orton grow some sort of beard, or have him go completely crazy and wear a fake one, like an obviously fake one with the white elastic strap around the back of his head.

All four of these men will be in the Royal Rumble match, 12 days from today from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, only on the WWE Network.  You could hear Mauro saying that couldn’t you.  You know you could.

Some part of me wants Randy Orton to win the Rumble, but I’ve pretty well already made my pick (Triple H again).

I used the restroom during that commercial break.  Sorry.

Orton-Ambrose Continues…

I could see Randy Orton vs Dean Ambrose being a pretty damn good match.  There are a lot of similarities between Randy Orton and Triple H as far as in ring capability, and in case you didn’t read my top 10 of 2016, you may not know just how highly I thought of the Ambrose-Triple H match at Roadblock (Feb).  Without the added detail of the Wyatt Family on the outside and on a program more important than Smackdown, I could see this match being a damn good one.

That’s just awesome.  Anyway, Randy was setting up for the RKO, but for some reason Luke Harper slid into the ring and distracted him.  Ambrose would stand up and get the Dirty Deeds and the pinfall while Bray was coaxing Harper back to the outside.  Much like last week, Harper and Orton would appear set to go at it, but Wyatt would stand between them and prevent Harper from eating an RKO.

In a later promo from the boiler room, Bray Wyatt announced that next week Orton and Harper would have a single’s match to settle their disagreements, but that the Family would be stronger for it.

Ridiculous Announcement Speculation 4:
Big Red Returns

Image result for eva marie

That would have been epic trolling from Shane O’Mac, although we did toss a few names around that he could potentially introduce, and most of them were women’s division.  Mickie James coming off her surprisingly good match with Asuka given the time she’d spent away from the ring would have been a welcome addition to the division.  I tossed out AJ Lee, mostly because I want the price of her Funko POP! figure to come down and a re-release would do that, but Jeremy reminded me that it was probably not likely unless we were also getting the return of CM Punk.  While CM Punk will never, NEVER have another MMA fight after that absolute massacre, I don’t see him ever returning to the WWE.  He’d get good enough offers from any number of other promotions that would prevent him from having to sell his pride.

The King’s holding Court

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And yes, Lawler is wearing that exact outfit.  His guest is Ziggler.  He basically just taunts Dolph for five minutes or so, so a pretty standard edition of the King’s Court.  He shows footage of last week, with Ziggler being the bad guy, but Ziggler brought his own footage, to remind The King that Ziggler hit him repeatedly with elbow drops in the middle of the ring mere moments before The King suffered his heart attack.  The have pretty well skipped right past Heel Ziggler and now they have moved into uncomfortable territory.  He’s now threatening a senior citizen.

“How does it feel that no matter how many times you change your attitude you will always be a loser?”  So of course Jerry eats a Superkick as the crowd chants loser.

Ridiculous Announcement Speculation 5:
Kurt Angle is now on Smackdown….and he’s been La Luchadora the whole time

Image result for kurt angle luchador

So it started just as Kurt Angle would be joining Smackdown, which sounds awesome, as that’s where American Alpha is.  He could be the veteran guy for Smackdown that Goldberg is for Raw, since nobody knows what the hell they’re doing with The Undertaker.

And then we went off the rails.  You know La Luchadora, the Luchador that taunted Alexa Bliss and since has been doing the same to Becky Lynch.  It’s Angle.  Until an alternative individual is revealed, I will not even entertain any alternative as a possibility.

Damn that cage takes forever to lower…

These two work well together, and the Bexploder off the top rope was great.  Then the cage door opened for Becky but La Luchadora (Kurt Angle) blocked her exit.  Luchadora climbed inside and delivered a superkick to Becky, followed by a massive spiking DDT from Alexa Bliss and the Champion retains.  Becky would get up and pull Kurt Angle’s mask off….

Yeah, that didn’t take long to ruin my excitement.  But in some small way, we were right about the Mickie James return coming tonight, so we’ll take that as a victory.

We’ll see you next week as the Blue Brand takes over some cornfield in Toledo, Ohio for our Go Home Smackdown Live.