The One Where John Cena Faces Randy Orton for the First Time….. – Smackdown Recap 2/7/2017

….on Smackdown…in two years.  This match has occurred 900 times previously.  I don’t know why it would be promoted as something you’ve never seen before as if Randy Orton was some new face that Smackdown just signed from New Japan or something.  But anyway, let’s quell the snark so Smackdown Live! for February 7th, 2017, can kick off live from Seattle, Washington, the home of none other than our first Superstar, Daniel Bryan.  Let’s see what he has to say…….

When my hand goes up (Opening Segment)

You didn’t think DB would get to talk for long without someone coming down to, well, put a hand up so his mouth goes shut.

Miz and Maryse make their way to the ring and the two trade the same barbs that went over so well when they were doing this bit on Talking Smack.  Look, I think they are trading great promos, except the only problem I have with it is that we all know DB can’t wrestle again.  He’d die, and nobody want another Owen Hart moment, so as much as we’d love to see the match, we don’t want the match to happen, so the promos carry less purpose.

In case you’d forgotten, at Elimination Chamber….at Elimination Chamber….at Elimination Chamber…at Elimination Chamber….at Elimination Chamber, The Miz gets an opportunity at the WWE World Title (he couldn’t get a word in edgewise against the Daniel Bryan friendly crowd, so this seemed like the best way to get the point across).

Bring on my dark horse pick for Sunday night.  I am a big fan of Baron Corbin, and now that he’s gotten himself into substantially better shape than right after his initial call up, dude is on the fast track to being a top star in WWE.   He needs to reconsider that weird mustache though.

Then the Lunatic has to come out.  Let’s sidebar for a minute: I hate that Ambrose is in this Elimination Chamber match.  He’s right at home in the high upper-midcard.  He’s right at home with the IC belt.  Oh wait, let’s complain about that too.  Why in the living hell is the Intercontinental Title not on the line at yet a second PPV in a row?  The Intercontinental Title is one of the longest tenured and prestigious belts in the company.  Stop treating it like some sort of afterthought.  Build the sort of storylines that made that belt the most interesting thing in the company going into Royal Rumble/Fastlane 2016, and build it around this amazing core of upper midcard talent that Smackdown Live current has on the roster.  Ok, let’s get back….

Here comes AJ Styles, so guess what….why not have a Fatal Four Way match…and that match comes your way RIGHT NOW!!!! YES! YES! YES! YES!  (Some part of that is sarcasm, but at the same time, I’m truly thankful we didn’t end up with the traditional random tag pairings that a foursome of future opponents normally get thrown in to).

The Stuff in the Middle

Match Results:

  • AJ Styles vs Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin vs The Miz in a Fatal Four Way Match:  As expected, each of these four got to look strong for a few minutes each (Corbin hit one hell of a Deep Six on Miz).  Corbin with an End of Days on AJ Styles for the win.
  • Dolph Ziggler vs Apollo Crews:  Remember that roster of talent I mentioned earlier in my sidebar on the IC belt?  This was an incredibly quick match.  Crews with a Roll Up.  He would win the match, but not the war.  Ziggler unloaded on him with a chair.  Kalisto tried to come to his aid and Ziggler took care of him as well.  Ziggler stands tall in this segment.
  • 12 Man Tag Team Match:  Why do we keep doing this?  Just run a legitimate open challenge like Cena did.  Anyway, your same 6 teams are involved in this one, only difference to the norm is that Breezango is on team Faces, so probably not a lot of surprises on the way here.  The Ascension pick up the win, strangely enough.  I don’t exactly know what the hell a Tag Team Turmoil Match is, I guess I’ll research it and get back to you during out prediction post.


Promo Stuff:

  • Luke Harper is alone in the boiler room.  He’s not Bray Wyatt, but it wasn’t bad for the first run at it that I can remember.
  • Nikki Bella and Natalya are doing weird via satellite interviews with Tom Phillips.  This was a horrible Total Divas segment at best and I’m not justifying it with any further discussion.
  • Ziggler meets DB in the back after his assault on Crews/Kalisto.  He now has a 2-on-1 Handicapped Match at Elimination Chamber.
  • Renee Young to host the “dual contract signing” between the two sets of women’s competitors for Elimination Chamber, because she’s a power figure in the Smackdown Live! front office.  At EC, Mickie James will take on Becky Lynch, while Alexa will defend the belt against Naomi.  Does anyone enjoy these contract signing segments?  I can’t stand doing paperwork myself, much less watching other people do paperwork.  (Mickie James is terrible with a microphone)  As should be expected, the segment broke down into violence.  Naomi really is fantastic.  Not a fan of her promos, but she’s damn talented.
  • If you care, David Otunga is on Criminal Minds tomorrow night.  Does anyone care about this fact?  Did anyone realize Criminal Minds still came on?

The Champ in The Viper Pit

After our lengthy entrances for two of the top names in the company, we get the trademark Main Event first commercial break.

Randy Orton pretty well carries us through the next commercial break with a relentless assault.

It looked like Cena had made a recovery during the break, but as we come back from yet another damn reminder that The Walking Dead not only hasn’t ended yet, but that Carl is still alive, Cena starts for the Five Knuckle Shuffle before Orton takes back over on offense quickly.

Cena has been taking pretty solid beatings for a while now, at least since coming back from his first hiatus for S1 of American Grit.  AJ Styles got to pull out all the stops.  Orton not only slammed him on the announcer’s table, but hit that driving Orton DDT from the top rope.  Maybe it’s helped some of the lingering hatred against Super Cena.

Cena with an AA, two count.  Orton with an RKO, two count.  So much for all it taking is “one RKO”.

Orton was up for a second AA, but he grabbed the ropes.  When Cena pulled him loose, he kicked the referee out of the ring.  Cena would lock in the STF and get the tap out, but no referee was there to call it.  Wyatt and Orton took advantage and beat the hell out of Cena, going for the Sister RKO, but Cena would clothesline Orton, but turn around and take a Sister Abigail anyway.  With Cena and Orton outside, Harper would run to the ring to face his former leader.  A discuss clothesline would eliminate Wyatt.  As the Viper attempted to strike, Cena would get ahold of Orton and hit an AA and pick up the pinfall victory.

This was a pretty solid match, and it managed to break the formula they’ve been using far too much lately about the referee getting distracted/knocked out so someone could lose to double team attacks.  Harper’s appearance would balance the power in the ring and Cena was still able to get the win that he’d already gotten a tap out for earlier in the match with no referee.

Final Thoughts:

It wasn’t their best, but it also wasn’t bad.  I think after about 30 minutes to simmer on it, I like that if one of the heel tag teams was going to get the win, it wasn’t the damned Usos.  The Bella-Natalya segment was awful.  Cena-Orton was entertaining.  Too much time dedicated to contract signing/Mickie James with a microphone.  It was a solid C+ show on the backs of the opening, opening match and closing match.

We will see you Sunday Night to see just what it is they’ve changed for our brand new Elimination Chamber.  Oh, and we get this, which I’m actually pretty amped to see again.