Mile 5 on the Road to Wrestlemania – Smackdown Live Recap (2/28/2017)

Our February 28, 2017 episode of Smackdown Live from St. Paul, MN, kicks off with Daniel Bryan and Shane watching the end of last week’s battle royal match and agreeing that they can’t override the official decision.  AJ Styles comes in and plays cocky, saying he would be just fine with it if they’ve come to their senses and they want Wrestlemania to be Phenomenal, then talked trash about Luke Harper with Luke Harper standing behind him.  Went about how you expect.  Then we start our in ring show with an episode of the most must see show in WWE History.  That’s right, we kick right off with Miz TV.

I came to play….

Miz ran through pretty much the same promo that has kicked off the last 10 John Cena feuds, that John has sold out, gone Hollywood, is a part-timer that is given too many opportunities.  Blah, blah, blah.  Cena came back with his usual fire.  What this segment did was set up to the already heavily rumored mixed tag match for Wrestlemania, as Maryse slapped Cena drawing Bella from the back.  It could be a decent match, maybe, I have no idea if Maryse is any good in the ring.  She’s probably not.

The Middle Stuff:

  • Becky Lynch defeated Mickie James in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match, even with distraction from Alexa Bliss.
  • Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt cut contrasting promos.  It’s pretty much to the point where if it isn’t Harper and Wyatt at Wrestlemania then what the hell is the point?
  • Alexa has a backstage interview where she makes yet another lackluster Oscars joke (see New Day from Raw), then she’s met in the back by Natalya, because now Natalya is going to get a title match?  That’s pretty outta nowhere.
  • AJ Styles defeated Luke Harper….twice…sort of.  You had to expect some sort of dusty finish here.  Luke Harper’s foot was on the rope, drawing Shane from the backstage area.  Shane restarted the match immediately.  Luke Harper threw AJ to the outside, where during an argument with Shane, AJ dodged a superkick from behind and Luke took out Shane.  Styles would then hit the Springboard 450, and actually win the match.  AJ Styles vs Bray Wyatt could be a pretty freaking amazing match.
  • Carmella and Ellsworth interrupt a backstage interview with Cena and Bella.  This match is going to be rather ridiculous, but they’ll have a mixed tag match next week.
  • Dean Ambrose headed to the ring for a match with Curt Hawkins, but hit him with a Dirty Deeds before the match even started, then cut a promo on his ongoing feud with Baron Corbin.  It was a pretty decent one, probably because his character works so much better when he isn’t holding the biggest prize on the show.  He’s that drunk guy that picks fights in a bar.  The vaguely comedic side is so much more effective.  I like it.  As Corbin disappears from the big screen, the camera follows Ambrose to the other side of the ring, where he looks up at the Wrestlemania sign.  Not that you didn’t know that was going to happen, but at least they alluded to it going down in Orlando.  Too bad that’s still 5 weeks out.
  • Ziggler defeated Apollo Crews in a Chairs Match.  Before this one started, Apollo Crews jumped Ziggler during his entrance.  The chairs barely came into play.  Crews hit the standing moonsault with a chair across Ziggler’s chest.  Then he hit a belly to back suplex on the same chair.  Ziggler landed a drop toe hold to an uprighted chair, which didn’t look like Crews took the bump right, then dropped him genitals first on the same upright chair.  Maybe I was just spoiled on most of these gimmick matches coming through my formative wrestling fan years in the Attitude Era.

Bray Wyatt’s Invocation….didn’t play out too well

I’m not even going to lie to you, I really did not see the Randy Orton turn coming yet.  I expected it to cost Wyatt the title at Wrestlemania, but not in a match against Orton himself.  But Randy Orton went to a damn dark place for the promo he cut to end this episode.  Sometimes it is easy to forget just how damn good Randy Orton is at his job because he gets lost in booking complacency.  Now that they’ve given him a storyline he enjoys and he wanted to run with, he’s been killing it.

If you watch nothing else from this episode, watch this closing segment, as Randy Orton douses the Wyatt Compound (including Sister Abigail’s rocking chair) in gasoline, lights a match and watches it burn.  (Also, if they were going to turn Wyatt face by having him go clean over Cena and play the victim role, it might have backfired as the entire crowd in St. Paul was chanting Randy’s name as the show went off the air.

Final Thoughts:  Well, if you were hoping they’d start to set things up for Wrestlemania, we got a decent amount of it.  Questions remaining, aside from an actual announcement about the Cena-Miz mixed tag match, is what the hell this does for the top prize?  Is Shane going to take away AJ’s match which will lead to the AJ-Shane match that’s so heavily rumored?  Where does this leave Luke Harper?  How damn long is Wrestlemania going to be by the time all these matches they are working towards are put on this card?

I was pleased with this episode.  See you next Tuesday.