** KICK-OFF SHOW **
NATTIE JOINS THE KICK-OFF PANEL (which seems to have mercifully been reduced to Renee Young and just one other putz (Booker T) instead of the usual three putzes. Nattie was meh. If they are going to go back to Nattie vs. Becky, I'm going to be really annoyed.
ALEXA BLISS IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA LOUNGE - Alexa was a lot nicer here than usual, which normally isn't good for a heel, but I actually appreciated her reacting to a stupid question about having tapped out in her last title shot (you know, the one where her foot was on the ropes) with a logical argument like a normal person would.
APOLLO CREWS, AMERICAN ALPHA, & THE HYPE BROS. vs. THE ASCENSION, THE VAUDEVILLAINS, & CURT HAWKINS- 6.25/10
For those of you who didn't get enough of pointless ten-person tag team matches last month, we got this match, complete with someone claiming the pointless position of "captain" of the team. Not ironically, that person is Curt Hawkins, whose entire employment is pointless.
The fans didn't react at all to Hawkins and Ryder facing off. That made me laugh. Seriously, though... the only way Curt Hawkins presence on TV can possibly be financially justifiable for WWE is if Hawkins is paying THEM money.
Mauro Ranallo made a joke about Mojo Rawley's penis. This actually happened. The match was your standard babyface in peril story with Gable being Ricky Morton.
Whoa! Who is this new guy on the kick-off panel and why is he so competent?
** MAIN SHOW **
WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Heath Slater & Rhyno(c) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton) (w/Luke Harper)- 4.75/10
During the Wyatts' entrance, JBL tries to stress to us how dangerous and dominant a team Orton and Wyatt will make, and how them teaming together is a total game changer. Then Heath "I Got Kids" Slater comes out wearing one of the tag belts. Do you know what they should do to really get across how deadly serious this new alliance of Orton and Wyatt is? Have them squash Heath like a bug.
Rhyno starts for the babyfaces, which was a good idea, and Mauro did his part by noting that this was the first time that Rhyno has started a match since they started teaming. Heath winds up getting tagged in and is quickly cut off by Orton, then beaten on by the heels for a while until he made the tag to Rhyno. This set up a spot where Harper took the bullet for Orton like Orton did for Bray at Survivor Series. Then Orton hit Rhyno with an RKO and pinned him to win the tag titles. Yes, really. They pinned RHYNO instead of HEATH SLATER.
DASHA FUENTES INTERVIEWS DEAN AMBROSE - he makes fun of James Ellsworth while updating us on Ellsworth's condition following the injury he suffered on Smackdown. Other than that Dean was good.
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS AJ STYLES - great.
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH:
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella- 4/10
I was shocked that Carmella didn't jump Nikki from behind to start this match off. Instead, AFTER BOTH WOMEN HAD MADE THEIR ENTRANCE, they showed us a video of how this feud started three and a half months ago... and it hasn't moved forward since. They've just repeated the angle of Carmella jumping Nikki from behind OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. While this video package was playing, these two women who hate each other so much were just standing in the ring together, not fighting.
Apparently this No Disqualifications match has count-outs. I swear to G-d if they keep this f*cking feud going by doing a count-out in a No Disqualifications match I will throw something. They did some weapons spots and stuff. It wasn't very interesting or exciting. Nikki won via pinfall, so my remote did not break. Can this feud be over now?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Carmella reveals that it was Nattie who jumped Nikki at Survivor Series. JBL is incredulous, insisting that it MUST have been someone from Raw.
DASHA INTERVIEWS DANIEL BRYAN - Dasha basically asks Bryan if he is biased against The Miz. Bryan gives a diplomatic answer. Miz shows up and cuts a promo on Bryan. This would have been a GREAT segment do on the go-home show. On the PPV it's just a waste of time.
You know those statistics that Cole usually gives about past performances at the current PPV or in the current match type or whatever? Well now Vince has Mauro giving them, too, and not even Mauro can make them sound natural. Is anyone else amazed that Vince expects us to care about these statistics when we are given them but not care about wins and losses the rest of the time?
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE LADDER MATCH; THERE WILL BE NO REMATCHES:
The Miz(c) (w/Maryse) vs. Dolph Ziggler- 8.5/10
FINALLY a feud that will actually have to END after tonight.
And now I'm sad because I remembered that this is the one feud on Smackdown that has been putting on consistently great matches. You know. Like this one. Well... to be more accurate, this one was AWESOME! Never mind the stuff they did before working the legs but just those last few minutes on the ladder were SOOOO tense and full of emotion. Miz wins, then cuts a Promo of the Year candidate on Bryan, Ziggler, and the crowd.
Baron Corbin vs. Kalisto- 7.5/10
Both guys took a lot of punishment and they did a great job of making the gimmick feel like a big part of the match. This has got to be the best performance of Corbin's career. And I'm not just saying that because they got to use gimmicks, which are usually a shortcut to making matches better. Corbin looked smooth in everything he did, and he did a fantastic job of showing emotion all throughout the match.
DASHA INTERVIEWS NATTIE - yeah, she's totally going to attack Becky tonight. The only question is whether it happens during the match or after it. Also, she denied Carmella's accusation that she was the one who attacked Nikki at Survivor Series by pointing out that Carmella is a liar and therefore we shouldn't believe her about this, either.
TABLES MATCH FOR THE WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S TITLE:
Becky Lynch(c) vs. Alexa Bliss!- 6.75/10
Did you see how Alexa reacted to the fans booing her? That is why she needs to be the champion right now. The crowd really wasn't into Becky as a babyface, which is probably due to how terribly she has been booked. I, on the other hand, was quite into this match, for obvious reasons.
The thing with tables matches nowadays is that we've seen so many tables bumps that it is hard to make them feel big. Because of this, what you have to do is slow things down and fill the match with teases to ramp up the excitement, and these two did just that. Because they had so much space to fill and also needed to avoid things feeling repetitive (a lesson I wish someone would have taught Bret and Owen before their cage match at Summer Slam), they came up with some creative ways to use the table, which also enhanced the match. That being said... that spot they did were Alexa gave Becky a DDT on the back of the table? NO ONE SHOULD EVER DO THAT AGAIN. That little metal railing on the back of the table can seriously f*ck up the back of the person giving it, and as for the head of the person taking the DDT, you might want to go ask James Storm about what that can do.
Oh. Whoops. Totally forgot to give this match its ten point bonus for Alexa winning the title. New score for this match is 6.75/10, making it the greatest match in wrestling history. Try beating that, Kobashi.
I hope they get at least this much time when they their rematch so that we can see what Alexa can really do when given significant time.
DASHA IS KIND OF A JERK AND TRIES TO INTERVIEW BECKY INSTEAD OF THE NEW CHAMPION - Becky reacts much more politely than I expected, merely telling Dasha she doesn't want to talk right now and excusing herself.
TLC MATCH FOR THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
AJ Styles(c) vs. Dean Ambrose- 8.5/10
This was your "basic" weapons match without too much focus on getting the belt until the end. The match was awesome, but was hurt by the overbooked finish. Is there anyone who didn't see this coming once Ellsworth showed up? (He probably thinks that if AJ loses the title he won't get the title shot he "earned," which is stupid because if you win a match where the stip is that you get a title shot if you win, you shouldn't lose your title shot just because someone else wins the belt before you get your match.)
An awesome show from WWE. Basically, if there was a weapon in the match and it didn't involve Carmella, it was great. If there was a ladder involved, it was awesome. Also, ALEXA F*CKING BLISS FOR THE WIN!