(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

We are counting down the days (40) to the Showcase of the Immortals, WrestleMania 33. We’ve got a matter of weeks to go until then, so what’s going on in the meantime? With Randy Orton relinquishing his spot as #1 Contender, who would fill the void? Would Naomi be allowed to keep her newly won belt, or would her real life injury cast her out from that spot? Read on to find out.

Opening Segment

General Manager Daniel Bryan was the first man out tonight. He called out the current Women’s champ Naomi. Due to her knee injury, she had to relinquish her championship. Bryan pointed out that he once had to do the same thing. It was an emotional moment, as the crowd were firmly behind Naomi. Naomi promised to one day regain the title. As she was making her way back up the ramp, Alexa Bliss entered. She mocked the injured champion, before proposing herself as the new champion. The crowd were having none of that. Bryan instead made a match for the vacant title between Bliss and Becky Lynch.

Good stuff. Naomi drew some real sympathy behind the crowd: she’s way more over than I thought. Bliss was in top form, and drew some real ire with her entitled, stuck up demands. She has her character down to a T. No complaints on my part about this bit.

Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship

The two began the match by attempting various roll-ups, but none were effective. They traded fast paced offense, neither able to gain a sustained advantage. Lynch hit a bexploder before the show went to commercial. Back from the break, Lynch hit another one and earned a two count for her troubles. Lynch hit a top rope dropkick for another two count. Bliss distracted the referee and used some underhanded tactics to get a roll-up for the win, and her second main roster championship.

I liked the match well enough for what it was. The ending was a little abrupt, maybe, but it’s a TV curtain jerker; you shouldn’t be giving away your best stuff here.

American Alpha vs Breezango

Breezango jumped the champs as they were getting into the ring, and Jason Jordan, injured, began the match against Fandango. The heels maintained their control over the larger member of AA. Gable tagged in and won the match with an Electric Chair Bulldog. Right after the match, The Usos, from the crowd, called out the champions. They cut a promo that was absolutely insane.

Shrieking about everything from jumping, to nutrition to insomnia, that was awesome. Oh, yeah, there was a match, too. I liked the finishing move, but otherwise, not much was going on there. For real, watch that promo, it was crazy. 1:50 and on. I’m being 100% serious, watch it. I put it there so you could watch it. I did that for you. If you don’t take advantage of the clips I get for you, then my doing so is pointless. Don’t make me pointless.

Nikki Bella vs Natalya

We are one hour in and it’s time for falls to count anywhere.

Nikki hit a spear to begin the match. She grabbed a table early, but Natalya put it back under the ring. Nikki settled for a kendo stick, and broke it by repeatedly whacking her rival. They brawled into the audience, where Natalya gained the upper hand. Nikki regained the momentum for a moment with a jumping enzugiri from off the barricade. Back in the ringside area, Natalya cleared off the announce table. Nikki nearly went through, but disaster was averted. Bella Alabama slammed Natalya onto the table, which stayed intact, as the show went to commercial. When the action resumed, Bella was locked in a Sharpshooter. Nikki made it to the ropes, but found no respite, as she soon ate a snap suplex onto the ramp. They headed all the way backstage, where Natalya was sent head first through a mirror (sugarglass, no concerns). Nikki brought the match back towards the ring, firmly in charge. Maryse, who was bumped into backstage a moment ago, attacked Nikki with a pipe, and Natalya won the match.

Decent scrap. They took the match all over the stadium, taking full advantage of the stipulation. I still think this feud as a whole is a little uncomfortable, but the matches have been solid.

Battle Royal for the Number One Contendership

AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews, Kalisto, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Luke Harper and Mojo Rawley were the participants in this match, with the winner earning a trip to headline WrestleMania against WWE Champion Bray Wyatt.

They got right down to it, with the various feuding participants going for each other. Crews and Ziggler attacked each other, Corbin and Ambrose brawled. There’s ten people doing a match at the same time; I don’t know what you want from me here. Nobody could ally for long enough to score an elimination. Corbin tossed Mojo over the top rope, eliminating him. Ziggler did away with Kalisto, and Crews got revenge by eliminating Ziggler. Corbin flipped Crews out of the ring, leaving six. Everybody took turns hitting big moves. Cena tossed The Miz out. Cena, Styles and Ambrose did a triple German suplex together, and Cena hit three moves of doom on Styles. Corbin charged at Ambrose, who low bridged and sent Corbin crashing to the outside. Corbin pulled him out and hit the End of Days on the arena floor. The Miz jumped back in illegally and tossed Cena out. Ambrose, Styles and Harper remained. Harper was very aware of his 60 pound weight advantage, and tried to muscle Styles over the rope. Instead, they worked together to eliminate Ambrose. Styles was just a little to fast, and Harper just a little to big for either man to eliminate the other. They both went over together, with the referees claiming that both men hit the floor at the same time. Harper desperately pleaded his case, manic in his eyes. GM Daniel Bryan came out, and when he couldn’t get a consensus from the officials, he labeled the match a draw. He said that next week, Harper and Styles would fight to determine a true winner. Harper, fuming, hit one hell of a Discus Clothesline to end the show.

Perfect! Feuds were advanced, and we all have a concrete reason to tune in next week. Booking 101 for a big match like this.

And that caps off a really, really solid week in WWE main roster programming. Both shows were top notch this week.

Which show held your interest better? Is Luke Harper going to headline WrestleMania? Don’t forget to tell me what your own thoughts in the comments below.

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