WWE SmackDown Live for January 17, 2017
Watch: USA Network, Hulu, WWE Network on an one month delay
Fedex Forum – Memphis, Tennessee
The intro video plays, hyping up the SmackDown Women’s championship title match in a cage. Shane McMahon comes out to talk about his big announcement. After the Royal Rumble the WWE Championship will be defended in an Elimination Chamber match. AJ Styles walks out and takes issue with Shane making a title match at the Elimination Chamber show without consulting the champion, Shane defends his decision because he runs SmackDown Live and takes issue with AJ’s attitude, making AJ threaten to take his attitude and belt back to Japan. His rant is interrupted by John Cena, but AJ isn’t phased continues talking and asks why SmackDown Live is against AJ, asks who else wants to come out and steal his spotlight. The Miz and Maryse walk out, whether he wins the Royal Rumble or wins the WWE Championship he will be where he belongs, main eventing WrestleMania. Miz lists off his accomplishments and how he belongs up top before John Cena acts as an instigator and tries to get both men to fight. Shane makes the match official for right now.
Dean meets Shane backstage asking for a match with Randy Orton and Shane happily makes it official for tonight.
The Miz w/ Maryse vs AJ Styles
John Cena joins the commentary desk promoting Royal Rumble and his other projects while AJ and Miz start the match slow. After a kick to the gut AJ and Miz get the match out of neutral, bringing in some hard hits. Cena is putting over AJ very well, says he is at the top of his game and he hasn’t completely figured out his game plan yet to defeat AJ. Miz and AJ are having a simple yet fun match before it falls apart with AJ attacking Cena, then Cena attacking Miz. John Cena hits AJ with an AA before grabbing the world title and lifting it up to cheers from the crowd.
Nikki is walking to the ring for a match and keeps watching her back, a nice touch after she got ambushed last week. A recap video plays of last week’s attack and Nikki asks Natalya to come to the ring, Natalya is up in the stands and ask her to watch the tron. Natalya walks out the to merchandise stand and rants about how Nikki gets everything and calls Bret her ex-uncle, asks where her merchandise is and starts trashing shirts. Nikki appears and we get ourselves a merch stand brawl that requires security to break up.
Alexa is asked if she’s afraid to face Becky Lynch tonight in a cage match, Alexa says she wasn’t afraid in their table match and is confident about winning tonight.
Dean Ambrose def. Randy Orton
Randy and Luke stare at each other before the bell rings, Randy and Dean continue to wrestle while Luke and Bray chitchat ringside. Near the end of the match Randy gets ready for the RKO and Luke walks in the ring and quickly pulled out by Bray, this distraction was enough for Dean to roll up Orton for the win. After the match Orton glares at Luke and they get in another shouting match before throwing hands at each other. Bray has to get in between the two and strikes at Harper, he keeps telling Bray that, “He did this.” Orton and Bray exchange looks before Harper leaves. This isn’t a match that you would write home about, it didn’t hold my attention but it served its purpose as advancing a story.
Jerry Lawler is out to host his King’s Court show with guest Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler isn’t responding to any of Lawler’s questions so he tries to talk to Dolph, telling him that he’s going down the wrong path before rolling footage from last week showing his attack on Kalisto and Apollo Crews. Ziggler stays silent and tries to leave but is convinced to stay and talk, he shows his own footage of him and Jerry’s match from 2012 on the night Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack. Jerry says that no matter what attitude he has Ziggler will always be a loser, Ziggler superkicks Lawler in the chest before leaving.
Bray Wyatt announces that the family will all be in the Royal Rumble and next week Randy Orton and Luke Harper will be in a match.
WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Steel Cage Match: Alexa Bliss (c) def. Becky Lynch
Alexa runs for the door once the bell rings and keeps trying quickly to escape the cage. Becky and Alexa are both on the top rope walking and kicking each other before Becky grabs her hair and brings Alexa’s head down onto the top turnbuckle. Becky is almost over the top of the cage and Alexa grabs her hair and drags her back down but Becky kicks her and hits a top rope Bexploder. La Luchadora appears and distracts Becky who gets dragged back into the ring by Alexa who gets the three count to retain her title with her friend La Luchadora raising her hand. Post match La Luchadora and Alexa beatdown Becky, Becky takes off La Luchadora’s mask to reveal……former WWE Diva Mickie James! Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch haven’t been able to deliver in-ring to the same level their character work is at. The title matches have been average and on good at their best, the reveal was also met with lukewarm reception from the live crowd. I’m interested in how they explain Alexa and Mickie’s friendship and hope to see the champion move on to another challenger.
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE (JANUARY 17, 2017)
Sub Par - 4/10
Once again some fun happened on this week's episode but due to some matches falling flat and an overall "okay" feeling from some of the angles, this wasn't a good episode of SmackDown Live. Hopefully things pick up next week with Mickie James explaining her actions and maybe Carmella and James Ellsworth return from their shopping spree.