WWE SmackDown Live for January 24, 2017
Where to watch: USA Network, Hulu, WWE Network on a one-month delay
Huntington Center – Toledo, Ohio
Show opens with Daniel Bryan about to enjoy a good apple before he’s interrupted by The Miz and Maryse. He’s here to complain about how he and Maryse don’t have a private dressing room. Bryan jokes that he can rope off a stall in the bathroom and announces that the Miz is competing in a lumberjack match for the intercontinental title.
Randy Orton def. Luke Harper
Bray sits in his rocking chair at ringside right before the bell rings. The two men lock up and go to the ropes, Harper yells at Orton that he did this, this is his fault. Luke rolls out of the ring and walks over to Bray but gets ignored, he continues to stare at Bray while he hits Orton before pushing back inside the ring. Orton recovers and looks at Bray while he hits Harper with a hanging DDT, action goes back outside and Orton drops Harper on the announce table. While both wrestlers are down, Bray walks over to them and puts them back inside to make sure there isn’t a count out. Something that’s easy to pick up is how Orton is still very over with the SmackDown Live audience, they’re constantly chanting for Orton with “RKO.” Harper tries to hit a discus lariat but finds himself in a RKO and loses. After the match Bray helps up Luke Harper and embraces him before hitting him with a Sister Abigail, possibly putting Luke out of the family.
Renee Young is in the ring to interview Mickie James and asks her why she has come back. Mickie runs through her accomplishments but Renee reminds her that she didn’t answer why she came back. Mickie doesn’t appreciate that the current women are acting as if they’re the first group of “real” female athletes to wrestle in WWE and she’s here to remind them that Mickie James was first. She says that Alexa Bliss was the only one that remembered her and was the only one critical the Women’s Revolution narrative, Alexa was the only one to remember that Mickie was here and had accomplishments in the past division. This is the reinvention of Mickie James but Becky interrupts her speech and takes her down. Mickie runs over the barricade, Becky follows but meets a forearm from Alexa Bliss. The two bring Becky back in the ring for a Mick Kick and Twisted Bliss. Editor’s note: Alexandra didn’t mention it, but the pauses were so creepy in Mickie’s promo.
We finally see the video from last week of James and Carmella’s shopping spree. James’ final transformation is into a stereotypical Italian-American guy from the Tri-State area that frequents Wildwood, New Jersey during the summer.
Baron Corbin comes out to a full intro to join ringside and commentate during a Over the Top Rope challenge.
Mojo Rawley wins the Over the Top Rope Challenge
Rhyno tries to throw over his former partner, Heath Slater, then they both pull down the ropes and eliminate The Vaudevillains. Curt Hawkins is eliminated next by Mojo Rawley, followed by Viktor and Heath Slater. Konnor and Rhyno fall over next. Mojo Rawley wins and is entered into the Royal Rumble match this Sunday.
Hours before SmackDown Live, Natalya attacked Nikki in the parking lot.
AJ Styles walks out and tells the audience that he has something to get off his chest, he points to the jumbotron showing the official poster and complains that he isn’t in the front row as WWE Champion, and calls out John Cena to get to the ring. The crowd starts a “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” dueling chants when John enters the ring. John tries to talk and AJ interrupts him saying he’s heard enough of his ra-ra speeches, they play tape from The Today Show where the two hosts refer to AJ as “the guy from Atlanta”. He then reminds Cena that he is the ‘Phenomenal’ AJ Styles and he’s been holding up SmackDown Live and no one missed Cena. AJ notes Cena’s new shirt that says “Respect. Earn it.” and asks John Cena what he has to do to get his respect. John says that he’s dealt with disrespect for years, from thousands of people telling him that he sucks, from people not respecting him for not spending time on the indie scene. He was built for the WWE, for moments like the Royal Rumble. Says AJ is not just a guy from Atlanta, he’s just a guy that’s holding onto the WWE World Championship because he let him. Cena continues to spit fire and drops the mic, leaving AJ speechless while his music plays.
Dolph Ziggler def. Kalisto
Ziggler quickly rolls through Kalisto, winning extremely quickly. After the match he stares at Kalisto and goes outside to grab a chair, JBL stands up and takes issue with it and Apollo Crews runs in and defends his friend from the chair attack.
Natalya vs Naomi
Naomi is in the ring waiting for Natalya to appear, she doesn’t appear when her theme music plays, video on the jumbotron shows Nikki fight Natalya backstage. Naomi gets a mic and says that she didn’t come back to SmackDown Live to not wrestle. She invites any woman in the back to come to the ring and wrestle. Alexa Bliss walks out with a mic to tell Naomi that she’s not here to answer her challenge because she hasn’t been on TV in months and she’s no one. Naomi threatens that she’ll snatch Alexa bald and will be the next women’s champion. While walking out Alexa tells Naomi to say high to obscurity for her.
A six-woman tag team match is officially announced for the Royal Rumble.
Intercontinental Championship Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose (c) def. The Miz w/Maryse
Early part of the match has teases of either man going outside. When Dean finally goes outside Miz is critical of the lumberjacks of not beating Ambrose enough and shows them how it’s down. There’s some sloppiness with some very loose moves before Miz goes over the ropes for the first time. The lumberjacks lay in some punches before sending Miz back in the ring. When Ambrose goes for his rebound clothesline, the lumberjacks pull him through the ropes and the fellow faces try to get the lumberjacks to lay off of him. Miz mocks Daniel’s signature kicks again. Next time Ambrose goes outside he successfully fends off the lumberjacks before going up top and landing an elbow for a two count. A big crowd is assembled in front of the ring for Ambrose to jump on top of, Baron Corbin runs in to break the up the pin leading everyone to run inside the ring and they do the almost traditional preview of the Royal Rumble. Dean defends his title again. This match had some sloppiness in the moves, if you dislike the tropes of a Dean Ambrose match be aware that this one was no different.
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE (JANUARY 24, 2017)
Decent - 6/10
A stronger episode than last week's, this episode helped ramp up the tensions between AJ Styles and John Cena for their title match this coming Sunday at the Royal Rumble. Plus we have more SmackDown participants in this Sunday's show.