WWE SmackDown Live on March 14, 2017
Watch: USA Network, Hulu, WWE Network on an one-month delay
PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, PA
Show starts with a video package building the AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon feud that’s slated to happen at WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan is on the phone with someone important when AJ walks in yelling for Shane McMahon, Bryan asks him to calm down and try to work something out. AJ isn’t going to try to work it out but he’ll go out in front of the WWE Universe and tell them why he thinks the higher ups are against him. Before saying a word the audience starts an, “AJ Styles” chant, he repeats what he’s been saying for the last couple weeks, that he isn’t getting the respect that he deserves like John Cena. He believes he’s the reason for SmackDown Live’s success and is the greatest superstar in WWE right now and he doesn’t even have a match at WrestleMania and he’s going to talk to Shane McMahon tonight about his career before walking off to the back.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Match starts hot with a short, “Let’s go Becky” chant and offense from Lynch before a rope break and Natalya asking for a timeout, Becky slaps her and continues her attack. Natalya hits Becky with a Michinoku driver on the outside but it’s not enough to put away her opponent. This is a good, compact, hard-hitting match that’s better than I expected off of a single week build and better than what I remember their last feud producing. Becky isn’t able to celebrate after she and Natalya get superkicked by Carmella.
Carmella is asked about her actions backstage and she says Daniel made the match open to any woman on the roster and she aims to be the next Women’s Champion.
Miz TV this week is all about further exposing John Cena and Nikki Bella as the frauds that they are and roll tape from last week’s Talking Smack about the same thing. Maryse sits down ands tells the story of her then friend, Nikki, stabbing her in the back and preventing her from being on the first season of Total Divas by telling Maryse to not worry about the contract negotiations because, “I’m dating John Cena, I’m untouchable.” Due to Nikki taking that opportunity from Maryse she stole 3 years that Maryse could’ve been alongside her husband. Nikki and John Cena walk out and Nikki states that her and Maryse were never friends because she lied and stabbed her and Brie in the back. She even offers Maryse a match right now and Miz rebuttals that Nikki doesn’t get to make matches whenever she wants because she isn’t John Cena. The Miz starting signing off for Miz TV but is interrupted by GM Daniel Bryan’s music, since Bryan can’t punch Miz in the face he’s going to put him in a match with someone who can punch him in the face. John Cena and Nikki Bella vs The Miz and Maryse is now an official match for WrestleMania.
Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss
It didn’t take long for these former allies to find the idea of championship gold better than having an ally in the SmackDown locker room. Mickie tries to control the match but Bliss takes over and drags Mickie to the outside. Mickie James wins a pretty standard match in front of a dead crowd that only makes some type of noise after Mickie gets the three count, it was good but the crowd not caring hurt it.
AJ is being interviewed by by Renee backstage when he hears the garage door open and stalks Shane McMahon getting out of his car. When the opportunity is right he runs in and starts punching Shane and throwing him into walls and a car window head first. Fit Finlay and Renee walk to Shane to see if he’s okay before AJ gets one last cheap shot in.
After returning from commercial break Shane is being looked over by a doctor and is taken to the athletic trainer’s room. AJ walks into the heel locker room and even The Usos, who don’t think twice about destroying American Alpha’s knees, think AJ has taken this too far. He doesn’t care about his coworkers’ opinions and packs up his suitcase to head out. Daniel Bryan and some police are waiting outside, Daniel says that what AJ did was the act of the coward and ultimately fires him from SmackDown Live.
Mojo Rawley vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph does some showboating before engaging in a match with Mojo. After yelling at Mojo, Ziggler gets sent over the top rope and walks away giving Mojo a win via count-out.
Randy Orton has come to the ring to address the WWE Universe about his championship match at WrestleMania. A RKO would’ve been to easy to defeat Bray Wyatt, Orton wanted to destroy Bray Wyatt and that meant joining the family. He had to strike first and he figured out that destroying the thing that Bray loved the most, Sister Abigail, when Sister Abigail’s body burned Bray’s powers left him and he is now alone. At WrestleMania Orton swears to God that he’ll take everything from Bray Wyatt. Bray is in a very dark room, we all thought that the soul of Sister Abigail was destroyed but it still lives, she is the spawn of Satan forged in hell. Wyatt has been born again in her ashes and has baptized himself, literally rubbing her ashes on his body, before yelling at the screen.
Baron Corbin is interviewed by Dasha Fuentes backstage asking if he crossed the line last week attacking Dean Ambrose. Dean claims that he can get up from anything, if he can get up from his hospital bed than Corbin will take his Intercontinental title at WrestleMania and put him down for good.
The Usos vs. American Alpha
Jey tries to attack Gable fast but he’s able to get away and bring Jey over to AA’s corner to tag in Jordan. Early in the match, with shades of Monday Nitro, we get a second screen showing Shane McMahon walking backstage after getting bandaged up. If that wasn’t enough to tell you that this match is filler, the commentary reminds of the Shane angle and the Pittsburgh crowd starts to chant on and off, “We want Angle.” SmackDown Live’s biggest weakness, RAW also suffers from this issue a bit, is that the tag division has become an afterthought. The division has been off TV for weeks at a time before, Gable wasn’t even present on TV in his home state of Minnesota a couple weeks ago and he’s one half of division’s championship team. Every tag team segment feels like an afterthought right now and it’s a shame since there are some great tag teams waiting for a call up in NXT, this isn’t the ideal situation for any of them to debut in.
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE ON MARCH 14, 2017
Average - 5/10
Another skip-worthy episode of SmackDown Live this week. WrestleMania is only getting closer and while the builds have been great, the weekly TV product hasn't felt as satisfying and fun outside of promo work.