posted by Billy Carpenter
From Atlanta, GA
Dean Ambrose kicks off the festivities this week on SmackDown. Jerry Lawler’s shirt is especially terrible this Thursday evening. He waxes nostalgic about the happenings at RAW, which include him taking a bit of a beating but ended up with him getting a WWE title shot at Roadblock. As he discusses the possibilities of a radically changed ‘Mania card if he wins the title in a few weeks, the IC champ Kevin Owens graces us with his presence. He wonders aloud how Dean has 2 marquee matches coming up whilst he can’t find a credible challenger for WrestleMania. As you’d expect, physicality follows and Ambrose gets a chairshot on KO before challenging him to a match. Mauro calls their feud one of the “hottest of the year” and I can’t argue there, at least as far as WWE TV is concerned. Should be a fun main event tonight.
Tag action coming up next as The Usos make their way out. The League of Nations follow, as Rusev & Sheamus answer the call. The heels take control early, with Rusev getting the upper hand on Jey and sending him to the floor with a dropkick. The entire LoN has adopted Del Rio’s whistling finger twirl gimmick. Rusev humorously taunts Jey, yelling at him to tag his brother. The tide turns after a float over DDT that Rusev took a nasty bump on. Jimmy gets the hot tag and the energy level goes up, finally. Jey gets a big tope to the floor on Barrett & Del Rio but eats a superkick from Rusev. Jimmy hits a suicide dive on the Bulgarian Brute and catches Sheamus jumping off the stairs with a superkick! Back in, Jimmy goes for a Superfly Splash but Sheamus gets the knees up. Moments later, the Brogue Kick finishes things, sending the League of Nations to the pay window, daddy. I’m so bored with The Usos as a team these days. I was kind of hoping for a Jimmy singles run while his brother was hurt (maybe in the IC or US title picture?) but it wasn’t in the cards. The team just doesn’t do it for me anymore and in the immortal words of Jay-Z, they had a spark when they started but now they’re just garbage.
WINNERS: Sheamus & Rusev via pinfall
The Dudley Boyz make their way out now, table in hand. Jey is the last Uso standing so he attempts to hold his ground. Bubba & D-Von quickly overwhelm the brothers Uso, setting up the table before just kicking it over to end the segment. Meh.
Quick recap of Stephanie McMahon’s promo from Monday. I dug it.
Dolph Ziggler is here. We get a clip of him doing a signing at a Cricket Wireless store, presumably part of the new partnership between the two companies. The Showoff is battling The Miz tonight, a rematch of their 65 second sprint from RAW. Miz attacks first and tells the ref he’s “trying to beat a minute”. Miz goes for that corner clotheline but Dolph ducks & catches a backslide to get the even quicker win. Welp. I still think these guys end up as partners when this is all done.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
Backstage, R-Truth and Goldust engage in more hijinks. They’ve really stretched this out a hell of a lot longer than I thought they would. Truth calling Goldie “Dusta Rhymes” made me chuckle though.
Time to determine the number one contender to the Divas title as Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks do battle. They both trade a number of early near falls, showing the urgency of wanting to win this match. We get a standoff and out comes the Divas champ, Charlotte. After a commercial break, Sasha is in control and throws a “WOOO!” at the champ outside. Becky fires back with some lariats and hits a nice exploder for 2. She misses a twisting legdrop and Banks comes back with a meteora for 2. Bank Statement locked on but Becky gets the ropes! This is picking up quite nicely. A couple of double knees in the corner gets Sasha another near fall. European uppercut by Becky gets another near fall. Both ladies end up on the floor and we get a double lariat spot. Ric Flair gets up and WOOOs in the face of both Sasha and Becky. His blue suede shoes are impeccable, by the way. Charlotte attacks both women after they’ve turned their attention to Ric and the match is thrown out. The champ stands tall to end the segment. This match really started to pick up in the back half and I quite enjoyed it, even though you could see the ending coming a mile away. Question is, can they sustain enough interest until we get to WrestleMania or do we get the triple threat at Roadblock?
Backstage, Renee Young catches up with the Flairs. Charlotte runs down Becky & Sasha until Renee informs her that the triple threat is made for WrestleMania, answering my question from above.
We get the clip from The Undertaker’s very brief return from RAW.
AWWWWWW ATLANTAAAAAAAA~!~ The New Day is out and we’re getting Kofi Kingston vs AJ Styles tonight! They run down the League of Nations, Atlanta and Y2AJ, prompting Styles to make his way out. AJ starts hot, so Woods plays the trombone in an attempt to distract Styles. AJ nails Xavier with a plancha but Kofi hits a baseball slide before we go to commercial. He’s in control as we come back and he gets a ONE MAN UNICORN STAMPEDE. Kingston maintains the advantage but gets caught with a backdrop coming off the top rope. AJ rolling now and he hits the ushigoroshi for 2. Kofi comes back and gets the SOS for a near fall of his own. Kingston misses the Trouble in Paradise and Styles hits the Pele. A backdrop sends AJ to the floor. Woods looks to attack but gets caught and the ref send he & E to the back. Kofi complains but turns into a springboard forearm and AJ picks up the win! Good stuff.
WINNER: AJ Styles via pinfall
Announced for Road Block, Brock Lesnar takes on Bray Wyatt. This leads into a Wyatt promo, in which he promises Brock will bow to him.
Main event time, as Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose go to war to close out this edition of SmackDown. Owens took shots at the bad ribs of Dean and worked over the body to start but a Dirty Deeds attempt sends Owens to the floor and sends us to commercial.Owens takes control as we come back, continuing to work over Ambrose’s ribs. We got a teased count out spot, as Dean sold the beating. Over by the announce table, KO yells at Mauro but gets caught with a lariat. Ambrose picks up momentum, hitting a dive to the outside. Owens would eventually turn the tables, hitting the corner cannonball. Ambrose would continue to fight back and attempt another dive to the floor on KO. Owens caught him out of mid-air the second time though and sent him back first into the apron. Back in, KO & Dean go back and forth and Dean finally hits Dirty Deeds and gets the clean 1-2-3. Finish makes sense as they attempt to make Dean look as strong as possible before March 12th. Good main event to close the show.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose via pinfall
Very good show tonight, featuring three straight 3 star matches. We got good ‘Mania build and the Road Block card is taking shape. This Monday in Chicago should be interesting, where I suspect we get the Jericho turn (if it’s happening), more Ambrose vs HHH build and more on the Divas title match. Oh, and we’ve got that scintillating third chapter of the Dolph/Miz series to look forward to.