This Week in WWE – SmackDown (1/3/2017)

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This week on SmackDown (1/3/2017), The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship reign came to an end while Dolph Ziggler finally snapped.

The Miz

How amazing has the Miz been? Very few people can take a character and turn the volume to 11 to be successful, Miz has done that. I remember seeing him the first few times over a decade ago now hosting the Diva Search and having a few sporadic matches. No one thought that Mike Mizanin was going to last one year in WWE, let alone over 10. It’s sad how the crowd jumps in someone and doesn’t give them a break no matter how much they do to change their minds. The Miz endured a lot of jeers early in his career, but he made the most of it.

It’s nice to see someone who has the star power achieve success, it’s even better to see someone morph into a star from hard work and dedication. The Miz never cared whether or not the fans were cheering him, he was more worried about improving and putting in the time inside and outside the ring to be the best Superstar that he could be. There are countless Superstars who didn’t have that same drive who are no longer with the company. The Miz remains.

This week, he lost the Intercontinental Championship to Dean Ambrose. If you look at the better part of the last year, though, you’ll see that the Intercontinental Title is indeed a lot more relevant than it has been in recent years. I would say it’s been very close to the WWE Championship in that regard. A lot of what The Miz has been saying has been fairly true. He did make the title more prestigious, he has been one of the best stars in WWE, he is one of the guys that does all the press and outside activities asked of him. It’s crazy to me that anyone thinks he’s not a good Superstar at this point.

I sincerely hope that The Miz moves up to the WWE Championship picture after his inevitable IC Title rematch. He’s definitely earned a place higher on the card and I think he could be a great WWE Champion for SmackDown. There’s always the chance that he wins the Intercontinental Championship back, but I think he’s done enough with that title at this point and that it would be better to move on to other things.

Dolph Ziggler

The WWE Universe got a late Christmas gift on this week’s edition of SmackDown. Baron Corbin defeated Dolph and then went for a steel chair after the match to finish the assault. Kalisto came out to make the save for Ziggler. Initially, I was annoyed because I thought the Kalisto/Corbin saga was over. The bigger picture was something so much better, though! Dolph Ziggler attacked Kalisto and started telling him he didn’t need anyone’s help. Dolph finally turned heel. He even attacked Apollo Crews backstage after Crews told him it was uncool to attack Kalisto. I’m loving this new attitude!

It seems like it has been years since Ziggler has been a heel. He hasn’t been bad as a face, I really enjoy his work. He just doesn’t seem to get the same opportunities as a face. His best years have been when he was a heel. I’m really excited to see what Dolph can do with a little more freedom to be an antagonist. I think these next few months could be crucial for Dolph to reinvent his character into a main-event guy. 

Carmella

It’s been fun to watch Carmella on SmackDown. A lot of the women have really stepped up their game on the blue brand, but Carmella has really stood out (along with Alexa) as the future of the Women’s Division. This whole thing with James Ellsworth really fits her character perfectly. Carmella has been acting like she really likes James when in reality, it’s pretty much all a ruse to have him help her in matches.

This week, we saw Ellsworth pay off when Carmella faced off against NXT’s Aliyah. Aliyah had a pretty good showing against Carmella and was starting to get the upper-hand when Ellsworth grabbed her leg. Carmella applied the Code of Silence and it was over. It’s certainly an interesting way to use James and I can see there being some very entertaining segments over the next few weeks. I just hope he doesn’t overshadow how good Carmella is becoming.

La Luchadora

It’s a funny thing to see how effective a masked wrestler is at driving interest in an angle. La Luchadora is doing just that. This week there were 2 Luchadoras that were giving Becky Lynch some trouble. The first one was Alexa Bliss who ended up tapping out to Becky. The second one is still unknown and attacked Becky from behind allowing Bliss to hit a DDT.

I think that this is a smart angle to do with Alexa. The big knock on her will always be that she’s small. It’s never been a big thing to me, but I’ve read many opinions that she’s not as credible as a champion. These are fan opinions online and they don’t really matter that much, however, these are the people that watch the show every week so it’s something. I like that it gives Alexa another underhanded trick to use against Becky. I really think this could be a very intricate angle depending on who La Luchadora is revealed to be.

Nikki Bella/Natalya

I’m not that enamored with the angle between Nikki and Natalya right now. I don’t feel like these two are meshing very well together. Nattie keeps rambling on about the same things and Nikki is desperately trying to make something out of it. There’s just something unnatural about Nattie on the mic. She’s not sure of herself or what she wants to say. It’s too scripted. I feel like if she was to go out there and actually say something from the heart, she could make it sound 10 times better. 

John Cena/AJ Styles

Much like when The Rock and John Cena started their rivalry, there’s some obvious real tension between Cena and AJ Styles. I haven’t been that pulled in by a promo in a long time between two Superstars. These guys really seem to have some genuine friendly animosity. I really believe that Cena didn’t think that AJ belonged in the beginning and I really believe that AJ resents Cena for being the face of the company for so long. 

I think that these two could have a 6-month feud and still be completely compelling. Unfortunately, I don’t see this being a long feud. I’m betting Cena will win the title at the Rumble and the rematch which would likely be at Fastlane. It’s been a good start so far, though. I can’t wait to see the match!

Conclusion

SmackDown continued on from last week’s ratings win with another strong show. I feel like the morale on SmackDown is really high and that they seem to take more chances and give different people opportunities. It’s been a great show to watch each week.

 

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