This Week in WWE – SmackDown (1/17/2017)

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This week on SmackDown (1/17/2017), an unlikely ally helps Alexa Bliss out in her Steel Cage Women’s Championship Match against Becky Lynch!

Shane’s Announcement

SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon started off the show in a big way by announcing that the WWE Championship would be defended in 4 weeks inside the Elimination Chamber. We haven’t seen an Elimination Chamber match for a long time, so this is something that I’m pretty excited about. I thought Raw was slated to get the Fastlane PPV as well, so this is definitely music to my ears.

I think the best part about this match is that it will certainly feature a bunch of stars that have never competed in it. What kinds of crazy things can AJ Styles dream up with that kind of a canvas? Could it be a crowning moment for Baron Corbin? We have yet to find out who will compete in the match, but it’s safe to say you can lock in The Miz, John Cena, AJ Styles, and Baron Corbin. Beyond that, the other two spots will probably go to people like Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, or Randy Orton.

I could see AJ Styles retaining at the Rumble only to lose at Fastlane because of this development. That would be a good way to keep AJ strong while still allowing Cena to get his 16th title reign.

The Miz and AJ Styles ended up having a match that was thrown after Styles attacked Cena. Cena ended up giving Attitude Adjustments to both men and standing tall with the WWE Championship.

Natalya/Nikki Bella

I feel sorry for Nikki in this feud as Nattie just isn’t making a whole lot of sense with anything. She said she had something for Nikki to see on the Titantron which brought us to the merchandise stand. This is when everything just got weird. She started referring to the fact that she and Cena had merchandise at the forefront of the stand while Nattie doesn’t have any. Natalya got even weirder by saying that Bret Hart was her ex-uncle and getting mad at the fact that even he had shirts being sold over her. The two ladies then brawled at the merchandise stand.

What does Bret Hart have to do with this story and why would Nattie start talking him down? That seemed completely unnecessary and made no difference to the story. There’s just nothing here. These two just attack each other every week and neither one’s opinions have a whole lot of merit. I don’t think the crowd is all that into this and I can’t see it lasting much longer at this rate. 

Dissension in The Wyatt Family

For weeks now, there has been the threat of The Wyatt Family disbanding due to the ongoing problems between Randy Orton and Luke Harper. Luke didn’t help the cause this week as he cost Orton a match with Dean Ambrose as Orton was firmly in control by jumping in the ring. Bray punched Luke in the mouth before all 3 men left the ring separately. Bray also revealed that Orton and Harper will have a one on one match next week to settle their differences.

I think Orton’s time in the Wyatt Family has run its course. It’s my hope the Erick Rowan will come back to take his rightful place and that Orton will be done with this chapter. These guys have been intertwined for a long time now and I think it’s time for a change. I also think that Orton isn’t as valuable as part of a team as he is as a singles star. I don’t know where this angle is going, but at the very least, it’s been full of twists and turns and has been a point of interest weekly.

Dolph Ziggler/Jerry Lawler

Jerry “The King” Lawler made his return to WWE TV on SmackDown Live in a King’s Court segment with Dolph Ziggler. I thought this segment was pretty strange to begin with but it was in Lawler’s hometown of Memphis so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Dolph referenced Lawler’s heart attack in 2012 and how he had given him multiple elbow drops to the chest prior to Lawler suffering the heart attack.

I don’t care if Jerry gave this segment the OK or not, it was in poor taste and is one of those things that just shouldn’t have been said. That was easily a moment that Lawler could have passed away and Ziggler could have easily gotten heat by simply super-kicking Lawler like he already did. I will say that it did get Ziggler over as an evil human being so it was effective, it just wasn’t very necessary.

An Unexpected Return

The SmackDown Women’s Championship was defended inside a Steel Cage for the first time last night, but the ending overshadowed the match. Just as Becky Lynch was about to use the door to escape, La Luchadora showed up to stop her. Becky then attempted a DisArmHer on Alexa only to receive a round kick from Luchadora. Alexa hit a DDT and this one was over. Becky managed to get the mask off to reveal Mickie James! James and Alexa then stand tall after another kick by Mickie.

Just as I thought, Mickie James was indeed the woman behind the mask. It was the best case scenario for the SmackDown brand. Mickie brings a wealth of experience and she’ll have a load of fresh matchups waiting for her. I’m also pleased that she came in as a heel, it’s about time someone returns as a heel! We don’t have many answers as to why Mickie did what she did, but I’m sure we’ll get some next week.

Conclusion

The reveal of La Luchadora as Mickie James was enough to make this week’s SmackDown a memorable one, but the rest of the show was pretty pointless in all honesty. I might actually give Raw the edge this week.

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