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SmackDown Redux (December 13th, 2016): Lies, mysteries and Jane Ellsworth

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This episode of SmackDown is pretty special. Not because of the fact that Deonna freaking Purrazzo showed up. But, it’s more to do with the fact that we saw our first Tuesday night women’s match in three weeks! I mean, it’s not necessarily something to brag about, but it happened!

The ladies started off the night when Natalya took on Carmella in a match whilst an anxious Nikki Bella is on commentary. As Nikki is discussing the upcoming episode of Total Divas during Natalya’s entrance, the Queen of Harts takes ahold of the mic to address the Survivor Series situation. But before she can get into her apology, the Princess of Staten Island comes out for the match. Oops!

The contest proves to be fairly gripping, with both women getting so great offense in. Towards the end of the match, Natalya is outside trying to get Bella to believe her. And, as Carmella is about to launch an attack on the Fearless One from behind, Natalya pushes her friend aside to knock the Princess of Staten Island to the ground. The action then goes back to the ring, and just after Natalya tells Nikki that it wasn’t her – again – Carmella rolls her up for the three count!

Later on in the night the SmackDown Women’s champion Alexa Bliss comes out for her match against the one and only – local competitor – Deonna Purrazzo! Before she can get her full introduction, Bliss grabs the microphone from Greg Hamilton and dismisses him accordingly. Alexa then addresses Purrazzo and says whilst SmackDown Live may be “the land of opportunity”, but she doesn’t do charity work like Becky Lynch. Bliss then refers to Purrazzo as “Jane Ellsworth” (probably her best line ever) before attacking her and throwing her out of the ring. But before she can go back to her speech, the former SmackDown Women’s champion comes out to interrupt her – seems to be a theme this week!

Lynch slowly makes her way to the ring as she apologizes for catching Bliss “off guard” when asking for the rematch. Alexa wasn’t in her ring gear, but, now she is – and so is Becky! So, to the interest of both of them, Becky claims that the two should have the rematch right here, right now! Alexa, as accepting as she is to have a rematch, declines the offer for the night and dashes out of the ring. But before she can make her full escape, Mr Shane O’Mac himself pops out to ringside.

Shane tells the champ that what’s going on isn’t how things go down on SmackDown Live. So, before she can head backstage, she must defend her title against Becky Lynch – cue the music and the Lass Kicker’s best Shane O’Mac dance moves!

When we return from a break the match begins. Bliss plays the cowardly role and tries to avoid any form on contact with Lynch. Becky leads a lot of the match and seems to indicate that she’ll win. So, sensing the potential loss, Alexa dashes outside of the ring with an “injured” leg and gets herself counted out. I’d totally roll my eyes but it was pretty hilarious.

The very hurt SmackDown Women’s champion shows up on Talking Smack to discuss her issue. She tells Daniel Bryan and Renee Young that she is still sore from the match and that she didn’t even realise that she was being counted out – that’s how bad the injury was! When questioned about the authenticity of the injury, Bliss says that she hasn’t seen a trainer because she believes that it’s best to test the waters in the locker room and elevate her injury herself. She tells Daniel that his words are “questioning [her] integrity” – RUDE – and that she prides herself on said integrity.

Thoughts: This was a really good week for the ladies. I really appreciate how after three weeks of no Tuesday night wrestling we got two solid matches. And though one may not have been properly complete, it was still a great bout.

I’m really enjoying what SmackDown are doing with this Survivor Series storyline. It’s involving three different women and allowing each of them to grow.

Carmella is clearly coming across as a threat in the ring as she was definitely the competitor given the better moves this week. Between her Hurricanrana, the Bronco Buster and everything in between, the Princess of Staten Island had a great week. And even if she may be the most irrelevant of the three, she’s still not losing any shine. SmackDown are still giving her the opportunity to improve and get closer with the crowd and I can’t help but appreciate that. She’s getting better week by week and it’ll be great to see where she is in a few months from now because of it.

Nikki is also doing pretty well right now. Though it’s fairly weird that she stays silent whenever the other girls confront her, it’s interesting to see her looking anxious and not sticking to this “fearless” gimmick. The attack at Survivor Series could have easily been brushed away or seen as something expendable, but it’s great that that isn’t the direction we’re going in. When we do find out the attacker, Nikki’s consistent silence will lead to her being afraid of them, and actually having some kind of reason to feud. The two will have a great feud as Nikki will fear them and thus give them some power going into their rivalry.

On top of this, Natalya is still my favourite part of the storyline. She’s the type of character that thinks she’s a babyface and that everyone loves her, yet is really annoying and no one actually wants her around. Prior to this she was desperately trying to get the crowd to boo her adorable self. Yet now when it comes across as her being a lost puppy, she easily becomes annoying and therefore will garner the heat she needs. She won’t necessarily get to the heat levels of Eva Marie, but she’ll become annoying enough to make you not want to root for her – and that’s what she needs.

And finally, the Women’s championship story! Alexa Bliss is an incredible heel. She has the perfect balance between humor and annoyance that makes her the right kind of villain. She may crack you up with her references and insults, but she’ll then turn her back on the crowd and force them to boo her. This is the kind of heel I like to watch. She’s entertaining, engaging and also allows her opponent to show. Despite last week’s mishap, Alexa’s title reign may be going in the right direction after all. She’s doing a wonderful job and the feud between her and Lynch is far from stale. They may be going at it multiple times, but each week we see them doing something new and engaging – and it’s brilliant.

What are your thoughts on this week’s show? Love it? Hate it? When do you think Nikki’s attacker will be revealed? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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