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SmackDown Redux (December 27th, 2016): Mind your business

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It’s the final edition of SmackDown Live of the year, so what better way to go out with a bang than to have a Women’s title match? And a surprise interference, of course!

Between the title match, surprise appearance, and the backstage controversy, it’s a big one for the ladies of Team Blue, and it looks like things aren’t gonna settle down for a while…

Towards the beginning of the show, Dasha Fuentes attempted to interview The Miz about last week’s scenario. And after Maryse confronted Funetes – with not a single word of exchange between them – the Intercontinental champion demanded to speak with the woman that slapped him, Renee Young.

Later on in the show, Renee Young is seen outside of The Miz’s door, ready to interview him. Maryse is the first one out of the door and ensures that if Young is to touch her husband again, she will take matters into her own hands. The Miz then interrupts and takes ahold of the situation. He intimidatingly asks Renee if she’s going to ask him a question – such as the topic of him performing a Skullcrushing Finale on her boyfriend Dean Ambrose. After the man kicks out the security for being in “his shot”, Young then responds by unenthusiastically asking him how he is going to follow up his “resurgence” year in 2017. He proudly boasts about his year, but is soon attacked by one Dean Ambrose – whom appears to be dressed as a security guard. Ambrose then fends off the other guards that try to stop him and then tells the receiving end of his intercom that the area is “all clear”, and then walks away with a smug smile.

We soon see Dasha catching up with James Ellsworth in an attempt to understand his feelings regarding his title shot loss to AJ Styles. However, just like last week, Carmella interrupts the interview as she feels that Dasha is anchoring Ellsworth’s insecurities with her questions. The Princess of Staten Island says that she finds the man “uniquely attractive” and whisks him away with her. Interesting.

Our SmackDown Women’s title match soon goes ahead and it’s a tough one. Becky Lynch leads the majority of the beginning with her roll-ups and charismatic move-set. And though Alexa Bliss does insert her own offense, it is Lynch that leads the match for a little while longer. We then get to a point in which it seems that Bliss will insert a finisher and take home the win, but this is put to a halt as some music plays and someone dressed just like the Luchadora from last week runs to ringside. Whilst the referee is looking away, the Luchadora takes off part of the middle turnbuckle and patiently waits to make their move.

Back in the ring, Lynch attacks Alexa’s arm with the Dis-Arm-Her but the champion manages to get to the ropes. And whilst Bliss is showing the referee her “injured” body part, the Luchadora takes ahold of the moment and bashes Lynch’s head into the exposed part of the turnbuckle. Alexa then turns this distraction into a DDT and inserts a pinfall for the victory.

Dasha shows up to ask Bliss for her thoughts on the Luchadora’s actions, and who she may think is behind the mask. An unbothered champion declares that it’s probably Sasha Banks, or even Nia Jax, and then walks off with her title. It may be possible that Bliss could not care less. More on this later.

Backstage, Nikki Bella is confronted by Fuentes to discuss Natalya’s reveal from last week. Bella says that regardless of Neidhart’s words, she’s still proud of her two successful reality shows and is unashamedly in love with the “man of her dreams”, John Cena. She also says that she got her success through her determination, and not through her looks. And before she leaves, she states that she intends to tell Natalya everything she has to say, to her face.

Thoughts: If there’s a perfect way to end the year, this is it! Between the chemistry and storytelling of the title match to the use of the backstage correspondents, this is a fantastic episode for the women of Team Blue! We’re definitely spoiled this week as the women are heavily involved in good portions of the show.

The angle with Renee, Maryse and their respective men is going fantastically. What I love about it is that although the feud is between The Miz and Ambrose, the involvement of the women doesn’t feel like a valet versus valet kind of gig. Instead, Young despises the Miz for his treatment of her, and doesn’t even discuss his unfair attack on Ambrose. Young saw the Miz bully her boyfriend multiple times, yet only got involved because he ended up picking on her as well – and I appreciate that ever so much. Young is clearly a grown woman that can fight her own battles (whilst her boyfriend is a grown man that can do the same), so when the Miz messes with her, she took it into her own hands and refused to respect the instigator for that reason.

We also saw that Maryse wanted to get involved too. And this could be an interesting angle. Though Young has shown no signs of being an in-ring competitor, could we see the two battle it out one day? The tension between them is definitely something I’d like to see resolved in the ring, so maybe it’ll happen…? Or it could be promo for ‘Total Divas’.

The Nikki Bella segment is also a pretty interesting one. Though it’s really short, and it doesn’t really have a lot of substance, it’s a good way to continue the feud between her and Natalya. Seeing Nikki actually respond is what we’ve needed for a while. Instead of seeing Carmella and Natalya being the only ones that get a say, Bella finally got to give her two cents. I love the empowering Nikki, and this segment pretty much embodied that. Though, the only thing I’d like to change would be for Bella to have more edge, and to show a similar level of sass that her record breaking title reign had.

Now onto the title match. The match itself was an incredible set of wrestling. Both women really proved their extensive levels of chemistry and sold their story wonderfully. Again, it’s the story of good versus evil and either women situated themselves in the correct role perfectly. And on top of the fantastic work from both of the women, the ending was an unexpected dose of good storytelling too.

Yes, we have another “who attacked me!?” story, so I guess you could say it’s similar. But it also doesn’t seem to be a carbon copy. With this new Luchadora character, we can see tons of potential for different stories to be told. It may be a woman that attacked another woman – much like the Bella/Neidhart situation – but it can be so much more.

Lynch has had a horrible end to a year that was supposed to be hers. With the loss of her title and the constant cheap shots from behind, there really is a lot of fuel behind this Lass Kicker to go all out. And with this unknown “Luchadora” now messing with her also, could we see a heated rivalry in her future? Maybe even a heel turn?

The Luchadora could also very much be a new member of Team Blue? Could Deonna Purrazzo be on the hunt for Lynch? Maybe Tamina, Eva Marie or Naomi could have sent someone out to attack Lynch in a disguise so nobody would expect them? There are countless ways that this could go, and I love it. Lynch works best when she is belittled and misunderstood, and seeing her out of the title picture will be refreshing. So this could be an interesting story…

What do you think of this episode? Did we leave the year on a good note? Who should be the next opponent for Bliss? Who attacked Becky? How are you finding Nikki and Natalya’s storyline? Will Renee and Maryse fight it out? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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