The WWE opening hits.
We go live to Jacksonville. WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Maryse are heading to the ring. Footage from two weeks ago is shown of Miz insulting Renee Young and then footage from last week is shown of Dean Ambrose attacking Miz abckstage.
The Miz defends the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose tonight.
The Miz calls out Renee Young
We return live with The Miz and Maryse in the ring. The crowd begins booing loudly. “You are looking at the it couple. The ratings spike. The most must-see WWE Superstar of all time, married to the hottest woman on this planet and holder of the most prestigious title in all of WWE.” Miz said he only has one new years resolution and that resolution is to be more forgiving. He adds it just so happens that someone owes him an apology and that person knows exactly who “she” is. Miz calls out Renee Young and talks about Dean Ambrose attacking him last week. He accuses Renee of setting him up and all of a sudden Ambrose is granted a shot at his Intercontinental championship. Miz talks about Renee sacrificing her journalistic integrity and being best buddies with the Smackdown GM to help Ambrose.
Dean Ambrose’s music hits to interrupt. Miz bails to the ring apron when Ambrose gets inside the ring. Maryse gets in the face of Ambrose. Maryse slaps Ambrose. Miz jumps off the ring apron and starts circling the ring. Maryse quickly exits and walks up the ramp with Miz. Ambrose grabs the mic. He said the hard part of his night is over saying Maryse hits way harder than he does. Ambrose’s music hits as they plug the title match later tonight.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin is up next.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Ziggler with rights to Corbin early. Corbin blocks an early superkick attempt, eats more rights from Ziggler and avoids a standing dropkick. Corbin with stomps to Ziggler against the ropes. Corbin with a knee to Ziggler and then applies pressure on his head on the bottom rope with his boot. Corbin irish whips Ziggler to the other corner with force. Corbin cuts off a Ziggler comeback with a big back elbow. Corbin applies more pressure to the head of Ziggler in the corner using his boot. Corbin chokes Ziggler over the top rope from the ring apron. Corbin knocks Ziggler off the ring apron and rolls out. Corbin tosses Ziggler into the lower back of the ring apron and then tosses him back inside. Ziggler catches Corbin with a dropkick. Corbin rolls out with frustration as we head to a break.
We return live as Corbin is standing on the head of Ziggler inside the ring. Corbin is pulling back on the left arm of Ziggler. During the break, Corbin caught Ziggler with a clothesline on the outside. Corbin catches Ziggler with a big right hand when Ziggler tries to springboard off the corner. Corbin gets a two count off a pinfall attempt. Ziggler throws elbows and right hands to fight off Corbin. Ziggler with a splash in the corner, swinging neckbreaker and jumping elbow combo over Corbin for a two count. Corbin levels Ziggler with another clothesline, hooks the leg and Ziggler kicks out. Corbin pushes Ziggler to the corner. Ziggler side steps Corbin sending him shoulder first into the corner. Ziggler catches Corbin with a Fameasser and Corbin kicks out. Corbin fights off a jumping DDT by Ziggler, but Ziggler counters and catches Corbin with a Zig Zag out of no where. Corbin kicks out. Ziggler can’t believe it. Corbin catches Ziggler with End of Days and gets the pinfall.
Winner: Baron Corbin
After the match, Baron Corbin grabs a steel chair and returns to the ring. Kalisto runs out, kicks the chair away and pulls the top rope down sending Corbin over the top rope. Kalisto checks on Ziggler and grabs the chair challenging Corbin. Dolph Ziggler is back on his feet with a frustrated look on his face. Ziggler levels Kalisto with a superkick. He yells at Kalisto that he doesn’t need his help. Ziggler heads to the back.
Adam’s Thoughts: Average match between Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler tonight. Corbin is definitely making some progress as a solo act as part of Smackdown. His involvement in the triple threat main event last week was a star making performance. Everyone seems very excited about a Ziggler heel turn. Sure?
Backstage, Carmella is warming up when James Ellsworth walks up. Ellsworth wants to thank her for the kind words last week and stumbles his words. He takes off his t-shirt and says he got this for her. Carmella suggests he escort her to the ring tonight.
Backstage, Apollo Crews is talking with Rhyno and Mojo Rawley when Dolph Ziggler walks in the locker room throwing items around. Crews understands he is frustrated. Ziggler headbutts Crews and starts brawling with him. Mojo and Rhyno break it up.
Footage is shown from last week where La Luchadora interfered in the Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch match setting up Bliss retaining the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Becky Lynch is out next. She faces La Luchadora after the break.
Becky Lynch vs. La Luchadora
Luchadora misses an elbow and pushes Becky away. Becky with forearms to the lower back of Luchadora. Becky with a judo toss and mounts Luchadora dropping right hands. Becky with more rights to Luchadora. Becky tosses Luchadora face first off the corner two times. Luchadora bails out of the ring and slides under the ring. Another Luchadora appears from the other side attacking Becky back in the ring. Luchadora attempts a Twisted Bliss and Becky avoids it getting the armbar applied. Luchadora taps out.
Winner: Becky Lynch
After the match, Becky Lynch removes the mask of La Luchadora to reveal it is Alexa Bliss. The other La Luchadora appears from under the ring and attacks Becky. Bliss with a DDT on Becky. Bliss leaves the ring with the other masked La Luchadora.
The contract signing between AJ Styles and John Cena is up next.
Royal Rumble Contract Signing
Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan heads to the ring getting a big reaction.
Bryan introduces the challenger at the Royal Rumble, John Cena. Cena takes a seat
Bryan then introduces “your WWE Champion”, AJ Styles.
Styles grabs a mic and talks about having a similar career like Daniel Bryan competed on the independent wrestling scene. He points at John Cena. “This guy right here, he’s not like us.” Styles talks about Cena taking time off and then coming back to a get a championship opportunity. Bryan understands where Styles is coming from, but said Smackdown Live is on a roll and talks about beating RAW in the ratings for the first time ever. He credits Styles headlining the show and Cena returning for that happening. Bryan said they have to give the fans the biggest match possible: AJ Styles vs. John Cena. He said this is the match that everyone wants and this is the match “we are going to give them.” Bryan brings up Styles beating Cena three times already and isn’t sure what he is worried about. He wishes both men good luck and exits the ring heading to the back.
Styles points at Cena and calls him the luckiest man on this planet. He said he was gifted a title match by a guy that is “basically your brother-in-law.” Styles said Bryan is right and they have to do what is best for Smackdown and even what is best for AJ Styles. He brings up the tables turning and how last year Cena was the champion and that Styles needed a win to prove he belonged in the WWE or he was an “overrated indy guy.” Styles tells Cena if he can’t beat him then he doesn’t belong in the WWE. He reiterates beating Cena three times and refers to him as being a ghost in the last few months. Styles said Smackdown beat RAW in the ratings because he was champion, not Cena. “Spoiler Alert: We can do it without you John,” adds Styles. Styles cuts off Cena from speaking. He brings up Cena admitting he was wrong about The Rock. Styles says Cena told the truth and now it’s about him.
Styles said Cena has been great for WWE, but wants to focus on two of those words: has been. He said when it comes to Hollywood, Cena will never be as good as The Rock. Styles said when it comes to this ring he will never be as good as A-J Styles. He leans down and signs the contract for the Royal Rumble. Styles takes off the WWE Championship around his waist as a loud “CENA” chant starts up. Cena says being a man is being able to admit when you are wrong and apologize. He said another way to be a man is standing up for yourself. Cena gets on his feet pushing his chair away. “You just made the biggest mistake of your life. You pissed off John Cena. And you are right: I actually do need a win to prove that I belong because of chumps like you that think I already left.” Cena said Styles pushed him and allow him to push back. “I just lost all respect for you and think you are nothing but a punk little bitch.” He brings up all the people despising him thinking Styles was the man to take over. Cena said he makes those people eat those words because he has made a career out of shutting people like Styles down. He tells Styles he only goes where WWE tells him to go, while he shows real passion and won’t give up even when they tell him to stop. Cena said he has true passion for this company and he had every opportunity to bail to Hollywood, but he is still here. Cena starts pacing the ring. He talks about needing this match, Styles needing this match and the fans needing this match. He tells Styles that at the Royal Rumble, bring your family and friends, bring the noise, bring your A game and “I’m still going to kick your ass and take that championship. Why? Because I’m John Cena. Recognize.” Cena leans down, signs the contract and slams the book shut.
Baron Corbin’s music hits and he walks out with a mic in hand to interrupt. He talks about winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania last year on his first day. Corbin announces he is entering the 30 Man Royal Rumble match. He gets in the ring and says he doesn’t care if he has to face AJ Styles or John Cena: he will walk out of WrestleMania the WWE Champion. Cena says he knows Styles isn’t ready for a fight so he is ready to pick a fight with the toughest guy on Smackdown. Cena tosses his shirt and hat when Styles attacks Cena out of no where sending him over the table. Corbin looks down over Cena and then stares down the WWE Champion AJ Styles from the ring apron.
Backstage, we see Maryse approaching Renee Young. She slaps Renee on behalf of The Miz and tells her to never touch her husband again.
Carmella w/ James Ellsworth vs. Aliyah
The bell rings and we get a lock up into a headlock by Carmella. Aliyah with a snapmare and Carmella lands on her feet. Aliyah trips up Carmella. Carmella pulls Aliyah down by her hair. Carmella with left hands to Aliyah on the mat. Carmella catches Aliyah with a Bronco Buster in the corner. Carmella tosses Aliyah back down on the mat and applies a headlock. Aliyah with a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Aliyah with a hsot on Carmella in the corner. Aliyah with a splash to Carmella in the corner. Aliyah gets up on the second rope. Ellsworth trips up Aliyah. Carmella with a superkick to Aliyah. Carmella with a drop toe hold on Aliyah and she locks on the Code of Silence. Aliyah taps out.
After the match, Carmella celebrates her win with James Ellsworth at ringside.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions American Alpha are in action next.
Non-Title Tag Team Match
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions American Alpha vs. Breezango
We start with Chad Gable and Tyler Breeze. Gable with an overhead suplex on Breeze early and tags in Jason Jordan. Jordan splashes Fandango in the corner and then catches Breeze with a splash in the other corner. Tag to Gable. American Alpha hit Grand Amplitude on Breeze and hook the leg to get the pinfall victory.
Winners: American Alpha
After the match, Bray Wyatt appears on the screen saying nothing lasts forever. Wyatt tells American Alpha to cherish the moment because “sooner or later reality will hit you.” Randy Orton and Luke Harper are standing in the background. Wyatt said American Alpha only made them stronger and next week they reclaim “what is rightfully ours.” Wyatt walks off and Orton looks in the camera adding, “Run.”
Nikki Bella addresses Natalya up next.
Nikki Bella Addresses Natalya
Nikki Bella and Natalya are both inside the ring as we return live. Nikki knows Natalya despises her, but she doesn’t feel the same and feels bad for her. She talks about working hard to make the Bella name mean something while Natalya lives off her family legacy. Natlaya disagrees. Nikki brings up Natalya’s theme song and her use of the Sharpshooter. “You are the nothing of the Hart family,” adds Nikki.
Natalya says she was expecting this response calling Nikki sick and selfish. She has a tweet by Bret Hart put on the screen saying he was a big fan of Nikki’s. Natalya says she is better than Bret ever was and no one works harder than her. She says no one is more determined and that Nikki uses her sex appeal to get what she wants. Natalya says Nikki is beautiful, but beauty fades and that John will leave her.
She adds that Nikki is going to die alone and does the “you can’t see me” gesture. Nikki decks Natalya with a right hand. Natalya stays down as Nikki heads to the back.
Backstage, Dean Ambrose is asked about his mindset after seeing Maryse slap Renee Young earlier tonight. Ambrose says he is going to take that title away from Miz tonight.
Dean Ambrose heads to the ring. He faces The Miz next.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya, American Alpha defending the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships against The Wyatt Family and Baron Corbin vs. John Cena is all announced for next week’s Smackdown Live from Baton Rouge.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Dean Ambrose
We get ring introductions for the challenger Dean Ambrose and champion The Miz.
The bell rings and Ambrose immediately tackles Miz throwing rights and lefts. Miz bails and Ambrose follows. Miz cuts off Ambrose with kicks when Ambrose returns. Ambrose with elbows and kicks to Miz in the corner. Ambrose with chops to Miz. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds early and Miz counters bailing to the outside. Miz returns to the ring and slides out. Ambrose follows. Miz is back out and Ambrose turns his back to Miz. Ambrose with a boot to Miz and tosses him out. Ambrose sends Miz into the steel steps and then over the ring barricade. Ambrose crotches Miz over the timekeepers barricade. Ambrose backs up, charges and catches Miz with a quick elbow. Ambrose brings Miz back to the ring and gets a two count off a pinfall attempt. Miz bails to the outside again. Ambrose jumps out and tosses Miz over the announce table at ringside. Ambrose tosses Miz back inside and Maryse gets in the face of Ambrose. Miz catches Ambrose with a kick through the ropes. Miz grabs Ambrose and tosses him into the steel ring steps as we head to a break.
We return live as Ambrose tosses Miz over the top rope sending him to the outside. Ambrose gets up on the top turnbuckle and catches Miz with a flying elbow! Back inside the ring, Ambrose catches Miz with a lariat and Miz avoids a running bulldog attempt. Ambrose with a roll up for a two count. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds again and Miz again counters sending Ambrose to the corner. Miz gets the left leg of Ambrose over his shoulder and drops down twice on the mat. Miz goes to work on the left leg of Ambrose driving his knee into his leg. Ambrose with another roll up for a two count. Ambrose with a swinging neckbreaker on Miz and again gets a two count. Miz cuts off Ambrose up on the top turnbuckle throwing left hands. Maryse is up on the ring apron distracting the referee when Ambrose pushes Miz away. Miz catches Ambrose with a Skull Crushing Finale and Ambrose somehow kicks out. Miz with Daniel Bryan-like kicks to the chest of Ambrose. Ambrose avoids the final kick, eats a big boot from Miz, bounces off the ropes and catches Miz with a lariat. Ambrose clotheslines Miz over the top rope. Ambrose catches Miz with a suicide dive. Maryse gets in the face of Ambrose again and slaps him at ringside in front of the referee. The referee goes to end the match by calling for the bell. Ambrose holds back the arm of the referee and tells him to send Maryse to the back instead. The referee orders Maryse to the back. With the referee distracting yelling at Maryse, Miz returns to the ring and cracks Ambrose over the back using the Intercontinental title. Miz tosses it out and covers Ambrose getting a two count. Miz picks up Ambrose going for the Skull Crushing Finale. Ambrose counters and connects with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose hooks the leg and gets the pinfall.
Winner and new WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose
After the match, Dean Ambrose grabs the WWE Intercontinental Championship and starts throwing the title around in the air. We see a replay of Maryse slapping Ambrose earlier during the match and JBL arguing the match should have been over at that point. Back live, we see a shot of Ambrose flexing and celebrating with the Intercontinental Championship.