IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #257 - Thoughts on Smackdown Live - 1-3-17
By Al Laiman
Jan 3, 2017 - 10:48:06 PM
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IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #256 - Thoughts on RAW - 1-2-17
Happy 2017, LOP! I’ve revised Patreon and changed it to a monthly support system rather than a weekly, so hopefully a few of you can support my work over there. It includes t-shirts, shout-outs, Skype calls, and you can follow along as I write the column on Google Docs live. I know most of you haven’t seen it, but it’s available to help me out for as little as a dollar a month. Thank you to those who already have. Patreon.com/AlLaiman
1. We start off with the Miz and his “behind the scenes” remark involving Ambrose. Then Dean… We like Dean… Showed up last week dressed as security to do his best Chris Farley in Black Sheep impression and bring the fire. I’m excited for these two to continue their feud.
2. My fellow Clevelander tries to pretend he’s not a super nice dude, but he’s really enjoyable in the process. Miz wants an apology from the announcer lady for dating someone he doesn’t like, I guess. I like that Miz addresses the crowd chants instead of pretending they don’t exist at all like the majority of wrestlers.
3. Props for the Dirty Deeds play on words.
4. Someone comes out who is not Renee Young, but instead his name is Dean… We like Dean. Maryse commences Operation Human Shield yet again, and I love the way she’s able to get away with it in this era.
5. Dean tops the Dirty Deeds pun by teasing the Miz that his wife hits harder than he does. Well done, short, to the point, and effective. You know, the opposite of RAW.
6. Oh goodie, Baron Corbin vs. Zigglesworth again. Granted, I’d feel that way about any match involving Corbin, but… He’s not facing Kalisto again, so Mrs. Laiman won’t be yelling at the TV as loud. I still think there’s some kind of “Steal-Entrance-Lights” cheat code on the video game somewhere, that’s how those things work, right? Corbin had one for Kane, and he’s finally stolen it back, so he doesn’t get his red quickening anymore. Serves you right, entrance thief. Go back to your generic entrance where you and your vacant face belongs!
7. They’re both wearing black, so that Corbin’s hairline stands out like a WrestleMania sign for the next few months and their feuds. Who will be the first one to point to it this year? Will it be Goldberg? I’m betting it’s Goldberg. I hope he yells at the sign too. I want to see the sign cower in fear of his loud, brief sentences!
8. Corbin needs a shirt that just says, “Meh.” He’s like my nine-year-old son reacting to anything that isn’t a video game. For a moment there, I thought he was setting up for the Superman Punch, but he forgot that he can’t cock the wrist so it doesn’t count.
9. Otunga- “Ziggler is capable of greatness on any given night!” Nice way of calling him an underachiever. Take a drink, Mauro told us what the hardest part of the ring is! This is also unique; a match with several minutes of wrestling with no commercial breaks. And just as I say that, it goes to one. Curse you, Smackdown, for getting my hopes up!
10. Zigglypuff catches himself on a toss to the corner, but gets punched right in the fuck coming back off. Smackdown’s replay graphics sure take their sweet ass time, don’t they? Pretty impressive counter to the Fame-Asser. Reminded me of that time in 1999 where Billy Gunn had a singles push for a month or so, and then got put back on the ground with force. Poor guy, that couldn’t have been any fun.
11. JBL makes fun of the Mariah Carey thing on New Year’s Eve. It’s funny ‘cause it’s topical!
12. Some serious air on that Zig Zag, but of course it’s not a finisher anymore, so he kicks out. I know a certain commenter who is already groaning. Nevermind, End of Days, match over. Corbin wins again. Now I’m groaning too.
13. Oh wait, Corbin has a chair! What’s he gonna do with that? And now my ears are ringing from the scream in HAM Central, because Kalisto made the save. It’s nice to remind the world that babyfaces have friends.
14. SNAP! Zigglesworth superkicked the fuck out of Kalisto! Apparently the crowd likes it too! Holy shit! That was an unexpected turn of events! I didn’t see that coming!
15. Meanwhile, on Gilmore Girls, Kirk is backstage trying to talk nice to the pretty girl because apparently this week on the show, his random job of the episode is being a wrestler. Then, Apollo, Mojo, and Rhyno are having a meet-up about having names that end in O when Ziggler storms in throwing shit. Apollo Creed does not approve of Ziggler’s actions, and Ziggler attacks him too! Rhyno is so shocked that he’s decided to rock the 1870’s American diplomat work. Maybe now that he’s getting into politics, he can add A. Arthur to his name.
16. Then, doing their best impression of RAW, we get recaps after two segments. Now there’s another Luchadora who did a thing last week, but it can’t be Becky Lynch this time. Is this a female reunion of Los Conquistadores?
17. It appears we’re going to find out, with everyone’s favorite steampunk women’s wrestler taking on Christopher Daniels in blue… or whomever is under the mask this week. At least it’s not Suicide.
18. At least it’s not Mrs. America. Jacksonville was really excited about the Dolph swerve, and then they got the several minutes of downtime and a wrestler facing Miss Anonymous. I’m not sure anyone there knows what to make of it. She then does a somewhat familiar-looking move…
19. It was Alexa the whole time! And she would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling divas! Wait, there’s another one! It really is the female Los Conquistadores! The wife thinks it’s Nikki Bella.
20. Still getting the biggest pops in the business, the so-not-returning-to-face-Miz Daniel Bryan comes out in the best casual outfit LL Bean could offer this time of year. Maybe that red shirt indicates that he’s a RAW operative undercover. It was him, Austin! It was him all along!
21. It’s a contract signing… Joy. At least Cena’s back. That’s only good for business, though I think even at this point, him taking the title from AJ would not be a popular decision. I’m curious to see where the angle goes this time, given AJ’s success against him in the last half year.
22. They say that Cena proclaimed this is the “My Time is Now” era. As opposed to… Since 2005 or so?
23. My sister is visiting from Kentucky, and I realize the last wrestling show I took her to (in like 2008), AJ Styles wrestled in the main event. She had a picture with Johnny Gargano too, go figure. Speaking of times like that, Bryan and AJ briefly reminisce about their underground background. AJ points out the flaw in logic of being off television for four months and getting off a title shot immediately.
24. Did you know that Smackdown beat RAW in the ratings last week? They hadn’t mentioned it. Bryan writes it off as, not in the exact words, best for business. I imagine he’d dread himself saying that a few years ago. He says this is the match that everybody wants. This is the match that everybody needs. This is the match that everybody loves!
25. Bryan then goes bye-bye and lets the two girls decide who is prettier on their own. For a moment, I was confused why Cena would be Bryan’s brother-in-law, then I remembered the marrying sisters thing. Strange to think after their feud a while back, but that’s the business.
26. AJ’s on his game while Cena patiently listens, although pointing out that he’s beaten Cena three times doesn’t bring back the greatest of references… Ellsworth… That’s gonna give people flashbacks.
27. Cena does his patiently awaiting a chance to speak thing, and I’m expecting a decent response. Hopefully he can continue on the strong 2016 he had. Apparently never being as good as the Rock is a thing. Styles is getting some strong reactions for everything he’s saying, and now it’s time for the Cena response tirade we’ve all come to know.
28. Cena’s got a bit of a drawl coming out when talking about pushing over the line. The biggest mistake of AJ’s life was pissing off John Cena, because… He has to prove himself because that’s what made him lose all respect for him? Ooh, Cena swore! Now you know it’s serious! He goes a little D’Von Dudley in his delivery, yelling about how AJ can’t be the guy to replace him.
29. I really like the line about being told to go against being told to stop. Nobody can question Cena’s work ethic whatsoever. I love when Cena gets motivated and passionate, and he’s put on strong promos since his return last year. I really hope this isn’t leading to Cena winning the title and facing some part-time veteran for the title. If nothing else, AJ against Cena at WrestleMania could be fun. Holy hell, Cena got himself some serious razor burn or something on the neck too.
30. Cena swore twice! Now he’s super serial, you guys! Then he says “Recognize!” so he’s throwing some D’Lo in there too.
31. Now, with Smackdown doing another RAW impression, we have their Braun come out to confront them. Goodie, I thought the Corbin portion of the show was over. He’s in the Rumble match, which is good, but I seriously hope he doesn’t win it. Please don’t make me watch him win the Royal Rumble.
32. Cena’s love for the challenge of fighting Corbin made this entire segment. I love it! AJ takes him out before a fight can start, and I may have changed my mind about seeing those two go at it. Just not at WrestleMania for the title, please.
33. Meanwhile, blonde meetup backstage, and Renee gets slapped for touching her husband? Smackdown version of Enzo and Lana?
34. We’ve got Carmella, accompanied by Ellsworth, and Otunga compares it to “Bennifer.” I’m putting that in quotes because I don’t want to be caught DEAD remembering that fucking trainwreck. She’s facing… someone. Judging from the way Brian’s talking, she must’ve been in NXT. Glad to see a new face getting a competitive match rather than seeing how many times Braun/Corbin/Nia can throw them.
35. Ellsworth does what Doc loves him for doing: getting involved where he doesn’t belong. That leads to Carmella winning, though a decent show from Aaliyah. I assume that’s a reference to the late pop singer? Brian said Ellsworth looks like he was sired by a turtle.
36. Alpha’s next, awesome! And they’re facing the stripper cops, so at least they’re going to get back in the swing of things this time. Alpha went over the Wyatts for the titles?! Holy shit, I sure did pick one hell of a week to take a holiday! Yes, I’m an Alpha mark, sue me. And in the time it took me to write that, the match is over already. Okay…
37. The Wyatts aren’t particularly thrilled about this, and my sister points out that she sees plenty of people like this in Kentucky, so she doesn’t need to see any more. She hasn’t seen wrestling in at least seven years, so it’s interesting to hear her perspective.
38. Nikki and Natalya with an in-ring talking segment? Time to get the Haagen-Daz. Nikki calling nepotism and living off the legacy of others? Pot. Kettle. Black, Entitlement Twin.
39. We’re making this thing about tweets. How dare Nikki hang out with a ubiquitously-known wrestler is somehow an affront, but then claiming to be a better wrestler than Bret was makes it sound silly. This is basically a “you don’t deserve what you get” back-and-forth. Nikki punches her for saying she’s going to die alone, and that’s it. At least it was brief.
40. Someone who isn’t Renee stumbles through asking Dean what his mindset is, as if asking a crazy person what frame of mind he’s in is a logical question. He’s motivated though and selling the hell out of it, so it’s main event time.
41. I nearly missed a Jack Gallagher segment. He named his umbrella “William.” HAM, won. It’s a plug for 205, but who cares? Awesome.
42. Next week’s Smackdown looks pretty good. Rematch for the tag titles, Corbin/Cena. Sure, there’s Nikki/Natalya, but they can’t all be winners.
43. Now for the main event, officially. Miz and Ambrose with the Battle of the Blondes in the Background. Alliteration for the win, so we all win there.
44. JBL says a thing, and someone else just says, “Stop.” Truer words were never spoken.
45. There’s already enough sprinting in this match to make the Warrior proud. This match spills to the outside and stays there for a little while. Everyone in the house enjoys Miz getting thrown around the arena by Miz, while Ambrose takes the time to yell in Maryse’s face as well. Hopefully Renee doesn’t pull a Jericho/Stratus WM20 swerve on him.
46. Miz turns it around and goes Hardcore Division on him with fierce animosity. Such momentum changer that it can’t be anything but a commercial break!
47. Taker and HBK are showing up to, I assume, give the young kids a lecture about how they have to win Survivor Series or else… Wait, that was last time. What do they have to promote? The Network? Or are they in a thing that I missed?
48. Miz pulls out the dreaded Leg Stunner to work the leg. Love it! In the midst of a count, we cut to a young kid vaguely watching on. Great timing, guys. Full Sail skills really paying off.
49. Dean kicks out of the SCF, damn. One more groan for the night! This is a pretty decent main event regardless though. Good fun, good psychology, and a feud making sense in continuing. Maryse does a slap yet again, and somehow that’s not a disqualification. He begs the ref not to do it, and instead throw her out. The ref obliges, to a huge pop from the crowd. Dean watches way too long for anyone’s comfort, and Dean gets clocked with the title, but kicks out again! Dean with the Dirty Deeds, and Dean wins! We like Dean, and he’s the champion! It’s not the world title like earlier this year, but with Smackdown’s treatment of them, it doesn’t seem like a downgrade. Fantastic main event, and unlike last night, there was no slog to sit through to get there.
50. Smackdown shows why it’s by far the superior show in viewing experience. Most of the card was strong, very little time was wasted, the roster is consistent top-to-bottom, and all the feuds are clear on who is involved and what’s going on. Plus a damn great swerve with Ziggles. Great episode.
HAM OF THE NIGHT
2012 - Daniel Bryan
2013 - Paul Heyman
2016 - Chris Jericho
1-2-17 - Kevin Owens
1-3-17 - Jack Gallagher
Al Laiman, In Laiman’s Terms, and Inciting Incident are owned by It’s a Shameful Thing, Lobsterhead, LLC. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. For media or inquiries, please contact email@example.com.