clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE SmackDown Live preview (Dec. 6, 2016): State of grace

Natalya’s Instagram

Houston... hello!

The Headliners

That James Ellsworth sure is something.

He’s 0 - 3 in matches against World champion AJ Styles, including the ladder match where he earned his SmackDown contract. That win also entitled him to a title shot, so...

It made perfect sense in the Chinless One’s book to ensure the Phenomenal One kept his belt at TLC this past Sunday (Dec. 4) during his ladder match with Dean Ambrose... even if that meant screwing over the guy who’s been integral to all three of his wins over Styles. We haven’t heard from the Lunatic Fringe since Ellsworth sent him crashing to the floor in Dallas, but it’s difficult to imagine he’ll be too gung ho to help out his little buddy again, even if James is promising to give him a title shot of his own when he’s champ.

Of course, while we’re all mocking the man with two hands and a fighting chance, he may be crazy like a fox. Reports are AJ is banged up coming out this weekend’s pay-per-view (PPV). You’d think the Champ that Runs This Camp would be up to beating Ellsworth even on a bad ankle, but... stranger things have happened in pro wrestling history.

Well, maybe not stranger. But just as strange, anyway.

The Title Scene

With Ellsworth at the top of the card, the blue brand didn’t need another cinderella story in the tag title scene. With Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton’s win at TLC, that’s no longer a problem, as Heath Slater & Rhyno’s run becomes a thing of the past. Is the Wyatts’ future focused on the pairs division, or bigger things?

She hadn’t been without the Women’s championship very long when Becky Lynch’s focus went to reclaiming it. But Alexa Bliss isn’t apologizing for winning the belt without pinning or submitting the Lasskicker (thanks to the tables stip), nor is she running from a rematch.

Thanks to a last minute condition from his old rival, General Manager Daniel Bryan, Miz definitely needs a new challenge. Not only did the Awesome One retain his Intercontinental title when he beat another old rival, Dolph Ziggler, in their ladder match, but Bryan declared that the end of their feud. Who will be the next to try and end his neverending reign?

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- While the match itself didn’t get high marks from many people (understandably considering one of the wrestlers in it is not far removed from career-threatening neck surgery), the no DQ match where Nikki Bella defeated Carmella did set-up what looks to be a major storyline for SmackDown’s women. Carm accussed Natalya of being behind the attack on Bella which kept her out of Survivor Series. Natty denies it, and wants to settle things in the ring!

- The Fearless One, on the other hand, will be working on a collabo with Sophia Grace. I’d make a joke here, but other than WWE telling me Grace is famous for being on Ellen in 2011, I know nothing about her. And, yes, I’m too lazy to Google it.

- Dolph & Bex weren’t the only folks who came up short but looked good at TLC. Kalisto gave his all in probably the best chairs match in WWE history. The guy who beat him, though? Baron Corbin looked like a star, and told Bryan he should be treated that way on Talking Smack.

- American Alpha continued their crusade to take over Ryback’s old “Pre-Showstopper” mantle on Sunday... that’s got to count for something, right?

It’s the TLC fallout show!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats