I’m pretty sure Smackdown just booked a pay-per-view for their last episode of the year.
Baron Corbin was added to Dolph Ziggler and AJ Styles’ WWE Championship match.
Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton will defend their tag team championships against Slater & Rhyno, The Usos and American Alpha.
The Women’s Championship is on the line between Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss.
And John Cena is making his WWE return for the first time in over two months.
With Raw being on Boxing Day next week, and holiday episodes generally drawing lower viewing figures, Smackdown might actually beat the red brand in the ratings for the first time since the split. And then, who knows, maybe Vince McMahon will start to apply some of the same consistent logic and storyline-based feuds on Monday Nights.
AJ Styles made his in-ring return to open the show against James Ellsworth. This was originally meant to happen on the show after TLC, but Styles has been dealing with an ankle injury that’s stopped him from wrestling. But all might still not be well.
AJ pinned Ellsworth quicker than you can say ‘Goldberg squash match’, and despite continuing to beat James down after the bell, Styles never performed any risky manoeuvres. This is all speculation on my part, but that, in combination with Corbin being added to next week’s main event, might be WWE’s way of protecting AJ while his ankle still isn’t 100%. Now it’s a threeway, Ziggler and Corbin can do most of the work.
It wasn’t all bad for Ellsworth, though. Backstage following his beat-down from AJ, Carmella came to look after the bandaged and bruised Man With Two Hands and they both left together. Beating AJ Styles, signing a WWE contract and now in a romantic storyline with the Princess of Staten Island? Are we 100% sure Ellsworth didn’t win some kind of competition?
Next week’s tag team championship match had to be changed after Zack Ryder – one half of the number one contenders The Hype Bros – seriously injured his knee on last week’s episode. Gnarly picture warning, because the Long Island Iced Z posted this photo of his leg following surgery, with the caption, “Last week I spent my Tuesday becoming the no. 1 contenders for the #SDLive Tag Team titles…this week I’m spending my Tuesday rehabbing.”
Super friend points to Dolph Ziggler for wearing a Zack Ryder ‘Woo Woo Woo’ shirt under his jacket last night in his fallen bro’s honour.
In the days leading up to last weekend’s Roadblock: End of the Line, the Wrestling Observer reported that WWE were handing out flyers advertising two-for-one tickets for the pay-per-view. This was apparently the first time an offer like that had been made for a WWE PPV in years, suggesting ticket sales for the event were very disappointing.
And it’s now come out that interest in the show was also lacking online.
The site is now reporting that Roadblock was ranked at No. 16 with 100,000 searches online at the weekend. To put this in context, the minimum for WWE pay-per-views used to be 200,000, and the UFC show the day before had three different search rankings in the top 20 – with Paige VanZant being at No. 5. Meltzer said of the previous show, the Smackdown-specific TLC, “was the first time I can recall a WWE show not cracking the top 20 in searches for the day.”
This all comes around the same time that WWE’s internal list of 2017 PPVs is in constant flux. Originally the advertised number was 19, but Meltzer revealed he was then told 17. With the brand-specific PPVs not resulting in any more WWE Network buys, along with the huge cost of running them, CageSideSeats’ rumour section is reporting the company may already be looking at using both rosters on all shows next year.
What did you think of Smackdown Live last night? Tell me how any man with two hands can get the girl in the end in the comments below. Actually don’t, that sounds kind of rapey.