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By Mike Johnson on 2016-12-04 21:14:00

Mike Johnson tagging in!

First, I want to thank Richard for covering the Kickoff so I could attend the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in my neighborhood.  Rich is the best!

So, here we go with PPV coverage.  It should be interesting to see if they have Undertaker make an appearance since they are in Texas since, as we have covered in the Elite section of there's been a pitch for Undertaker challenging for the World title at the Royal Rumble PPV.

Nice video package highlighting the carnage of TLC and the Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles main event.

After some pyro explodes, Mauro Ranallo welcomed everyone to the show, noting it is the one night a year WWE becomes a demolition derby.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team champions Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton (with Luke Harper)

As the Wyatt came to the ring, JBL spoke in quiet tones comparing the team to the legendary Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen tandem.  There was a slight pop when the Wyatts' entrance ended followed by a small "Randy" chant.

The champions had control early, including Slater nailing a nice spinkick on Orton.  Orton sent him up and over to the apron outside, where Wyatt swept his legs and sent him to the floor.  When he returned, Orton picked him up and slammed him down over the ropes.  Slater bounced back in, where he was nailed with the Garvin stomp.  Wyatt tagged back in and worked over Slater, including a running splash in the corner.  

Slater was deposited back out to the floor, where he struggled to get to his feet  Orton set him up for the hanging DDT when Slater returned to the apron.  Slater tried to fight him off but after Wyatt hit him, Orton caught him with his snap powerslam for a two count.  Wyatt cinched in a side chinlock.  He sent Slater into the ropes for a backdrop but Slater kicked him and made the tag.

Rhyno cleaned house on Wyatt, including a shoulderblock off the buckles.  Orton protected Wyatt but was knocked off the apron to the floor.  Rhyno followed and tried to gore Orton on the floor but instead got Luke Harper, who took the bullet for Randy.  When Rhyno returned to the ring, he was nailed with the RKO out of nowhere and pinned.

Your winners and new WWE Smackdown Tag Team champions, The Wyatt Family!

Solid opener.  Slater did a really good job as the babyface in peril early on.  This was a win the Wyatts really needed and it made a lot of sense here.  Wyatt looked as if he's dropped some weight recently, so this is a nice way to reward him.    Honestly, the entire act should have been used far more prominently over the last few years in my opinion, so perhaps this is a way to do that.

Wyatt placed the belt on Harper's shoulder, so it appears we will be looking at them defending under the Freebird rule perhaps.  Orton then placed the other belt on Luke's shoulder.  The crowd really reacted for the Wyatts posing in triumph.


Dean Ambrose was interviewed backstage.  He said that James Ellsworth was home resting and watching the show on the PPV.  He promised to do all sorts of things to AJ tonight.  Honestly, it wasn't Dean's strongest promo.  I am surprised they aren't presenting him as angry about what happened to Ellsworth.  He seemed more aloof than anything.  He closed out with a reference to the famous Dusty Rhodes "Hard Time" promo.  This seemed to really lack intensity in my opinion.

Renee Young interviewed AJ Styles.  He had a good promo promising to beat Ambrose down but would leave him enough to stand up in time to see AJ retain his title.

NO DQ: Carmella vs. Nikki Bella

Nikki was wearing her hair in braids like UFC fighters do.

Bella speared Carmella and beat her down with right hands.  They tumbled to the outside.  Bella tried to powerbomb Carmella but something went amiss and they ended up back on the apron.  They tried again and this time Carmella nailed a rana, sending Bella into the stairs.  Bella sold that she hurt her knee.  When she returned to the ring, Carmella was all over her and suplexed her into the ropes.

Bella went for a small package for two count.   Carmella slammed her into the ropes again and tied her in the tree of woe.  Carmella grabbed a kendo stick under the ring and began beating her with it, but not before doing John Cena's mannerisms to mock Nikki.   Bella fought back but was hitting over and over.   Carmella locked on her triangle choke but Bella grabbed the cane and began cracking her with it to break the move.

Carmella went to the floor to get the stick but Bella kicked her HARD in the back of the head, sending her into the barricade.  She drove her backwards into the ringpost, then jumped off the barricade with a kick.  Bella began cracking Carmella in the rear with the stick over and over.   Carmella went to grab Bella from outside the ring and got squirted with a fire extinguisher.  Bella brought it into the ring and kept blasting her with it.    It was to the point you could see her ring gear frosting over.

Bella hit the TKO and scored the pin.

Your winner, Nikki Bella!

A fun, entertaining brawl.  They really worked hard and took some physical punishment.  A nice (I assume) ending to the feud.  Kudos to both.

Carmella called for the mic.  Perhaps it's not the end after all.  She told Bella that she hopes she is proud.  She said that Bella thinks that she evened the odds after Survivor Series but she really didn't.  Carmella said that she didn't attack Nikki that night and that it was really her friend from Total Divas, Natalya.  Bella and the announcers acted like it wasn't true.

So, WWE went right into a promotional video where of all people, Natalya helped a would-be groom pick out a ring.  Perhaps this was the wrong placement for this after they want people to think Nattie might have done the evil attack last month?

Backstage, Miz got Daniel Bryan to admit he wanted Ziggler to win the WWE IC Ladder Match.  Bryan said Miz is a star but Ziggler works hard.  Miz said he wishes he could toss Bryan off the top of a ladder but instead he will have to watch Dolph get tossed off.

WWE Intercontinental champion The Miz with Maryse vs. Dolph Ziggler

They started out hot with Miz hitting a catapult over the top, sending Ziggler to the floor.   Miz tried to send Ziggler into a ladder in the aisle.  Ziggler avoided it and went for a DDT but was shoved off and kicked in the face.   Ziggler ran Miz into a ladder on the floor.  He worked over Miz on the floor and grinded his face into the steel of the ladder,  Ziggler picked up a side of a ladder and tried to slam Miz inside it but Miz escaped and nailed a drop toehold into the ladder.

They battled over the ladder outside.  Ziggler tried to do the Famouser on a ladder set against the apron but Miz caught him.  Ziggler turned it into a DDT onto the ladder, wiping both men out in the process.     Back in the ring, Miz drilled Ziggler into the buckles with the ladder.   He bridged a ladder across the buckles and set up Ziggler.  Dolph knocked him into the ladder.  Ziggler came off the buckles with an awesome flying elbow.

A ladder was set up and Ziggler tried to climb up.  Miz pulled him down but was nailed with a lariat.  Dolph ascended the ladder and went for the belt but Miz toppled the ladder and Ziggler crashed into the ropes.  Miz drove Ziggler into the corner and drilled him with a ladder.   Miz dropkicked the ladder into Ziggler.  He began mocking Daniel Bryan's mannerisms, allowing Ziggler to smash him with the ladder.  If they aren't doing Bryan vs. Miz at Wrestlemania, they really are screwing with people's hopes and that's not cool.  If they are going in that direction, it's an awesome build so far.

Ziggler and Miz climbed the ladder and met at the summit, battling back and forth with right hands.  Ziggler knocked him down and reached up for the championship belt but Miz recovered, grabbed Ziggler's leg and slammed it against the ladder.  Miz tied Ziggler's leg up in the ladder and tipped it over.   Miz grabbed Ziggler and drove him knee first down into a ladder that was braced against the ropes.  There was a sizable "Miz" chant after the spot.  Miz set the ladder up on the mat and began beating Dolph's knee into the ladder.  This has been a pretty damn good match thus far.

Miz cinched in the figure four leglock, with Ziggler's leg trapped in one of the rungs of the ladder.  Great idea.   Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale.  Ziggler tried to fire away with elbow to break free but was finally nailed with the move.   Miz went to the top and grabbed the belt but Ziggler pulled the ladder away, leaving Miz hanging in the air.  Ziggler drilled him with the ladder.  Miz crashed down and rolled out screaming and grabbing at his leg.  He did a great job of selling the big bump.

Ziggler recovered and set up the ladder.  He pulled himself up the ladder with one leg but Miz, also on one leg, finally stopped him.  Miz pulled him down and used a slingshot off the ropes into a powerbomb onto the ladder that was bridged across the buckles.   Miz set up two ladders.  He pulled himself up on one while Ziggler made his way up on the other.  They battled back and forth on the ladder.  Ziggler battered him with right hands.  Miz still tried in vain to grab at the belt, which was swinging back and forth.  Miz crashed down to the mat after a headbutt.

Left alone, Ziggler tried to make it to the top and grab the belt but Miz returned and nailed him twice in the nether regions.  Ziggler finally crashed down to the mat.  Miz pulled down the belt and retained.

Your winner and still WWE Intercontinental champion, The Miz!

A really physical, hard hitting ladder match with a lot of interesting spots (figure four in the ladder!) and rough bumps taken by each competitor.  I really, really, really enjoyed this one.

Miz dedicated the match to Daniel Bryan.  He said that Bryan motivated him to be the greatest IC champion ever because Bryan never gave him any credit or any chance and kept giving Ziggler chance after chance after chance.  He said someone should give Ziggler a participant award because that's what Dallas does.  He said that he was the winner and everyone else was the loser.  Good promo.

Coverage continues on Page 3!

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