Best and Worst of SmackDown Live: 7th February 2017

It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for Smackdown Live!
J. Carpenter

As we inch further into Wrestlemania Season, tonight was your Elimination Chamber Go-Home edition of Smackdown Live and yes, the guys and gals of the Blue Brand knocked it out of the park yet again.

After watching this episode of Smackdown, it’s blatantly obvious why Tuesday Night is now the true WWE flagship program. From top-to-bottom, Smackdown delivers quality programming on a very consistent basis, keeping stupid mistakes to a minimum.

That, my fellow wrestling fans, is the key to success in this TV ratings game. It’s not rocket science, if you simply offer the fans a quality product, you cannot lose.

The creative team did an outstanding job building The Elimination Chamber, with very little time to do so. As the show began, we immediately saw that the focus was definitely on making sure that the fans had something to look forward to this Sunday.

When the dust settled, and Smackdown went off the air, I found myself struggling to find anything for the “worst” category. This is a true testament to just how much Smackdown has evolved since the brand split.

Nonetheless, it was an exciting night of action, so let’s take a look at my best and worst for this week.

#1 BEST: Open with a BANG!

Smackdown kicks off with a huge match!

The focus was on The Elimination Chamber, and we were made aware of that as soon as the show kicked off. As Daniel Bryan delivered his promo, the combatants for this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber title match began making their way to the ring.

One after the other, each participant made their argument as to why they would be the one walking out of the Chamber with the WWE Championship. Even Baron Corbin picked up a mic, which is normally not a great idea, but the Lone Wolf held his own.

It goes without question that The Miz brought his A-game as he roasted Daniel Bryan, as only he can.

Folks, no single superstar is doing better than The Miz right now. This guy had an amazing 2016, and appears to be making sure 2017 goes just as well. IF Daniel Bryan is able to somehow get medical clearance for one more match, an encounter with The Miz at Wrestlemania could surely prove to be one for the ages.

#1 WORST: Ziggler vs. Crews

This one was all over the place

Dolph Ziggler and Apollo Crews are two superstars who are struggling to find their place in all that is going on with this whole new era. On one side, you have the former World Heavyweight Champion, a proven veteran and one of the best in-ring performers in the business.

On the other side, you have the young up-and-coming star, with an extremely high ceiling, who has yet to find himself in a worthwhile feud that will propel him to the level he needs to be in order to put his talents on display.

I can totally understand the need to turn Ziggler heel, but the overall process has been very underwhelming, to say the least.

The heel run he had when he had AJ Lee at his side, now that was money. But, this confused version of Ziggler, who goes aimlessly in various directions, it just seems as if the creative team is doing nothing more than filling air-time with whatever they can pull out of the sky.

In the end, this could have been an outstanding match. Both men have the ability to morph a degree of chemistry into any battle, but this was a total waste. With Crews getting the quick roll-up, it just cheapened the contest, even with Dolph’s post-match antics with the steel chair.

#2 BEST: Did The Ascension finally rise?

The Ascension has worked hard to earn respect

The big multi-team tag match had the potential of going one of two ways. The first way could've been a complete nightmare. With that many bodies surrounding the ring, we could have had something similar to the last Tuesday night’s train wreck.

The other way is that all of the participants could just take a deep breath, analyse the situation, and do their part, respectively, to make sure the match delivers. Thankfully, the latter is what we got to see tonight.

I’ll be honest, I really expected to see this turn into one giant cluster. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised at what transpired. All of the participants did their part in telling a fantastic story, which continues to build the tag team title situation as we head into the pay-per-view.

Above all, I was very happy to see Viktor and Konnor come out with the win. I have been lobbying for The Ascension to get some sort of a push for quite some time now. The work these guys put in during their time in NXT was being discounted due to their horrible booking on the main roster.

Tonight may have been a premature hint for an overzealous fan, but I honestly believe we are about to see some promising things happening for The Ascension.

#2 WORST: The Nattie and Nikki saga

We could have done without those three minutes

I have been a Natalya fan for a long time. I believe she has been overlooked time and time again, simply because of someone else's looks.

Professional wrestling is an industry where sex sells, and even though Nattie is a very good looking woman, there are just so many new, fresh, beautiful faces for her to contend with.

I guess in a way, it makes sense to have Nikki and Natalya feuding. After all, they are two of the longest-tenured women’s Superstars on the roster, plus they are both getting overlooked by the abundance of younger stars on the rise in the WWE.

Tonight’s segment, where Nikki and Natalya appeared in a side-by-side frame, turned out to be nothing more than a bathroom break segment, unfortunately.

I'm sure the two veterans will find a way to put the pieces together in the ring, but these type of segments are not designed for those with less than stellar mic skills.

#3 BEST: Orton vs. Cena= a TRUE main event!

Harper is finding his own identity

On the average Monday and Tuesday nights, fans are treated to a main event that consists of whatever idea the powers that be can concoct on a last minute surge, or at least that’s what it appears like.

Tonight’s episode of Smackdown Live, however, delivered a well-hyped dynamite main event between two future locks for the WWE Hall of Fame.

As the match went on, Orton and Cena did a fantastic job selling the back-and-forth action. They let fans know that if for some reason, Cena retains his title this Sunday, these two are more than capable of bringing their best for a high profile main event at Wrestlemania.

The storytelling in this match was absolutely superb. We were able to see glimpses of how serious the possibility is, that Bray Wyatt could win the Elimination Chamber match and go on to face Orton at Wrestlemania 33.

We also saw the rebirth of Luke Harper continue. The match between Harper and Orton at the Elimination Chamber could very well go on to steal the show this Sunday.

When it was all said and done, fans were once again treated to an outstanding main event, capping off a phenomenal Smackdown Live.

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Edited by Staff Editor


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