By RJ Marceau
I have been against having these stipulation pay-per-views in the past but I am really excited for this show on Sunday. The card has something for everyone and I’m expecting a good show. This is the last PPV before WrestleMania so don’t be surprised if they hold another “Wild Card” edition of SmackDown Live in March.
Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
SmackDown has done a great job with this feud and has been building the Wyatt Family demise since Bray and Randy’s initial encounter at No Mercy. These two have never been on the same page and I like how they are facing off at this show. The outcome has little doubt with Orton winning but Harper is an underrated worker so they should put on a good match.
I don’t know what they do with Luke Harper next but he is a good talent that shouldn’t be wasted on SmackDown Live. If I had to take an educated guess I would say Harper is in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal unless they do another multi-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 33.
Apollo Crews and Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Honestly this match should be on the pre-show because I don’t think anyone gives two craps about this match. If anything people hope this feud would end after this match. I was excited for like two seconds when Ziggler turned heel because I figured it would turn out to something good for him. Instead he is on the lower midcard on SmackDown with two guys who have zero going for them.
Kalisto and Apollo Crews have failed to break out since the brand extension. As of right now I don’t see any of these men having big plans at WrestleMania 33 but I have Ziggler winning. It is sad how wasted Crews and Kalisto have been on SmackDown but they have been flops since their NXT call-ups. Ziggler winning could give him some momentum going into WrestleMania like it even matters.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
Another feud that SmackDown has been able to pan out a few months and keep it interesting. I don’t really care for Natalya but Nikki Bella away from the title scene is ideal. These two had a great split screen interview this week and I'm engaged in the feud. Neither women are close to the title picture so it’s nice they are feuding without the title on the line or in sight.
That being said Nikki Bella should win this match. Natalya does nothing for me and I don’t see her being a contender ever again. Similar to the Bellas she just has been around for so long people want to see the new up-and-coming stars. The future plans for these two are completely different with Nikki Bella rumored to team up with John Cena to face The Miz and Maryse and Natalya falling into WWE limbo. I hope that the WWE holds an inter-promotional women’s battle royal as well as some NXT women and the winner gets a shot at either the SmackDown or Raw Women’s Championship match at the next PPV. Natalya and Carmella would be on the WrestleMania 33 card and the match would mean something.
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
The WWE has done a great job of protecting Becky Lynch since she lost the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship to Alexa Bliss at TLC. The La Luchadora character was a perfect way to protect Becky in her losses to Bliss. James returning to the main roster is a nice touch and I love the alliance with Bliss. This match is hard to predict because I don’t see them having Lynch or James lose so I will say they have James win by distraction from Alexa Bliss.
These two should have a good match and for WrestleMania 33 I can see them having a Fatal 4-Way for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship with Alexa Bliss facing Mickie James, Naomi and Becky Lynch. It would be a great match and would be better than two singles matches.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tag Team Turmoil Match
I don’t know how I feel about this match because four out of the six teams do absolutely zero for me and have no credibility. The only two teams on SmackDown I take seriously are The Usos and American Alpha. I don’t believe they have faced off since their initial encounter in the tag team tournament back in October, or at least two-on-two. The WWE seems to be saving this feud and for good reason. The SmackDown tag team division is not good. All the teams besides American Alpha and The Usos have zero momentum. Rhyno and Heath Slater did win the titles but they teased a break up but now are good and I just don’t care for the tandem. The rest are jobbers who have done nothing to deserve a title shot.
I wouldn’t be shocked if The Usos won the titles here but they might just wait till WrestleMania. They could easily have a team like Breezango distract The Usos after elimination that leads to them being eliminated. They feud with them into March then set up American Alpha vs. The Usos at WrestleMania 33. #BookIt
Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi (SmackDown Women's Championship)
Alexa Bliss has made the most of her opportunity since the brand extension and has taken SmackDown Live over as the top woman heel. Bliss has improved immensely as a character and a wrestler. Naomi has been undervalued for a long time now. She should have been a champion years ago when Nikki Bella was decimating the women’s division.
The “Feel the Glow” character fits her well and screams cheer me. I think it’s great for her especially since she has been so underutilized. However, I don’t see her winning the title here. The reign of Bliss has been good but I see her holding the title going into WrestleMania 33. Bliss retains her title via DQ, count-out or interference which would set up an eventual Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania 33 with Naomi, Becky Lynch and Mickie James where I can see Naomi winning in her hometown.
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match
This Elimination Chamber match might be the most stacked six competitors of all-time. I would at least say it gives the 2002 and 2003 matches a run. All six guys have the chance to win and I wouldn’t have a problem with any of them winning. If the rumors are true it seems that Bray Wyatt wins and faces Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33. Corbin will face Ambrose at WrestleMania 33 for the IC Title and Miz and Cena have a rumored match as well. AJ Styles seems to be the man on the outside but I don’t think a match between him and Shane McMahon is absolute crap. The IWC thinks everything they don’t like is crap when on paper they can make a compelling story and he isn’t in some throwaway multi-man match.
Shane can refuse to give him a one-on-one rematch which ticks off Styles or doesn’t give him a fair shake at the title. Styles loses it on an episode of Talking Smack and beats the living hell out of Daniel Bryan. He demands a match with Shane or he will continue to cause a ruckus on SmackDown Live and if he beats Shane he earns a one-on-one title match with the WWE SmackDown Champion post-WrestleMania 33.
This show should be ten times better than Fastlane so get your popcorn ready and enjoy another good SmackDown PPV.