John Cena and AJ Styles Interrupted WWE Champion Bray Wyatt
I've been critical of Wyatt's promos for a few years now because he tends to repeat the same stuff over and over, but what he had to say here (before being interrupted by Cena, of course) was refreshing considering he now has the title in his possession. Cena confronting Wyatt brought back bad memories of the several times he beat him unnecessarily in 2014, but Styles' presence in this segment was welcomed, setting the stage for the night's Triple Threat match very nicely.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha def. The Ascension (Non-title)
Why couldn't they have put this same effort in attempting to get The Ascension over as a dominant force two years ago? They scored a rare win last week, nearly captured the championship at Elimination Chamber, and had a pretty lengthy match with American Alpha here. Granted, fans had no reason to think they would beat the champs, but I commend them for their impressive outing. They're actually not terrible, it's just that they've been so badly booked that no one is ever going to take them seriously. Anyway, I like that they're finally giving us the American Alpha vs. Usos feud we should have received months ago.
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. James Ellsworth Went to a No Contest (Non-title)
It's a shame this match never came to fruition. I was really looking forward to Ambrose beating the crap out of Ellsworth! In all seriousness, this was a brilliant beatdown from Baron Corbin that made him out to be more of a monster than he already was. Him tossing Ambrose into the pyrotechnics by the stage was a cool visual albeit a bit hokey. This feud is off to a strong start and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will progress heading into WrestleMania 33.
Mickie James def. Becky Lynch
Although I enjoyed the encounter at Elimination Chamber, it was certainly apparent that they were capable of much more. I wasn't disappointed because I knew we would see more matches between the two down the line. This wasn't a blowaway bout by any means, but I thought the psychology and story they told this time were a bit better. James playing possum to pick up the victory was pretty predictable yet it was right in line with what she would do as a heel. I'm never a fan of 50/50 booking, but damage might have been done to James had she lost again here.
Alexa Bliss Challenged SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi
Naomi has never been known as the greatest talker, but she did well with what she was given here, discussing her emotional championship victory from Elimination Chamber and her apparent injury. Regardless of whether it is real or not, it makes her title rematch with Bliss next week all the more intriguing. If she is hurt, I can see them taking the title off Naomi, but if not, I like what they're going for with Naomi wanting to walk into WrestleMania as champion and having to overcome several obstacles first.
WWE Champion Bray Wyatt def. John Cena and AJ Styles in a Triple Threat Match
This was the third WWE Championship Triple Threat match we've had since October and it was every bit as excellent as the other two. The in-ring action was exhilarating from start to finish, and although the ending outcome wasn't too much in doubt, they had the crowd engaged with each of the suspenseful nearfalls. I don't want to take anything away from Cena and Wyatt, but Styles continues to deliver in every big bout he's involved in, which is why I desperately want him in a top-tier match at WrestleMania and not be relegated to the undercard. The post-match angle with Wyatt and Randy Orton was interesting, though I'm sure Orton will turn on his brother-in-arms at some point between now and April 2. As for Luke Harper attacking Wyatt beforehand, it's awesome Harper won't be pushed aside despite his loss to Orton on Sunday. I doubt he'll be added to the title match at 'Mania, but I suppose anything is possible (and I personally would be in favor of it).
With just about two months to go until WrestleMania 33, I honestly didn't expect them to give away so many matches at this point such as the WWE Championship matchup on this show and next week's two huge women's matches. I don't say that as a bad thing, however, as it's awesome they're stacking these shows with marquee matches and I'm sure they have other plans in mind for WrestleMania that they want to get to fairly soon. This was a fantastic follow-up to Elimination Chamber on Sunday night with a terrific main event and solid storyline progression. Additionally, several matches were made official for next week's episode, so SmackDown Live continues to fire on all cylinders right now.
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