SmackDown Live, you’ll never let me down, right? right?! Anyways, Hello my name’s James Toal and I’ll be covering for Bradley Tiernan this week. Was this a good week for the blue brand? Let’s take a look.

Naomi came down this week to sadly relinquish the WWE Women’s Title due to her knee injury and probably won’t be able to appear for Wrestlemania, this genuinely saddened me as you could see how much this meant to Naomi. Hoping that she’s able to get better soon and come back to reclaim her her title. As she walked away, Alexa Bliss came down and looked down her nose with a smirk and suggested to Daniel Bryan to give the title back to her. Even though this was a bad situation, having Alexa come down and treat Naomi with zero respect was perfect as this gave her more heat from the fans. Daniel decided instead to give her the opportunity to win the title in a match against Becky lynch.

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Alexa seemed extra vicious to get the title. But, Becky was calm and collected enough to control the match. Alexa at one point tried to escape by crawling out of the ring and was dragged back in by Becky, along with the ring apron. As the referee tried to put the apron back to the outside, Alexa hit Becky in the throat, rolled her up for the pin, and got the win. Alexa Bliss is your new women’s champion. Mickie James came down to celebrate with Alexa, before quickly making a beeline for the ring and attacking Becky. This turned out to flop as Becky got the upper hand and kicked Mickie onto the outside. So this was… pointless.

Throughout the episode we got multiple promos cut from Dean Ambrose, Kalisto, The Miz, AJ styles, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, Luke Harper, Baron Corbin, and Apollo Crews for the battle royale to determine who will face Bray Wyatt for the WWE championship. Some of these are alright as they serve their purpose. However, Dolph Ziggler superkicks a green screen behind him which just looks very awkward, to be honest.

The second match of the night was American alpha vs Breezango. Tyler and Fandango attacked before the match officially started and just laid into them. But as soon Jason Jordan got the tag to Chad Gable they had basically won. With one Sky High Bulldog, American alpha won. Suddenly, the Uso’s emerged from the crowd and congratulated them for the win and started “talking smack” (not the show) who were shouting and pumping themselves up, I have no idea what they are on but damn it I want some.

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Next up was Nikki Bella vs Natalya in a falls count anywhere match. I’m not going to lie, this match was very fun to watch. The fight went out into the audience and Natalya tried to suplex Nikki off the barricade, but she reversed and was able to leap and kick her square in the face. As a side note, we heard both Natalya and Nikki on camera when we weren’t to. After the pin attempt, we heard Natalya say “Good Job” and Nikki replied, “Yeah, am I doing alright?”. Insert Botchemania’s you talk too much bumper here.

The fight carried on with many entertaining spots, for example; Nikki hit Natalya with an Alabama Slam onto the announcer’s table, Natalya suplexes Nikki on the entrance ramp, and when they head to the backstage area, Nikki was thrown into Maryse but Nikki then got some payback by throwing her head into a small mirror (holy shit).

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This lead into Nikki locking in the STF to Natalya. But, before Natalya could submit, Maryse came down and hit Nikki with a pole multiple times and had to be pulled away by The Miz. Natalya got the pin and won… wow. So now we’re moving on to a new feud with Nikki Bella and Maryse? This was a great match and now it’s just awkwardly transitioned into a new conflict.

It’s main event time and it’s the Battle Royale to determine who’ll face Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania. Off to a bad start as Dean came down and throws the Intercontinental championship to the floor to go and attack Baron Corbin, (Yeah, remember that title Miz and Dolph worked hard to try and make it relevant again?). I do genuinely enjoy this mini version of the Royal Rumble as it has good moments going for it. After brawling, Baron Corbin stood tall in the middle of the ring and eliminated Mojo Rawley. This was then followed by Kalisto who was super-kicked off the apron and was eliminated. Ziggler interfered with Apollo Crews and Corbin’s scuffle, but Crews eliminated Ziggler with a swift kick to the face. Ziggler grabbed a chair and smacked Kalisto and tried to go for Crews after he was eliminated by Corbin, Ziggler attempted to hit him with the chair but ended up being chased away by Crews.

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We then got an entertaining wrestling sequence with Cena attempting an Attitude Adjustment to AJ Styles, AJ reversed and Harper super kicked Cena. AJ followed this up with a Pele kick to Harper and then Dean Ambrose attempted dirty deeds on AJ. This was countered and Corbin hit a clothesline on AJ, but, Ambrose bounced back and clotheslined Corbin. Awesome stuff.

As we got towards the end, The Miz was eliminated by John Cena, Dean eliminated Corbin, The Miz jumped back in to eliminate John Cena, and Harper eliminated Dean Ambrose. This left a match up that if you asked me several weeks ago I’d say you’d be crazy, but Luke Harper and AJ Styles were the only ones left to fight it out. Luke Harper. AJ Styles… Pretty cool. After back and forth between these two, Luke Harper suplexed AJ onto the outside, causing them both to fall at the “same time”. Why did I put that in quotation marks? Well, it’s because the show claimed that they couldn’t decide a winner due to them falling at the same time. Although… you can see AJ fell down first which should make Harper the winner, and it’s not like they could go to a replay of the moment and declare a decision. oh wait, they could. Daniel Bryan came down and made the official decision a draw and will determine a winner next week. That’s two good matches that have had two poorly booked endings that quite frankly sour the experience a little.

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