With TLC 2016 in the bag, it’s time for another post-show recap along with a 3-Count review. Earlier in the night, I referred to the pay-per-view as “a glorified episode of SmackDown” which thankfully started to turn around and in the end, became a decent watch.
But that wording got me thinking: if this is treated as a television show attempting to hook me in to watch next week, what would be the three biggest reasons I’d be tempted to tune into USA Tuesday night? After all, that’s what WWE wants us to perpetually do, so while some things didn’t necessarily follow through with creating interest, there definitely were three that stood out to me.
1) What consequences will James Ellsworth face after his turn on Dean Ambrose?
Obviously, Dean Ambrose is going to be fuming and will likely take all his frustrations out on Ellsworth—rightfully so. But what about AJ Styles? A title match is set for Tuesday night and Ellsworth didn’t do what he did in order to become friends with Styles, he did it because he thinks he can win. His character is working under the assumption that he did a slightly bad thing to ensure he would win the world title, not that he was helping Styles out to spite Ambrose. Clearly, this isn’t going to end well for Ellsworth, but will it be Styles who lays him out in order to retain his championship or will Ambrose not even give those two a chance to fight before he does the Dirty Deed himself, seeking retribution?
Let’s all just hope WWE doesn’t get the temptation to put the championship on Ellsworth, as that joke won’t be worth tainting the title’s lineage even if it’s for one week.
2) What’s next for Dolph Ziggler and The Miz?
This ladder match was billed “the final chapter” and while the score has not quite been 100% settled, they’re set for different paths. Who is going to become the next in line to challenge for the Intercontinental Championship and who will Ziggler be paired up with as a new feud to keep him busy?
My gut reaction is to assume Baron Corbin and Kalisto are done with each other and they’ll switch dance partners with Corbin and Ziggler going at it while Kalisto, despite losing his match, somehow finds his way hoping to win his third midcard championship of 2016. There aren’t a ton of other options out there in the midcard range of SmackDown. Apollo Crews is perpetually neglected, Curt Hawkins is a jobber and everyone else is hanging out in the tag team division except for Kane.
Is it really this simple, or does WWE have some tricks up their sleeves with some new returns, some call-ups from NXT (Tye Dillinger perhaps?) or some crossover potential with 205 Live’s cruiserweight division since they’re recording on Tuesday nights now?
3) When will we see The Undertaker?
He made no appearance tonight, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, he specifically said before Survivor Series that he wouldn’t be just showing up for WrestleMania. Despite this, here we are with nothing since then and we’re going to start ramping up to the Royal Rumble, which is effectively “The Road to WrestleMania”, in direct defiance of what he said. Is WWE’s game plan really just to backtrack on that and wait until January before he makes an appearance since the holidays are going to be interfering with television ratings, or will the gong sound at the end of the episode while Ambrose wreaks havoc on Ellsworth and Styles thinks he’s in the clear?
Noticeably absent from this list is the lingering question “Did Natalya attack Nikki Bella?” as I think the execution of that whole segment was awful. There doesn’t need to be a mystery about it—Natalya should have just gone ahead and interfered in the match and we could skip all the questioning. That’s what the time during and after Survivor Series was about and we should have moved on from that point already.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK with my immediate reactions following the event.
Hosted by Anthony Mango
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