After Raw put up a couple of duds the last couple of nights, Smackdown Live didn't have to do much to clear the bar to top the red brand this week.
Fortunately, Smackdown Live not only cleared the bar, it hurdled it as if it was Carl Lewis.
One of the big reasons why Smackdown Live was by far and away a better show than Raw this particular week was because there were multiple things that occurred during the program that had air of realism to it.
You would think that since WWE is in the "Reality Era" (or is the "New Era?), that things would feel real all of the time. You would think that since reality shows have become the new norm on television that WWE would take a page from that more often.
Unfortunately, there are far too many instances when things feel synthetic. There are far too many instances when the wrestlers do not talk like human beings. Instead, they sound like robots reading commands that were coded into their systems like Robocop.
That wasn't the case Tuesday on Smackdown Live, as things felt real. No, it wasn't a return to the "Attitude Era" or anything like that, but it felt as real as it could get on a PG-rated television show.
With that said, here are the full match results from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit:
- WWE World championship – AJ Styles def. James Ellsworth
- WWE Intercontinental championship – The Miz def. Apollo Crews
- Dean Ambrose def. Luke Harper
- La Luchadora (Becky Lynch) def. Alexa Bliss
- Mojo Rawley def. Curt Hawkins
- Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler ends in a double count-out
Big Smackdown Live set for next week
This week's episode of Smackdown Live was very good, but the best part was that it set up what could be an even better episode next week.
Smackdown Live is rounding out 2016 with an episode that it is dubbing the Wild Card Finals. Why? I have no idea.
Regardless of the name, the card is stacked with three championship matches.
The likely main event will be a triple threat match for the WWE World championship, as Styles will defend his title against Ziggler and Corbin.
Styles was put into this predicament after he battered both men with steel chairs after their match Tuesday night.
The Smackdown Women's championship will be on the line as well, as Bliss will defend her title against Lynch, who defeated the champion Tuesday under the guise of La Luchadora.
While it was unique for Lynch to don the least flattering outfit she's ever worn, I'm not sure what it really accomplished. It's not like Lynch wasn't getting a title shot next week anyway. She didn't really have to don a disguise in order to get her hands on Bliss.
The Smackdown Tag Team titles will be put on the line in a four corners match, as Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton will defend against American Alpha, The Usos and Heath Slater and Rhyno.
This match came about after it was revealed that one half of The Hype Bros, Zack Ryder, will be sidelined for an extended period of time with a knee injury, putting the team's championship match on a hold until further notice.
And let's not forget about the return of John Cena because WWE made darn sure we didn't forget with multiple video packages throughout this week's episode.
All of this makes next week's Smackdown Live a de-facto pay-per-view of sorts.
Natalya turned into a savage
It was finally revealed that Natalya really was the one who attacked Nikki Bella at Survivor Series, which was a revelation I'm not sure anyone really cared for.
However, I think everyone cared for what happened next, which was a scathing promo from Natalya not only owning up to her actions, but also opening some deep wounds on Bella.
Natalya called Bella a bad word that rhymes with witch on at least one occasion, said that she is only in her spot because of her looks and even said that Bella's boyfriend Cena will never marry her.
Man, that last one cut pretty deep.
I loved every second of this because it sounded like Natalya was speaking from the heart (no pun intended). I'm sure her words were scripted out in some manner, but she completely made them her own. She came across as authentic and made the upcoming feud between these two one that I am personally looking forward to now.
I didn't feel that way the last few weeks.
The Miz put Renee Young's business out there
Natalya wasn't the only one getting real Tuesday night, as The Miz did so as well.
After The Miz defeated Crews to retain his Intercontinental title, Young went into the ring to interview him and asked him about his obsession with Ambrose.
The Miz quickly turned the tables and asked Young about her obsession with Ambrose, as she is the one sleeping with him.
One of the worst kept secrets in wrestling is that Young and Ambrose are dating and have been for quite some time, but it has never been acknowledged on television. Young herself has not been really involved in any on-screen stories.
It seems as though that is about to change, as she responded to The Miz putting her business out there like most people would — by slapping him in the face and leaving the ring.
This came out of nowhere, but I thought it was great. Again, it felt real because it is.
I'm not sure what it does for Ambrose's lunatic side for people to know that he has a loving side, but I think the opportunity to make his rivalry with The Miz personal is too good to pass up.
I can say this much, I am definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next from all of this.
Ellsworth was destroyed but left with Carmella
Ellsworth began the night a loser after he was easily defeated by Styles in the opening match for the WWE title.
However, it looked like he left a winner after Carmella tended to him while he was writhing in pain later in the show.
The guy had his head wrapped in a bandage, ice wrapped on his shoulder, the same arm in a sling and a walking boot on both legs. This guy was seriously banged up after the brutal beating Styles handed him earlier.