It was another solid episode of Smackdown Live Tuesday night in Houston, as the blue brand focused on the follow-up to a pretty exciting TLC pay-per-view Sunday night.
Before I got into my analysis of the program, here are the full match results from the Toyota Center:
- WWE Smackdown Tag Team championship – Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton def. Heath Slater & Rhyno
- The Hype Bros def. The Ascension
- Baron Corbin def. Kalisto
- Chad Gable def. Tyler Breeze
- WWE Intercontinental championship – The Miz def. Dean Ambrose
James Ellsworth costs Ambrose another title
Oops! Ellsworth did it again
For the second time in three nights, Ellsworth cost Ambrose another championship. At TLC Sunday, Ellsworth cost Ambrose the WWE World title by shoving him off a ladder, which sent him crashing through a pair of tables.
Ellsworth, in his delusional mind, only did it so that he could get his eventual championship match against AJ Styles because he supposedly has the champ's number.
Ellsworth, still being delusional, saw himself as making it up to Ambrose by attempting to help him during his Intercontinental title match against The Miz, but once again, Ellsworth played the town fool.
Ellsworth went to the ring to point out to the referee that The Miz's wife Maryse had interfered in the match, but stood on the ring apron long enough to catch Ambrose's eye.
Ambrose, who had already hit Ellsworth with dirty deeds in the show's opening segment, was none too pleased to see him again. That momentary lapse in concentration allowed The Miz to hit Ambrose with the skull-crushing finale to retain his championship.
Ellsworth was distraught by the outcome and ran backstage crying about his own incompetence.
It would be easy to guess that Ellsworth is only putting on an act and had cost Ambrose the matches on purpose, but I like this better if Ellsworth is being genuine in his attempts to help himself and Ambrose but is such a putz that he routinely fails.
I think it actually falls in line with Ellsworth's character that he is legitimately that incompetent.
I did love the opening segment, by the way, with Ambrose arriving, hitting dirty deeds and leaving, which was a page right out of Steve Austin's playbook. That was perfect.
Styles is in a walking boot
What was not perfect was the sight of Styles hobbling around in a walking boot at the beginning of the show.
Styles was wearing the boot after suffering an ankle injury during his title match against Ambrose at the pay-per-view, which kept him out of his scheduled WWE World title defense against Ellsworth Tuesday.
The injury doesn't seem too serious and hopefully it remains that way, as Styles has been WWE's most valuable player this year in the ring.
Not to mention, he is the current WWE World champion and there is never good time to lose a guy to injury while he is holding that title.
The Wyatt Family reigns supreme
Wyatt's cult is as strong as it's ever been, as he and Orton retained the Smackdown Tag Team titles by defeating Slater and Rhyno Tuesday.
Both of their victories over Slater and Rhyno have come in convincing fashion, which helped make The Wyatt Family look as strong and as dominant as ever.
On top of making the group look strong, the Smackdown Tag Team championships have been elevated as well by being in possession of Wyatt, Orton and Luke Harper.
Slater, Rhyno no more?
After losing to Wyatt and Orton twice in the last three days, it seems as though there isn't anything left for Slater and Rhyno to do but to go their separate ways.
At least that's the way it looked on Talkin' Smack when the two were not seeing eye to eye, which prompted Rhyno to leave Slater hanging.
While it is sort of a bummer to see the entertaining duo split, the timing could not be much better. Slater and Rhyno never seemed like a long-term tandem.
It seemed like something that was thrown together to give the two something to do. What it eventually became was far beyond my expectations. To its credit, WWE got a lot out of the team, including a hilarious vignette at Slater's singlewide trailer and a funny in-ring segment with all of Slater's children. I forgot how many he supposedly has.
But since winning the Smackdown Tag Team titles, WWE seemingly ran out of ideas for them and didn't do much of anything. They were just two guys holding blue and silver title belts for a little while.
Since WWE's creative team has gotten Slater and Rhyno about as far as it deems necessary, there's no need to drag it out much longer.
Carmella-Natalya-Nikki Bella saga continues
Yeah, so this is a thing. I'm not totally sure where any of this is going. I guess I'll have to give it more time before I can pass full judgment.