Welcome to a somewhat delayed SmackDown Live!
MATCH: James Ellsworth vs. AJ Styles – WWE World Championship Match
We’re starting the show off by launching straight into that title match that Ellsworth is owed that has been postponed these last few weeks. I can’t help but notice that the announcer twice refers to the title AJ is holding as simply the “WWE Championship”. Is this another update, or is he just behind the times?
- The two men start by circling each other, then into a collar and elbow tie-up.
- AJ throws Ellsworth into the turnbuckle face-first, then turns to the crowd to complain about having to fight Ellsworth.
- Ellsworth sets up for No Chin Music, but AJ catches his leg easily and knocks him onto his back with a forearm for an easy three-count. AJ retains!
He’s not done yet, though, picking up Ellsworth like a ragdoll and throwing him into the announce table. This carries on a bit with Ellsworth being thrown onto the steps, the ring apron, and suplexed onto the barricade.
AJ takes a mic once he’s finally done destroying Ellsworth, and tells us that he’s not sorry we had to witness that because a proper Ellsworth beatdown has been coming for at least the past six weeks and he’s glad to have that over and done with before the New Year so he can end the year happy. And he has basically gotten everything he could have wanted from this year, so he’s happily done.
Dolph wanders out at this point to wish AJ a merry Christmas. What a nice coworker he is. Oh, and to remind AJ that he’s number one contender, so AJ still has to deal with him before the new year. AJ does not consider Dolph Ziggler that much of a threat, despite that he put his career on the line against the Miz for the Intercontinental Championship and so is therefore going to be even more dedicated to his hunt for AJ’s title.
Corbin makes his way out, and AJ takes this as his time to leave. Corbin thinks it should be him getting a championship spot against AJ even though he’s done nothing to earn one, because had he been in the match he would have easily beaten Dolph and because Dolph gets way too many repeat chances at things. I mean, granted, this is not a new idea; I expressed it myself about some of Dolph’s past feuds, but I dislike Corbin enough that I now want to take it all back.
Things disintegrate into fighting, with Corbin laying Dolph out with a punch then hitting End of Days as AJ watches from the ramp.
After a commercial break, Ziggler is asking Daniel Bryan if he can have a match against Corbin later tonight to resolve this. Daniel tells him that he can, but only if he puts his number one contendership on the line.
MATCH: Apollo Crews vs. The Miz – Intercontinental Championship Match
Well, there’s a whole lot of title matches on the card for tonight! Maryse looks astonishing as always in red and black, and I know I say some variation on that every week but I can’t help myself.
- The two men circle, then Crews catches Miz’s lariat and goes for a set of covers, none for a three count.
- Miz throws Crews into the corner, but Crews jumps over him. Crews ducks another lariat, then leapfrogs, then goes under Miz and catches him with a dropkick on the rebound. Miz kicks out.
- Side headlock from Crews, but Miz powers to his feet and tries to repeat the same sequence but in reverse, but misses with the dropkick when Crews holds onto the ropes. Crews gets a two-count.
- Miz climbs out of the ring, and Crews follows with a baseball slide, then up on the barricade for a moonsault.
- Both men back in the ring, and Crews goes up to the top rope for a crossbody for a two-count. Miz climbs back out of the ring.
- When we’re back from commercial, both men are back in the ring. Crews with the upper hand with kicks and then an enzuigiri for a nearfall.
- Crews sets up for the powerbomb, Miz slips out and tries for the Skull Crushing Finale. Crews reverses into a victory roll pin, but Miz kicks out
- Spinning back suplex, then into the corner – Miz dodges the Stinger Splash, but catches a back elbow when he tries to capitalize. Maryse climbs up on the apron and the referee sends her away.
- Miz with a boot, then goes to rebound off the ropes and Crews hits a kind of pop-up German suplex for a two count.
- Second attempt at the powerbomb, but Miz slips out again and sticks his thumb in Crews’ eye.
- Skull-Crushing Finale, and Miz retains!
Renee comes out to interview Miz, asking about his obsession with Dean Ambrose. Miz looks a bit confused by this claim, and counters that instead they should talk about Renee’s obsession with Dean Ambrose given that she’s the one sleeping with him. Miz looks smug like ‘haha, got you there’, and Renee slaps him. As far as wrestlers being rude to women goes, at least Miz is a heel who got immediate comeuppance, but on the whole I’d rather we just didn’t get so much shit flung at the women.
Apparently, John Cena is back next week!
Natalya has a few things to say! Nikki and Carmella come out to join her. Carmella is still denying attacking Nikki at Survivor Series, on the basis that if it had been her she would be totally upfront about ruining Nikki and makes a rude comment about silicone. After some fairly substantial needling from Carmella, Natalya admits that she’s not always had nice things to say about Nikki and her sister, and Nikki asks if Nattie really was the one who attacked her.
Natalya responds to this by starting a fight with Carmella, as you do, chasing her up the ramp and throwing her right into the Christmas tree until she runs backstage. Nikki still doesn’t look convinced, so Natalya turns around and admits that she did it – she’s wrestling royalty, and Nikki got stuff handed to her because she was beautiful. Quick plug for 2 Pawz, who apparently has more charisma than Nikki.
Next up, Daniel is on the phone when Alexa Bliss comes in and demands that Becky be punished. Daniel tells her that Becky will have a title shot next week, and since he knows Alexa is good to go, she has a match tonight.
MATCH: Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper (with Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton)
Dean makes his way out as Mauro asks whether the Miz and Renee moment from earlier tonight would have upset Dean, and JBL talks for an uncomfortably long time about how no one would notice if Dean got a bit crazier.
- Dean starts off immediately with a dropkick, then ducks a clothesline from Harper and goes for a crossbody. Harper catches him, but Dean recovers quickly.
- Dean throws Harper out of the ring, and tries to catch him for Dirty Deeds when he comes back, but Harper slips out.
- Harper catapults Dean into the ropes, then kicks him out of the ring.
- After a commercial break, they’re fighting on the turnbuckle. Dean throws Harper off with a headbutt then leaps over him, then hits a spinning side slam for a two-count.
- Harper locks in a crossface, but Dean is able to break free by powering to his feet and wrenching Harper’s fingers.
- Pendulum backbreaker from Harper, immediately followed by an Argentine backbreaker rack.
- When Dean is back down, he knocks Harper off-balance with a clothesline then goes for the running bulldog, but Harper throws him into the ringpost then superkicks him out of the ring.
- Harper throws Dean back in, and Dean snaps Harper’s neck over the top rope, then climbs up on the turnbuckle for an elbow drop to Randy and Bray – but not Harper.
- Sitout powerbomb from Harper gets a two-count.
- Dean ducks the discus clothesline, and tries to go for Dirty Deeds but is blocked. Dean converts to an arm-wrench inside cradle pin, and gets a three-count. Dean wins!
Before Dean can celebrate, Bray and Randy are in to stomp him. Bray gets in a few forearms, then picks Dean up in position for Sister Abigail, then launches him at Randy for an RKO. The three Wyatts pose over Dean’s body with their tag titles, then we cut to black.
When the lights come back up, Dean is still in the ring, struggling to get to his feet, when The Miz’s music hits and the Intercontinental Champion makes his way down to the ring. Dean just manages to get to his feet in time for Miz to plant him with a Skull-Crushing Finale. Maryse raises her husband’s hand before he pulls her in for a kiss. He looks absolutely giddy as he makes his way out with Maryse.
MATCH: Alexa Bliss vs. La Luchadora
Alexa makes a beautiful champion, and her opponent appears to be wearing a blue bodysuit with red shorts on over the top and a pink mask. You know what, I can’t judge.
- La Luchadora starts us off with what I think is best described as a happy little dance, then rolls out of the way of Alexa’s grab.
- Alexa with a waistlock, but La Luchadora gets her to the ground for a quick cover.
- Wristlock from La Luchadora, then a quick two-count cover.
- Another waistlock from La Luchadora, then a snapmare and a transition into a body scissors. Alexa tries to roll out, but La Luchadora manages to keep hold.
- Alexa finally makes a rope break, then La Luchadora with a kick. Alexa comes back with strikes, and goes for a quick cover but La Luchadora kicks out.
- La Luchadora draped over the ropes for a double knees, getting Alexa another one-count.
- La Luchadora thrown into the turnbuckle, but comes back with a forearm and then rolls into what looks very much like Becky Lynch’s Dis-Arm-Her.
La Luchadora celebrates with the crowd, then whips her mask off – it is Becky Lynch! Alexa clutches her title while Becky makes belt motions at her waist.
A handsome man is walking around backstage. Oh, Mojo Rawley tells me it’s Ryan Phillippe. Then suddenly Curt Hawkins appears and can’t tell the difference between Ryan Phillippe and Mark Wahlberg, and taunting Rawley about Ryder’s injury. This is leading up to a match between Mojo Rawley and Hawkins, up next.
MATCH: Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins
Ryan Phillippe is on commentary for this match, and Hawkins is already waiting in the ring during Mojo’s entrance. Ryan Phillippe is the star of the hit show Shooter, as they remind us several times.
- Kick from Hawkins, then a right hand. Rawley reverses the Irish whip, and then kicks Hawkins out of the ring.
- Rawley out to chase him, then they’re both back in the ring and Hawkins rains down a few strikes on Rawley.
- Rawley ducks a strike from Hawkins, then knocks him back out of the ring with a shoulder block. Commentary respect this match by talking about Shooter.
- Two-count cover from Hawkins, and the camera actually cuts away to where Phillippe is talking rather than the match.
- Strikes from Rawley to Hawkins, then an elbow, and a towering back body drop sends Hawkins sprawling.
- Rawley with another shoulder block, then a sequence of Stinger Splashes.
- Big forearm strike from Rawley in the corner, and Hawkins is down for a three count!
Rawley celebrates by pointing at Phillippe and asking him to come into the ring to celebrate with him, which he does with a big hug. I guess Mojo just really misses Zack while he’s out with his knee injury.
Ellsworth is in terrible pain and seems unable to speak, just sort of grunt. Dasha Fuentes tries asking him about his match and his relationship with Dean, until Carmella comes to rescue him and tell Dasha to please stop asking him questions when he clearly can’t answer.
MATCH: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin – WWE World Championship Number One Contender Match
Mauro describes Corbin as the WWE’s resident grinch, which I feel is a little unfair. AJ is joining us at ringside for this match.
- Ziggler immediately on the offensive, but Corbin catches his crossbody. Ziggler recovers with a dropkick, sending Corbin out of the ring.
- Corbin paces back and forth outside the ring as Ziggler watches, and AJ tells us that Dolph is very easy to manipulate.
- Corbin back in, and knocks Ziggler down with a big knee, then throws him off the ropes and steps on his face. Ziggler rolls out of the ring.
- Corbin follows, dragging Ziggler over to in front of the announce table, then flooring him with a knee and eying off AJ.
- Both men back in the ring, and Corbin gets a nearfall on Ziggler.
- Ziggler rallies with strikes, Corbin in the corner, but Corbin reverses the Irish whip and throws Ziggler into the opposite corner turnbuckle for another two-count.
- Corbin drags Ziggler to his feet, then strikes him back down. AJ sarcastically on commentary thanking Mauro for telling him that Corbin is a former boxing champ.
- Corbin tries to pick Ziggler up, but he slips out and hits a dropkick, then a clothesline and a corner splash in quick succession. Corbin throws Ziggler into the ropes in retaliation.
- Corbin with a strike in the corner, then Ziggler back with an elbow. Corbin throws Ziggler back into the ringpost, shoulder-first, before slamming his head into the ringpost.
- When we’re back, Ziggler is trying to fight out of a hold with strikes and a headbutt, before Corbin goes shoulder-first itno the ringpost.
- Famouser from Ziggler, and AJ kinda sounds like he’s marking out as he expresses that he really thought Ziggler would get more than a two-count from that. Embarrassed, he explains that he just enjoys wrestling.
- Ziggler counters a powerbomb attempt into a jackknife cover, but Corbin kicks out and hits Ziggler with an STO.
- Corbin starts yelling at AJ to pay attention, which he clearly is from how invested he sounds. AJ retorts that he knows he’s good-looking, hence why Corbin can’t keep his eyes off him.
- Big clothesline from Corbin, but Ziggler kicks out at two.
- Ziggler with a neckbreaker onto the middle rope, followed by a kick to the knee and Zig Zag — but Corbin kicks out at two!
- Corbin in the corner and Ziggler laying in with strikes, before he tries to set Corbin up on the top turnbuckle. Corbin able to fight off the superplex with elbows, then hits Deep Six for a two-count.
- On the outside, Corbin throws Ziggler shoulder-first into the barricade, before breaking the count and throwing Ziggler into another barricade, then into AJ’s lap.
- Ziggler hits a superkick on the outside, just as the referee calls for a double count-out.
AJ in with a steel chair before I am certain that was a actually a double count-out, raining down blows on both Corbin and Ziggler before Daniel Bryan’s music hits and he makes his way out to clear things up. He’s making next week’s championship match a triple threat! AJ is outraged, and Corbin and Ziggler are too broken down to actually respond.
We close the show on AJ pointing to his title angrily, staring down Daniel Bryan. We’ll see you next Monday for RAW!