WWE SmackDown Live was broadcast from the Allstate Arena in Chicago (Rosemont), Illinois on December 26, 2017.
WWE SmackDown Live main event: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
General manager Daniel Bryan announced this match at the start of the show, to which Shane McMahon was clearly unhappy with later in the night.
Sami Zayn was ringside for this match, and SHOCKER, that turned out to be important. At the end of the match, Zayn jumped up on the ring apron for the distraction, and it nearly resulted in a pinfall. Shane McMahon came out to try and get Zayn ejected from ring side. That move actually backfired, as the ref then missed a Styles pin attempt and Owens was able to get the roll up for the 1-2-3 on the champion.
After the match, Zayn and Owens celebrated while Styles and Shane had a stare down on the ramp. Uh oh…
Dolph Ziggler’s U.S. Championship is vacated, a tournament announced to crown a new champ
Dolph Ziggler won the title at Clash of Champions, but it looks like we already have a new direction.
Daniel Bryan actually opened the show to address this situation. Since it appeared last week that Ziggler was giving up the title, Bryan announced that a tournament would take place to crown a new championship. It was later announced that it would be an eight-man tournament, with Bobby Roode and Baron Corbin kicking it off in the first round.
Gable & Benjamin def. (pin) The New Day (Big E & Xavier) and Rusev & Aiden English to become No. 1 contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team championships
The tag team participants interrupted Daniel Bryan’s promo to open the show, all asking which team had the next shot at The Usos’ tag team titles. Naturally, Bryan signed the three teams to a match, with the winner becoming the No. 1 contender’s for the titles next week.
First off, Rusev was SUPER over with the crowd, with multiple chants of “Rusev Day!” breaking out throughout the match.
Sadly, the Rusev Day team did not win the match, although they helped put on a helluva show. The match had a couple of great moments, like Chad Gable suplexing Big E and Aiden English at the same time. That was one-up’d by Rusev putting the Accolade on Woods and Gable… at the same time!
Benjamin broke up that submission attempt, though, and that eventually led to the finish where Gable and Benjamin hit their Doomsday Device powerbomb deal — they should really give this move a name — for the victory.
Bobby Roode def. (pin) Baron Corbin in a first-round match in the U.S. Championship tournament
Corbin controlled most of the match here, beating Roode up both in and outside the ring. Roode eventually turned it around, hitting a blockbuster for a near fall. Corbin responded some big moves, and it looked like he was going to pick up the win, but Roode was able to get a roll up to take the victory and knock the former U.S. Champion completely out of the tournament.
Ruby Riott (w/ Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan) def. (pin) Naomi
Ruby got the win in a short match after a Riott Kick. As has been the story here, the Riott Squad then went for the three-on-one post match beatdown before Charlotte got involved. Unfortunately for the champ, she got thrown aside, too.
The Riott Squad was eventually dispatched when the rest of the locker room (Natalya, Carmella, Tamina, and Lana) intervened. Not sure who are supposed to be the antagonists here…
Best of the rest of WWE SmackDown Live
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) def. (DQ) The Fashion Police (Breeze & Fandango). For the second week in a row, Harper and Rowan were mean to the Fashion Police, but thankfully The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) intervened to save the Fashion Police from a further beatdown.
- Unfortunately for the Fashion Police, the Ascension said that they got the Fashion Police a rematch for next week so they can try again.
- Jinder Mahal def. (pin) Tye Dillinger in a first-round match in the U.S. Championship tournament. This one didn’t last too long, and the commercial break during might have been longer than the rest of the match.
- Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura both entered the men’s Royal Rumble match