WWE Smackdown rolls into the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI this evening. Already announced is Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper, plus a Wild Card Triple Threat match that will determine the new #1 Contenders to the WWE Tag Titles after Zack Ryder’s knee injury sidelined the original winners, The Hype Bros. Will Heath Slater, Konnor, or Tyler Breeze pick up the win for their team?
Plus, the drama surrounding Nikki Bella’s attacker continues, with Carmella blaming Natalya, and Natalya blaming Carmella. But who is telling the truth? Is it a mysterious third person?
All this plus more with Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch, and “Shooter” star Ryan Phillippe making a guest appearance.
Join us at 8pm Eastern for live coverage as it happens, and follow along on Twitter @RingRap!
Let’s get right into it with a WWE Championship match, shall we?
AJ Styles (c) vs. James Ellsworth for the WWE Championship
Winner: AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship
James Ellsworth was owed this match after a prior victory over AJ Styles. He’s 3-0 against Styles by the way. Ellsworth heads out making belt gestures with his hands. The bell rings and Ellsworth shadow-boxes Styles. Styles pushes him into the corner out of a lock up, and turns his back to Ellsworth, who tunes up the band. Styles counters him and nails him with a forearm, flooring Ellsworth. He makes the easy cover for the win.
Afterwards, he slams Ellsworth into the second rope head-first, and then tosses him into the announce table (barely). The beatdown continues at ringside. Styles goes looking under the ring. AJ can’t find what he’s looking for, so he throws Ellsworth into the lower frame of the ring, and then slingshots him on said frame. It looks brutal.
Styles walks towards the ramp but decides he’s not done yet. He heads back and suplexes Ellsworth into the barricade before reentering the ring. The fans cheer for this horrible, horrible man. He grabs a mic and apologizes to the fans for witnessing that, then says he’s not sorry – it’s been building up for six weeks. He says he can finally move on to more important things. He’s moving on to 2017. He doesn’t need to ask anything from Santa – he’s got it all, including the WWE Championship. It’s a Merry Christmas to AJ Styles and a Happy New Year.
Dolph Ziggler heads down to the ring congratulating him. He says before the end of the year though, Ziggler is next in line for the title. Styles says he forgot about him since it’s a cake-walk, and he’s good at losing. Ziggler reminds Styles of his record against Ellsworth. Ziggler mentions that he put his career on the line for the Intercontinental championship, so what would he be willing to do for the WWE Title?
And then Baron Corbin heads out to the ring, and the fans look confused. Styles backs out of the ring, leaving Ziggler there. Corbin says it should be him taking on Styles for the title. He calls Ziggler a little man. Ziggler says he earned his shot while Corbin was walking black carpets. Corbin says the only reason he earned anything was because he wasn’t there. Corbin says next week Ziggler will lose because that’s what he does. He accuses Ziggler of stealing opportunities and wasting them, and he nails Ziggler with a punch. He follows it up with an End of Days. Corbin eyes AJ Styles, who retreats up the ramp slowly.
We come back from the break and Dolph Ziggler is demanding a match with Baron Corbin. Daniel Bryan tries to talk him out of it and puts Ziggler’s title shot on the line. “Are you sure you want to give up this championship opportunity?” Ziggler says he’ll be damned if he goes out of there without a fight.
The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse) vs. Apollo Crews for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Winner: The Miz to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Crews is already in the ring. Apparently this match came about during the Tribute to the Troops. Anyhoo… Miz connects with some cheap shots, but Crews hits a nice dropkick. The action spills outside and Crews his a moonsault off the apron. Miz recovers outside of the ring as we go to break.
We return to both men in the ring. Crews hits a side kick a leaping clothesline. Crews misses a splash in the corner, and it gives Maryse a chance to sneak in to get involved, but the referee catches her and bands her from ringside. Crews goes for a roll-up on the distraction. He pops Miz up into the air and drops him into a German suplex. Cool spot. The ref gets tagged by The Miz’s foot by accident, and The Miz pokes Crews in the eyes, hits Skull Crushing Finale, and gets the win.
After the match Renee Young asks him about his obsession with Dean Ambrose getting in the way of the Fatal Four Way last week. Miz spins it and asks her about HER obsession with Ambrose. “I mean, after all, you’re the one sleeping with him.” Renee Young winds up and slaps him in the face, then walks away looking furious. She tears off her earpiece as The Miz laughs. The announce team sells it as being completely inappropriate.
Not sure where they’re going with this, but DAMN.
We see a clip of Zack Ryder being helped backstage after winning the #1 Contendership for his team last week. They show a tweet of the kneecap all stitched up after surgery. Next week, Wild Card Finals with a Four Corners Elimination Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos vs. Slater/Rhyno vs. American Alpha vs. The Wyatts.
Natalya heads to the ring and asks for a microphone. We go to break. By the way, John Cena returns next week. The commercials tell me so.
Back to the ring, Natalya says she’s tired of the rumors, and she asks Nikki Bella out to the ring. She obliges. Before she can speak, Carmella heads out too. Carmella just wants to watch Nattie weasel her way out of this situation. Carmella insists she’d brag about it if she attacked her. She calls Nattie a liar, and says some of Nikki’s silicone leaked into her brain. Carmella reminds Nattie she cried on her shoulder about Nikki getting all the attention, and the time she said the Bella Twins are in the WWE because they couldn’t make it on their own. Natalya says she said it in private and called Carmella a “dirty little Staten Island snitch.” Natalya chases after Carmella up the ramp and tosses her into one of the Christmas trees on display. Carmella retreats to the back and Nattie finally admits to attacking Nikki Bella. “I have always despised you. I am Natalya Neidhart. I am wrestling royalty. You are not.” Nattie says she and her sister got everything because they’re beautiful. She says her cat has more charisma than she does. She says she’s beautiful on the outside, but she’s nothing, and that’s why John (Cena) will never marry her.
We return from break and Alexa Bliss limps into Daniel Bryan’s office. She says her leg really hurts. She wants to know what Becky Lynch’s punishment is for injuring her – it’s a championship match against Bliss next week. Bryan said he just spoke to the trainers and they cleared her 100%. He booked her in a match for this week, and if she doesn’t want to compete, he’ll strip her of the title. Bliss says whatever happens to the soul he’s got lined up for her is on him.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper (w/ Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt)
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Ambrose goes for an early Dirty Deeds, but it’s countered by Harper who slingshots him into the bottom rope. Both men are on the top rope after the break. Harper hits a swinging sidewalk slam for two. He locks in a crossface. Ambrose hits a running clothesline. Harper tosses Ambrose into the corner with a lawn dart, and Ambrose rolls outside the ring.
Back in the ring, Ambrose hangs Harper up on the top ropes. Ambrose leaps onto Wyatt and Orton at ringside, but is caught with a jackknife powerbomb in the ring. Back and forth exchange leads to Ambrose getting the win.
The Wyatts immediately attack Ambrose. Bray sets up Sister Abigail, but tosses Ambrose into an RKO instead. Follow the Buzzards…. The lights go out. When the lights come on, The Wyatt’s are gone.
And then The Miz and Maryse come out to the ring as Ambrose struggles to his feet. Miz immediately hits Skull Crushing Finale. He and Maryse kiss and then Miz holds his title high, gloating.
Alexa Bliss vs. La Luchadora
Winner: La Luchadora
Bliss’s opponent stands in the ring wearing a head-to-toe outfit. Cape, mask, the works. It’s probably Becky Lynch.
The lucha does a lot of dodging and suckering Bliss into bad situations. La Luchadora locks in body scissors and rolls her around the ring. Bliss gets in a few shots and chokes La Luchadora against the ropes. Anyhow, La Luchadora eventually locks in a Disarmer on Bliss, and Bliss taps out.
La Luchadora runs around the ring celebrating very enthusiastically before rolling into the ring and revealing the mask. Sure enough, it’s Becky Lynch.
Backstage, Ryan Phillippe is looking for Randy Orton. He finds Mojo Rawley instead. Curt Hawkins jumps in and misspeaks, confusing Phillippe for Mark Wahlberg. Hawkins and Mojo bicker a little bit. They have a match later tonight, apparently. It’s silly punch line after silly punch line from Hawkins. What else would one expect?
Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins
Winner: Mojo Rawley
Ryan Phillippe is sitting in at ringside, and Mojo gives him hugs. Hawkins is already in the ring. He bails out of the ring almost immediately. Mojo chases him around the ring. Back in the ring, Mojo hits a shoulder block that knocks Hawkins out of the ring.
Mojo hits a series of shoulders and a pair of Stinger splashes followed by a pounce. He connects with a running punch in the corner and gets the win.
After a break, Dasha says that James Ellsworth is being taken to the hospital. He comes out of the trainer’s room in a neck brace, sling, two boots, an air cast on his other arm, and ice everywhere. She asks him what hurts the most, but he can only grunt. Carmella runs over to him and shoos Dasha away, offering to take care of Ellsworth. Weird.
I guess the previously announced Triple Threat for the #1 Contendership for the tag titles isn’t happening, because it’s time for…
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin for the #1 Contendership to the WWE World Championship
Winner: Double Count Out
AJ Styles heads to ringside as we go to break. We return and immediately Ziggler goes on the offense, hitting a dropkick that sends Corbin out to recover. Corbin gets the advantage and takes the action outside, staring down AJ Styles as he delivers knees to Ziggler.
Ziggler lays in fists in the corner. Corbin whips him away chest first into the turnbuckle. Corbin keeps control, keeping Ziggler grounded and holding down the pace. Ziggler catches Corbin with an uppercut, but Corbin slides under the ring and attacks from behind, sending Ziggler into the ring post and following it up with an attack to the head. We go to break, again.
Ziggler and Corbin continue to go at it after the break. Corbin misses a shoulder in the corner, and Ziggler hits a Fameasser for a near fall. Corbin hits an STO but Ziggler kicks out. Corbin talks trash at Styles. Ziggler goes for a roll-up, and winds up eating a nasty looking clothesline for two. Ziggler hits a neckbreaker off the ropes, kicks the knee and hits a Zig Zag, but Corbin kicks out at two. Ziggler unloads punches in the corner, and sets Corbin up on the top, but Corbin fights out. He hits a gorgeous Deep Six out of the corner for a near fall.
The action heads outside again, and Corbin sends Ziggler into the barricade, then into AJ Styles. The crowd counts along with the referee, shouting “10” each time. Well, eventually, it actually does get to 10, and the referee calls for the bell.
AJ Styles picks up a steel chair and attacks both Ziggler and Corbin with it. Daniel Bryan doesn’t like it, and he walks down to the ring. He tells all three men they are in a Triple Threat for the WWE World Championship next week!
Not a bad show this week. Smackdown still feels like they’re setting up the pieces for everything to come, but holy crap is next week a STACKED show. Three title matches? Hell yeah!
Bill and I have lots to talk about tomorrow on Ring Rap Audio, but for now, it’s time for 205 Live! Join me for my coverage starting… NOW.