WWE SmackDown Report 12/26

– The final WWE SmackDown of 2017 opens with the normal video package.

– We’re live from the Allstate Arena near Chicago as Tom Phillips welcomes us. He’s joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.

– We go right to the ring and out comes SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan.

Fans chant for Bryan as Graves hypes Kevin Owens vs. WWE Champion AJ Styles in a non-title match for later tonight. Bryan says it’s great to be back in Chicago as the crowd pops. Bryan shows us video of WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler leaving the title in the ring last week, just days after winning the title at Clash of Champions. Bryan says he’s been trying to call Ziggler all week but he’s not calling or texting him back. Bryan says due to last week’s actions, it appears Ziggler has voluntarily relinquished the title. Bryan tells Ziggler, if he’s watching, that they all wish him the best of luck. Fans chant for Rusev. Bryan says Ziggler is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats but they need to move forward. Bryan announces a tournament to crown a new United States Champion and that tournament starts tonight. Bryan announces Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode as a first round match. He goes to announce another match but the music interrupts and out comes Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable.

Gable says he’s so happy for the US Title but they are wondering what Bryan is going to do about the SmackDown Tag Team Title situation. Fans chant for Rusev Day again. Bryan brings up their recent title shot and they complain about the other teams being in the match. They bring up their non-title win over The Usos last week and say that proved they would have been champions if the other teams weren’t in the Clash match. They enter the ring with Bryan now and say they have earned… Aiden English interrupts on the mic as he comes out with Rusev. Another loud chant for Rusev Day starts up. They sing about earning a title shot and Rusev Day until The New Day interrupts. Out they come to a pop.

The New Day also go on about earning a title shot. Rusev gets a big pop when telling The New Day to shut up. This back & forth leads to Bryan announcing a Triple Threat for right now. The winners will become the new #1 contenders to The Usos. Bryan calls for a referee and out come The Usos for commentary.

#1 Contenders Triple Threat: The New Day vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs. Rusev and Aiden English

Xavier Woods starts off with Aiden English and Chad Gable. Gable comes over and shoves Woods. Woods shoves him back. Gable gets shoved into Rusev and they argue. Gable turns his attention back to English but we get more stalling from all three teams. Fans chant “we want Rusev” now. Big E stands tall after a quick brawl at ringside. Woods runs the ropes and nails a dive, taking out Benjamin, English, Rusev and Gable. Woods brings English back into the ring and covers for a 2 count. Big E tags in and powerbombs Woods onto English for another 2 count.

Gable with a big double German for a 2 count on Big E as English is also laid out. Shelton and Gable double team stomp away on Big E in the corner now. Benjamin keeps control of Big E and delivers a suplex for a 2 count. Rusev ends up stomping away on Big E in the corner until Gable and Benjamin send him to the floor to boos. They double team Big E next and drop him with jumping knees. Benjamin with a 2 count on Big E. Gable comes in and works over Big E in the corner. English comes over and has some words with Gable. Fans chant for CM Punk now.

Big E counters and drops English and Gable at the same time. Woods gets a hot tag and unloads on English and Gable. Woods ends up hitting a rolling elbow but the pin is broken. Gable and Benjamin double team Woods in the corner now. English gets launched into Rusev on the apron. Benjamin with a big spinebuster on English. Big E gets knocked off the apron but Gable turns around to a running boot from English after dropping Woods on his head. Rusev gets a big pip as he tags in. Rusev unloads on both Woods and Gable.

Rusev keeps control and takes out Benjamin when he runs in. Fans chant for Rusev as he stands tall after clearing the ring. Rusev runs the ropes for a dive but Gable stops him coming in from the apron. Gable ends up hitting a big German on Rusev. Woods and English tag in. Woods drops English for a close 2 count. Woods with chops to Gable now. Big E tags in but Gable doesn’t see it. They drop Gable with a big double team power move for a close 2 count.

Fans chant “this is awesome” after a close pin and more offense by Gable and Benjamin. More back and forth between the teams now. Woods kicks Gable in the mouth and comes in to hit a big DDT on him. English plants Woods and covers for a close 2 count as Shelton breaks it up. Shelton takes English to the top as fans chant for Rusev Day. Shelton goes for a superplex but English hangs on. Gable climbs up with them for a double superplex but Rusev runs over and powerbombs them both to the mat. English comes off the top with a big Frogsplash but Gable kicks out at 2. English gets hyped up and tags in Rusev. Rusev stomps on Gable’s back but Woods rolls Rusev up for 2. Rusev drops Woods with a big kick to the head.

Rusev drags Woods on top of Gable as the crowd pops. Rusev calls for it and stomps on Woods’ back. Rusev applies a double Accolade and holds it until Shelton breaks it with a kick to the head. Fans boo Benjamin. Shelton tags in and drops English off the apron. Big E ends up spearing Shelton off the apron to the floor. Big E rolls Shelton back into the ring and drops his straps for a pop. Fans chant for The New Day. Big E goes for the Big Ending but Shelton blocks it. Shelton runs into an elbow. Big E goes to the top but Shelton runs up and nails him. Gable tags in and they hit the big double team on Big E. Gable covers for the pin and the #1 contendership.

Winners and New #1 Contenders: Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable

– After the match, Gable and Benjamin head up the ramp while celebrating as we go to replays. Tom confirms that they will get their title shot in Orlando next week.

– We see General Manager Daniel Bryan watching the match backstage. Commissioner Shane McMahon walks in. Shane brings up something that Bryan said last week that upset him – that he’s turning into his dad, Vince McMahon. Shane takes exception to that. He admits Vince isn’t the easiest guy to get along with. Shane says it’s important they stick to certain things. He says Vince and his management style can be ruthless, he can be a cold-hearted SOB but you need to give the man his due as he’s built this empire brick by brick, by himself. Shane says Vince has changed sports entertainment into what it is today, he’s revolutionized the business and more importantly, he’s Shane’s father. Bryan agrees and says he’s not trying to take away from Vince but Shane has been throwing around his weight lately. Shane says kind of like Bryan did with the United States Title tournament. Shane questions Bryan’s logic as Corbin has a legitimate title shot. Shane says Bryan should have done Roode vs. Corbin for the title. Bryan says this is the land of opportunity and he thought he’d give a shot to several Superstars. Shane can understand the logic now. He brings up tonight’s Owens vs. Styles main event. He says Bryan didn’t ban Sami Zayn from ringside so we know how this will turn out. Shane goes on and says perception is reality, and he wants to make sure people don’t think Bryan is showing favoritism, which they are saying. Shane wants to make sure his GM is beyond reproach. Bryan says AJ vs. Owens was one of the most vicious rivalries of 2017 so he thought they would end the year with one match. Shane says “OK.” and just stares at Bryan.

– Still to come, Naomi vs. Ruby Riott. Also, Roode vs. Corbin in the US Title tournament. Tom leads us to a Royal Rumble promo.

Breezango vs. The Bludgeon Brothers

We go to the ring and out comes Tyler Breeze with Fandango. Out next are Harper and Rowan.

The bell rings as Harper starts off with Fandango. He immediately tags in but Breeze joins him for a rush attack. Rowan and Harper fight them off and get the upperhand. Harper with a big slam on Fandango. Rowan drives Breeze into the apron from the floor. We get a replay.

Harper and Rowan double team Fandango now, following a slap to the face from Harper to his partner. Rowan tags back in and they hit a double powerbomb but Rowan stops the pin from being counted. Harper tags back in and knocks Fandango off the apron. Rowan goes to the floor and sends Fandango into the apron. The match ends when The Ascension come out and carry Breezango to the back, saving them from The Bludgeon Brothers.

– Still to come, Ruby Riott vs. Naomi. We see Naomi backstage walking.

– Dasha Fuentes tries to interview Breezango backstage but The Ascension stops her, saying they are in no shape to be interviewed. They refer to Breezango as their best friends and say The Bludgeon Brothers went too far tonight. The Ascension issues a challenge to The Bludgeon Brothers for next week, for a rematch against Breezango, and warns them to get ready for the Wasteland.

– Graves leads us to a video package on Stephanie McMahon’s recent announcement on the women’s Royal Rumble match.

Ruby Riott vs. Naomi

We go back to the ring and out comes The Riott Squad – Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan. We get a sidebar video with Ruby announcing herself for the women’s Royal Rumble match. Naomi is out next.

The bell rings and they unload on each other in the middle of the ring with strikes. Ruby drops Naomi and works her over. Naomi comes back and gets a close 2 count. Liv gets on the apron but Naomi knocks her off. Logan also tries to get involved but it backfires, but allows Ruby to kick Naomi in the back of the knee. This leads to Ruby hitting the Riott Kick for the quick win.

Winner: Ruby Riott

– After the match, The Ruby Riott celebrates as we go to replays. The Riott Squad attacks Naomi next until the music hits and out comes SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Flair meets Logan at ringside and clotheslines her. She enters the ring and tackles Riott but Liv comes from behind. Flair takes Liv down next and works her over. Logan returns to the ring and the numbers game catches up with Flair. They triple team her now. The Riott Squad stands tall as some fans boo. Their music is interrupted by Natalya’s music as she comes out with Tamina Snuka, Lana and Carmella. The two sides face off in the middle of the ring. Ruby backs her squad out of the ring as fans boo them. Natalya, Lana, Tamina and Carmella talk trash as The Riott Squad leaves. They suddenly hit the floor and beat The Riott Squad down. Ruby, Liv and Logan retreat.

– Renee Young is backstage with AJ Styles. Fans in the arena chant AJ’s name loudly. AJ doesn’t care if Daniel Bryan is showing favorites because when he steps in the ring, he is the favorite. AJ says he started the year as champion and he’s ending it as champion, so if Kevin Owens wants to have Sami Zayn lurking in his corner tonight that’s fine because this is the land of opportunity. AJ says a shot isn’t going to be handed to Owens because that’s not how it works in life or when you’re on the same brand as AJ Styles. AJ says if Owens is going to beat him tonight, he’s going to have to out-work him, out-smart him and out-hustle him. AJ says that didn’t happen in 2017 and it won’t happen tonight. AJ says 2018 will be no different because SmackDown will still be the house that he built. AJ walks off.

WWE United States Title Tournament First Round Match: Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin

We go to the ring and out comes Bobby Roode to a pop for the first of two matches to take place in the first round of the WWE United States Title tournament tonight. Baron Corbin is out next.

The bell rings and they lock up. Roode ends up dropping Corbin first and unloading on him. Corbin goes to the floor for a breather. Corbin comes back in but Roode goes right back to work on him and hits a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Corbin goes back to the floor for another breather. Corbin pulls Roode out by his leg and rams him back into the apron. Corbin launches Roode into the barrier and talks some trash as fans react. Corbin stops the count and goes back to grab Roode. Corbin hangs Roode upside down on the ropes, facing the crowd. Corbin with a big blow to the gut. Corbin rolls Roode back into the ring and backs him into the corner.

Corbin with a big right hand in the corner. Corbin charges and rams Roode into the corner again. Corbin with more offense and a right hand that sends Roode back to the mat. Corbin stands tall as some fans boo him. Roode fights up and nails a few chops to the chest. Corbin catches Roode with a sideslam for a 2 count. Corbin keeps Roode grounded on the mat with a bear hug now. Roode tries to fight out but Corbin tosses him out of the ring. Roode tries to fight in from the apron but Corbin knocks him back to the floor with a forearm. Corbin follows and nails a big running clothesline on the floor. Corbin talks some trash and rolls Corbin back into the ring.

Corbin returns to the ring but wastes some time and runs into a boot in the corner. Roode pulls the top rope down and Corbin goes out but lands on his feet. Corbin comes back in but Roode finally clotheslines him over the top to the floor. Roode jumps off the apron and takes Roode down on the floor. The referee counts. Roode brings Corbin back into the ring and clotheslines him in the corner. Corbin blocks a bulldog. Corbin runs into boots in the corner. Roode with a Blockbuster from the top for a close 2 count. Corbin comes back and sends Roode shoulder-first into the ring post. Roode ends up countering End of Days. Corbin runs out and back in but Roode nails a big Spinebuster. Fans pop for Roode as he calls for the Glorious DDT. Corbin counters the DDT and hits a Deep Six for a close 2 count. We get a replay.

Fans chant for Roode as Corbin grabs him and takes him back to the corner. Corbin climbs up for a superplex but Roode fights him. Roode keeps fighting and headbutts Corbin back to the mat. Roode comes off the top but Corbin catches him in mid-air. Roode blocks a shot and rolls Corbin up for the pin. Roode advances.

Winner: Bobby Roode

– After the match, Roode exits the ring and celebrates as his music plays. Corbin looks on from the ring as we go to replays. Tye Dillinger vs. Jinder Mahal will also take place tonight as a first round match. We go to our first commercial break of the night.

WWE United States Title Tournament First Round Match: Tye Dillinger vs. Jinder Mahal

Back from the break and out come The Singh Brothers to introduce Jinder Mahal as our next United States Champion. Out comes The Modern Day Maharajah. Tye Dillinger is out next as we get a sidebar video with his comments on winning the title.

The bell rings and Jinder takes Tye down first. Tye comes back with a 2 count of his own. Back and forth as Jinder ends up on the floor for a breather. We go to commercial.

Back from the break and Jinder has Dillinger grounded. We see he vacant US Title on display at ringside. Dillinger fights back and mounts some offense on Jinder now. Dillinger unloads with stomps to the gut in the corner as fans go along with him. Tye goes for the Tye Breaker after exposing his knee but it’s blocked.

Tye goes to the top and hits a crossbody but Jinder rolls through for a 2 count. Jinder scoops Tye and drops him into a big Gutbuster for a close 2 count. Tye comes back with a counter and a DDT for another pin attempt. Jinder comes back and ends up hitting The Khallas for the pin. Jinder advances to the second round.

Winner: Jinder Mahal

– After the match, Jinder poses in the corner and points out at the title while talking trash to the camera. We go to commercial.

– Dasha Fuentes is with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn backstage. Owens has a bottle of champagne for after tonight’s main event win. Owens says this is a special bottle, the one that Daniel Bryan wouldn’t take from them last week. Owens says the last time he faced AJ Styles there was a special referee, you know, the one that has a lot of money and likes to shuffle his feet around, Vince McMahon’s son. Owens says Shane did everything he could to make sure Owens lost that match but tonight he will do whatever it takes and he has a guardian angel on his side. Owens says Bryan believes in them and knows they will need this champagne for tonight. Owens says he will prove he’s better than phenomenal tonight. Sami gives that a double “yep!” in response. Owens says Dasha and no one in Chicago is invited to their celebration tonight. Owens says only he and Sami are invited to their celebration. Ya know, because they wouldn’t want it to seem like they were gloating or anything. Owens walks off and Sami follows after another “yep!” to Dasha.

– Renee Young is backstage with Randy Orton. Orton says he’s been dealing with everyone’s issues but his own lately. He’s been sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong and he has himself to worry about now. Orton says he is looking forward to the future and is only concerning himself with throwing 29 other Superstars over the top rope. Orton officially enters himself in the Royal Rumble match. Shinsuke Nakamura appears and apparently announces himself for the match with a “let’s Rumble!” line before walking off, leaving Orton looking confused.

AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens

We go to the ring and out comes WWE Champion AJ Styles for the final WWE TV main event of 2017. Back to commercial.

Back from the break and Greg Hamilton does the introduction as Kevin Owens is out for this non-title match, along with Sami Zayn. The bell rings and Owens charges but AJ drops him with a dropkick. AJ keeps control and drops a big knee. Owens stalls some but briefly turns it around. AJ takes him to the corner and works him over. Owens drops AJ face first into the corner. Fans do dueling chants now. AJ goes for an early Calf Crusher but Owens gets the bottom rope. Owens goes to the floor to regroup with Sami as some fans boo.

AJ goes to the floor and takes Owens down, staring at Sami as Sami talks some trash. AJ brings Owens back into the ring and works on the left leg some. AJ catches a kick but Owens kicks him through the ropes to the floor. We get a replay as the referee counts. Owens follows and runs over Styles on the floor. Sami celebrates after talking some more trash to AJ and stalking him a bit. They bring it back into the ring and AJ eventually fights back with strikes but Owens drops him with an elbow for a 2 count. Owens with a stiff kick as we go back to commercial.

Back from the break and Owens has AJ grounded on the mat. AJ fights up and out but Owens beats him back down and covers for a 2 count. Owens keeps AJ grounded with a headlock now. AJ comes back with a counter, slamming Owens on his face. AJ charges but misses in the corner. Owens runs into boots in the corner. AJ with more offense but Owens quickly cuts him off with a big clothesline for a 2 count.

Owens drops AJ over his knee with a neckbreaker. AJ kicks out at 2. Owens charges at AJ but AJ drops Owens over his knee. Sami starts to show frustration at ringside. AJ and Owens trade shots in the middle of the ring now. AJ with more strikes to take Owens down. AJ with the flying forearm. AJ with a flying shot into the corner. AJ calls for the Styles Clash but it’s countered. AJ slides out of a move and connects with the pele kick. AJ ends up on the apron and nails a forearm. AJ comes in but Owens turns it around with a gutbuster and a big springboard elbow from the second rope. Owens with a 2 count.

AJ with more offense and another close 2 count. AJ leaps out to the floor and takes Sami out. AJ grabs Owens and runs him into the steel ring post. AJ rolls Owens back in and goes to the apron. Sami gets on the apron. AJ swings but misses. Owens takes advantage and drops AJ with a superkick for a very close 2 count. Owens and Sami can’t believe it. Shane McMahon comes down to the ring now. Shane talks to the referee and has Sami ejected from ringside. AJ has Owens rolled up for the pin but the referee doesn’t see it because of Shane and Sami. This allows Owens to roll a distracted AJ up for the non-title pin.

Winner: Kevin Owens

– After the match, a frustrated AJ looks on as Sami and Owens celebrate at ringside. Shane watches from the ramp and he’s not happy. AJ leaves the ring and stops to look at Shane real quick. Shane watches as Owens and Sami have the time of their lives in the ring while Owens’ music plays. The final SmackDown of 2017 goes off the air with Sami and Owens hugging.

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