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WWE SmackDown live results: Two title matches scheduled

Date: December 20, 2016
Location: Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI

The Big Takeaway --

SmackDown was an eventful show. AJ Styles easily defended his WWE world championship against James Ellsworth and destroyed him afterwards. Natalya revealed it was her who attacked Nikki Bella at Survivor Series, and the Miz informed the world that Renee Young and Dean Ambrose are, in fact, an item. (Details below.)

They strongly pushed next week’s SmackDown show in Chicago. AJ Styles will now defend his title in a triple threat against Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin after the latter two fought to a double countout. Also on next week’s show, Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton will defend the tag titles in a 4 corners elimination match and Alexa Bliss will defend the women’s title against Becky Lynch.

John Cena returns next week as well in the building he made his debut.

Show Recap -- 

WWE World Championship: AJ Styles defeated James Ellsworth

Huge pop for AJ Styles. They announced James Ellsworth without mentioning where he’s from or how much he weighs. (They mentioned both for Styles, as usual.)

As Styles yelled that he deserves better than this, Ellsworth tried to catch him off guard with a superkick, but Styles blocked it. Styles hit him with combination strikes, then nonchalantly pinned Ellsworth for the win. Match was a minute or less.  This was the perfect ending to this story.

Afterwards, Styles attacked Ellsworth and dropped him back-first on the corner of the announce table, which led to “Yes” chants. He then tossed Ellsworth onto the steps and into the steel frame under the ring. He was about to leave, but went back down to suplex Ellsworth into the barricade.

As they placed Ellsworth on a stretcher, Styles grabbed a mic and said he could finally move on to 2017. He didn’t need anything for Christmas because he already has the world title. This brought out Ziggler, who reminded Styles of their title match next week. As they carried Ellsworth out on a stretcher, Styles claimed he forgot, and informed Ziggler that the best thing he does is be a loser.

Ziggler thought that was funny considering it took Styles four tries to beat Ellsworth. Styles said beating Ziggler would be easy. They got face to face, which brought out Baron Corbin. Corbin said Ziggler will lose next week, because that’s what he does. He added that Ziggler doesn’t steal the show, he steals opportunities. He attacked Ziggler, who tried to fight back, but Corbin finished him off with End of Days. The crowd chanted “one more time.”

Backstage, Daniel Bryan told Ziggler not to let Corbin get under his skin, but Ziggler wanted a match tonight. Bryan agreed, but if Ziggler lost, Corbin gets the title shot instead. Bryan gave Ziggler a chance to change his mind, but he didn’t.

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (w/Maryse) defeated Apollo Crews

Crews was all over Miz before, during and after a commercial break. After Crews hit an Olympic Slam for a near fall, Maryse got on the apron. The referee kicked her out even though she didn’t appear to do anything. Crews followed with a schoolboy for a near fall, and a high back suplex for another near fall. Miz inadvertently bumped the referee, who went down just for a moment, allowing Miz to poke Crews in the eye and hit a Skull Crushing Finale for the win.

After the match, Renee Young jumped in the ring to ask Miz about Dean Ambrose and Miz’s apparent obsession with him. Miz said Renee was the one who was obsessed with Ambrose, stating “after all, you’re the one sleeping with him.” Big crowd reaction for that. Renee slapped Miz and stormed off.

They updated us on Zack Ryder and announced a 4 corners elimination match for the tag titles next week in Chicago. It’ll be Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton vs. American Alpha vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Usos.

They played a return video for John Cena next week.

Natalya came out and called out Nikki Bella. (Natalya actually came out and began talking, but they cut to commercial break. So she jumped the gun or they mistimed this.) Nikki came out, but Carmella interrupted. She exposed some nasty things Natalya said about Nikki. Nikki asked if it was true that Natalya attacked her. Natalya told Carmella, “you caused all this,” chased after her and tossed her into the Christmas decorations on the stage.

Natalya grabbed a mic and admitted that it was her who attacked Nikki and called her a bitch. Natalya was pissed that Nikki and Brie got all the opportunities because they were pretty and got their own spinoff reality show. She said her cat had more charisma than Nikki and called her a bitch again. Natalya finished off by saying that John Cena would never marry Nikki. Nikki is sad now. Natalya was pretty good here.

Alexa Bliss limped into Daniel Bryan’s office. Bryan told her she would be defending her title next week against Becky Lynch. Bliss didn’t like that. Bryan was told by the trainers that she’s cleared to wrestle tonight, and put her in a match. She didn’t have to wrestle, but if she doesn’t, she’ll be stripped of the title. Bliss stormed off and Bryan noted that her leg looked just fine.

Dean Ambrose defeated Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton)

Harper had control after a break and launched Ambrose like a lawn dart into the middle turnbuckle. Ambrose fought back and attempted a flying elbow drop off the apron, but Harper moved and Ambrose landed on Bray and Orton instead. Ambrose kicked out of a sit-out powerbomb and followed shortly after with a la magistral cradle for the win. Not a great follow-up for Harper after last week’s performance, but Ambrose needed a win.

Bray and Orton jumped in the ring immediately afterward to beat down Ambrose. Orton finished him off with an RKO and the Wyatts posed. The Wyatts disappeared after the lights momentarily went off. The Miz and Maryse came out as Ambrose struggled to his feet, but Miz nailed him with a Skull Crushing Finale. The crowd booed as Miz and Maryse kissed.

La Luchadora (Becky Lynch) defeated Alexa Bliss

La Luchadora wore a full blue body suit with a purple (magenta?) mask. She used some wacky offense as the crowd chanted “Si! Si! Si!” They traded moves leading to La Luchadora applying a Disarmer for the submission win. La Luchadora ran around the ring celebrating the win. She jumped back in the ring and took off her mask to reveal it was Becky Lynch. It was mostly obvious this was Lynch, but this was still well done.

Ryan Phillippe from the TV show Shooter was walking backstage looking for Randy Orton but bumped into Mojo Rawley instead. They were interrupted Curt Hawkins who informed Rawley he will never be a tag champion. Rawley said he would punch him out in their match.

Mojo Rawley defeated Curt Hawkins

Phillippe was on commentary and plugged his show. He wanted to know where Orton was, but JBL said he better not go looking for him. Ranallo messed up Hawkins’ name for the second straight week. Rawley won quickly with a running punch in the corner.

Backstage, Dasha Fuentes informed us that Ellsworth was taken to a local medical facility, which the crowd cheered. However, Ellsworth was still there. He came out of the trainer’s room behind her, arm in a sling and wrapped up from head to toe. She tried asking him a bunch of questions, but he was very obviously in too much pain to answer. Carmella entered the scene and told Fuentes to leave him alone. Carmella offered to take care of him and they left together.

WWE World Title #1 Contender’s Match: Dolph Ziggler DCO Baron Corbin

Styles replaced Tom Phillips on commentary. Styles let us know it was Ranallo’s birthday soon (tomorrow) and he doesn’t look a day over 60. JBL and Ranallo informed Styles of the athletic backgrounds of Corbin and Ziggler, and Styles sarcastically thanked them for the info.

Corbin dominated for a while until Ziggler managed to hit a fameasser for two. (The camera cut to Styles in the middle of the count.) Ziggler slipped out of a powerbomb into a jackknife cover for two, and Corbin followed with an STO for two. Ziggler then kicked Corbin’s leg out of leg and hit a Zig Zag, but Corbin kicked out. Corbin followed shortly after with a Deep Six for a near fall.

Corbin then tossed Ziggler into the barricade a couple of times. Ranallo said Corbin should be cognizant of the referee’s count, but it was hard to tell what it was because the crowd was chanting “ten.” Corbin then launched Ziggler into Styles, which was a pretty stupid thing to do. This led to a double countout.

Styles got up and killed both men with a steel chair. He hit them both repeatedly and left them laying. Daniel Bryan announced a triple threat match for the title next week.

Final Thoughts --

The ending was weak, but this was an entertaining show and the best SmackDown show in a few weeks at least. I liked the payoff to the Styles/Ellsworth program and they really did a good job pushing next week’s show, which looks to wrap up a few things before they start building to the Rumble.