The December 20, 2016 Edition of Smackdown is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on December 20, 2016 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The guest host was Ryan Phillippe.
Just five days before Christmas, James Ellsworth finally was given the holiday gift of his WWE Title Match against AJ Styles. However, The Phenomenal One chose to celebrate with a quick yuletide beatdown of the chinless Superstar, defeating Ellsworth quickly and with ease. Styles then continued the assault after the contest, brutally and systematically taking Ellsworth out prompting medical staff to stretcher him out of the arena.
When “The Champ that Runs the Camp” declared that his business was concluded for the year, Dolph Ziggler interrupted to remind him that they still have a title match next Tuesday night. The back-and-forth between them soon brought Baron Corbin to the ring, who shared his opinion that The Showoff didn’t truly earn his WWE Title opportunity before downing Ziggler with a surprise attack.
As a result, Ziggler ignored Daniel Bryan’s warnings and demanded that the SmackDown LIVE General Manager give him a match against The Lone Wolf tonight. Bryan agreed, but stated that if Corbin beat Ziggler, he would get his WWE Title Match against Styles next week on the SmackDown LIVE Wild Card Finals.
Last week, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias embarrassed Intercontinental Champion The Miz and caused him to lose to Apollo Crews at the 14th Annual Tribute to the Troops. While Iglesias did not return to SmackDown LIVE this week, The A-Lister and Crews clashed with The Miz’s title on the line.
In the height of the subsequent match, Maryse tried to get involved to aid The A-Lister, leading to the referee ejecting her from ringside. The two Superstars then went at it on an even playing field, and just when Crews appeared to be nearing victory, Miz was able to sneak an eye poke in behind the official’s back. This led him to connect with the Skull-Crushing Finale to retain his title.
After the match, things got tense when Renee Young tried to conduct an interview with The Miz, asking him a question about his beef with Dean Ambrose. Miz turned it around and made an inappropriate comment about her relationship with Ambrose outside of the ring. Young did not take kindly to The Miz’s words and promptly slapped him before storming off.
Sick of the rumors surrounding the attack on Nikki Bella at Survivor Series, Natalya asked the Fearless Superstar to come to the ring. Before they could get a word out, however, Carmella decided to join the party. And when The Princess of Staten Island started firing away with all the things she claimed Nattie said about Nikki, the agitated Queen of Harts got so wrapped up in it that she accidently confirmed the things Carmella was saying were true.
After chasing the instigator up the ramp and hurling her into the Christmas tree on the SmackDown LIVE set, Natalya admitted that she had, in fact, attacked Nikki at Survivor Series and added insult to injury by hurling her with insults and saying that John Cena would never marry her.
Looking for payback on Dean Ambrose for pinning him in the Fatal 4-Way Elimination No. 1 Contenders’ Match last week, Luke Harper battled The Lunatic Fringe one-on-one.
After the contest, The Wyatts brutally beat down Ambrose, leaving him lying in the ring. This prompted the return of The Miz and Maryse. Miz waited until Ambrose rose to his feet, then Miz savagely attacked him yet again, laying him out with the Skull-Crushing Finale in a bit of clear retribution for Renee Young’s slap earlier in the evening.
With only one week until her SmackDown Women’s Championship defense against Becky Lynch at SmackDown LIVE’s Wild Card Finals, Alexa Bliss would first have to focus her attention on La Luchadora, a local competitor … or so we thought.
Although SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan implicated that Bliss, following her “injury” situation last week, could be stripped of her championship if she did not compete in this match, the Wicked Witch of WWE began the contest against the relative unknown with confidence. However, that confidence was quickly dashed when La Luchadora began to get some momentum rolling. Suddenly had a striking resemblance to The Irish Lass Kicker, even locking in the Dis-arm-her for the win!
After the match, La Luchadora celebrated and broke Lucha tradition and unmasked … to reveal herself as Becky Lynch! The duped Bliss was livid as Lynch celebrated the victory and obtained the mental advantage heading into next week.
Ryan Phillippe, star of USA Network’s “Shooter,” was on commentary as his friend Mojo Rawley took on Curt Hawkins. Phillippe had been disrespected by Hawkins earlier in the evening backstage when Hawkins mistook him for the Executive Producer of “Shooter,” Mark Wahlberg. Rawley was there to correct Hawkins, which led to this contest, which led to another round of embarrassment for Hawkins, blowing his “shot” against the energetic Superstar, who used his explosive brand of offense to gain the edge and ultimately defeat Hawkins with a wicked right hand to the face.
After the match, Rawley and Ryan Phillippe celebrated the victory.
With Dolph Ziggler’s WWE Championship opportunity hanging in the balance, he and Baron Corbin brought their absolute best to the SmackDown LIVE main event while AJ Styles sat in at ringside as a guest commentator.
The two went back and forth, with momentum shifting several times over, until Corbin threw Ziggler into Styles when the two were brawling on the outside. Ziggler arose and superkicked The Lone Wolf, but the two were subsequently counted out. Clearly feeling disrespected by both men, Styles inserted himself and began to assault both men with a steel chair.
All of this prompted SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan to enter the arena and declare that next week on SmackDown LIVE’s Wild Card Finals, Styles will defend his WWE Championship against both Ziggler and Corbin in a Triple Threat Match!
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- AJ Styles (c) defeated James Ellsworth to retain the WWE Championship (0:45)
- The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse) defeated Apollo Crews to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship (8:43)
- Dean Ambrose defeated Luke Harper (w/ Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton) (7:42)
- La Luchadora defeated Alexa Bliss by submission (3:01)
- Mojo Rawley defeated Curt Hawkins (2:30)
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin ended by a double Count Out in a WWE World Championship #1 Contender Match (15:38)
Other on-screen talent