On December 22, WWE SmackDown went live from ReschCenter in Green Bay, Wisconsin. AJ Styles returned to action on the show. We saw the semifinals of the United States Title Tournament. The NXT North American Title was defended on the show, and a holiday particular match was there. Let’s look at everything that happened this Friday Night on SmackDown.
Roman Reigns is the Target
AJ Styles opened the show as he made a shocking return last week. The Phenomenal One took to the mic and said that Randy and Knight want Roman Reigns. He said that he doesn’t care about them. Styles claimed his spot against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble. LA Knight came out. He said that he would be the one taking on Roman, and AJ could challenge him. Styles told Knight that he had stepped up over Styles’s injured body. The Phenomenal One claimed to take everyone out who gets in his way.
We heard The Voices, and Randy Orton arrived. Orton said that Bloodline took him out for 18 months. Hence, he’ll be the challenger first. Knight said that The Bloodline injured both Styles and Orton, but he is bulletproof. Nick Aldis solved the issue and created a triple threat match for SmackDown: New Year’s Resolution.
Analysis: It was a nice opening segment. AJ Styles has been looking great since his return. All the competitors put up solid points on why they should be facing Roman Reigns first.
Holiday Havoc Tag Team Match
Damage CTRL vs Bianca Belair, Michin, Shotzi, and Zelina Vega
It was a Christmas-themed Street fight-type match. The action started, and everyone took out each other outside the ring. Belair and Sky left in the ring. Bianca delivered a massive Vertical Suplex on Iyo. Shotzi grabbed a wrapped gift, and there was a steel chair inside. She used the chair to jump on Bayley. Blackheart then took out Sky and Bayley with a suicide dive. Zelina Vega and Michin brought candy kendo sticks and attacked Kairi and Asuka.
After the break, Bianca again took on Sky. She lifted her on the shoulders, and Shotzi delivered a drop kick from the top rope. Asuka broke up the pinfall. Sane attacked Shotzi with a trash can lid and threw her onto a Christmas tree. Zelina suffered a pumpkin pie from Dakota, followed by the blue mist from Asuka. The Kabuki Warriors opened two gift boxes. Out comeAlba Fyre and Isla Dawn. They took out The Kabuki Warriors. Bayley suffered a KOD from Bianca. Iyo with a moonsault on Belair. Michigan dropped Sky on a table. A senton off the top rope through the table brought the win for Michigan and her team.
Winners: Michin, Belair, Shotzi, and Zelina
Analysis: It was a fun match. Michin pinning Iyo Sky in the end suggested that she may be next in line for the championship. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn can bring so much to the Women’s Tag Team Division, and a feud with The Kabuki Warriors will be a perfect start in 2024.
NXT North American Title Match
Dragon Lee vs. Butch
It was for the NXT North American Title. Butch started with armbars. Lee delivered a hurricane. He went for a suicide dive to the outside, but Butch caught him with a kick and slammed him on the apron. Dragon did the hurricane to the outside. Butch with a powerbomb and a Snap German Suplex. Lee hit a sit-out powerbomb. We saw a double stomp from the champion. Lee countered the Bitter End with a destroyer. Dragon scored the victory after an impressive Operation Dragon.
Winners: Dragon Lee
Analysis: Any Title from NXT being defended on SmackDownis a brilliant move. Dragon Lee lacks a character but has made a lot of fans with his athletic abilities.
Backstage: Nick Aldis met Roman Reigns. The Tribal asked about the triple threat match and the Solo vs Styles match. Aldisclaimed that, yes, he made those matchups. Roman told him to inform The Head of the Table before doing anything. Aldis was not happy with that and made fun of Reigns by saying that Sikoatook out John Cena in a better way than Reigns.
US Title Tournament Match
Kevin Owens vs Carmelo Hayes
They started with traditional headlocks. KO delivered a chop and a senton. Carmelo with a body slam and a kick to the head for a near fall. Owens countered a suplex into a DDT. Cover, but Hayes kicked out. Owens moved away and escaped the Nothin’ But Net finisher. Kevin with a powerbomb for a two-count. KO then delivered a senton bomb followed by a stunner for the win.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Analysis: It was a decent match. Owens is on a good momentum these days. Melo looked strong in this encounter and surely has great things to offer to this business.
US Title Tournament Match
Bobby Lashley vs. Santos Escobar
Lashley was dominant from the beginning and delivered his power moves. Escobar bounced back with some kicks and a suicide dive. The Street Profits were at ringside. A masked man jumped from the barricade, and security caught him. Another masked man attacked Street Profits. This distracted Bobby. Escobar rolled him for a pin. The masked men were HumbertoCarillo and Angel Garza, who celebrated with Santos Escobar.
Winner: Santos Escobar
Analysis: It was a shocking outcome in this match, as Lashleywas expected to win. Escobar now has a faction, and we may get a faction vs faction with Lashley and Profits going against Escobar, Carillo, and Garza.
Backstage: Butch was interviewed by Cathy Kelley where Pretty Deadly interrupted. Butch attacked them. Aldis appeared and told Butch to find a tag team partner to fight against PrettyDeadly at SmackDown: New Year’s Resolution.
AJ Styles vs. Solo Sikoa
The match started at a quick pace. Styles with chops to Solo, who countered with a slam. AJ dropped Solo to the outside with a kick and a knee attack and threw a jumping right hand to send us to break.
Back from the break, Sikoa delivered vicious headbutts on Styles. Solo went for a headbutt from the middle rope, but AJ moved away. Styles with a forearm and a springboard moonsault, but Sikoa kicked off at two-count. AJ was kicked out after a pop-up Samoan Drop. Styles escaped the Samoan Spike and went for the Styles Clash. Solo survived that and sent Styles to the apron. It was a Phenomenal Forearm by Styles, but Solowisely rolled out of the ring.
Roman Reigns attacked Styles, and the match ended in disqualification. Roman and Solo gang up on AJ. Randy Orton came for the save and threw punches at Reigns. Jimmy Uso came along with his Bloodline. LA Knight arrived to even the numbers game, and a brawl broke out. Roman and the entire Bloodline wisely rolled out of the ring. Knight, Styles, and Orton fought each other as SmackDown went off the air.
Winner: AJ Styles by DQ
Analysis: Interference from Roman Reigns protected both Styles and Solo. The angle in the end hyped up the triple threat.
It was a great episode of SmackDown. WWE has hyped the story around Roman Reigns’ next challenger.