As the final episode of SmackDown Live for the year, the blue brand came out swinging with a fantastic night of action.
The stars came out as a huge tournament announcement and some management issues highlighted this evening in the Allstate Arena in Chicago.
To close out the year, the main event reignited one of 2017’s hottest rivalries between Kevin Owens and WWE Champion AJ Styles in a non-title match. This time, Owens was followed closely by his buddy, Sami Zayn.
Styles and Owens proceeded to tear the house down, trading big offensive maneuvers back and forth. The two men showed how well they know each other, countering everything the other man sent his way.
The match went downhill fast though when Styles inadvertently hit Zayn on the outside with a crossbody. Zayn hopped up on the apron to distract The Phenomenal One, which gave Owens an immediate advantage.
This action summoned SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, who has had a massive personal vendetta against Zayn and Ownes for months. He proceeded to ban Sami Zayn from ringside, an action that kept the referee from counting the pin Styles had on Owens.
Styles was visibly upset and started berating the ref, a costly distraction that would lead to roll-up from Owens that would score him a massive win over the WWE champ. While Zayn and Owens celebrated, Styles left clearly upset, glaring at McMahon as he made his exit.
General Manager Daniel Bryan started the night by coming out and discussed how Dolph Ziggler had relinquished the United States Title last week. Bryan announced that there would be a tournament to determine the new champion.
The first of these tournament matches put former champion Baron Corbin up against Bobby Roode. Corbin came extremely close after landing a massive Deep 6 slam but Roode was resilient enough to roll The Lone Wolf up and ruin Corbin’s hopes of regaining his title.
The second tournament match featured former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and Tye Dillinger. Dillinger showed once again the resilience that gained the love of the WWE Universe but it was not enough to overcome Mahal as he hit the Khallas to pick up the win.
New Tag Team title number one contenders would be crowned in a triple threat match between Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, The New Day members Xavier Woods and Big E, and Rusev and Aiden English.
The crowd showed their love for Rusev as he locked in a double Accolade on Woods and Gable, but it was broke up by Benjamin. The match comes to a close when Benjamin snatches Big E off the top rope and him and Gable hit their double-team finisher on him for the win.
The Bludgeon Brothers once again take on The Fashion Police in what began as another dominant showing. The match ended in a no contest after The Ascension came out to save Breezango after a pin that should’ve ended it was stopped by the evil brothers.
Ruby Riott challenged Naomi to a one on one match. It was rather close throughout the match but everything changed when The Riott Squadd distracted Naomi, allowing Riott to surprise her with a Riott Kick for the win.
Afterwards it was a beatdown on Naomi from The Riott Squad until Charlotte Flair came out to try and stop it, but is beaten down as well. Then the rest of the SmackDown women’s roster comes out and chases away the Squad.