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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Dec. 20, 2016): Metal

The blue brand will jingle bell rock... city, as SmackDown spends the week before Christmas in Detroit!

The Headliners

Last week when Luke Harper got a shot in the four-man elimination main event, any outside interference by his Family members would have cost him the match. As it was, a Dirty Deeds from Dean Ambrose sent him packing.

Tonight, there won’t a #1 contendership on the line, but Luke’s fellow tag champs, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton, will be in play. The Family doesn’t have an imminent feud, seeing as one half of the squad which won the other #1 contender contest last Tuesday - Zack Ryder of Hype Bros, in a team battle royal - is out with a knee injury, so they’re free to corner Harper. And given the Eater of Worlds long-running feud with the Lunatic Fringe, it’s likely Bray will relish the opportunity to get involved.

* UPDATE: The preview is out, and there will be a “Wild Card Triple Threat Match” between the final three men Ryder outlasted in the battle royal. Heath Slater, Tyler Breeze & Konnor will fight to earn their team a the chance at facing the Wyatts for the belts.

The Title Scene

His match with James Ellsworth is on hold while the Chinless Wonder recovers from a cold (a kayfabe ailment covering for AJ Styles’ very real ankle injury), but when the WWE World champ returns next week, he won’t be facing Ellsworth. Dolph Ziggler won the aforementioned 4Way, and he’ll try and beat the Face That Runs the Place on Dec. 27.

Expect Intercontinental titleholder The Miz to remind the Show-Off he owes someone for an assist in winning that main event last week. The Awesome One returned after Ambrose eliminated him, and his distraction gave Dolph a chance to connect with a superkick.

Shane McMahon granted Becky Lynch the rematch for the Women’s title she craved since losing the belt in a tables match at TLC, but Alexa Bliss limped away from it, giving the Lasskicker a countout win, but no championship, and no satisfaction. Little Miss Bliss was able to deliver some kicks with her “injured” leg in the aftermath, so expect Shane & Daniel Bryan to give Lynch another shot soon.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- He’s got big shoes to fill, coming after Fluffy and that YouTube person I and 99% of wrestling fans didn’t recognize, and Shooter’s Ryan Phillipe will try when he’s SmackDown’s latest celebrity guest tonight.

- Baron Corbin’s on a winning streak, including a Revolver Award for Most Metal Athlete. Now he needs someone with whom to feud.

- Maybe old nemesis Apollo Crews, who picked up a Gabriel Iglesias-assisted win over the IC champ last week at Tribute to the Troops?

- They mended fences for last week’s #1 contenders match, but then Heath Slater accidentally eliminated Rhyno, and things are back to looking bleak for Beauty and the Man-Beast.

- Natalya continues to insist she didn’t attack Nikki Bella at Survivor Series, but all her pleading did last Tuesday was cost her a match to her accuser, Carmella.

Six weeks until Royal Rumble!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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