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American Alpha defeat Wyatts to become SmackDown tag champs

After they won their rematch with the former tag champs, it looked like Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton & Luke Harper were headed into a program with Hype Bros - likely as to take up a few weeks before starting a more high-profile program with American Alpha.

Unfortunately, Zack Ryder suffered a knee injury in the very match where he won #1 contender status for he & Mojo Rawley, and it was back to the drawing board for SmackDown Creative. They eventually decided on a Four Corners Elimination bout for the loaded Dec. 27 episode, pitting the New Wyatt Family against previous champs Heath Slater & Rhyno, the American Alpha duo of Jason Jordan & Chad Gable and the Usos.

The champs have been cleared to defend under the Freebird Rule, and Bray opted to send Harper & Orton into battle. But at least in the early going, Randy & Luke wisely stayed out of the fray, watching as the Usos eliminated Slater & Rhyno, because as JBL pointed out on commentary, you can’t win a 4Way elimation match in the early going, but you can lose it.

From there, it was time for Jimmy & Jey to reignite their issues with the Alphas, and Gable got a measure of revenge for the Usos having put him on the shelf earlier in the year when he eliminated Jey.

Unfortunately for the former NXT champs, their odds at claiming the SD belts in Chicago were lowered when the Usos stuck around to put the puts to Jordan & Gable after they were out of the match. The Viper picked up right where Jimmy & Jey left off, picking the bones of a wounded Jordan until he managed to reach his corner to bring in his partner for a fast-paced back-and-forth with Harper.

A diversion by the Eater of Worlds created an opening for Luke to nail Gable with a big boot, and Harper set to grinding down the former Olympian. And when Chad was sent to the outside, Orton inflicted even more punishment before tagging in and continuing the assault as the legal man.

When Jordan got in, he cleaned house as expected, but it looked like he and his partner might be too focused on taking care of all three Wyatts. After leveling Bray on the floor, Jason walked right into a draping DDT, and then set up Gable for a Superplex. But it was the Family who would overreach, as Harper looked to assist with the move, and he and Orton ended up taking each other out. That left the Viper open for a big drop kick, and then Grand Amplitude.

Gable covered for three and the seemingly undefeated Wyatts title reign ended in only their second title defense. So much for waiting.

Bray separated a bickering Harper & Orton as the Alphas celebrated on the ramp.

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