WWE kicked off this week’s episode of SmackDown Live with AJ Styles — who has been cleared to return from his ankle injury, finally — defending the WWE world championship against James Ellsworth. That’s Ellsworth sans any help from Dean Ambrose.
That made it a short match.
Ellsworth attempted No Chin Music, was blocked, hit with maybe four strikes, and immediately pinned. That’s all it took. Ellsworth is not your new champion, he is now 3-1 against Styles, and he can get out of the title picture forever.
He is PHENOMENAL... @AJStylesOrg is STILL your #WWEChampion!!! @realellsworth #SDLive #WWEChampionship pic.twitter.com/F8uqd8mDYS— WWE (@WWE) December 21, 2016
After, because he could, AJ took all his frustration out on Ol’ Chinless, knocking him around and upside down before grabbing his title and heading to the back ... until he stopped himself and decided to dish out some more damage in the form of a snap suplex into the barricade.
The crowd, by the way, was cheering for all of this.
After, Styles cut a promo saying he’s ready for 2017 and a vacation. That brought out Dolph Ziggler, the next top contender to the title. Ellsworth was in the background being carried out on a stretcher.
For complete SmackDown Live results and coverage click here.