WWE SmackDown Live comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Dec. 25, 2018) from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, featuring a taped show due to the holiday. Spoilers for this show are available here, but we’ll be doing a live blog for the show as usual, so please try to keep the thread spoiler free.
Advertised for tonight: Rusev challenges Shinsuke Nakamura for the U.S. title, Shane McMahon is a guest on Miz TV, and more!
Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)
WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR DEC. 25
My fear is gone, and still I don’t know why, I waited for so long to let you know. I’m not goin’ back! Now this was all your fault and there’s no one left to blame. Did you even think this out? Did you know? I know that I’m going to liveblog this here pro wrestling show, folks.
The show opens with R-Truth making his entrance dressed as Santa Claus, Carmelfa in tow.
Truthy Claus (as his chyron billed him) welcomes us to the show and says he’s been up all night delivering presents with Carmelfa’s help. On their way back to the North Pole they had to stop at SmackDown as a present to theirselves, and the reindeers were getting tired. Dasher and Dancer, Jermaine and Tito, Little Michael and Randy, Samuel-- CAROL BREAK!
Enter Daniel Bryan.
He says as WWE Champion he accepts that instead of being with his family on Christmas he has to be in this cesspool, but he won’t accept legitimizing the farce that is Truthy Claus. It may not be obvious, he says, but this is not the real Santa Claus. He calls the crowd and the jolly elves in the ring fickle before saying he’s not here to talk about Truth, no.
He’s here to expose the REAL Santa Claus. He understands why we venerate Santa-- he’s the epitome of all our cheap material desires, but you know what that gets us? Over the last forty years that’s cost us half the coral reef on the planet, made islands of misfit garbage in the oceans, and because we want more and more we get more and more of these islands of trash.
And you know what else it gets them? The glaciers melt, the sea levels rise, and in twenty years there’ll be no North Pole and no Santa Claus! Truth calls Bryan an angry little elf and that gets Dan to needle him for treating it like a joke, since that’s all his career is. (Hey man, he’s a two-time former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, lay off!)
Ron says that might be true, but Dan better watch out because Truthy Claus is going to Royal Rumble and since they won Mixed Match Challenge, he’ll be number thirty and maybe after he wins he’ll take the WWE Championship from Bryan and be the last one laughing. IF he’s still champion at Mania, that is. The American Dragon has a question-- how on earth does he expect to win when he can’t even count to thirty?
Truth says he can count to thirty and demonstrates, but when he gets to seven-- DANCE BREAK! Bryan attacks mid-break and puts Ron’s leg into the post repeatedly! Chop block takes him out when he tries to get up, leg pick into the heel hook! Wrenching it in while Carmelfa begs him to let go and he does eventually but the damage is done.
Double wrist-clutch... YOU’RE GONNA GET YOUR [REDACTED] HEAD KICKED IN! AND BACK TO THE HEEL HOOK! Dan lets go and Carmelfa checks on her tag partner while referee Mike Chioda hits the ring to keep Bryan backed off and check on Truth himself.
Commentary promises us Ali vs. Almas next and we go to break.
Back from commercial in time for entrances.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Mustafa Ali
Almas right in with a dropkick, putting boots to Ali in the corner and he’s fired up. Drawing him up, chop in the ropes and a body slam, off the ropes, single leg dropkick to the dome, back suplex to follow. Cien shoves him into the corner, more chops, Mustafa fires back with forearms, cut off with a knee, whip to the corner and flip over Andrade on the charge!
Off the ropes, headscissors takeover connects, back elbow but referee Mike Chioda gets in the way for no particular reason and Zelina Vega runs interference so Almas can shove Ali off the top to the floor and send us to the break.
Back from commercial, Ali shoots in from the apron with the rolling thunder X-Factor... NOPE! Drawing Almas up, reversed, waistlock, O’Connor roll denied, back body drop scouted and Mustafa lands a superkick that earns him that huge back elbow of Cien’s for a nearfall! Drawing Ali up, into the corner, cut off with a dropkick and they jockey for position in the high rent district... TREE OF WOE DOUBLE STOMP CAN’T PUT ALI AWAY!
Almas draws him up, suplex lift sets him up top for a chop, climbing to join him and they trade shots from on high. Cien wishes us a Merry Christmas and Mustafa fires up for a sunset flip powerbomb... ALMAS LANDS ON HIS FEET AND GOES FOR THE DOUBLE KNEES BUT NOBODY’S HOME! Satellite DDT, Ali drags him into the corner and climbs up top...
Mustafa Ali wins by pinfall with 054.
Commentary hypes up MizTV as well as Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe for later.
The Usos make their entrance, they’ll be in action after the break.
Back from commercial, Samoa Joe gets a backstage promo.
He asks Jeff Hardy how it’s going and says it’s always nice to create new memories and make up for ones you destroyed, but he’s glad to meet him in the ring since he’s concerned about him. Last week he saw a look in his eye that suggested he’s a man seeking a new place to park his desires and he thinks he’s figured it out and he’s Hardy’s new addiction.
But after Joe’s done with him, slowly everything will fade away, for his own good.
New Day make their entrance alongside the participants in our atomicos match, decked out in festive holiday gear, Big E a sexy Santa oiling himself up on their way to their commentary desk.
SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain) & the Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) vs. the Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) & the Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
Sheamus and Anderson to start, the Celtic Warrior ramming him into the corner, whip reversed, trading boots, tag to Cesaro and he runs right into that trademark spinning spinebuster! Tag to Jey, tribute to Rikishi... NOT EVEN ONE! Wristlock, tag to Jimmy, up top with a diving axhandle but Cesaro cuts him off and tags Wolfe in. Smash into the corner, tag to Dain for a boot.
Killian goes for a slam, Uso floats over and fires chops off before landing a back elbow. Eric Young runs interference and Dain freight trains Jimmy with a crossbody block to send us to break!
Back from commercial and Dain is in control with a standing neck crank on Jimmy Uso. Jimmy gets to his feet, axhandles to escape and Killian bowls him over with a lariat. Tag to Wolfe, stomping his neck, standing moonsault gets two! Front chancery, tag from Sheamus and he goes for the Beats of the Bodhran before following it with a reverse chinlock.
Wrenching it in, Stunner to counter but the Celtic Warrior clears the apron. Catch the boot, 540 roundhouse kick, tag to Cesaro and he clears the apron himself. Jimmy with a Samoan drop, Gallows is still standing as is Wolfe... TAGS MADE! Big Hoot runs Alexander over with lariats and a big boot, big slicing right for Dain on the apron into a pumphandle slam but Killian breaks it up!
Anderson with a neckbreaker, the match breaks down, Sheamus tags in, knee strike, tag to Cesaro... SPIKE WHITE NOISE BUT THE USOS BREAK IT UP! SUPERKICKS FOR EVERYBODY! Brogue Kick takes one Uso but Sheamus eats a superkick for his trouble. Swiss Death! Superkick from Luke! MAGIC KILLER!
The Club & the Usos win by pinfall with the Magic Killer from the Club on Cesaro.
We then get the video packages hyping up our six NXT superstars that are getting called up soon.
Mustafa Ali runs into Brian Kendrick, Akira Tozawa, and Cedric Alexander backstage, all of whom congratulate him. He then runs into Shelton Benjamin, who officially welcomes him to the SmackDown roster... AND DANIEL BRYAN BLINDSIDES MUSTAFA WITH A FOREARM TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! The cruiserweights pull Bryan off as he beats Ali down but he goes in for a second round and yells at Ali about how he doesn’t belong here to send us to break!
Back from commercial, Miz makes his entrance.
The ring is decked out festively with the WWE World Cup Tournament to Determine Who Is Best in the World trophy in a position of honor with a Santa hat on it. Miz introduces his tag team partner and fellow Best in the World Shane McMahon as his guest. The A-Lister asks if he saw his tag match last week and McMahon says he did but that’s not why he’s here.
Miz asks him to talk about the changes they’ve brought to SmackDown and Shane says the McMahons aren’t the point here, the point is that they’re listening to us now. We want new superstars, new matchups, and opportunities, and all of that is coming or is here already and we have a part in shaping that narrative. Miz says they didn’t suffer under Baron Corbin because they had Paige but his train of thought is derailed by a question.
He thinks better of asking it but McMahon tells him to go ahead and the A-Lister points out that with four McMahons, Shane has time to explore his other talents, like forming the Best Tag Team in the World. McMahon begs off saying that’s not why he’s here, but Miz talks up his success last week and asks Shane if he’ll do it. Shane demures at first and the A-Lister opens up as to why he wants to tag.
He says it’s not about him, it’s about his dad. He’s been in WWE over a decade, he’s got a Grand Slam, all these titles, and he’s never ever heard his dad say he’s proud of him, not even when he main evented WrestleMania 27 and retained the WWE Championship over John Cena, all his dad said was he should thank the Rock for helping him. Every accomplishment, he asks if it’ll be enough for his dad but the answer is always no... until WWE World Cup.
His dad came to him and talked about Shane McMahon after that and Miz said he didn’t get it, and his dad said Shane has no fear and fights for what he believes in and said if they tagged they’d be the best in the world. For the first time in his life Miz thought he broke through to his dad and he knew he had to set out to make that team a reality... and he cuts himself off saying he knows McMahon has more important things to do and he’s sorry he brought him into this.
But he said that the new WWE is about putting opportunity in the hands of the WWE Universe and that means the decision is theirs to make. Miz polls the crowd and they’re into it. Shane says everything he just said resonated with him and it was heavy. He stands up and faces Miz man-to-man and tells him he better not screw him or there’ll be major consequences... but he’s gonna try it!
They hug and hold the trophy up together, united as the Best Tag Team in the World before Miz breaks away to do “Yes!” fingers.
Rusev and Lana get a backstage promo where Rusev reveals it’s his birthday and he wants to celebrate by giving us a handsome United States Champion when he beats Shinsuke Nakamura later. It won’t just be Christmas or his birthday, it’ll be the most complete Rusev Day!
Commentary hypes up our remaining matches and we go to break.
Back from commercial in time for entrances.
Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
Circling, collar and elbow, Joe rams Hardy into the corner and breaks with a forearm but Jeff ducks and fires back until referee Danilo Anfibio pulls him off! Big forearm, shoulder thrusts, “Delete!”, and Samoa scrapes his face across the top rope. Right hands, overhead elbow, Hardy blocks a punch, Joe catches a kick but he turns it into the leg-feed mule kick followed by Hardyac Arrest for two!
Clubbing overheads, Hardy off the ropes and Samoa freight trains him with a back elbow that sends us to break.
Back from commercial and Hardy’s in control, putting Joe into the corner and putting boots to him. Whip reversed, back elbow into the corner enzuigiri for two! Samoa smashing his face into the turnbuckle, knee lifts into a Cobra Twist, digging the point of the elbow into his ribs before transitioning to a cradle for two. Falling axhandle, drawing Jeff up, snapmare into a standing neck crank.
Hardy with back elbows, whip reversed, lariat connects, Manhattan Drop to the double leg drop to the midsection to the basement dropkick, just a nearfall! “Delete!”, kick to the midsection, Twist of Fate blocked but an elbow sets up Whisper in the Wind... NOPE! Kick to the gut, Twist of Fate connects! Stripping his shirt off, the Charismatic Enigma climbs but Joe rolls out of the ring!
Slingshot dropkick, following after with a diving lariat off the apron! Referee Danilo Anfibio admonishing him while Jeff hammers Joe with knees against the barricade, Hardy refuses to stop so he calls for the bell...
The match goes to a double count-out, presumably, although no finish is announced because why bother?
Jeff puts Joe over the announce table but Samoa recovers and chokes him out with the Coquina Clutch!
Shinsuke Nakamura cuts a promo and says Rusev’s been naughty this year so all he’s going to get for Christmas is a knee to the face.
That match is next, after the break.
Back from commercial and we’re informed that New Day will be having a New Year’s Celebration next week, plus John Cena will return.
The Usos are shown walking backstage and talking about how they have SmackDown on lock. Jimmy runs into Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Mandy points out mistletoe hanging and Naomi rolls up ready to fight! Uso holds her back, they run off, and Jimmy reassures her she doesn’t have to worry before bringing her in for a kiss under the mistletoe.
Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (c) (WWE United States Championship)
Test of strength, Nakamura backs into the ropes and suffocates Rusev in the corner before breaking with his head on his belly in his inimitable style. Forearms, a shoulder thrust, Rusev comes out hot but can only get one out of it. Whip to the corner, follow with repeated lariats, scoop but Shinsuke counters the slam into a triangle choke and the Bulgarian Lion scrambles out of the hold to send us to break.
Back from commercial and Nakamura’s in control with a bit of those Good Vibrations. Following it up with a cravate, taking Rusev to one knee. Transition to a snapmare but the Super Athlete rolls away from the knee drop and lands a straight suplex. Fired up, another straight suplex, back suplex, just tossing the champ around but he can only get two out of it.
Stomps to the shoulder, shoulder thrusts, referee Jason Ayers warns him off, whip across, sidestep the charge and a kick to the back of the head sets up Nakamura’s rope-hung knee lift in the corner for a nearfall. Chest kicks from the champion, knees, Rusev staggering into the ropes so he chokes him over them until Ayers pulls him off. Right hands, whip, knee lift and Shinsuke puts boots to him and chokes him on the apron until again he’s admonished by the referee.
Grabbing a headlock, forcing the Bulgarian Lion to one knee but he reverses to a cravate and lands a few headbutts until Nakamura gets the flying armbar! Hands clasped, transition to the triangle and Rusev pins him for two! Passed ot the apron on the charge, right hand, looking for the suplex to the floor but Shinsuke blocks and kicks him off it to the floor to send us to break!
Back from commercial and Nakamura’s in control with savage knees to the side of the head! Disdainful kicks after the nearfall, front chancery applied, knee lift to really lock him down in it and take Rusev to the mat. The Bulgarian Lion posts to his feet and escapes with a gourdbuster, grabbing his throat and catching his breath only to be met with chest kicks!
Rusev catches one and decks him with a lariat! Another lariat, off the ropes, Stinger splash, knees caught up in the ropes into a fallaway slam! Off the ropes, that beautiful Shinjiro Ohtani (who’s coming to America for Mania weekend, by the way-- vs. Jonathan Gresham at NOVA Pro, very exciting!) spinning wheel kick... NOPE! Fired up, Nakamura floats over the slam but gets caught into an Alarm Clock and a roundhouse kick... SO CLOSE!
Shinsuke rolls to the floor, Rusev follows after him and throws him into the barricade by the ramp and then the timekeeper’s barricade. Up on the apron, Nakamura manages to float around and knee him in the head before throwing him into the steel steps! Smashing his face into the announce desk, setting him up face-down on the apron for the guillotine knee drop across the back of the neck!
Bulgarian Lion staggered, rising to his feet, Nakamura up top... DIVING KINSHASA! Fired up, lining him up, waiting for Rusev to rise... AND HE COUNTERS WITH THE MACHKA KICK! RUSEV CAN TASTE THE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP BUT IT’S NOT HIS YET! Stomp to the back, Accolade denied and Nakamura has the triangle choke! Punches to the head, the Bulgarian Lion flags but does not fail... COUNTER POWERBOMB!
Drawing himself up by the ropes, Rusev charges in but gets sidestepped into the post, schoolboy... NO! THE KINSHASA TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD ISN’T ENOUGH TO PUT HIM AWAY! Shinsuke waiting for him to get up once more, calling for it, sidestep the counter, superkick but Rusev shrugs it off and drops him with a lariat! Tuning up the band... MACHKA KICK! IT’S OVER! RUSEV DID IT!
Rusev wins by pinfall with the Machka Kick to win the WWE United States Championship.
Rusev and Lana celebrate the Bulgarian Lion’s victory on this most Rusev of Days.
We go backstage with AJ Styles, who rolls up on Vince McMahon.
Vince asks his name and AJ introduces himself, listing his WWE credentials for the boss. McMahon says if this is The House That AJ Styles Built, why isn’t he or Daniel Bryan competing tonight and instead Bryan’s raising hell in the hallway. Vince wants to know who the real AJ Styles is and says he’s seen superstars come and go and become complacent and he knows that’s not Styles.
He says Styles has a black hole in his heart and if he can’t control that nobody knows what will happen, but he wants to see that. Because if he harnesses all of that and brutalizes the locker room, terrorizes anyone who steps in front of him in the squared circle, and there’s an animal in him begging to get out, eating him alive. He wants to see that so bad that he slaps AJ across the face!
STYLES DECKS MCMAHON WITH A FOREARM AND SCREAMS IN HIS FACE! Road agent Jamie Noble and a plainclothes referee John Cone roll up to peel him away, followed by more referees. They check on Vince but he’s happy with the results and says he’s good as he lies on the floor in something approaching ecstasy.
That’s the show, folks.