WWE is still a 52 week a year operation with no off-season, but they have taken some steps to lessen the load on their contractors and employees over the past few years. One of those is to pre-tape some shows around big holidays. And with next week’s SmackDown falling just a couple nights before Christmas, they’re giving Team Blue the night off.
Of course, a show must still go on. But it won’t be a live one. The Dec. 22 will be pre-taped, and they did the taping last night (Dec. 15) after the live broadcast of this week’s SmackDown.
• Santos Escobar def. Bobby Lashley to advance to the finals of the United States Championship title shot tournament, thanks to an assist from the returning Humberto Carrillo & Angel Garza.
• Dragon Lee def. Butch via pinfall to retain the NXT North American championship
• AJ Styles promo on wanting a shot at Roman Reigns was interrupted by Randy Orton & LA Knight. General Manager Nick Aldis settled things by booking a Styles vs. Orton vs. Knight Triple Threat for the “New Year’s Revolution” episode of SmackDown (possibly Dec. 29, although a taping isn’t on the company’s schedule for that Friday (two house shows are) so it could also be Jan. 5). The winner of that match gets Reigns at Royal Rumble.
• Bianca Belair, Zelina Vega, Mia “Michin” Yim & Shotzi def. Damage CTRL in what sounds like the night’s Christmas-themed match. Isla Dawn & Alba Fyre attacked Kairi Sane during the match.
• Kevin Owens def. Carmelo Hayes to advance to the finals of the United States Championship title shot tournament. KO “showed respect” to Hayes after the win.
• AJ Styles def. Solo Sikoa via disqualification after Roman attacked AJ. Orton, Knight & Jimmy Uso got involved for a show-closing brawl that ended with LA standing tall (YEAH).
Going warm up a glass of egg nog and watch SmackDown next Friday?