Daniel Bryan attacks R-Truth
What Happened: It’s Christmas Day and who better to kick off Smackdown Live than R-Truth and Carmella! The Mixed Match Challenge champions spread joy to the WWE Universe, but were soon interrupted by Daniel Bryan, who chastised and criticized the duo for aiding the WWE Universe in their materialistic ways. The Suntan Superman took exception to Bryan’s assertions and reminded the WWE Champion that he was the Number 30 entrant into the Men’s Royal Rumble match and had every intention of taking the WWE Championship from Bryan at Wrestlemania, provided he was still the champion at the time. At that moment, Bryan snapped and took out Truth, mangling his leg with vicious submission holds as Carmella looked on in horror.
Analysis: Again with the horrible heel angle. Since I am a part of The New Authority, I want to see a different angle for Bryan as a heel.
Mustafa Ali def. Andrade “Cien” Almas
What Happened: If you think Mustafa Ali pinning the WWE Champion last week was just a fluke, he proved you wrong tonight. The Cruiserweight turned Smackdown Live Superstar took on Andrade “Cien” Almas in a battle of two of Team Blue’s young Superstars. Between having to deal with Almas’s unpredictable versatility and Zelina Vega running interference on the outside, Ali had some trouble getting out of the blocks. But as she showcased on 205 Live, once he got going, “Cien” had quite a fight on his hands. And dead in the midst of a furious back-and-forth, Ali dropped Almas with a satellite DDT before hitting the 054 for the win.
Analysis: WWE officially moved Ali from the 205 Live roster to the Smackdown Live roster, which means he is there to stay. Hopefully, more Cruiserweights like Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy get the same opportunity
The Usos and Gallows & Anderson def. SAnitY and Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Bar
What Happened: Rivals turned allies by common enemy, The Usos and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson teamed up to take on The Bar and Killian Dain & Alexander Wolfe of SAnitY. The Good Brothers and the Uso Brothers worked well together, but a tag to the monstrous Dain changed the course of the match instantly. But with eight grown men in the same ring, chaos was bound to erupt. And erupt it did, and by the end of it, Cesaro had been pinned, courtesy of a Magic Killer.
Analysis: Are Gallows and Anderson finally going to get a push? Looks like it too me. And with Finn Balor due for a push and AJ Styles always near the top, it’s a good time to be part of The Club.
Shane McMahon agrees to be The Miz’s tag team partner on MizTV
What Happened: Ever since Survivor Series, The Miz has been trying to convince now-former Smackdown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon to be his tag team partner, a notion that Shane has been very skeptical about. After tonight, the Hollywood A-Lister can say Mission Accomplished. The Prodigal Son showed up on MizTV with his mind firmly made up that would not indulge The Miz, even after his impassioned plea regarding simply wanting to impress his father. Left with no other alternative, Miz turned to the WWE Universe, who roared their approval of the potential partnership. After administering a stern warning against any sort of turncoat tactics, Shane caved in and agreed to team with The Miz.
Analysis: I am still waiting for someone to come along and tell Shane McMahon that he can’t be an authority figure and a competing Superstar. But I get the feeling that I’ll be waiting a long time for that to happen.
Samoa Joe def. Jeff Hardy via Disqualification
What Happened: If there is one thing we know about Samoa Joe, it’s that he has no quarrels about taking things to a personal level. Last week, Jeff Hardy made Joe pay for his indiscretions. The Charismatic Enigma wasted no time going after the Samoan Submission Machine, allowing his rage to fuel his attack. But his rage would be his undoing as he continued to pummel Joe outside the ring, forcing the official to disqualify him. But there was no stopping Hardy, until Joe stopped Hardy, trapping him in the Coquina Clutch by the announce table.
Analysis: Both Hardy and Joe deserve better storylines than this. Neither one has been in real consideration for a championship run, something I hope changes come 2019.
Rusev def. Shinsuke Nakamura (c) (United States Championship)
What Happened: It truly is a Happy Rusev Day because Rusev is the new United States Champion. For weeks, the Bulgarian Brute has been trying to get his hands on Shinsuke Nakamura, so when he finally did, he exchanged brutal blows with the champion, but the Artist’s quickness proved to be a difference maker. Rusev showed resilience, though, roaring back from nearly suffering a Kinshasa to nail Nakamura with a Machka Kick. But it took another Machka Kick to put Shinsuke down for good and bring the birthday Bulgarian his third United States Championship.
Analysis: Finally, Rusev gets his and Nakamura gets his. Can’t wait to see what a new United States Champion brings in 2019.
Moment of the Night
At the end of the show, Vince McMahon called AJ Styles into his office and essentially provoked him into attacking him. This has raised a lot of questions as to Styles’s face/heel alignment. While I won’t make any speculations in that regard, I will say that it is very intriguing.