The final PPV for 2017 saw Smackdown Live deliver a series of very good championship matches with every Smackdown title on the line; as well as Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn fighting for their jobs, and Daniel Bryan doing what is best for business.
Mojo Rawley defeated Zack Ryder. Grade: C- A good enough Pre-Show match but this should have been more. Ryder got bigger boo’s than Rawley at times which shows he absolutely should have been the one to turn heel. Disappointing this was on the pre-show and never truly taken seriously in the first place.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Baron Corbin & Bobby Roode to become the new United States Championship. Grade: A- Never in a million years did anyone expect Ziggler to win here, he was literally only in the match to take the fall, and yet he leaves US Champion. A very welcome surprise, as flat as Ziggler has been lately this felt big, starting from his entrance back to no entrance music at all. A very good match with an incredible finish, with Corbin hitting Roode with an End of Days and Ziggler hitting Corbin with a Zig Zag at the exact same time; a seriously cool finish, a seriously great match. The match we were least looking forward to, may have just stolen the show.
The Usos retained the Smackdown Tag Team Championships defeated Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin, New Day and Rusev & Aiden English. Grade: A- Rusev and English are beyond over with the crowd with their pre-match 12 Days of Rusev song being every bit amazing as we expected. Another incredibly good match and continuing the trend of amazing Tag Team Title matches. It’s hard when heels win four way matches like this where they beat most of their contenders, the Bludgeon Brothers remain but they are also heels, although both teams are very popular. I’d love to see a full Rusev & English program with the Usos however.
Charlotte Flair retained the Smackdown Women’s Championship defeating Natalya in a Lumberjack match. Grade: C. This will be unpopular, but apart form maybe the first two, Natalya vs Charlotte matches do nothing for me, nor does any Natalya match frankly. The Lumberjacks were messy just attacking both women, and the post-match Natalya promo and crying was hard to even watch. The best part of all this was Carmella finally teasing cashing in, that is truly the biggest thing the Women’s Division has in its arsenal at the moment.
The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Breezango. Grade: A- This was exactly what it needed to be; Breezango looked brave and fought hard and got more offence in (although still next to nothing) than the jobbers before them, but the Bludgeon Brothers completely battered the Fashion Police absolutely destroying them. Perfect.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn defeated Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura. Grade: B+ The match began rather slowly with both referees almost getting in the way of and taken away from the action, however perhaps that was the intention all along. The more chaotic and dysfunctional the match got, the far better it became; Owens put Nakamura through the announce table while the two referees clashed. Orton hit an RKO and had the three count but Owens pushed Bryan into Shane breaking up the pin, leading Shane to lose his mind at Bryan. Zayn then rolled Orton up and had the three count but Shane straight stopped counting refusing to let Owens & Zayn win; this led to Shane & Bryan staring each other down which sent the crowd crazy! Eventually Zayn won for his team with Bryan giving a blatant quick count for the win. So many stories coming out of this match and so may possible directions; Smackdown Live is absolutely must see on Tuesday Night just to see the fallout of this match.
AJ Styles retained the WWE Championship defeating Jinder Mahal. Grade: A- As relived as I am that Styles retained here, particularly by Submission indicating that Jinder may finally be moving away from the World Title Scene; we expect Styles to be simply phenomenal and to put on an amazing match, he is the greatest wrestler in the world today right now, but love him or hate him, and you’d struggle to hate him more than me, but Jinder was very good here once again. Styles targeted the leg of the larger man earlier which came back to help him in the end with the Calf Crusher Submission for the win, but Styles took an unbelievable amount of punishment in this match. Jinder targeted the ribs throwing Styles into the exposed steel of the barricade was a nice fresh and very effective touch. Jinder dominated most of the match without the help of the Singh Brothers whose only impact was pulling Jinder rout of the ring after a Springboard 450 Splash only for the Singh’s to be taken out by a Phenomenal Forearm & a Styles Clash.