After a big assist from James Ellsworth allowed him to survive a Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match against Dean Ambrose as the WWE World Champion, AJ Styles was clearly in pain and less than 100% as the champion kicks off SmackDown LIVE. Styles says that he’s not going to waste their time, saying that he’s going to address the “elephant in the room”, saying that what happened on Sunday was a “travesty” to some and a “blessing” to others, showing a picture of the hole that was torn in the backside of his tights. AJ then says that he did everything he said he was going to do at WWE TLC, saying he bent steel chairs over Dean Ambrose’s back and put Ambrose through tables and, most of all, he deprived Ambrose of regaining the WWE World Title. Styles continues, saying that if that means he has to wear a protective boot for a week, then so be it before saying that the only “negative” to come out of WWE TLC is that he is not “medically cleared” to defend the WWE World Championship against James Ellsworth tonight.
This brings out James Ellsworth, who acts as though he is ready to fight before grabbing a microphone, asking AJ Styles if he really needs that protective boot or if it’s a convenient excuse for AJ to not have to defend the WWE World Title against him tonight. Ellsworth then alleges that SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan is “protecting” Styles before saying that he’s got AJ’s “number” because he’s beaten the champion three times. Ellsworth continues, saying that AJ is “ducking” him and, if AJ wasn’t ducking him, he’d beat Styles for a fourth time here tonight and he’d be the WWE World Champion. Ellsworth then says that, if it wasn’t for him, AJ wouldn’t have won on Sunday.
The champion argues that he would have won either way before accusing Ellsworth of being “delusional” and saying that everything that Ellsworth has in WWE is because of Dean Ambrose, telling Ellsworth that he “burned that bridge” and he burned himself. AJ then says that he knows what Dean Ambrose is capable of, saying that he knows when to stop beating James Ellsworth, but Ambrose doesn’t and Dean won’t stop until James’ face is caved in like his chin is. This brings out “The Lunatic Fringe” himself as Dean Ambrose simply walks out to the ring, spiking James Ellsworth with Dirty Deeds in the middle of the ring before walking to the back much to the approval of AJ Styles.
After losing the SmackDown Tag Team Titles to the unholy alliance of Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton, with some help from Luke Harper, at WWE TLC, the former champions would get their rematch for the gold as Heath Slater & Rhyno would challenge Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton, with Luke Harper in their corner, for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles in the opening match of the night. In the end, it was Bray Wyatt tossing to Randy Orton, who hits Heath Slater with the RKO, pinning Slater for the win as Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton successfully retain the SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
After accusing Natalya of being the one who attacked Nikki Bella, Carmella was set to go one-on-one with Natalya on SmackDown LIVE. Before her match, Carmella says that Natalya has been bragging to her about taking Nikki Bella out at Survivor Series, saying that Natalya wishes that she was as “glamorous” as Nikki Bella. Carmella then says that Natalya is always “second best”, accusing Natalya of being “jealous” and a “deceiving con artist”. Having heard what Carmella had to say about her, a no non-sense Natalya would march to the ring, sparking a brawl between the two women that spills out of the ring and into the backstage area as Natalya gives chase to Carmella. However, once backstage, Natalya comes face-to-face with Nikki Bella and this is when Natalya would claim her innocence, saying that Carmella is a “liar” before Nikki just walks away from Natalya.
In tag team action, The Hype Bros would face The Ascension on SmackDown LIVE. In the end, it was The Hype Bros hitting the Hype Ryder on Viktor with Zack Ryder pinning Viktor to pick up the win for The Hype Bros.
After surviving a Ladder Match against Dolph Ziggler to successfully retain the Intercontinental Championship at WWE TLC, Intercontinental Champion The Miz and his wife Maryse would make an appearance on SmackDown LIVE to host Miz TV with their guest Dean Ambrose. After proclaiming that today is day 21 of his Intercontinental Title “reunion tour”, The Miz would introduce his guest, “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose. The Miz says that, after James Ellsworth cost him the WWE World Championship at WWE TLC, Ambrose must be more angry than anyone on the planet. However, Ambrose says that he’s not angry, saying that he never thought in a million years that the guy that he brought in and helped him become a WWE Superstar. The Miz responds by accusing Ambrose of using James Ellsworth to get under the skin of AJ Styles and that Ambrose deserved what happened to him at WWE TLC. The Miz then says that Ambrose deprived everyone of seeing Dean Ambrose and James Ellsworth face each other one-on-one, saying that Ellsworth would have given Ambrose the beating that he “deserved”.
Dean Ambrose accuses The Miz of trying to make him angry and the Intercontinental Champion is quick to put Maryse in front of him before The Miz says that Ambrose walked away from WWE TLC “empty handed”. The Miz then presents Dean Ambrose with the first ever “The Miz Participation Award”, saying that Ambrose didn’t win, but at least he “tried”. Unamused by The Miz’s award, Dean Ambrose says that he wants to try and see if he can shove the entire frame down the throat of the Intercontinental Champion. SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan then comes out to the stage, saying that he cannot let Dean Ambrose beat The Miz up right now and that is because he is going to do one better, announcing that the main event will see Dean Ambrose go one-on-one The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship! This sends The Miz into a rage as The Miz has no interest in having to put the Intercontinental Title on the line against Dean Ambrose.
After a punishing Chairs Match against Baron Corbin at WWE TLC, the rematch would take place on SmackDown LIVE as Kalisto would go one-on-one with Baron Corbin. Despite the best efforts of Kalisto to use his speed to offset Baron Corbin, “The Lone Wolf” would catch Kalisto with the End of Days, pinning Kalisto for the win.
SmackDown LIVE would see Chad Gable, with Jason Jordan in his corner, go one-on-one with Tyler Breeze, with Fandango in his corner. During the match, Jason Jordan would take Fandango out on the outside, allowing Chad Gable to hit an Okada roll into a bridging German suplex, pinning Tyler Breeze for the win.
Two nights after defeating Becky Lynch in a Tables Match to become the new SmackDown Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss would make an appearance on SmackDown LIVE for her championship celebration. The new champion says that she heard what Becky Lynch called her last week before saying that, now, “this little bitch runs the whole SmackDown LIVE women’s division”. This brings out the former champion as Becky Lynch comes down to the ring, saying that she did not get the job done on Sunday but she cannot stand that “some whiney little girl” can be considered the leader of the women’s division.
Becky then says that she is about to knock Alexa right off the top of the division before the new champion says that this is her “era”. Bliss then says that Becky can call her whatever she wants, but she has no choice but to call her the “champion”. However, Becky says that she likes what she called Alexa last week a whole lot better before saying that Alexa’s reign as champion ends with her rematch and she wants her rematch right now. With the former champion ready to fight, Alexa decides to leave the ring, saving the fight for another night as Becky is left standing tall in the ring.
After James Ellsworth made sure he didn’t walk out as WWE World Champion at WWE TLC, Dean Ambrose would have his sights set on a different championship as the main event of the evening would see “The Lunatic Fringe” challenge The Miz, with Maryse in his corner, for the Intercontinental Championship. During the match, The Miz would target the leg of Dean Ambrose to set up for the Figure-Four Leg Lock and the champion would lock in the submission, but Dean Ambrose was able to get to the bottom rope to break the hold. Ambrose then manages to avoid the Skull Crushing Finale before The Miz spikes Dean Ambrose with a DDT with the challenger kicking out.
Ambrose then makes his way to the top rope where he is met by The Miz, but the challenger shoves The Miz off of the top rope. Then, with the referee’s attention on The Miz, Maryse would get involved in the match, crotching Dean Ambrose on the top turnbuckle. The Miz then uses the signature running knee of Daniel Bryan, but is only able to get a two-count. This is when James Ellsworth would make his way down to ringside as Ellsworth tries to tell the referee about Maryse’s interference, but James’ presence on the ring apron distracts the referee as Dean Ambrose has The Miz rolled up, giving the champion plenty of time to kick out!
“The Lunatic Fringe” then stares a hole through James Ellsworth and The Miz would take advantage of Ambrose’s pre-occupation as The Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale, pinning Ambrose to successfully retain the Intercontinental Championship. Realizing that, for the second time this week, he cost Dean Ambrose a title match, James Ellsworth is quick to flee to the back as The Miz and Maryse celebrate while Dean Ambrose is left in the ring, clutching his leg.
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