WWE SmackDown erupted into chaos during Thursday’s main event as AJ Styles defeated Solo Sikoa by disqualification after interference from Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. The show closed with Randy Orton confronting Reigns and challenging him for the title at Royal Rumble.
Styles Gets Payback on Solo Before Orton Stakes His Claim
In the night’s headline match, AJ Styles squared off against rising star Solo Sikoa. Still furious after The Bloodline’s previous attack, a vengeful Phenomenal One unleashed his rage.
Styles controlled most of the bout, grounding his opponent with mat wrestling and punishing strikes. But with Sami Zayn and Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos lurking at ringside, an ambush always loomed.
As AJ set up Solo for a Phenomenal Forearm, Roman Reigns’ music suddenly played. A distraction was all Sikoa needed to take control and nearly claim victory with a diving splash. But in the closing moments, a recovered Styles evaded his foes to connect with a Pele Kick and Phenomenal Forearm for what seemed a statement win.
That’s when Universal Champion Roman Reigns stormed the ring and blindsided Styles with a Superman Punch, causing a DQ. After a four-on-one mugging, Reigns prepared to con-chair-to AJ when Randy Orton sprinted to the rescue.
In a standoff with Reigns, The Viper made it clear: He’s coming for the Head of the Table’s title at Royal Rumble on January 28.
Orton and Knight Brawl, Qualify for Contenders Match
Earlier in the show, tensions escalated between Orton and rival LA Knight in the next round of a tournament to decide the next challenger for Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER.
Both Orton and Knight scored convincing first round wins last week. Before their looming semifinal collision, the trash-talking enemies brawled backstage and had to be pulled apart after trading furious punches.
|Randy Orton def. Drew Gulak
|LA Knight def. Mansoor
|AJ Styles def. Sheamus
|Randy Orton vs. LA Knight
|AJ Styles vs. TBD
Despite the melee, Orton and Knight remained focused in their matches. Orton dismantled challenger Angel in methodical fashion. An RKO quickly finished his unheralded foe.
Knight faced a stiffer test from scribbled-out opponent. But he held off his game opponent to advance with a BFT.
Afterwards, the hot-headed contenders came to blows again until being separated by officials. A resurgent and laser-focused Orton appears ready to reclaim championship glory. But the outspoken Knight remains intent on spoiling The Viper’s dream.
Lashley and Santos Reach Semis, Escobar’s Family Returns
Two more vicious contests saw Bobby Lashley and Santos Escobar move one step from a IC Title Match opportunity.
The hard-hitting Destroyer dominated most of his bout with the high-flying Dragon Lee, North American Champion. But Lee showcased his heart, narrowly avoiding defeat multiple times before falling victim to Lashley’s Hurt Lock submission.
A returning Humberto Carrillo helped his cousin Santos Escobar score a tainted win over Kevin Owens. After a ref bump, Carrillo yanked KO off the apron as he sized up Escobar for a Pop-up Powerbomb on the floor. A dazed Owens couldn’t escape Santos’ Phantom Driver in the ring.
The semifinals and finals will continue on next week’s New Year’s Eve SmackDown as Escobar battles AJ Styles and Lashley faces either Orton or Knight.
Kabuki Warriors Reunite to Battle Toxic Attraction
In a wild 8-woman tag bout, the recently reunited Kabuki Warriors – Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Raquel Rodriguez – defeated Toxic Attraction’s IYO SKY, Sonya Deville and Nikki Cross.
The fan favorite trio showed promising chemistry against Damage CTRL’s SKY and Deville with Cross caught in the middle. Rodriguez used her power to control the pace early before Asuka dazzled with trademark offense.
But a numbers disadvantage allowed Toxic Attraction to isolate Bliss for an extended beating. When Cross hesitated to punish her friend further, tensions rose within her team.
Eventually a fired-up Bliss battled back and made the tag to Asuka just as Cross tagged Sonya. The hot Empress unloaded kicks on Deville before Green Mist to her opponent’s face set up a discus clothesline. Seconds later, Bliss surprised IYO SKY with Twisted Bliss before Rodriguez powerslammed Cross simultaneously for the win.
After celebrating, the trio sent a clear message to the women’s division: The Warriors have reunited and are ready to reclaim the Women’s Tag Team Championships.
- Hit Row returned with a Six-Man Tag Team win over Maximum Male Models and Ludwig Kaiser. B-Fab berated Maxxine Dupri after the match, setting up a future title bout against SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair.
- Butch snapped his recent losing streak by defeating Braun Strowman via countout in a competitive brawl.
- Emma made quick work of Tegan Nox.
- Officials announced a high-stakes New Year’s Day Triple Threat at the Royal Rumble: Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory for the United States Championship
The road to Royal Rumble heats up next week as chaos reigns on a special New Year’s Eve edition of SmackDown.
With Roman Reigns set to defend his title against Randy Orton on January 28, tensions between WWE’s top stars will erupt. Fans can expect fireworks as The Viper and Undisputed WWE Universal Champion come face-to-face.
The tournament semifinals will also unfold with fan favorites AJ Styles and Bobby Lashley aiming for championship opportunities against dominant champs GUNTHER and Roman Reigns.
And LA Knight vs. Randy Orton remains a powder keg ready to ignite at any moment. Their No DQ second round bout promises ruthless action ahead of 2024.
Will The Bloodline circle the wagons after Orton’s challenge? Can Styles and Lashley keep momentum rolling toward title shots? And what havoc awaits when Orton collides with frenemy Knight? The road to the Rumble runs through SmackDown.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.