The WWE opening hits.
We go live immediately to Chicago where John Cena’s music hits.
John Cena returns
We hear a loud “JOHN CENA SUCKS” chant to the theme of John Cena as he makes his first appearance on WWE television since October. Cena smiles at the response and jumps inside the ring for a big reaction from the crowd in Chicago tonight.
Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga and Tom Phillips say hello from ringside.
“Let it rain, let it rain. I missed the hell out of this.” Cena holds the mic up as the crowd gives a mixed reaction in Chicago. He said very few places in the world compete with the excitement of the Allstate Arena in Chicago. A loud “CM PUNK” chant starts up. Cena tells the crowd they have to be louder and asks if they are chanting “CENA SUCKS.” He figured the crowd would be chanting “GO CUBS GO” given everything that has happened. A decent amount of the crowd starts booing and Cena asks if we have some White Sox fans in the house. “Chicago is the city of champions. And WWE recognizes that so tonight you will be given championship matches,” adds Cena.
Cena plugs the tag team, women’s and WWE Championships all being on the line tonight. He asks who will be the WWE Champion to close 2016: Dolph Ziggler (mixed reaction), Baron Corbin (booing) or AJ Styles (mixed reaction). Cena said it sounds like we have a few fans of AJ Styles in the house and he can be added to that list. He talks about Styles making a year out of it, but wonders if he can do it one more time tonight. Cena said this brings him to his next point: what is he doing here? A loud “UNDERTAKER” chant starts up in Chicago. Cena said hearing that makes him think a lot of people have been planning and speculating his future. He said 2016 wasn’t exactly a “super year” for “Super Cena.”
Cena talks about getting referred to as a part-timer and how some stars say he already has one foot out the door to Hollywood. He’s here tonight to set the record straight: “I’m not done. I’m not leaving. And I’m sick of this New Era BS. It’s not the new era. It’s the my time is now era.” Cena said he is watching the winner of tonight’s main event very close because he’s challenging them to a championship match at the Royal Rumble. He said many fans are saying he can’t do that, but he just did because he is John Cena. “Recognize,” adds Cena as he drops the mic and heads to the back.
We get plugs for the championship matches set for tonight.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are out next and joined by Luke Harper. They defend the titles next in a four corners match.
Backstage, we see security guarding The Miz’s locker room area. The new interviewer knocks on the door and Maryse answers. Maryse closes the door and then Miz opens. Miz says no and says he will only answer questions from that “unprofessional journalist” that slapped him last week in Renee Young. He said to go find her instead.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Four Corners Elimination Match
The Wyatt Family (c’s) vs. The Usos vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. American Alpha
We start with Chad Gable and Rhyno. Randy Orton and Luke Harper represent the champions tonight. Rhyno with a snapmare and shoulder block early on Gable. Rhyno levels Gable with a quick clothesline after blocking a hip toss attempt. Gable with an elbow and suplex into a bridge when Jey Uso tags himself in who throws rights over Rhyno. Jimmy Uso tags himself in and lands a jumping right hand to Rhyno in the corner. Jimmy chokes Rhyno against the ropes and Jey gets in a cheap shot with the referee distracted. Tag to Jey who kicks Rhyno in the chest. Jey tosses Rhyno down by his hair. Tag to Jimmy who keeps Rhyno in a headlock. Rhyno fights out with a clothesline. Tag to Heath Slater who comes off the top with a shot on Jimmy. Slater with a high knee and leg lariat on Jimmy. Slater with a neckbreaker and then eats a right hand slap from Jimmy. Slater with a kick to the face from the ring apron and dropkicks Jey off the apron. Slater falls coming off the top and eats a superkick from Jimmy. Jimmy rolls up Slater and gets the pinfall.
Heath Slater and Rhyno are eliminated.
We are back live as Jey has Jordan down in a headlock. We see a shot of Bray Wyatt watching the match at ringside. Jordan gets the tag to Gable. Gable with shots to Jey. Gable with an overhead suplex on Jey and Jimmy makes the save. Jimmy with a kick to the head of Jordan when Jordan comes in. Both Gable and Jordan are in the middle. The Usos jump at them from the top rope, Gable and Jordan catch them and hit Alpha suplexes. Gable with a roll up on Jey and gets the pinfall from the corner.
The Uso are eliminated.
Luke Harper is in and goes after Gable right away. The Usos get in shots on Gable and Jordan at ringside as the start heading to the back. Harper tosses Jordan inside the ring where Randy Orton is waiting. Orton with stomps over Jordan and then drops him over the top rope. Orton launches Jordan to the corner and then hits a snap powerslam. Orton with uppercuts to Jordan in the corner. Jordan catches Orton with a dropkick from the corner. Tags to Gable and Harper. Gable with a cross body and dropkick on Harper. Gable shows his power hitting a german suplex into a bridge on Harper. Orton with a shot on Gable as Bray Wyatt distracts the referee. Harper is back in with a shot on Gable.
We return live as Harper has Gable in a headlock. Gable tries to fight out and Harper gets in a side headlock to keep the action grounded. Harper catapults the chest of Gable into the second rope. The referee starts the count. Gable rolls in at 9 and Harper quickly throws him back outside. Orton jumps down and drops Gable back first over the ring barricade. Orton does this a second time to Gable and tosses him back inside the ring as he becomes the legal man. Orton drops Gable over the top rope, does this a second time, but bounces Gable off the second time hitting a suplex for a two count. Tag to Harper who drops Gable down with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Harper with his Gator Roll on Gable. Harper catches Gable with a swinging sidewalk slam for a two count. Gable counters and sends Harper to the corner. Hot tag to Jordan and tag to Orton. Jordan with shots on Orton followed with a dropkick. Jordan with an overhead release suplex on Harper. Jordan with a side back suplex on Orton and Harper breaks up the pinfall. Harper tosses Jordan out. Jordan pulls Harper out and throws shots. Gable flips off the ring apron catching Harper over Jordan! Jordan jumps off the ring apron and catches Bray Wyatt on the outside. As Jordan gets back in, Orton catches him with a kick and a DDT off the ropes. A loud “RKO” chant starts up in Chicago. Gable with a shot to Harper in the corner. Orton jumps up with Gable. Orton accidentally takes out Harper and Gable with a missile dropkick to Orton. Jordan splashes Orton in the corner. Jordan and Gable hit Grand Amplitude and get the pinfall!
Winners and new WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions: American Alpha
After the match, we see a shot of a very angry Bray Wyatt at ringside. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan celebrate with the tag team championships. We see a replay of the finish. Back live, we see Randy Orton and Luke Harper starting to argue. Bray gets between them.
Alexa Bliss defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship next.
We get a plug for the Royal Rumble in four weeks.
Footage from last Tuesday is shown of how we arrived at a triple threat match for the WWE Championship tonight featuring AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin.
Backstage, Renee Young is with Ziggler. Ziggler said he gave Corbin a fight last week and said it probably wasn’t the smartest decision to put his title shot on the line last week. “So here we go. Triple threat. WWE Championship.” He talks about the opportunity before him tonight and how tonight makes him the wild card in this deck.
Backstage, James Ellsworth is interviewed and asked if it bothers him that people make fun of him. Ellsworth says he gets it because he is scrawny and chinless. He said some times it brings him down. Carmella interrupts and says asking these questions is just making fun of Ellsworth. She finds him “uniquely attractive” and wants James to come with her.
Alexa Bliss heads to the ring. She defends her title next.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch
We get ring introductions for the challenger Becky Lynch and champion Alexa Bliss.
The bell rings and Becky with a lock up takedown quick on Bliss. Bliss takes the back of Becky and Becky counters into a leg submission. Bliss gets the ropes to break it up. Becky with a headlock and Bliss breaks it up getting a headlock of her own. Becky catches Bliss with a shoulder tackle. Bliss counters a sunset flip into a cover. Becky with reversal into a pinfall of her own. More pinfall attempts between the two. Becky with a back kick after bridging out of a pinfall attempt. Becky goes for an armbar and Bliss counters. Bliss plants Becky on her back while tripping her up. Bliss with forearm shots to the back of Becky. Becky with a series of arm drags and dropkick combo on Bliss. Becky with a baseball slide, but Bliss blocks it and throws right hands pulling Becky out. Becky tosses Bliss face first off the ring apron as the referee continues his count. Bliss sends Becky into the steel ring post.
Back live and Bliss stands on the hair of Becky pulling her arms. Becky with a series of clotheslines and leg lariat on Bliss. Bliss blocks an exploder from the corner by Becky. Becky whips back the arm of Bliss and sends her shoulder first into the corner. Bliss with shots to Becky up top. Becky catches Bliss with a dropkick off the top turnbuckle. The La Luchadora music hits. She runs down in mask and distracts Becky at ringside. Bliss attempts a roll up and Becky kicks out. Becky with pinfall attempts on Bliss. Bliss with a huge forearm to the jaw of Becky. Bliss with knees and a moonsault combo for a two count. Bliss with Twisted Bliss, but Becky gets her knees up. Becky locks on her armbar. Bliss has her boot on the bottom rope. Bliss acts like her arm is hurt distracting the referee. This allows La Luchadora to get in a cheap shot on Becky sending her into the steel ring post after Becky tried to remove her mask. Bliss with a DDT and gets the pinfall.
Winner and still WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss
After the match, Alexa Bliss is asked who it was in the mask at ringside. Bliss said based on the size it could be Sasha Banks or even Nia Jax.
Footage from last week of Renee Young slapping The Miz is shown.
Backstage, Renee Young is out The Miz’s locker room area when Maryse opens the door. Maryse tells Young that she should run. Miz calms down Maryse and walks out. He wants to know if Renee has a question. Renee talks about 2016 being a year of growth for him. Miz goes to talk about 2017 being better when Dean Ambrose attacks. Ambrose is wearing a security shirt, grabs a walkie talkie and adds, “All clear.”
Backstage, Nikki Bella is asked about Natalya betraying her last week. Nikki talks about her determination getting her back to WWE and not just because of her looks.
Backstage, Renee Young gets word with Baron Corbin asking if he feels any pressure. Corbin said he should have been recognized as a top star long ago. He refers to Ziggler and Styles as “two little men” who are about to feel the end of days.
Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler head to the ring next for the main event.
Triple Threat Match
AJ Styles (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
We get ring introductions for the challengers Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin and the current champion AJ Styles. Big reaction for Styles tonight in Chicago.
The bell rings and Corbin pushes Styles over right away. Ziggler with a dropkick catching Corbin. Corbin misses a stomp over Styles and Styles fires back with a kick to the leg. Ziggler with a splash to Styles in the corner. Corbin avoids a dropkick from Ziggler and then levels Styles with a right hand in the corner.
We return live as Corbin sends Ziggler back first into the ring. During the break, Corbin delivered a huge high back body drop on Styles. Corbin with a shot on Styles back first into the side of the ring. Back inside, Styles with chops and forearms to Corbin. Ziggler with a dropkick on Corbin who was on the back of Corbin. Styles with a high knee to Ziggler countering a suplex attempt. Ziggler with a knee of his own countering in the air. Corbin levels both Styles and Ziggler with a big double clothesline. Corbin with repeated stomps to Ziggler. Corbin tosses Ziggler to the corner. Styles with right hands to Corbin. Corbin drives Styles back first into the corner with force. Corbin tosses Ziggler into Styles in the corner. Ziggler gets an elbow up on Corbin and Styles with a boot to Corbin. Corbin slides out, back in, lariat to Ziggler and planting STO on Styles for a two count.
The show returns live as Corbin is hitting kicks to Ziggler in the corner. During the break, we see Corbin catching Styles with a right hand during a springboard attempt. Corbin with shots now to Styles in the other corner. Ziggler and Styles take turns with right hands to Corbin backing him up. They now double team Corbin with rights. Ziggler and Styles clothesline Corbin over the top rope. Corbin tosses Styles into the barricade at ringside. Ziggler jumps on the back of Corbin and Corbin flips him back down to the floor. Corbin starts clearing off the announce table at ringside. Corbin misses a charge hitting the barricade shoulder first. Styles off the steel steps with a shot on Corbin. Ziggler with a superkick on Corbin. Corbin falls on the announce table. Both Ziggler and Styles are up on the barricade, jump and crash over Corbin through the announce table! We see Styles connected with a leg drop, while Ziggler connected with a flying elbow over Corbin. Ziggler with a modified Rock Bottom on Styles over the ring apron. Back inside, Ziggler catches Styles with a jumping DDT for a close two count. Styles drops Ziggler over his knee. Ziggler avoids a Styles Clash attempt. Styles with a forearm, springboards up and Ziggler catches him with a kick. Styles with a quick roll up for a two count. Ziggler catches Styles with a dropkick and Styles barely kicks out. Ziggler with a neckbreaker and flying elbow combo over Corbin. Corbin with Deep Six on Ziggler and Styles breaks up the pinfall. Styles and Corbin exchange elbows. Corbin with End of Days on Styles and Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Corbin! Corbin kicks out. Corbin props Ziggler up on the turnbuckle. Ziggler fights off Corbin, stands up and Corbin crotches him off. End of Days on Ziggler. Styles catches Corbin with his springboard forearm. Styles rolls over, hooks the leg of Ziggler and gets the pinfall to retain his title.
Winner and still WWE Champion: AJ Styles
After the match, Mauro Ranallo confirms that AJ Styles vs. John Cena at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship is now officially set.
Cena’s music hits and he jumps inside the ring staring down Styles who has the WWE Championship in hand. Cena removes his hat and shirt staring down Styles. Cena extends his hand to Styles. Styles puts the WWE Championship on the mat and shakes Cena’s hand. Styles grabs his title and yells, “This ain’t going no where!” Cena and Styles argue.