WWE Champion Daniel Bryan Attacked R-Truth
I probably should have expected Truth and Carmella to kick off the Christmas edition of SmackDown with Truth dressed up as Santa and Carmella dressed up as an elf. It was harmless fun, even if I don't particularly care much for the Truth and Carmella act. Thankfully, it wasn't long before Bryan interrupted them and proceeded to lay a brutal beating on Truth, putting his aggressive side on full display in the process. I assume we'll get a match between these two on next week's show.
Mustafa Ali def. Andrade "Cien" Almas
I'm thrilled that Ali is already being built up like a true threat in the main event scene, even though I know Bryan isn't dropping that title any time soon (nor should he). He's also being given a real chance to showcase his skills and prove to the masses why he is indeed one of the best in all of WWE right now. It's a shame Almas continues to get the short end of the stick (nor am I surprised there are reports of him being unhappy with his current spot on the roster), but at least he can always be counted on for a quality contest. With this win, Ali maintains momentum and I'm sure a Bryan vs. Ali for the WWE Championship rematch is only inevitable.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and The Usos def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bar and SAnitY
This is what happens when you try to focus on too many people at once: no one gets an ample amount of attention and therefore nobody gets over. Of course, The New Day, The Usos and The Bar have nothing to worry about, but I still couldn't care less about Gallows and Anderson or SAnitY despite their recent returns to TV. This was a perfectly fine tag team match and it was a a nice victory for Gallows and Anderson, but WWE needs to give viewers more of an incentive to take them seriously following years of bad booking.
The Miz Hosted Miz TV with Shane McMahon
It's no secret that I haven't been all that invested in this storyline, especially since I have no idea where it's headed. Miz has been trying to get Shane to be his tag team partner for over a month, and finally, his pleas paid off here. Despite my lack of interest in this angle, even I must admit that this segment was excellently executed. Both guys played their roles well and the crowd ate it up, so we'll see where this goes.
Samoa Joe def. Jeff Hardy by Disqualification
I've been digging this feud lately and it helps that Hardy and Joe have had strong in-ring chemistry in the past. That was once again the case here, as they produced a nice match with the time they were allotted. I didn't mind Hardy getting himself disqualified out of anger because it's too early in the feud to deliver a decisive finish, it made sense from a storyline standpoint, and it managed to protect both guys, so that was smart booking.
Rusev def. Shinsuke Nakamura to Win the United States Championship
Nakamura's United States Championship reign since the summer has been incredibly disappointing. It blows my mind that his rivalry with Rusev has been his first feud as champion, but at least they work well together and they did a great job of building the bout up over the course of the night. They were given a ton of time, and although it was slightly slow early on, they picked up the pace and it turned into a terrific title clash. Rusev regaining the star-spangled prize on his birthday was a cool moment and closed out what has been a roller coaster of a year for him. Hopefully he can do more with the belt than Nakamura did.
WWE had to know that very few people would be watching SmackDown Live on Christmas night, but instead of phoning it in and holding a bunch of holiday-themed matches and silliness (which was reserved for Raw), they actually put forth quite the effort. This was a pretty entertaining episode with an above-average main event and a newsworthy title change, as well as two very well-wrestled matches, a decent tag team match, and another two solid segments. I have no complaints regarding this episode, and needless to say, it exceeded my expectations as an enjoyable holiday treat. Merry Christmas, folks!