This is the Fightful.com live coverage for tonight's episode of WWE Smackdown! Live! Tonight the wait is finally over as AJ Styles will defend his WWE World Championship against James Ellsworth in the main event and with news that the Wyatt Family will have the Freebird Rule, who will be in action tonight? Bray and Randy, Bray and Luke? Maybe even Randy and Luke? What will Natalya do now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag about her being the one who attacked Nikki Bella at Survivor Series? These questions and more will be answered tonight so be sure to come back here at 8PM EST to find out!
-We open with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon watching a video recapping how James Ellsworth cost Dean Ambrose in his Intercontinental match against The Miz. James shows up and is sneezing and they send him home, saying his championship opportunity is now on hold. Next we have Miz TV with special guest AJ Styles who comes out and says that eventually he's going to destroy James and Miz quips about him having sleepless nights over James then AJ talks about his hair, saying he's trying to get a shampoo and conditioner commercial gig. Miz asks what's next for AJ and AJ brings up his beating John Cena and Dean Ambrose and that there's no one left. Miz says that he's elevated the Intercontinental title and says he's above AJ's level, the two facing off, Miz implying that he wants a title match then they go to fight, but Dean interrupts them then Dolph comes out next. Dolph and Miz fight then Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale then Dean hits Miz with Dirty Deeds, but AJ doesn't want anything to do with it as he leaves. Luke Harper then appears in the ring and takes out Dean, staring down AJ as we go to commercial.
-An elimination match is announced between Dean, Dolph, Miz and Luke and if anyone interferes it counts as an elimination. We have Nikki Bella on commentary before Carmella and Natalya square off. Natalya comes out and says she didn't attack Nikki then her mic is cut as Carmella comes out.
Natalya vs Carmella
Natalya attacks Carmella as the match starts then Carmella tries to go to the outside, but Natalya follows her then takes her down, but Carmella gets to the ropes then Carmella slaps her and sends her to the mat as we go to commercial.
Natalya hits a snap suplex on Carmella then slaps her, saying she's a liar as she hits another suplex then backs her into the corner and hitting her with a series of knees and right hands then Carmella hits a head scissor for a quick 2 count then Carmella stomps on Natalya in the corner before hitting a bronco buster for another quick 2 count. Carmella follows up with a body scissors, but Natalya turns around into her guard and hits her with a series of right hands before Carmella goes for a guillotine choke, but Natalya hits a Michinoku driver then goes for a sharpshooter, but Carmella gets out and goes to the outside. Natalya and Nikki face off then Natalya hits a forearm on Carmella before she goes back into the ring and Carmella rolls her up for the pin and the win.
Winner: Carmella via pinfall
-We find out that John Cena is returning to Smackdown! Live in two weeks then Gabriel Iglesias meets Apollo Crews then Miz and Maryse interrupt them then leave.
American Alpha vs Hype Bros vs The Ascension vs The Vaudevillians vs Breezango Elimination Match
Gotch is eliminated immediately then Viktor and Chad are eliminated then Heath accidentally eliminates Rhyno as we go to commercial.
English is sent to the outside by Jason Jordan then Fandango is taken out by Slater leaving Heath, Breeze, Jordan, Konnor and Zack in the ring as they show how Mojo got eliminated during the commercial. Jordan is taken out then Konnor and Tyler team up on Zack and Heath then Heath is thrown out of the ring, literally, by Konnor then he and Breeze double team Zack. Breeze is eliminated then finally Konnor is for Zack to pick up the win so Hype Bros will take on the Wyatt Family for the titles.
Winner: Zack Ryder via pinfall
Alexa Bliss vs Deonna Purrazzo
Alexa attacks her then throws her out of the ring before the match starts then Becky comes out.
Winner: No Contest, match never started.
-After the match Becky tries to get herself a rematch, but Alexa declines and says they'll have a rematch, but on her terms then leaves, but Shane comes out and says Becky's rematch is up next as we go to commercial.
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch WWE Smackdown Women's Championship Match
Becky tries to grab Alexa, but she goes into the ropes like Toru Yano then Becky goes for the Disarmer, Alexa getting to the bottom rope immediately then Becky puts a side headlock on Alexa who turns it into a pin attempt for a quick 1 count then Becky hits her with a series of kicks before Alexa kicks her in the gut then pulls her down for a quick 2 count. Alexa misses a double jumping knee then slaps Becky before Becky drops her with a series of clotheslines and a running forearm. Becky goes for the Disarmer, but Alexa gets her foot on the rope, Alexa going to the outside, but Becky goes after her and drops Alexa with a forearm off the steps before putting her back into the ring, Alexa going out to the other side of the ring, Alexa seemingly hurting her leg. Alexa leaves for Becky to end up winning via count out, Alexa retaining her title.
Winner: Becky Lynch via count out
-After the match they stomp each other in the corner then Becky hits Alexa until she rolls out of the ring.
Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper vs The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler #1 Contender Elimination Match
Luke dropkicks Dean out of the ring, under the bottom rope then dives through the ropes onto Dean before squaring off with Miz who claps for Luke then offers his hand, but Luke hits a right uppercut then a Michinoku driver for a quick 2 count. Dean is sent outside by Miz then he hits a DDT on Dolph for a quick 2 count. Dean is kept out of the ring then Miz hits Dolph with a series of kicks before hitting him with a series of dropkicks then Dean comes in and hits a bulldog on Dean then Luke turns him inside out with a boot before focusing on Dolph. Luke gets a quick 2 count on Dolph then throws Dean into the barricade before going after Miz, but changes his mind and goes back after Dolph and puts on a torture rack before he turns Dolph inside out with a lariat then Dean hits one then Miz gets a close 2 count on Dolph then Luke and then goes to pin Dean, but Dean rolls him up for the pin and Miz is eliminated as we go to commercial.
Dean gets a quick 2 count on Dolph as we come back with Luke resting against the apron then Dean hits a swinging backbreaker for another quick 2 count, following up with an STF, but Dolph gets out then Dean hits a snap suplex for another quick 2 count. Dolph hits a Zig Zag on Luke then Dean hits an elbow drop off the top rope for a close 2 count on Dolph. Dean and Dolph alternate pin attempt then double clothesline each other before Luke drops them both then pins Dean with a spinning sidewalk slam, but Dean kicks out then hits Dolph with a sit out powerbomb for a very close 2 count. Dolph hits Luke with a superkick then Dean hits Dirty Deeds, Dean pinning Harper for the elimination to a chorus of boos. Dean catapults Dolph face first into the post and sends him to the floor then puts him back into the ring before Dolph hits an avalanche facebuster. Dean gets a small package on Dolph, but he kicks out then they hit a double clothesline as the Miz comes back and distracts Dolph before Dean dives out onto him then Dolph hits him with a superkick and Dean sends Dolph face first into the ring post before rolling him back into the ring, Dolph grabbing Dean's foot then Dolph hits a superkick for the pin and the win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via pinfall