WWE SmackDown Notes: Results, WWE Universal Contender Match for New Year’s Revolution, US Title Tourn. Finals Set, Angel Garza, Humberto Carrillo, & AOP Returns

WWE SmackDown Results – Dec. 22, 2023

December 22, 2023
Green Bay, WI – Resch Center
Commentary – Kevin Patrick, Michael Cole, and Corey Graves

Quick Match Results

  1. 8-Women Holiday Havoc Tag Team match – Bianca Belair, Shotzi, Zelina Vega, & Michin defeated Damage CTRL (Bayley, Asuka, Kairi Sane, & IYO SKY) via Top Rope Senton (pinfall)
  2. NXT North American Championship – Dragon Lee (c) defeated Butch via Operation Dragon (pinfall)
  3. United States Championship #1 Contender Tournament Semifinal Round match – Kevin Owens defeated Carmelo Hayes via Stunner (pinfall)
  4. United States Championship #1 Contender Tournament Semifinal Round match – Santos Escobar defeated Bobby Lashley via Roll-up (pinfall)
  5. AJ Styles defeated Solo Sikoa via Disqualification

#1 Contender Match for Undisputed WWE Universal Title Announced for January 5th SmackDown New Year’s Revolution Show

Friday’s taped WWE SmackDown show featured the official announcement of the January 5, 2024 SmackDown show to be a New Year’s Revolution special and the first match announced for this show.

This match was announced to be a Undisputed WWE Universal Championship #1 Contender Triple Threat match of AJ Styles vs. LA Knight vs. Randy Orton.

This match was setup following an in-ring promo segment involving Styles, Knight, and Orton. Styles came out to teh ring to start out the show and gave a promo about his issues with Roman Reigns and him not caring about Knight nor Orton since he claimed he was going to be the one who goes after Reigns at next month’s Royal Rumble 2024 event. Knight came out to interrupt and stated that there was nothing to argue about since Styles could get Reigns after he gets him first after what Reigns and the Bloodline did to him at Crown Jewel 2023. After some banter between the two, Orton came out to interrupt and made his case why he is the one who gets to go after Reigns first due to the Bloodline being the reason why he was out of action for 18 months.

Following some more bickering between the three, SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis came out and announced a #1 Contender’s match between Styles, Knight, and Orton at SmackDown’s New Year’s Revolution show in two weeks with the winner to officially challenge Reigns for his title at Royal Rumble 2024.

Santos Escobar & Kevin Owens Advance to Finals of US Title Contender Tournament

Friday’s taped SmackDown show also featured the Semifinal Round matches for WWE’s United States Championship #1 Contender tournament.

The first tournament match was Kevin Owens defeating Carmelo Hayes.

The finish to this match involved Hayes attempting a suplex to Owens that was blocked by Owens who lifted up Hayes and hit him with a DDT for a near fall attempt. Owens then hit a super kick and followed it with a chop to the chest. Owens then thew Hayes into the ropes which led to Hayes leaping off the middle rope for a springboard attack attempt that was dodged by Owens. Owens attempted to hit a powerbomb on Hayes who countered it with a double knees strike in return. Hayes then went up to the top rope and attempted a Nothing But Net that was countered by Owens who moved out of the way and responded with a powerbomb for a near fall. Owens then hit a top rope Senton and followed it with a Stunner for the pinfall victory to advance to the finals of the United States title contender tournament.

The second tournament match was Santos Escobar defeating Kevin Owens.

The finish to this match involved Escobar hitting a double knees strike to Lashley and followed it with a set of punches and kicks. Escobar then placed Lashley on the top rope and climbed up only for Lashley to shove Escobar off the ropes. Lashley slammed Escobar face first onto the mat which led to a mystery masked person leaping over the barricade and quickly grabbed by security. A second masked person leaped over the barricade and attacked the Street Profits leading to the first masked person joining in on the attack. This led to Lashley being distracted and Escobar rolling up Lashley for the pinfall victory to advance to teh finals of the U.S. title contender tournament.

Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo Make Surprise Returns at Friday’s SmackDown Show

Friday’s taped SmackDown show also featured Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo making their surprise returns to WWE’s SmackDown brand.

During Santos Escobar’s match against Bobby Lashley in the Semifinals of the United States Championship Contender tournament, two mysterious masked guys leaped out from the crowd and attacked The Street Profits who were at ringside. This led to Lashley being distracted and opened himself up to getting pinned by Escobar to lose the match. Escobar quickly left the ring and was joined by these two mystery masked men, who revealed themselves to be Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo.

Authors of Pain & Paul Ellering Make Surprise WWE Return

Friday’s taped SmackDown show also featured the Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) and Paul Ellering making their on-screen return to WWE.

AOP and Ellering’s return were revealed during a video promo segment involving Karrion Kross and Scarlett. During his promo, Kross stated that he knows the power of words and how they lead to actions. Kross brought up how hose who crossed his path became changed people afterwards. This was shown in the form of a video of the Bloodline fracturing, Drew McIntyre developing a temperament, Rey Mysterio hitting his son Dominik in front of his mother, and Shinsuke Nakamura losing his honor and becoming evil.

Kross stated that even the greatest proclamation is soon to be forgotten, without a scribe, without authors. This led to three shadowy figures being quickly shown resembling the Authors of Pain and Ellering. Scarlett finished the promo talking about their vision.

This was the Authors of Pain and Paul Ellering’s first appearance in WWE since September of 2020.