WWE SmackDown: WWE champion Daniel Bryan takes pinfall defeatDecember 19, 2018
WWE champion Daniel Bryan was pinned on SmackDown by Mustafa Ali, who it has been confirmed has moved permanently from 205 Live.
Bryan was paired with Andrade “Cien” Almas for a main event tag-team match against Ali and the man he beat for the championship, AJ Styles.
It was the second successive week Bryan and Ali have gone head to head but the cruiserweight prevailed on this occasion, getting the three-count on Bryan after an inverted 450 splash off the top rope.
WWE Late Night Smackdown
December 19, 2018, 11:00pm
Almas had attempted to intervene to prevent the move from happening but found himself on the receiving end of a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles.
Like Raw, SmackDown is undergoing a ‘refresh’ and the elevation of Ali from 205 Live to its main roster could be interpreted as a signal of the new direction the show is about to take.
Asuka reign begins with Naomi defence
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch both made their case for an instant rematch with their TLC conqueror Asuka but both were to end up being disappointed by none other than the WWE chairman, Vince McMahon.
McMahon told them they had to “get over it” and that the first woman to face the new SmackDown champion would be her former tag-team partner Naomi.
There was plenty of glow about Naomi’s performance but she ultimately succumbed to an Asuka lock as the Japanese star began her title reign with a strong defence.
Paige relieved of general manager duties
Despite doing what many have regarded to be an excellent job as SmackDown general manager, Paige will no longer continue in the role.
The popular Brit was relieved of her duties by commissioner Shane McMahon as part of the ‘shake up’ which is taking place across both WWE brands.
McMahon made it clear Paige will remain with SmackDown but will be undertaking a new role, the details of which are not known at this stage.
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