The final Smackdown before WWE’s presentation of the Royal Rumble was live taped December 19th and the results are as follows:
Daniel Bryan kicked off the show and introduced Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Eric Rowan to the audience. The celebration was promptly interrupted by The Authority (minus Triple H and Stephanie), who announced that the formerly fired stars would earn spots in the Royal Rumble if they won their singles bouts later in the evening.
Dolph Ziggler defeated the WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett in a non-title match with his finisher, the Zig Zag. Ziggler qualified for the Royal Rumble. He will be in the top five predicted to win and he will be a mega fan favorite.
Renee Young interviewed Roman Reigns. Reigns along with Ziggler is another mega favorite to win the Rumble match and was in the rumored storyline to win then take on Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Title in the main event of Wrestlemania 31.
Ryback defeated the WWE United States champion Rusev via count-out. After the match, Rusev escaped a “Shell Shock” attempt and retreated. Ryback qualified for the Royal Rumble. Ryback and Rusev will probably continue their feud at the Rumble and one will likely cost the other an opportunity at winning the match. Since his return, Ryback has received a major push from the WWE so he may be in the match a very long time.
Brie Bella pinned Naomi. Paige and Natalya were on commentary. This was just used to slightly build the diva tag match at the Rumble.
Luke Harper defeated Eric Rowan. Rowan did NOT qualify for the Royal Rumble.
This was a surprise move as it seemed that the theme for the night was for all the faces to win their matches and qualify but Rowan seems to be in limbo with no real storyline going on with his character. He could be tossed in to cost Seth Rollins his title opportunity or to cost an Authority member the Rumble match.
The Miz and Damien Mizdow displayed tension during a backstage segment in which the Hollywood A-lister talked down to his stunt double. This was expected and the pair may finally make their official split at the Rumble.
Bryan defeated Kane in a “No Disqualification” match and it still seems this ongoing feud is far from over. A huge brawl between the top babyfaces and The Authority erupted, with Bryan, Ziggler, Reigns, Ryback and Dean Ambrose standing tall to close out the show. If history is to repeat itself, this could mean either Brock Lesnar (who’s somewhat of a heel) may retain the title. The other possibility is that Seth Rollins wins the title, or even a heel may win the Rumble match. This is mainly because the faces have stood tall on both shows on the edge of The Royal Rumble.