12/26 WWE in New York at MSG results: More details on John Cena’s return, Brock Lesnar advertised for the MSG return, The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler in a cage match, The Wyatt Family defends the tag titles in a turmoil match

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WWE Smackdown Live Event
New York, New York at Madison Square Garden
Report by Dot Net reader Mike Omansky

1. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton defeated Rhyno and Heath Slater, The Ascension, The Usos, Breezango, and American Alpha in a Tag Team Turmoil match to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles. Rules: two teams started and had a match. Winners stayed to face next team, and so on, until one winning team. The Ascension were eliminated via Rhyno’s gore. This was mediocre at best; about 10 minutes. The Usos eliminated Slater and Rhyno by rolling up Slater after all four were fighting. The Usos took out Breezango with a splash off the top ropes and pin in less than a minute. Wyatt and Orton eliminated the Usos in about five minutes. Wyatt scored the pin with Sister Abigail, to a big pop. Wyatt and Orton beat American Alpha to win the match after a one-sided 10 minute match, with Alpha getting in just one flurry. Orton won with an RKO and pin for another big pop. ** overall, for the final two matches.

2. Alexa Bliss defeated Becky Lynch to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Nothing special, standard woman’s match fare. ½*

3. Apollo Crews, Jack Swagger, and Mojo Rawley defeated Curt Hawkins and The Vaudevillains. Crews performed a gorilla press on Aiden English and pinned him. Fair, unexciting. *

After the match, Aiden English stayed in the ring, said he was robbed, and would not leave until he had another match. He challenged anyone in the locker room. Out came James Ellsworth, in neck brace, to a strong crowd reaction.

5. James Ellsworth beat Aiden English. Ellsworth won a super kick and pin in 10 seconds (yes, seconds).

6. Dolph Ziggler defeated The Miz (w/Maryse) in a non-title steel cage match. Ziggler won with a super kick and a pin. While this had been advertised as an IC title match, The Miz said prior to the match that he had his lawyer get the match changed so that he wouldn’t have to defend the title in New York. A strong match – near falls, the climbing, Maryse slamming the door on Ziggler as he tried to exit the cage, etc. Good effort by both, one of the matches that crowd got into. **½

7. Nikki Bella defeated Natalya. Carmella came from the dressing room to try to distract Nikki, who threw Natlaya into her. Nikki followed up with the Rack Attack and the pin. *

8. Baron Corbin defeated Kalisto. Corbin won with the End of Days and pin. Typical match between the two, but very well executed – speed and flying moves of Kalisto including a 619; power moves by the much bigger Corbin. **

9. AJ Styles defeated John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a Triple Threat to retain the WWE World Championship. The best match of the night. Finish: Styles out of the ring, grabbed a chair – jumped in, and slammed Cena (who was down) several times, then slammed Ambrose with it as well before pinning him. The match was quite good, lasted exactly 20 minutes. Cena was outside of the ring for 1/3 of the time, likely as it was his first match back. All three got their big moves in – “Dirty Deeds”, “Styles clash”, “Five Knuckle Shuffle” on two men at once, etc. Both Cena and Styles got huge reactions coming in, although each 50/50 on cheers and boos. Ambrose received all cheers, but not quite as loud. ***

Crowd: Pretty packed, just short of a sell-out. A handful of unsold seats at upper level; most of Garden quite full.

Return date announced: Sunday March 12, 2017 with the ”Road to Wrestlemania” featuring Brock Lesnar.

Advance sale through Friday at 11 p.m. ET with the presale code: WWERTW

Good show overall. The biggest reactions: Cena and Styles; Wyatt entrance.

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