SmackDown Recap: December 12, 2017
S2017 episode 956 Aired on December 12, 2017

Five days before WWE Clash of Champions, SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan appointed himself as the second Special Guest Referee in Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s career-threatening tag team match against Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. Then, in the main event, Bryan surprised the WWE Universe by taking action that secured KO’s victory over The Artist in a one-on-one showdown.

AJ Styles kicked off SmackDown LIVE talking about how he wants to be a fighting WWE Champion and how he has his sights set on Jinder Mahal for their rematch at WWE Clash of Champions this Sunday.

The Phenomenal One was soon interrupted by The Singh Brothers, but instead of introducing The Modern Day Maharaja, Samir & Sunil declared Mahal was on his own at Sunday’s pay-per-view after the former WWE Champion ruthlessly attacked them two weeks earlier.

Styles invited them to the ring to hug it out, and they insisted they were both done with Mahal, but The Phenomenal One was clearly not buying it. And as they continued their verbal joust, Mahal finally made an appearance, just in time to see the WWE Champion turn the table on the obvious trick and unleash an assault on Sunil and Samir before throwing them out of the ring just five days before the highly-anticipated WWE Championship Match at WWE Clash of Champions this Sunday.

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn hit the ring to deliver a passionate address to anyone who would listen, insisting Commissioner Shane McMahon had stepped way over the line when he ordered KO to be handcuffed to the ring ropes during Zayn’s match against Randy Orton last week.

Shane also upped the ante when he made himself the Special Guest Referee for a WWE Clash of Champions tag team match pitting KO & Zayn against Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura and added the stipulation that Owens & Zayn will be fired from all of WWE if they lose. As a result, the outspoken pair emulated General Manager Daniel Bryan’s legendary “Yes! Movement” and attempted to Occupy SmackDown LIVE.

When Daniel Bryan emerged to confront the troublesome duo, he appointed himself the second Special Guest Referee for Sunday’s high-stakes tag match to ensure a fair outcome.

In SmackDown LIVE’s turbulent main event, Shinsuke Nakamura went to battle against Kevin Owens with their respective WWE Clash of Champions tag team partners Randy Orton and Sami Zayn in their corners and General Manager Daniel Bryan joining the SmackDown LIVE announcement team.

When Owens inadvertently knocked the referee to the canvas with a wild right hand, Bryan donned the stripes and jumped into the action as his impromptu replacement. A few wild moments later, when Nakamura turned his attention toward an interfering Zayn on the apron and knocked him to the floor below, Owens capitalized on the distraction by executing the bone-jarring Pop-up Powerbomb on The Artist. Bryan then counted Nakamura’s shoulders to the canvas to give KO a monumental victory.

What do Bryan’s actions reveal about how he will carry himself as the second Special Guest Referee at WWE Clash of Champions? And will Bryan be able to co-exist with SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon, who will also be wearing the stripes?

In other action … Charlotte def. Ruby Riott via Disqualification … Dolph Ziggler def. Baron Corbin via Disqualification … Bludgeon Brothers def. Colin Delaney & Joe Monroe … and Rusev & Aiden English def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos.

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