WWE SmackDown Recap: December 4, 2018
S18 episode 49 Aired on December 4, 2018

Two weeks from WWE TLC, AJ Styles’ pursuit of the “New” Daniel Bryan led him into a showdown with The Miz. Plus, Samoa Joe continued to antagonize Jeff Hardy, and the contract signing for the first-ever Women’s Triple Threat TLC Match resulted in a reluctant tag team partnership between Charlotte Flair & Asuka.

With SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch looking on, her two WWE TLC challengers, Charlotte and Asuka, reluctantly joined forces against Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville.

Despite obvious tension between The Queen & The Empress of Tomorrow, who attempted to outdo each other from the start, the tandem seemed strong for most of the bout. However, Flair kicked Asuka off the apron -- apparently by accident after she seemingly believed it was Mandy Rose -- and Asuka returned fire on her own partner with a sliding knee that was 100 percent on purpose and allowed Deville to pin Flair.

Lynch raised her title over her head in a moment of pure defiance, as all three Superstars stared daggers through one another.

In the wake of his 20th anniversary celebration last week, a reinvigorated Jeff Hardy reignited his rivalry against Randy Orton one week after The Viper unleashed a brutal assault on Rey Mysterio.

Just after Hardy dropped Orton with a back suplex on the announce table and ascended the ropes looking to crash down onto The Viper, Samoa Joe suddenly appeared on the TitanTron from a bar, callously mocking The Charismatic Enigma and keeping him distracted long enough for Orton to level his opponent with the RKO for the victory.

As Hardy recovered, Joe added insult to injury be mocking Hardy with a “public service announcement” on the dangers of drinking in excess.

After being dropped with a Skull-Crushing Finale earlier in the night, AJ Styles looked for retribution in a one-on-one match against The A-Lister, as WWE Champion Daniel Bryan sat in on commentary and continued to renounce The “Yes!” Movement and the WWE Universe.

When the action moved outside the ring during the hard-fought main event, Bryan distracted his WWE TLC opponent and allowed The A-Lister to run Styles into the steel steps and drop him with the Skull-Crushing Finale back inside the ring. After Styles kicked out at two, Bryan again interfered by grabbing his adversary’s leg. Nevertheless, Styles shook him off and locked his opponent in the excruciating Calf Crusher, forcing a frantic Miz to tap out.

Not to be outdone, the WWE Champion wasted little time dropping Styles after the bell and unleashed an absolutely brutal assault on his WWE TLC challenger, targeting his knee and driving him into the ring post. After forcing the ring announcer to announce him as “WWE Champion, the NEW Daniel Bryan!” the condescending Bryan mocked the WWE Universe by calling them “fickle” over and over and asking them why they don’t like the “new” Daniel Bryan. The Beard ran back into the ring and once again took Styles down with a chopblock and locked him in a Heel Hook as SmackDown LIVE concluded.

In other action … The Women’s Triple Threat TLC Match Contract Signing transformed into girl interrupted … Jey Uso def. Xavier Woods and Cesaro in a Triple Threat Match … and AJ Styles confronted WWE Champion Daniel Bryan on “Miz TV”.

Season 18 episode guides