Shinsuke Nakamura kicks off Smackdown Live
Nakamura heads to the ring, points at the WrestleMania sign and does his pose.
We hear from Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton at ringside.
Nakamura has a mic in hand. Graves wonders if AJ Styles will still be WWE Champion come WrestleMania 34 with a long road still to go until April. A loud “NAKAMURA” chant starts up in Philadelphia. Nakamura talks about Sami Zayn, John Cena and Roman Reigns all taking a knee to the face. He references AJ Styles and how at WrestleMania a new WWE Champion will be crowned. Nakamura points up to the WrestleMania sign.
Here comes Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to interrupt. Owens says to give it up for the 2018 Royal Rumble winner. He says Nakamura can talk about how he will beat AJ Styles all he wants, but the fact of the matter is they were screwed out of the title on Sunday night. Zayn adds a loud “YEP” to that. Owens has footage played of the finish to the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble. We see Owens taking the pinfall to Styles and Zayn actually being the legal man during the championship match.
Back live, Owens says they once again fell victim to Shane McMahon trying to hold them down. Zayn says the referee has one job and that is to protect the integrity of the match at all costs. He points out how Owens never legally tagged himself in. Zayn said Owens’ passion coupled with the incompetence of the referee is what got them here. “AJ Styles pinned the wrong man,” added Zayn. Owens says they deserve every right at the next shot at the WWE Championship. He says they should face AJ Styles, not Nakamura.
Nakamura says Styles is a winner and that Owens and Zayn are losers.
Here comes WWE Champion AJ Styles. Styles says Owens and Zayn can cry and complain all they want, but a dream match will be taking place in New Orleans at WrestleMania. “It will be between me and Shinsuke Nakamura.” Styles suggests they turn the dream match into a dream team to take on Owens and Zayn here tonight. Owens and Zayn leave. They come back and Zayn asks if they really want this match. Both yell “NOPE.” Styles and Nakamura step up and knock both Owens and Zayn off the ring apron.
The No. 1 Contendership Fatal Four Way is up next.
New Day is heading to the ring for the next match.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan tells Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn they will indeed face WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in a tag team match. Zayn brings up the blown call on Sunday. Bryan says the referee’s decision is final, but admits the referee made a mistake. Owen says this wasn’t a mistake and wants Bryan to make it right. Bryan agrees with Owens. He says they will get another opportunity at the WWE Championship. He said next week he’s planned a huge main event and the winner will face AJ Styles at Fastlane for the title. Bryan books Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn.
Back live, the bell rings and here we go.
No. 1 Contendership for the WWE US Title
Fatal Four Way Match
Kofi Kingston vs. Rusev vs. Zack Ryder vs. Jinder Mahal
Kofi attempts an early roll up on Mahal. Mahal catches Kofi with a big knee. Ryder dumps Mahal over the top rope. Rusev with a running splash to Ryder against the ropes.
WWE United States Champion Bobby Roode is on commentary tonight. Big E is throwing pancakes at Corey Graves at the announce table.
Back in the ring, Rusev is stomping away at Ryder in the corner. Mahal is now working over Kofi on the other side of the ring. Rusev with rights to Ryder. Kofi with kicks to Mahal. Ryder counters a suplex attempt by Kofi into a neckbreaker. Mahal breaks up a pinfall attempt by Ryder. Ryder with a facebuster to Mahal and then clotheslines him over the top rope. Ryder with a dropkick through the ropes launching Mahal into the announce table. Kofi dives over the top rope taking out Ryder and Mahal. Rusev is calling for a dive. Rusev hits the ropes and Samil Singh tries to trip him up. Aiden English walks over and grabs Samil. English pushes Samil into Xavier Woods and Big E knocking over the plate of pancakes. The referee sends Singh, English, Woods and Big E to the back.
Back live, Mahal side steps Kofi and tosses him into the steel steps. Mahal grabs Rusev at ringside and throws him face first into the steel ring post. Mahal tosses Ryder back inside the ring and gets a two count off a pinfall attempt. Mahal drops repeated knees over Ryder. Rusev is back in with big shots to Mahal and follows with a splash in the corner. Mahal rolls out and Ryder catches Rusev with double knees in the corner followed by a missile dropkick. Ryder throws big elbows to Rusev, dropping him in the corner. Ryder with his Broski Boot to Rusev. Mahal runs in and nails Rusev with a big boot. Ryder kicks out after two. Kofi is back in and hits the S.O.S. on Ryder that gets broken up by Mahal. Mahal levels Kofi with a huge clothesline. Rusev tosses Mahal over the top rope. Loud “RUSEV DAY” chant. Rusev puts Kofi over Ryder and yells, “IT’S RUSEV DAY!” Mahal with a roll up for two on Rusev. Mahal with a jumping high knee to Rusev. Rusev tosses Ryder into Mahal hitting the Rough Ryder. Rusev with a huge kick to Ryder. Rusev avoids S.O.S. and tries a roll up. Rusev transitions into the Accolade. Kofi taps out.
Winner and new No. 1 Contender: Rusev
After the match, Rusev leaves the ring and gets in the face of Bobby Roode at ringside. Commentary reveals Roode defends the title against Rusev next week.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos are up next.
Backstage, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin interrupt Breezango and The Ascension. Gable calls them clowns and how they are ruining the tag team division. Tyler Breeze makes fun of them for losing twice to The Usos at the Royal Rumble. Benjamin asks if they can beat them tonight. The Ascension holds Breezango back.
The Usos address the Smackdown Tag Team Division
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos head to the ring. Jimmy asks the crowd to show some love to The Usos. Jey talks about them beating Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin back-to-back. He says they have been tearing up this tag team division. The Usos talk about taking out American Alpha, American Alpha 2, Hype Bros, Breezango, New Day and Sheamus and Cesaro in this tag team division. Jey talks about the struggle. Jimmy says they are the best tag team in WWE. They welcome everyone to the Uso Penitentiary.
As they go to leave, The Bludgeon Brothers walk out. Harper and Rowan walk by The Usos on the way to the ring. They are in action up next.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Local tag team
WWE did not provide the names of the other local tag team.
Rowan takes out one of the wrestlers and tags in Harper. Harper levels the wrestler in the corner and tags in Rowan. Rowan puts the wrestler on his shoulder and walks to the corner scaring the other wrestler. Harper is on the outside staring down that wrestler. Rowan now has the other wrestler in a fallaway slam and knocks the other off the ring apron. Harper with a big boot to the other wrestler and tags in Rowan. Rowan splashes both wrestlers in the corner and they hit a double powerbomb on one. Harper and Rowan hit a double chokeslam on the other wrestler and pick up the easy pinfall victory.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
A video plays of Daniel Bryan announcing the official Smackdown Top 10 List.
Backstage, Shane McMahon is on the phone talking about the Royal Rumble when Tye Dillinger walks in. Shane knows why he is here. Dillinger is talking about his WrestleMania opportunity being taken away this past Sunday. Baron Corbin interrupts and questions Daniel Bryan handling another opportunity to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Corbin wonders if Shane is even in charge and wonders if he is still a McMahon. Dillinger interrupts. Corbin asks if he is still here. Dillinger says he is – unlike Corbin’s “Money in the Bank” briefcase. Shane books a match between Corbin and Dillinger.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair heads to the ring. She is up next.
A video package runs focusing on Asuka winning the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match and the debut of “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey moments later.
Charlotte addresses Asuka and Ronda Rousey
Back live, Renee Young is with Charlotte Flair and asks her what it was like to sit ringside for the first ever women’s Royal Rumble. Charlotte said it was the first time in her career where she didn’t want to be champion. She wanted to be in the ring with all of those legends to see if she could hold her own. Charlotte talks about the next moment that broke the internet. She brings up Ronda Rousey. “All I know is that I’m walking into WrestleMania the Smackdown Women’s Champion. But the question is: who’s going to be standing across from me in that ring in New Orleans?”
Here comes The Riott Squad to interrupt. Ruby Riott says Charlotte’s ego is as big as her fathers. She says of course Charlotte thinks she would have won the Royal Rumble. Riott calls Charlotte arrogant and unoriginal. She calls herself an original and Charlotte a “cheap imitation” of her father. Riott gets in the ring with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. She says Charlotte’s time is over. Charlotte asks Riott if she’s done yet and lets out a loud WOOOOOOOOOO. Charlotte goes after Ruby Riott. Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan get involved. Charlotte fights off all three tossing them out of the ring.
The Riott Squad returns to the ring and take out Charlotte. Ruby yells at Morgan and Logan to pick up Charlotte. Ruby hits the Riott Kick that immediately drops Charlotte.
As The Riott Squad heads up the ramp, Carmella’s music hits!
Carmella runs down the ramp with her briefcase in hand. She kicks Charlotte a few times. Carmella hands the briefcase to the referee. The referee is having a conversation with the ring announcer when Carmella charges in with a dropkick at Charlotte. Carmella ends up taking out the referee instead as Charlotte gets back to her feet. Carmella turns around and sees Charlotte back up. Carmella bails, grabs her briefcase and heads up the ramp.
Backstage, AJ Styles talks with Shinsuke Nakamura about the plan tonight. Nakamura tells Styles he is going to beat him at WrestleMania. Styles asks if he is messing with him. Nakamura smiles and says he is messing with him.
Tye Dillinger heads to the ring. He faces Baron Corbin next.
Backstage, Renee Young is with Carmella and talks about her trying to cash in her briefcase just now. Carmella says the time wasn’t right, noting she broke a nail.
Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin
Dillinger with a big shot early on Corbin sending him to the outside. Dillinger drives Corbin into the ring barricade and then jumps off the ring steps catching Corbin with a right hand. Dillinger tosses Corbin back inside the ring and throws chops. Corbin with a big lifting knee to Dillinger and then mounts him throwing big rights. Corbin with a big corner splash. Dillinger attempts a comeback, but Corbin cuts him off with a right hand. Corbin sends Dillinger over the top rope and Corbin mocks the crowd in attendance.
Back live, Corbin has Dillinger down working over his left arm. Corbin misses his slide out/slide in clothesline and Dillinger sends Corbin shoulder first into the ring post. Dillinger with left hands and chops. Corbin misses a knee and Dillinger hits a big boot. Dillinger with a headbutt and more chops. Corbin with a shot to the back of Dillinger’s neck. Corbin with his chokeslam backbreaker. Corbin connects with End of Days to pick up the win.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Rusev and Bobby Roode talk about their championship match next week.
Backstage, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are sitting quietly. Zayn says the good news is one of them will be getting a WWE Championship opportunity. Owens agrees with a yep, but points out how Zayn could fail next week. Zayn points out Owens failing on Sunday.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. Breezango
We start with Shelton Benjamin and Fandango. Benjamin with a shot to Tyler Breeze on the ring apron. Fandango with chops to Benjamin. Benjamin plants Fandango with a spinebuster. Benjamin works over the left arm of Fandango. Chad Gable gets the tag and kicks out of an early pinfall attempt by Fandango. Fandango with more chops. Gable slides out and drops Breeze off the ring apron. Gable with a rolling kick that catches Fandango flush on the head resulting in a close two count. Gable works on the left arm of Fandango. Fandango with a roll up for two on Gable. Tag to Breeze who dropkicks Gable. Benjamin is in and takes a kick to the head. Breeze splashes Gable, misses a clotheslines, Benjamin tags himelf in, Gable dives and takes Fandango over the top rope with him. Breeze with a dropkick to Benjamin, attempts a huricanrana, Benjamin lifts Breeze back up on his shoulders and Gable comes off the top rope getting the pinfall on Breeze.
Winners: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
We return live starting with Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura. Zayn brings Nakamura down working his left arm. Nakamura flip counters and works over the left arm of Zayn. Nakamura pushes Zayn to the ropes, backs off and does his “COME ON” taunt. Nakamura brings Zayn to the corner and tags in AJ Styles. Styles catches Zayn with a big dropkick. Zayn tries to roll away and Styles cuts that off bringing him back to the corner and tagging Nakamura back in. Zayn pushes Nakamura to the corner and tags in Owens who immediately throws body shots and kicks to Nakamura. Tag to Zayn who chops away at Nakamura. Quick tag back to Owens who chops Nakamura as well. Nakamura with big forearms and knees to Owens. Zayn is sent out as Owens takes out Nakamura with a kick. Owens is yelling at Zayn to get back in the corner. Nakamura sends Owens outside. Owens starts arguing with Zayn asking why he wasn’t in his corner. Zayn and Owens continue to argue as Owens points to the corner. Zayn backs up and tells Owens to take care of things on his own for a change. He tells Owens not to talk to him like that.
Back live, Sami Zayn is watching the match from the top of the ramp as Owens has a headlock applied on Styles. Styles with body shots and a big clothesline that drops Owens. Styles with his sitdown flying forearm to Owens. Styles with a shot in the corner, tries to get Owens up and then plants him face first over the mat. Zayn is back in and breaks up the pinfall attempt by Styles. Zayn gets the tag and throws tons of rights over Styles. Zayn with a back body drop on Styles. Zayn has Styles in a headlock when Owens yells at Zayn to tag him in. Zayn yells he has it. Owens yells again to tag him in. Owens is back in hitting a senton splash over Styles for a two count. Zayn yells to tag him in and that he’s got it. Owens slaps the chest of Zayn to tag him in. Owens says Zayn probably has it – just like he did at the Rumble. Zayn slaps the chest of Owens to tag Owens back in. Owens and Zayn are arguing. Styles rolls up Owens for a two count after Zayn gets knocked off the ring apron. Owens levels Styles with a big clothesline. Zayn tells Owens the match is all his. We see a shot of Zayn walking up the ramp adding, “Good luck.” Owens drops the gut of Styles over his knee and connects with a splash in the corner for a two count. Owens with a shot to Nakamura in the corner. Styles with a Pele Kick. Hot tag to Nakamura. Nakamura connects with a flying big boot. Nakamura with body kicks and then a kick to the head. Nakamura with a knee in the corner and props Owens up on the top turnbuckle. Nakamura with his lifting knee. Owens rolls out. Styles tosses him back in. Nakamura with a kick to the head of Owens. Nakamura connects with Kinshasa to get the pinfall.
Winners: AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura
Backstage, we see a shot of a frustrated Sami Zayn watching the ending. Rene Young walks up asking if we’ve seen the end of their partnership. Owens says nope, but adds he’s been overlooked in WWE and that Owens has already had his opportunity with a world title. He said next week he will earn that opportunity and will become more than just Kevin Owens’ best friend. The show closes with Styles and Nakamura celebrating.