– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown opens live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Greg Hamilton is in the ring to introduce the winner of the men’s Royal Rumble and out comes Shinsuke Nakamura to a pop.
Nakamura takes the mic but fans won’t stop chanting his name. Nakamura recalls the Rumble and knees to the faces of Sami Zayn, John Cena, Roman Reigns, and at WrestleMania 34… it will be knee to the face of WWE Champion AJ Styles, new WWE Champion. Nakamura points up at the WrestleMania banner hanging up high. The music interrupts and out comes Sami with Kevin Owens.
Owens calls for everyone to give it up for the Rumble winner. Owens says Nakamura can point to the sign all he wants but they were screwed out of the WWE Title on Sunday night. Owens says they should be standing here as co-WWE Champions but this happened… we see stills from the 2-on-1 Handicap Match on Sunday night, won by Styles. Owens says they were once again victims of SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon trying to hold them down. They knock the referee for failing at his one job. Sami says Owens technically never tagged in, he just got caught up in the heat of the moment. Sami says Owens’ passion and the incompetence of the referee got them into this mess but the bottom line is that AJ pinned the wrong man. Owens says they’re due another opportunity at the title and it will be them facing AJ at WrestleMania, not Nakamura. Sami jumps around with the “yep!” chant. Nakamura says AJ is a winner but Sami and Owens are losers. Fans do the “yep!” chant now. The music interrupts and out comes the WWE Champion.
Fans chant for AJ as he comes to the stage. Styles says they can talk all they want but there will be a trainwreck on the grandest stage of them all and it will be he vs. Nakamura. Styles says right here in Philly, on SmackDown, the house that he built, he proposes that they turn this dream match into a dream team. AJ proposes a tag match against Owens and Sami. Fans chant “yes!” but Sami and Owens leave the ring. Fans boo them now. They stop and come back to the apron. Sami asks if they really want this match and fans chant “yes!” now. Owens says nope. Nakamura and AJ knock Sami and Owens off the apron to the floor. Sami and Owens hold their faces and back up the ramp as Nakamura’s music hits.
– Still to come, Kofi Kingston vs. Rusev vs. Zack Ryder vs. Jinder Mahal to crown a new contender to the WWE United States Title. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see stills from Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Fatal 4 Way to Crown a New #1 Contender to WWE United States Champion Bobby Roode: Kofi Kingston vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
We go to the ring and out comes The New Day – Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods. Jinder Mahal, Rusev and Zack Ryder are waiting in the ring. The cameras cut backstage to SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Bryan says AJ Styles does not have the power to make matches but Bryan does. He confirms the tag match for tonight. Sami complains about the Rumble finish. Bryan says the referee’s decision is final but he did make a mistake. Owens ends up asking Bryan to make this right and not let Shane McMahon keep them down. Bryan agrees that they deserve another shot. Bryan says they will get another shot at the WWE Title next week. Bryan says next week it will be Owens vs. Sami with the winner facing AJ at the Fastlane pay-per-view in February. Sami and Owens don’t like the news.
We go back to the ring and the match begins. Jinder rocks Kofi while Rusev beats Ryder down. Jinder drops Kofi but Kofi fights back while Rusev has control on the floor. Jinder floors Kofi. Ryder drops Rusev and goes in the ring to knock Jinder out to the floor. WWE United States Champion Bobby Roode is also out for commentary with Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. Big E is throwing pancakes around.
Rusev comes in and works Ryder around now as Kofi fights back on Jinder. Kofi drops Rusev with a dropkick but Ryder eventually comes from behind and drops Kofi for a pin attempt that Jinder breaks up. Ryder and Jinder go at it now. Ryder clotheslines Jinder to the floor. Ryder runs the ropes and dropkicks Jinder through the ropes, sending him back into the announce table. Ryder follows but Kofi runs the ropes and nails a dive, taking Ryder and Jinder down. Rusev is in the ring now. Rusev runs the ropes but has his leg grabbed by Sunil Singh as fans boo. Aiden English comes over and grabs Singh, pushing him back into Big E and Woods. The pancakes are dropped on the floor and Big E isn’t happy. The referee ejects Woods, Big E, Singh and English from ringside. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Jinder drops Kofi on the floor, then Rusev. Rusev gets sent into the ring post and he goes down. Jinder returns to the ring and drops Ryder for a 2 count. Jinder drops knees on Ryder and keeps him down. Rusev returns to the ring but Jinder beats him around the ring. Rusev drops Jinder twice with a pair of kicks. Jinder gets fired up to a pop. Rusev with a big charge into the corner, sending Jinder to the floor for a breather. Rusev runs into Ryder’s knees in the corner. Ryder with a missile dropkick from the top and more offense in the corner. Ryder with the Broski Boot. Jinder runs in and superkicks Ryder to the mat for a 2 count.
Jinder with a 2 count on Rusev now. Kofi runs in and takes out Jinder and Rusev. Kofi with the Boom Drop on Jinder. Kofi with SOS on Ryder for a 2 count as Jinder breaks it up. Jinder with a huge clothesline on Ryder. Rusev knocks Jinder over the top rope to the floor. Rusev stacks Kofi on Ryder and goes for The Accolade but Jinder runs in with a roll-up for a 2 count. Jinder ends up dropping Rusev with a knee to the face. Jinder grabs Rusev for The Khallas but it’s countered. Ryder charges and hits the Rough Ryder on Jinder. Rusev with a big superkick on Ryder. Kofi misses Trouble In Paradise and SOS on Rusev. Rusev counters and puts Kofi into The Accolade for the win and the title shot.
Winner and New #1 Contender to the WWE United States Title: Rusev
– After the match, Rusev stands tall to a pop as his music hits. Rusev rolls out of the ring and faces off with Roode at the announce table, warning him about the title. Rusev walks off as Roode’s music hits.
– We see SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos walking somewhere. They say they have had this on lock and warn the other tag teams to pay attention to what they have to say. The Usos are coming at us, live and in living color, next. Back to commercial.
– We see how The Ascension helped Breezango take Twitter questions earlier today. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin interrupted and knocked them for making an embarrassment of the tag team division. Shelton asks Breezango if they can beat he and Gable. Chad speaks for them and says no. They tear them room up before walking off. The Ascension assure Breezango that they will handle this.
– We go to the ring and out come SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos.
The Usos call on the City of Brotherly Love to show them some love and then brag on how they won the 2 of 3 Falls Match over Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable at the Royal Rumble. But that’s nothing as they’ve been sweeping through since SmackDown since day one. They show us all the teams that have been locked down… American Alpha, American Alpha 2, The Hype Bros, Breezango, The New Day, The Bar. They go on about their lifestyle and how they represent the various struggles that people might have. They go on with the trash talking and welcome us to The Usos Penitentiary. The Usos go to leave the ring but out come The Bludgeon Brothers, Rowan and Harper. We go to commercial as they head to the ring.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Enhancement Talents
Back from the break and The Bludgeon Brothers are in the ring with two enhancement talents that are not named. Rowan and Harper destroy them with quick tags and power moves for another easy win.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
– We see Daniel Bryan’s Twitter video from earlier where he announced the new top 10 ranking system that will be voted on by SmackDown Superstars. Shane and Bryan will use it to make decisions on the show.
– Shane McMahon is backstage on the phone talking about the Rumble when Tye Dillinger walks in. Tye says any other time he’d want to talk about the new rankings system but… Shane knows why he’s here, what happened with Sami at the Rumble. Baron Corbin walks in and knocks Tye. Corbin also rants about wanting a shot. They have words and Shane says they settle things in the ring here on SmackDown. It looks like we have Corbin vs. Dillinger for tonight. Corbin storms off and Shane mocks him to Tye.
– We go to the ring and out comes SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see some stills from Asuka’s Royal Rumble win and Ronda Rousey’s debut. We go to the ring and Charlotte Flair is with Renee Young. Flair says she couldn’t be more proud to see the other women make history on Sunday in the first-ever women’s Rumble but it was the first time in her career that she wished she wasn’t champion. She talks more about the Rumble and says she was then part of something that broke the internet, the arrival of Ronda Rousey. Flair says all she knows is that she’s going to WrestleMania 34 as champion. The music interrupts and out comes The Riott Squad – Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott.
Ruby tells Flair to forget about Asuka and Rousey. She asks Flair if she hears herself talk about breaking the internet because her ego is as big as her father’s. Ruby says of course Flair thinks she would’ve won the Rumble and of course she thinks she can just pick her WrestleManiaopponent. Ruby continues running Flair down as they walk to the ring. Ruby says Flair is just a cheap imitation of her father, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. The Riott Squad is in the ring now. Ruby came to tell Flair that her time is over but if it’s up to Ruby, Flair won’t even make it to WrestleMania. Flair asks if she’s done yet and delivers a “Wooo!” to her. Ruby swings but Flair blocks it and fires back. Flair fights off Liv and Logan, then mounts Ruby.
Logan and Liv try to stop Flair but she fights them off and clears the ring. Flair stands tall as Liv, Logan and Ruby look on from the floor. They hit the ring again and Flair tries to fight them off but they beat her down with the triple team. They continue beating Flair around the ring and taunting her. Fans boo as The Riott Squad stands tall. Ruby yells for them to lift Flair up so she can drop her with the Riott Kick. They stand over Flair again and look down at her as Ruby’s music hits. We go to replays and come back to The Riott Squad on the stage. Carmella’s music hits and out she comes with her Money In the Bank briefcase. Carmella hands her title shot to the referee and is cashing in. The referee is leaning through the ropes talking to Hamilton when Flair sends Carmella into the referee, knocking him out of the ring. The bell never rang. Flair gets up and stares Carmella down. Carmella leaves the ring and leaves with her briefcase.
– We see AJ backstage trying to talk to Nakamura about strategy for tonight but Nakamura is being Nakamura. Nakamura mentions how he will beat AJ at WrestleMania. AJ wants to know if Nakamura is messing with him. Nakamura tells AJ to listen to him out there tonight.
Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin
We go to the ring and out first comes Tye Dillinger. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Carmella is talking to Renee Young backstage. Carmella says the cash-in didn’t go as planned buy she is the dangerous woman on the roster because she has the Money In the Bank briefcase. Carmella rants about breaking a nail during the cash-in attempt and Renee thanks her to abruptly end the interview. We go back to the ring and Dillinger’s entrance wraps as Baron Corbin makes his way out.
The bell rings and Tye baits Corbin in, then kicks him in the gut. They go to the floor and Tye unloads, sending Corbin into the barrier. Tye runs and leaps off the steel steps, taking Corbin back down. Tye keeps control and brings it back into the ring but Corbin counters and turns it around with a knee. Corbin mounts Tye and keeps control now. Corbin with a big running splash in the corner. Tye fights back but Corbin shuts him down. Tye ends up down on the floor while Corbin stands tall in the ring. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Corbin has Tye grounded in the ring. Tye tries to turn it around but Corbin keeps control. Corbin runs out and back in but it backfires. Tye fights back with offense now. Tye blocks a knee and hits a bicycle kick. Tye with more offense to drop Corbin in the middle of the ring. Tye with chops now. Tye exposes his knee but Corbin blocks the Tye Breaker. Corbin drops Tye with a big shot to the back of the neck.
Corbin with a chokeslam backbreaker as some fans boo. Corbin takes his time and pulls Tye into End of Days for the pin.
Winner: Baron Corbin
– After the match, Corbin stands tall as his music plays.
– We get a backstage video from Rusev and Aiden English. Aiden sings about Rusev becoming the WWE United States Champion next week and Rusev sends a message to champion Bobby Roode. We cut backstage to Roode, who says he has an appointment with Rusev next Tuesday, circling the date on a calendar. But when you’re the US Champion, your schedule fills up quickly. Roode writes “Glorious” on the calendar and smiles. Roode vs. Rusev will take place next week.
– We go backstage to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens warming up. Sami says the good news is at least one of them will be getting a WWE Title shot, it’s just a shame they have to go against each other. Owens agrees to both points. Sami says then again, opportunity is all they’ve needed. Owens agrees and says unless Sami fails. Sami says sort of like how AJ pinned Owens on Sunday at the Rumble. Owens points out how Sami got eliminated in the Rumble match after 5 minutes. Sami says all he knows is that he won’t fail in tonight’s tag match because he has Owens in his corner. Owens agrees and says Sami won’t fail… tonight. Owens walks off.
– Still to come, our tag team main event of the night. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and the announcers plug tonight’s big WWE 205 Live episode.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs. Breezango
We go to the ring and both teams are already out.
Shelton Benjamin starts off with Fandango and hits him. Fandango tries to fight back but Shelton catches him in a Spinebuster. We see The Ascension backstage watching the match. Shelton with more offense before Chad Gable tags in for a quick double team. Gable with a pin attempt and more offense on Fandango. Gable keeps control but is countered. Fandango plants Gable for a pin attempt. Fandango keeps control until Gable slides to the floor and pulls Tyler Breeze off the apron. Gable comes back in but Fandango counters and covers for a 2 count.
Gable turns it back around and keeps Fandango grounded by the arm. Fandango fights up and out for another pin attempt. Breeze tags in and dropkicks Gable. Shelton comes in but Breeze kicks him too. Breeze hits Gable in the corner. Shelton tags in but Breeze doesn’t see it. Gable takes Fandango out to the floor with a crossbody over the top. They both land on the floor.
Breeze and Shelton go at it now as Breeze kicks Shelton. Shelton counters a move and lifts Breeze up high in a powerbomb position while Gable climbs to the top. Gable leaps out and knocks Breeze off Shelton’s shoulders. Shelton covers for the pin.
Winners: Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable
– After the match, Gable and Benjamin stand tall as we go to replays. We come back to the winners standing tall as their music hits.
– Still to come, WrestleMania 34 opponents team up for the main event.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Back from the break and all 4 Superstars are already out. WWE Champion AJ Styles is finishing his entrance up.
Kevin Owens starts off with AJ and they go at it. AJ gets the upperhand and sends Owens to make a tag. Sami Zayn tags in as does Shinsuke Nakamura. They lock up and trade holds. Nakamura ends up unloading on Sami and sending him to the corner for some Good Vibrations as Owens looks on. AJ tags back in and keeps control of Sami. Fans chant for AJ as he goes at it with Sami. AJ nails a big dropkick.
AJ takes Sami to the corner and in comes Nakamura. Sami manages to back Nakamura into the opposite corner so Owens can tag in. Owens stomps away on Shinsuke and then distracts the referee as he backs off, allowing Sami to hit Nakamura with a cheap shot. Owens with more offense until Sami tags in and keeps Nakamura in their corner. Owens tags back in with more offense on Nakamura in their corner. Owens chops Nakamura but he fights back. Nakamura drops Owens with a forearm.
Nakamura drives knees into Owens on the mat now. Sami comes in but gets sent right to the floor but this allows Owens to turn it back around on Nakamura. Owens looks out and asks Sami what the hell he’s doing, if he’s his partner or not. Owens drops Nakamura with a clothesline and takes his time covering for a 2 count. Nakamura gets up fighting and sends Owens out to the floor. Sami and Owens argue at ringside. Sami backs up the ramp and appears to be walking out on the match. Owens asks Sami what the hell he’s doing. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and we get another promo for tonight’s Mixed Match Challenge episode. We go to the ring and Owens has AJ grounded while Sami looks on from the ramp. AJ fights up and out and takes control. AJ with a big forearm. AJ with a jumping shot in the corner. Owens counters a move but AJ comes right back and drives him into the mat for a 2 count as Sami runs back into the ring to break the pin.
Sami tags in and mounts AJ now. Sami with a big backdrop and another pin attempt. Owens keeps yelling for Sami to tag him. Sami finally tags in as the tension continues between the two. Owens hits the senton on AJ for another 2 count. Sami wants in now and AJ slaps him on the chest to tag him in. They continue having words as Owens tells Sami to take it to AJ. Sami responds by tagging in Owens with a slap to the chest. They argue some more. AJ comes from behind and pushes Owens into Sami, knocking him off the apron. AJ with a roll-up on Owens for a 2 count. Owens comes right back and drops AJ. Sami says this is all Owens’ now as he walks out again. Fans boo.
AJ decks Owens from the apron and springboards up but Owens catches him with a Gutbuster over his knee. Owens with a big elbow drop out of the corner for a close 2 count. Owens with more offense but AJ blocks the Pop-Up Powerbomb and hits a pele kick. Nakamura tags in and hits a big kick to the face. Nakamura unloads on Owens with kicks now. Nakamura with more offense in the corner now. Nakamura with the high knees in the corner while Owens is laid over the top. Nakamura readies for the Kinshasa. Owens tries to run away but AJ stops him and rolls him back in. This leads to Nakamura hitting Kinshasa for the win.
Winners: Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles
– After the match, Nakamura and AJ stand tall while Owens is on the mat. We see Sami backstage watching on a monitor. Renee Young walks up and asks if this is the end of their friendship and Sami says nope. Sami says this is all about opportunity. Owens has had several titles while he’s been overlooked. Sami says he’s been known as Kevin Owens’ friend but after next week he will be known as the guy who beat Kevin Owens and then after WWE Fastlane he will be known as the man who beat AJ Styles for the WWE Title. We go back to the ring as Nakamura and AJ celebrate in opposite corners. Nakamura points up at the WrestleMania 34 sign as SmackDown goes off the air.