– The first WWE SmackDown of 2019 opens live on tape from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tom Phillips welcomes us. He’s joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. They hype John Cena’s blue brand return and a Fatal 5 Way to determine the Royal Rumble opponent for WWE Champion Daniel Bryan.
– We go right to the ring and out comes The New Day – Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston, for their New Year’s Celebration. Woods announces that all three of them will be in the Royal Rumble match later this month.
Woods and Kofi are in suits but Big E is dressed as a large baby, diaper and bottle included. Big E talks about the chances they have of winning the Rumble and Woods says he’s doing Scott Steiner math. Kofi talks about their chances and going to WrestleMania 35 to main event and win the WWE Title. Woods mentions they could also challenge for the WWE Universal Title but fans boo and they then make jokes about Brock Lesnar not showing up. They talk about New Year’s resolutions next. Woods says their doctor says they should no longer eat pancakes. Fans boo. Woods says from now on they will be handing out heads of lettuce and balsamic vinegar.
Big E gets caught hiding pancakes in his mouth. Woods says they are no longer devouring pancakes. Big E gets caught eating more pancakes as he has them hiding in his diaper. Fans chant “we want pancakes!” now. Kofi says his resolution is to buy a new car, a yellow bug. He goes on and Big E says that is the plot to the new Bumblebee movie with John Cena. Big E plugs the movie’s rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. Woods says he will use the year of 2019 to learn to navigate the world with a blind-fold and guide his kids to safety. Big E says that’s the plot to the new Bird Box movie. Big E hypes tonight’s Fatal 5 Way to crown a #1 contender for WWE Champion Daniel Bryan at the Rumble. He hypes up Samoa Joe and then the music hits for Jeff Hardy. Hardy makes his entrance as we go to commercial.
Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy
Back from the break and out comes Samoa Joe. The bell rings and Joe takes Hardy to the corner. Joe unloads and delivers a stiff kick. Hardy fights out of the corner but Joe delivers more kicks. Joe takes the leg out and drops Hardy into a kneebar submission.
Hardy goes for the ropes and finally makes it to the bottom rope to break the hold. They get up and Joe takes back control, beating Hardy around the ring. Hardy counters and drops Joe. Hardy slams Joe’s leg around the ring post a few times as the referee warns him. Hardy with an elbow to the knee now. Hardy comes back in and goes for a Figure Four but Joe rolls out of the ring for a breather. Hardy calls for a “delete!” chant. Joe tears the top off the announce table and shows frustration as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Joe works Hardy into the corner with strikes. Joe gets in Hardy’s face to talk trash and Hardy fights out of the corner. Joe shuts him right back down and covers for a 2 count. Joe with more offense in the corner now. Joe runs into an elbow. Hardy goes to the top but Joe turns him upside down and charges in with a dropkick to the chest.
Joe keeps control and drops Hardy for another 2 count. Hardy fights up and out of a hold. Hardy drops Joe and looks to make a comeback. Hardy with the atomic drop and the leg drop. Hardy with a dropkick for a 2 count. Hardy with a Twist of Fate in the middle of the ring.
Hardy goes to the top rope as fans pop. Hardy nails the Swanton Bomb but Joe rolls out of the ring to avoid the pin. Hardy tries to kick through the ropes but Joe drops him onto the floor with a Coquina Clutch. The referee counts them both out as Joe keeps the hold applied. Joe releases the hold and returns to the ring. The referee re-stars the count. Hardy makes it right back in before the 10 count but Joe immediately applies the Coquina Clutch again. Hardy fades and goes out for the submission win. Joe is going to the main event.
Winner: Samoa Joe
– After the match, Joe stands tall over Hardy as his music hits. The announcers hype tonight’s Fatal 5 Way main event with Joe, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, AJ Styles and Mustafa Ali. Joe makes his exit.
– The announcers show us a replay of last week’s closing segment with Vince McMahon and AJ Styles, which saw Vince slap AJ and tell him to release the inner animal that was waiting to get out of AJ. AJ then dropped Vince, leaving him on his back, staring at the ceiling with a smile on his face to end the show.
– Vince and Shane McMahon are backstage now talking about what happened. AJ knocks and comes in. AJ says they wanted to see him. He asks again, are they sure they want to see him? AJ says maybe he should apologize for last week but he’s not going to. AJ says Vince wanted the real AJ Styles, well watch what happens later tonight. Unless Vince wants to see it right now. Shane stands up and Vince motions for him to relax. AJ walks off. Shane asks Vince if he’s sure he wants to see the real AJ. Absolutely, Vince says. Shane tells Vince to be careful for what he wishes for. Vince thinks about that line to end the segment.
– Still to come, a United States Title Celebration for Rusev. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and Kayla Braxton is in the ring with a mic. Out comes new WWE United States Champion Rusev with Lana. They come out to a pop for Rusev’s US Title Celebration. We see a replay of Rusev defeating Shinsuke Nakamura for the title last week.
Kayla asks about winning the title on his birthday and on Christmas last week. Fans chant for Rusev and Rusev says it was the biggest Rusev Day of them all, as you can hear. Kayla asks how his reign will be different than Nakamura’s. Rusev says it will be very difficult as he respects the title. He goes on and says he will defend his title against any opponent, and do it with honor. Rusev says he will do it with his hot animal magnet, Lana, and he will do it while smelling like bacon-flavored cinnamon buns. Whatever that means. He pledges allegiance and goes on with a “Rusev Day!” chant until Nakamura suddenly attacks from behind.
Lana jumps on Nakamura’s back to try and stop the attack. Rusev doesn’t see this and drops Nakamura with a Machka Kick. Lana and Nakamura both go down. Rusev sees Lana laid out and he checks on her. Nakamura drops Rusev with a running shot. Rusev tries to get up but Nakamura drops him with a Kinshasa as fans boo. Nakamura raises the title as the boos continue. Nakamura exits the ring as fans boo and we go to replays. Lana is up on her feet now as Rusev holds her.
– Still to come, John Cena’s blue brand return.
– Tom talks about the feud between Mandy Rose and Naomi. We see footage from last week where Rose flirted with Jimmy Uso until Naomi tried to attack her.
Naomi vs. Sonya Deville
We go to the ring and out comes Naomi as Greg Hamilton does the introductions. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and out comes Mandy Rose with Sonya Deville. Rose gets ready for the match and she reveals an Usos t-shirt under her shirt. Naomi flips out. Rose backs off and Deville takes her place in the match for some reason. Naomi unloads on Deville to start. Deville comes back for a pin attempt. Naomi goes back to work on Deville, taking her anger out on her.
Rose tries to interfere. Deville comes back with a knee for a 2 count. Deville with more offense before keeping Naomi grounded and rag-dolling her on the mat some. Rose dances around at ringside and taunts Naomi. Naomi turns it around and drops Deville with a big kick. Rose takes a mic at ringside and says she was getting dressed earlier today and couldn’t help but think about Jimmy, so she sent him this – Rose shows us a photo on the big screen, of her wearing just a towel. Naomi isn’t happy. Deville takes advantage of the distraction and drops Naomi. Deville covers for the pin to win.
Winner: Sony Deville
– After the match, Rose and Deville celebrate up the ramp as Naomi recovers, staring them down from the ring.
– We go backstage to a promo from Randy Orton, hyping tonight’s Fatal 5 Way main event. Orton says soon the WWE Champion will be known by just three letters – RKO. We go to a backstage promo from Rey Mysterio. Rey says he proved to Orton that he’s not someone to push around, and later he will prove to everyone that he came back to WWE so he could be WWE Champion. Mustafa Ali speaks next. He wants to be known as the heart of SmackDown now. He points to how he recently pinned the WWE Champion and acknowledges that he’s the underdog going into tonight’s main event.
– Still to come, the Fatal 5 Way and John Cena’s blue brand return.
– We get backstage videos of The IIconics, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, and Shelton Benjamin for their New Year’s Resolution. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce mention the upcoming WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Gallows and Anderson say maybe it’s time to eradicate all the nerds from SmackDown. Shelton says resolutions are a fraud because none of us will live up to the promises we make to ourselves, and maybe it’s time that resolutions are done away with, once and for all. Shelton tears down the New Year’s decorations and wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Samoa Joe is backstage with words for the main event and how he will go on to win the WWE Title from Daniel Bryan.
– We go to the ring and out comes John Cena to a big pop.
Cena thanks the fans and says it’s good to feel some energy. Cena says it’s been one hell of a year. He bought a ticket to WrestleMania and that was sweet but he probably should not have had those beers before the match with The Undertaker. Cena says his personal life also played out in the public this year. He wrote a children’s book that he’s proud of. He got to live for six months in China, which was pretty cool, and he still thinks this haircut is a good idea. Cena says through all that, he still feels like he can flat like a butterfly and sting like a Bumblebee. Cena asks if we saw what he did there. Cena says he is still here but now it’s about why. He asks “why?” over and over, and fans ask along with him. Cena asks why he’s here and says he doesn’t have a reason, but the great thing about SmackDown is that they will play someone’s music in 30 seconds, and that person will say he’s a part-timer with a bad haircut who will leave faster than Nikki Bella left him. Cena goes on and tells them to go ahead and bring that person out. The music hits and out comes Becky Lynch to a big pop.
Becky hits the ring and poses. She then meets Cena in the middle of the ring as fans chant her name. She asks Cena how it feels. He thinks she’s asking how it feels to be back but she wants to know how it feels to be confronted by The Man. She says it’s not that typical around here anymore. She says she wasn’t just trying to take Charlotte Flair off the posters and billboards in 2018, she was going for Cena too. She says Cena represents what the company is all about, or was all about. She says people want someone to step up and take that spot, and that person is her. Becky says if Cena has a problem with that, then Nikki won’t be the only woman to drop him this year. They stare at each other for a moment but the music interrupts as Andrade “Cien” Almas comes out with Zelina Vega.
Vega hates to interrupt their little testosterone-driven game of one-ups. She taunts them for being former champions, past tense and old news. She says Vince McMahon recently promised new faces and new match-ups and the year just started but all she sees is an old face, with Cena, and a broken face, with Becky. Vega says Becky’s face didn’t really heal up because she’s looking rough. Vega formally introduces herself to Cena, then introduces Almas and calls him the future of SmackDown. Some fans boo but some cheer her comments. Vega says 2019 will be the year of Tranquilo. Cena fires back and introduces himself, telling Vega she’s out of her weight class. Cena also says he bets Becky could kick Andrade’s teeth down his throat. Cena goes on and issues a challenge for a mixed tag team match. Cena tells them to step up or step aside. Vega and Almas march to the ring while Becky and Cena look on. We go back to commercial.
Becky Lynch and John Cena vs. Zelina Vega and Andrade “Cien” Almas
Back from the break and Becky Lynch goes at it with Zelina Vega. Becky drops her with a dropkick. Becky talks trash to Almas and wants him to come in. Almas tags in and Becky stares him down, taunting him.
The referee warns her to tag out. Becky slaps Cena on his arm to tag him in. Cena laughs a little and goes to work with Almas. Cena sends Almas into the ropes and he poses on the middle rope as Vega joins him on the mat, posing under him. Cena and Almas face off and lock up. They trade holds as fans chant for Becky. Almas drops Cena and works him around as Vega cheers him on. Becky turns to the crowd and a “we want Becky!” chant starts up.
Almas takes Cena down to the mat and keeps him grounded. Vega distracts Cena at one point, allowing Almas to get a shot in. They go on and Vega drops Cena with a kick to the face while the referee was distracted by Becky. Almas goes back to work on Cena but Cena overpowers and counters with a suplex. Almas comes back and drops Cena for another 2 count. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Almas has control of Cena. Almas mounts Cena in the corner with right hands. Almas stands on Cena’s shoulders and keeps him down in the corner now. Almas goes to the opposite corner and charges in with the double knees but Cena moves and Almas hits the turnbuckles. Fans pop as Becky reaches for the tag. Becky tags in and scoops Vega for a big slam. Becky with more offense.
Becky keeps control and goes to the top, leaping down onto Vega for a close 2 count in the middle of the ring. Almas comes in for the save but Cena unloads. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment as Becky and Vega watch. Cena knocks Almas out of the ring with the Lighting Fist. Cena stands tall but Becky comes from behind and tosses him out of the ring. Vega tries to take advantage but Becky gets the upperhand and applies the Dis-Arm-Her for the submission win.
Winners: Becky Lynch and John Cena
– After the match, Becky’s music hits as she meets Cena at ringside. Cena offers his hand for a shake but Becky refuses and does the “you can’t see me” taunt in his face. Becky walks off as Cena celebrates and plays to the crowd. Cena stands tall as his music hits.
– We get a replay of last week’s segment where Shane McMahon finally said he would team with The Miz. We go backstage to Shane and two staffers in his office. Miz walks in and greets his co-bestie. Miz says last week he was a bit embarrassed because he’s never opened up to the WWE Universe like that. Shane indicates he might have cold feet but he assures Miz he’s all in for them teaming up. Miz has a sketch book and the top page shows them wearing matching entrance attire. Shane says he doesn’t like that. Miz says his dad designed it and Shane looks to consider it. Miz flips the page and now the gear is a different color. Miz flips the page again and we see what their ring gear would be. It’s just Miz’s gear on Shane’s body. He’s also wearing Jordans. Shane isn’t very interested as he walks off while Shane is ranting about his designer making them look like the best in the world.
– Still to come, a Fatal 5 Way main event. Back to commercial.
– We get a promo for the upcoming call-ups from WWE NXT – Lars Sullivan, Lacey Evans, Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight of Heavy Machinery, Nikki Cross and EC3.
– SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka is backstage when Triple H walks up and congratulates her. He says she’s on a bit of a roll with the win over Naomi last week but it’s that time of the year, time for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Triple H asks Asuka who she feels might deserve a title shot. Asuka says she will fight anyone and it doesn’t matter because no one is ready for her. Triple H says he loves that. Charlotte Flair appears and says if it wasn’t for RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, she would be champion now. Flair says she should get the opportunity. Carmella appears and says she was champion for 130 days, beat Flair twice, so if anyone deserves the shot it’s her. Flair tells Carmella to take her 7 second dance break somewhere else. Becky Lynch appears and says unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s just one challenger for Asuka – The Man. Triple H says they are all worthy and they will take it under advisement, then let them know when “we’ve” made a decision. Triple H walks off. Asuka grabs her title and they all trade looks.
Fatal 5 Way to Crown a New #1 Contender: Rey Mysterio vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
We go to the ring for tonight’s Fatal 5 Way main event and out first comes Rey Mysterio. Mustafa Ali is out next, followed by Samoa Joe. The winner of this match will face WWE Champion Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble. AJ Styles is out next and Randy Orton is out last. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and they all face off. The bell rings and here we go, they all go at it. AJ ends up backing Orton into the corner and dropping him. Ali pulls AJ out of the ring but AJ sends him into the ring post. AJ brings it back into the ring but Orton sends him right back out to the floor. Orton goes for the second rope draping DDT on Ali but it’s blocked. Ali flies in and slams Orton face-first for a close 2 count as Joe breaks it up. We see the WWE Champion backstage watching the match.
Styles and AJ go at it for a second as AJ drops him, whipping him hard into the corners. Rey kicks AJ in the face and springboards but AJ catches him. Rey sends AJ out of the ring. Rey runs the ropes but Orton intercepts him with a powerslam. Joe drop Orton and then launches Ali over his head. Joe and AJ go at it now. AJ with the reverse DDT for a close 2 count. AJ stands tall in the ring while the others are down on the outside. We go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Orton goes at it with AJ and Rey now. AJ sends Orton out. We see Bryan watching backstage again. Orton goes on and sends Rey out. Ali comes at Orton but AJ comes back into the mix. Joe knocks AJ off the apron as he went to springboard in to Ali. Orton is out with Joe as he works over AJ. Joe grabs AJ and sends him crashing through the top of the announce table. Orton looks down at AJ on the table debris. Ali leaps out and takes Joe down on the floor. Rey leaps off the apron and hits a senton on Orton. Rey and Ali stare at each other and head back in the ring together now.
Rey and Ali go at it in the middle of the ring now. Rey sends Ali into the corner. Rey rocks Ali and goes to the top. Ali cuts him off with a forearm. Ali climbs up in the corner. Rey sends him down. Ali comes back up and hits a huge Spanish Fly from the top. Ali is slow to crawl over for the pin and it’s broken up at the 2 count by Joe. Joe unloads with knees now. Ali fights Joe off and hits a big DDT. Ali goes to the top for the 054 but Joe rolls out of the way. Joe grabs Ali for the Coquina Clutch and applies it. Rey comes from out of nowhere and hits Ali with a 619 while he’s in the Coquina Clutch. Rey with another 619 after sending Joe out. Orton pulls Rey off the apron. Orton comes in the ring and drops Ali with a RKO but Rey comes flying out of nowhere to break Orton’s pin.
Rey kicks Orton into position and hits him with a 619. Joe grabs Rey and tries to powerbomb him on the outside of the ring but Rey counters and takes Joe down on the floor. AJ goes up for a springboard 450 to Orton. AJ covers for the pin and the title shot at the Royal Rumble.
Winner and New #1 Contender: AJ Styles
– After the match, AJ hits the corners to celebrate as his music hits. We go to replays. Orton is shown recovering on the outside with the others. The first SmackDown of 2019 goes off the air with AJ raising his arms in the ring.