– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown opens up with a look back at last week’s main event, which saw Sami Zayn get a non-title win over WWE Champion AJ Styles.
– We’re live from Birmingham, Alabama as Tom Phillips welcomes us. He’s joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
– We go to the ring and Renee Young has a few chairs set up. She brings out her guest, WWE Champion AJ Styles.
Renee asks if the Handicap Match at the Royal Rumble was a fair decision. Styles says he was being sarcastic when he mentioned the Handicap Match last week but he can’t take back what he said and the match that SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan made. Styles goes on and says he may lose the title but his strategy is simple – hit them fast and hit them hard. AJ says Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are professionals and logic tells him that the longer the match goes, the better chance they have because they can tag in a fresh man. Renee asks again if AJ thinks the decision was fair. Fans chant for AJ. AJ says the decision was not fair but neither is life. He goes on and Renee asks if Bryan is playing favorites. Fans do the “yes!” chant. AJ says he doesn’t know what Bryan’s deal is and he tries not getting in Bryan’s business but it seems like Bryan is pushing him into it. Renee asks about SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon next and AJ says he’s not going to get into it, he’s not pointing fingers.
AJ goes on and says he can’t allow those 2 idiots to take his title from him, he has to retain. AJ says he will beat Sami and Owens on the same night in the same match and then there will be no doubt that SmackDown is… the music interrupts and out comes Owens and Sami. Owens mocks AJ and calls him The Regretful or The Remorseful instead of The Phenomenal. Fans chant for AJ as Owens goes on. Owens says AJ has no chance of walking out of the Rumble with the WWE Title. Sami chimes in with a “yep!” Owens says when it’s all said and done, they will be the first-ever co-WWE Champions. Some fans boo. Owens talks some more trash before they start a “yep!” chant. The music interrupts and out comes Shane.
Shane says he has to agree with AJ here, he doesn’t think it’s fair that AJ has to defend like this. Shane doesn’t understand why Bryan would make this match or why he would give these Yep Clowns another chance at becoming WWE Champion. With that said, Shane does back Bryan’s decision to have the match at the Royal Rumble, for now. Shane wants to talk about having a different Handicap Match here tonight in Birmingham. Fans pop. Shane announces Sami and Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton and AJ. Shane’s music hits and he leaves as the music hits. We see Shane go backstage and approach Bryan, who was watching. Bryan comments on Shane being puzzled at the decision and says he made a helluva main event for tonight. They shake hands and Shane looks at Bryan confused, then walks off. We see AJ celebrating up the ramp by holding the title in the air.
– Still to come, the first round of the WWE United States Title tournament wraps. Also, Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott. We go to commercial.
Ruby Riott vs. Becky Lynch
Back from the break and out first comes Becky Lynch. SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair is out next, followed by Naomi. They will be watching from ringside to even the odds. Out next comes The Riott Squad – Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan.
The bell rings and they go at it with Becky taking Ruby right to the mat. Becky slams Ruby a few more times and stands tall. Becky grabs Ruby again and they go to the ropes as the referee counts. Becky keeps control. Logan tries to grab Becky’s leg. Ruby tries to take advantage of the distraction but it backfires. Becky tosses Ruby out into the rest of The Squad. We go to commercial with Becky standing tall in the ring.
Back from the break and Ruby has a body scissors on Becky, who has been confirmed for the Royal Rumble. Becky breaks free and gets some offense in the corner but Ruby turns it back around. Ruby keeps Becky down and drives knees into her now. Ruby with an abdominal stretch in the middle of the ring. Becky looks to make another comeback and rolls Ruby up for a 2 count.
Becky unloads and drops Ruby with an uppercut now. Becky with more offense and a suplex. Becky nails another suplex. Becky goes for a running kick but Ruby moves and drops Becky with a kick. Ruby goes for the Riott Kick but Becky blocks it and puts her in the Disarm Her for the win.
Winner: Becky Lynch
– After the match, The Riott Squad retreats to the stage as the babyfaces stand tall in the ring.
– We see video from earlier today of Sami Zayn revealing to Becky Lynch that they are Mixed Match Challenge partners.
– Still to come, a 2-on-3 Handicap main event. Back to commercial.
The Ascension vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
Back from the break and The Ascension waits as The Bludgeon Brothers make their way out. We see Fashion Files video from earlier that ended with Breezango backing out from being in The Ascension’s corner tonight.
The bell rings and The Ascension double teams Harper to start. This eventually backfires and Harper floors Viktor after Konnor gets dumped.
Rowan tags in and they double team Viktor for a quick squash.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
– After the match, Rowan and Harper stand tall over Rowan as their music hits. They invite Konnor to enter the ring but he holds off. They go to leave and in comes Konnor to check on Viktor. Rowan and Harper turn their attention back to Konnor and attack, leaving him laying. They leave as their music plays.
– Still to come, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin want justice from last week.
– Bobby Roode is out next to a pop. We go to commercial.
WWE United States Title Tournament Match: Zack Ryder vs. Mojo Rawley
Back from the break and Zack Ryder is out with a new theme song. Bobby Roode watches from ringside as Mojo Rawley makes his way out with his new theme song. The winner of this match will face Roode in a second round tournament match. Mojo enters the ring and exits to get a look at the WWE United States Title belt on display at ringside.
The bell rings and Ryder connects with a dropkick as Mojo tries to stall and talk some trash. Mojo comes back into the ring and takes Ryder to the corner with a thrust. Mojo runs into knees but comes right back and knocks Ryder off the top rope. Roode watches as Mojo mounts Ryder from behind and talks trash while beating on him. Ryder with a 2 count.
Mojo keeps control and talks more trash while beating Ryder around the ring. Ryder counters a move and nails a neckbreaker. Mojo charges but Ryder drops him. Ryder with more offense now. Ryder goes for the Broski Boot but Mojo rolls to the floor. Ryder kicks him through the ropes anyway. Ryder follows and rolls Mojo back into the ring for a 2 count. Mojo ends up turning it around and getting the win with the big running right hand in the corner. Mojo advances to the match with Roode.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
– After the match, Mojo stands tall as his music hits. We get a look at the updated tournament brackets. Roode enters the ring and faces off with Mojo now. Mojo backs away while pointing at Roode. Roode does his pose as his music hits.
– Jinder Mahal is backstage with The Singh Brothers. Jinder says 2017 was defined by him because of his WWE Title reign. Jinder says no one thought it was possible and no one thought he was deserving, except for himself. Jinder says he now has his eyes on a new prize – the WWE United States Title. Jinder says he will face Xavier Woods in a tournament match next week but he hopes Woods knows he’s already lost. Jinder says Woods and The New Day are a fad but The Modern Day Maharaja is forever.
– We see Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable backstage walking. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and the announcers plug the RAW 25th Anniversary show.
– We see Mixed Match Challenge partners Natalya and Shinsuke Nakamura backstage after their team was announced earlier today.
– Back to the ring as Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin are out for justice.
Gable and Benjamin enter the ring as we see footage from last week’s controversial loss to SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. Gable asks fans if any of them knows what it takes it to be a winner – hours of training, neglecting family & friends all to chase down one goal. Gable asks if they know what it means to be a success, to show your risk paid off and that your life means something. Benjamin gets a pop for mentioning Alabama’s big college football win but they turn to boos when he starts knocking the fans for sitting on their couches and stuffing their faces. Benjamin says Georgia was robbed due to a bad referee call in last night’s game, just like last week on SmackDown. The boos continue.
Gable talks about how they won last week and set the titles free from The Uso Penitentiary. They were walking up the ramp, happy as can be, and then… it sounds like fans are chanting “Roll Tide” to interrupt them. Benjamin now talks about how the second referee came down to overturn their victory last week. Gable keeps asking why the referee was even in the match. Benjamin says it boils down to jealousy. Fans are doing the “what?!” chants now. They go on knocking fans and the referee from last week, saying he’s a snitch and snitches get stitches. Gable says a crime was committed last week and Benjamin demands justice. Gable says they didn’t lose to The Usos last week, they lost to instant replay. They call the referee to the ring but the music hits and out comes Daniel Bryan instead.
Fans chant Bryan’s name. He understands the euphoria of thinking you’ve won and he definitely understands what it’s like to work hard and have something taken from you. Bryan doesn’t care about what they say about their opponents but when they start knocking management… Bryan says there are cold, hard rules that the roster needs to understand and one of those is that the decision of the referee is final. Benjamin goes on about how they won the match last week. Bryan says they didn’t win, they pinned the wrong Uso. Bryan goes on and says they stand behind the referee and his decision. Gable mocks Bryan and says he’s taking it out on them because Bryan’s boss is mad at him. The segment ends with Bryan apparently making a 2 of 3 Falls title match between the two teams at the Royal Rumble. Bryan leaves after starting a “yes!” chant.
– We see Randy Orton backstage warming up. AJ Styles walks in and they get on the same page for tonight’s main event. Orton needs AJ to trust him when they say they’re on the same page but also trust him when he wins the Royal Rumble because he’s coming after whoever has the WWE Title at WrestleMania 34. Shinsuke Nakamura appears and says not so fast. Nakamura indicates he’s also going for the title.
– Still to come, Rusev Day vs. Breezango. Back to commercial.
Rusev Day vs. Breezango
Back from the break and Rusev is in the ring with Aiden English. English starts singing to announce that both of them will be in the Royal Rumble match. Tyler Breeze and Fandango are out next.
English starts off with Fandango and they go at it. Fandango takes control and places English over the top rope, tagging in Breeze for a quick double team. English falls to the floor. English is upset as Rusev checks on him and we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and English has control of Breeze. English with more offense before going to the top and missing a senton. Breeze finally gets a tag and in comes Fandango with chops on English, taking him to the corner. Fandango with a big back drop and more chops now. English kicks Fandango and tags in Rusev.
Fandango drops English but Rusev runs him over. Rusev takes control and yells out for a pop. Rusev charges Fandango in the corner and then hits a spinning heel kick for another pop. Rusev readies for The Accolade but Breeze runs in. Rusev tosses Breeze to the floor. Fandango with a close 2 count on Rusev. Breeze comes back but Rusev drops him. Fandango takes advantage of the chaos and rolls Rusev up for the pin.
– After the match, Breezango retreats to celebrate and recover. Rusev Day is shocked in the ring. Breezango celebrates on the ramp as their music hits while Rusev throws a fit.
– Daniel Bryan is backstage watching. Shane McMahon walks in and Bryan praises Breezango for connecting with fans, then gives props to the tag team division. Shane says he and Bryan are not on the same page right now. Shane knocks Bryan’s decision making and points to the WWE Title Handicap Match and how we might have co-WWE Champions. Shane also points to the 2 of 3 Falls Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles and says The Usos won last week so they shouldn’t have to give Gable and Benjamin another shot. Shane asks Bryan if he’s doing OK. Shane doesn’t want to offend Bryan because he might have a lot going on in his life. Shane says Bryan is coming off as unstable. Bryan could say the same thing, especially given Shane’s gene pool. Shane says they will just agree to disagree, and he’s going to leave Bryan alone. Shane walks out.
– Still to come, Styles teams with Orton and Nakamura to face Owens and Sami. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and the announcers plug the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
2-on-3 Handicap Match: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura
We go to the ring for tonight’s main event and out first comes WWE Champion AJ Styles as Greg Hamilton does the introductions. Randy Orton is out next, followed by Shinsuke Nakamura. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are out next. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Sami is in control of AJ, who reaches for a tag. Sami brings AJ right back to the mat. Owens tags in and keeps AJ near their corner. Owens talks some trash while working AJ over. Owens with a clothesline for a 2 count. Owens keeps AJ grounded with a headlock now.
AJ finally gets a break by nailing a neckbreaker to counter Owens. Orton gets the tag and unloads on Sami as he also comes in. Orton with clotheslines and a powerslam. Orton with the second rope draping DDT on Sami next. Orton hits the mat and calls for the RKO as fans cheer. Sami gets up and blocks the RKO as Owens runs in with a steel chair shot to the gut of Orton. The referee calls for the bell.
Winners by DQ: AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura
– After the bell, Owens delivers more chair shots as all of their opponents are down now. Sami and Owens back up the ramp but out comes Shane McMahon once again. Shane tells Sami and Owens to hold on just a second. He announces that the match will now be No Count Out, No DQ, Anything Goes. Shane has the match re-started again.
AJ runs up the ramp and delivers steel chair shots. AJ beats Owens around with the chair. They go into the backstage area. Sami is at ringside with Nakamura now. Orton appears on the other side of Sami as he’s trapped at ringside. Sami tries to run away through the crowd but they stop him and send him into the ring post. Orton takes half of the steel steps and decks Sami with them. Sami gets tossed over the announce table next. Orton slams Sami on top of the announce table as fans cheer. Orton brings it back in the ring and Nakamura hits a Kinshasa on Sami. Orton nails the RKO and covers for the pin.
Winners: AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura
– After the match, Orton and Nakamura stand tall and pose. SmackDown goes off the air.