– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown opens with a video package on Daniel Bryan being cleared to return to the ring. We see footage of his retirement speech in February 2016 plus other highlights from his WWE run, including his big WrestleMania XXX win.
– We’re live from Dallas, Texas as Tom Phillips welcomes us. He’s joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
– Fans are already chanting “Yes!” as we go to the ring. Out comes SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan to a big pop as Greg Hamilton does the introduction. Fans chant Bryan’s name as he takes the mic.
Bryan thanks the fans. He says something horrific happened to Shane McMahon last week but he will have to address it later as the two people he needs to speak to aren’t here yet. Bryan says he has something else to talk about. He says he had the hardest time of his life two years ago but he focused on one thing since then – being grateful, no matter how tough things got. Bryan says he has a lot to be grateful for and fans pop. Bryan has an amazing family, amazing friends, the best fans in the world and an amazing, beautiful wife, Brie Bella. Bryan gets emotional now. Bryan says when he was depressed or angry and trying to be grateful, and Brie saw all he wanted to do was get back into the ring, she came to him and said it’s wonderful that he’s grateful but he needed to fight for his dreams. Brie is the one who encouraged him to start seeing specialists. Bryan says when one specialist gave him good reviews, Brie told him to go see another, and another. Fans chant “thank you Brie” now.
Bryan says when he saw another specialist and they cleared him, Brie told him to fight for his dreams because that’s what he does. Bryan says he wasn’t just grateful when he got depressed then, he fought. He goes on about how Brie encouraged him to fight for his dreams and not walk away, saying if he fought for his dreams then they would fight for him. Bryan says every hard thing seems impossible until it becomes real and over the last 2 months he’s asked WWE to look over his case again. WWE sent him to the best neurologists across the country and they all said the same thing – you are cleared. Fans chant “yes!” now. Bryan says there was a time when being cleared to compete in a WWE ring seemed impossible but now it is real. Bryan says he has a lot of thank yous. He says they looked at him as the person, not the wrestler, and he’s thankful for that. He’s also thankful for WWE giving his case a second look. Bryan wants to thank every fan in the arena and every fan at home because they have supported him the entire time. Bryan goes on about the fan support and says he’s incredibly grateful.
Bryan says now it’s time for the fun stuff. He doesn’t know exactly when or where he will get back in the ring but… Bryan looks up and sees the WrestleMania 34 banner and fans pop big. A WrestleMania chant starts up and Bryan asks if that sounds like a good idea. Fans chant “yes!” now. Bryan says he doesn’t know for sure if that is going to happen but will he compete in a WWE ring again? Bryan leads a much louder “yes!” chant as his music hits. Bryan leaves the ring as fans go wild.
– Still to come, will there be repercussions for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens? Also, Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and referee Charles Robinson congratulates Daniel Bryan backstage. Bryan asks if Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are here yet but he hasn’t seen them. Bryan asks Robinson to send them to his office when they arrive. Dolph Ziggler walks up and congratulates Ziggler, wanting to be the first to say he can’t wait to beat Bryan. Bryan says Ziggler can certainly try. Ziggler walks off.
Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
We go to the ring and Rusev is already out with Aiden English. They watch as Shinsuke Nakamura makes his way out next for this WWE Fastlane rematch.
The bell rings and Rusev grabs Nakamura by the arm and takes control as fans chant for Nakamura. They tangle and go to the mat before coming back up and facing off. They go to lock up again and Nakamura kicks Rusev. Nakamura ends up taunting Rusev and telling him to bring it. They trade big kicks and then some strikes. Rusev tosses Nakamura into the corner and works him over. Rusev whips Nakamura and hits a kick off the ropes for a 2 count. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and they’re going at it. Nakamura floors Rusev off the ropes. We see WWE Champion AJ Styles watching the match from a chair next to the announcers. Nakamura works Rusev into the corner for some Good Vibrations. Nakamura places Rusev on top of the turnbuckles and hits the high knee to the ribs.
Nakamura waits in the corner but Rusev counters and takes Nakamura down. Rusev goes for The Accolade but it’s blocked. Rusev nails a big kick for a close 2 count as English throws a fit at ringside. Rusev waits for Nakamura to get up now. Nakamura ducks the Machka Kick and takes Rusev down into an armbar for a pop. Rusev counters that but Nakamura pins him for the win.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
– After the match, English hits the ring and drops Nakamura from behind. Rusev and English double team Nakamura as AJ watches from his chair at ringside. AJ takes his time getting his jacket off and stands up at ringside but doesn’t enter the ring. Nakamura eventually fights off the double team and stands tall in the ring. AJ looks on from ringside and Nakamura taunts him a bit as his music plays.
– Tom leads us to a video package on the SmackDown Women’s Title match at WrestleMania 34, Asuka vs. champion Charlotte Flair. The promo focuses on Asuka’s dominance. We see Flair backstage watching on a screen. Natalya walks in and says she knows Flair is scared, she can see it and Flair can lie to everyone else but not her. Natalya goes on about Flair’s time coming to an end. Flair tells her to lay off the catnip. Flair says she is excited about facing Asuka. Natalya rants about Asuka coming in and taking her WrestleMania title shot and says Asuka is only undefeated because they haven’t faced yet. Natalya says Flair knows in her heart that she can’t beat Asuka but Natalya can. Flair says Natalya won’t be facing her at WrestleMania but she can have a match with her tonight. Natalya walks off.
– Still to come, rewards or repercussions for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens? Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and AJ Styles is backstage with Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura says he did not need AJ’s help out there and AJ says he knows, he was out there watching. AJ interrupts Nakamura and says he already knows Nakamura is going to say something about beating him at WrestleMania. Nakamura says AJ needs to have more confidence but yes, he will beat AJ with a knee to the face at WrestleMania.
Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin
We go to the ring and out comes Baron Corbin as Tye Dillinger waits in the ring. Both Superstars are confirmed for the fifth annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 34.
The bell rings and they go at it to start. Back and forth for the first part of the match. Corbin floors Tye and works him around the ring now. Corbin sends Tye into the corner and charges but has to run out, then back in. Tye catches him coming back in and sends him back to the floor. Tye jumps off the apron but Corbin catches him. Tye fights that off and they bring it back into the ring. Tye goes for a crossbody from the second rope but Corbin catches him. Corbin goes for End of Days but it’s botched. Corbin ends up sending Tye out to the floor and bringing him right back in. Corbin whips Tye into another End of Days and hits it this time for the fairly easy win.
Winner: Baron Corbin
– After the match, Corbin’s music hits as we go to a replay. Corbin makes his exit.
– We go back to the ring and out comes SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Back to commercial.
Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair
Back from the break and out comes Natalya for this non-title match as SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair waits in the ring.
Back and forth to start. Flair gets the upperhand early on and taunts Natalya. Natalya eventually ties Flair up and rolls her up for a quick pin attempt. Fans “Wooo!” and Natalya yells at them to shut up. Flair turns it around and takes Natalya down a few more times for two more pin attempts. Flair counters in the corner and rolls Natalya up again, holding the bridge for a 2 count. Flair with another quick pin attempt before keeping Natalya grounded.
Flair tosses Natalya around using a scissors now, manhandling her into a 2 count. More action between the two now. Flair ends up kicking Natalya out of the ring and showing off some. We go to commercial with Natalya looking on from the floor.
Natalya with offense in but there’s more back and forth after the break. Natalya unloads in the corner with stomps and keeps control. Flair ends up flooring Natalya with clothesline. Flair unloads with chops now. Flair tosses Natalya with an overhead suplex. Flair approaches but Natalya sends her into the bottom rope to turn it around. Flair comes right back with a big boot. Flair goes for the Figure Four but it’s blocked. Natalya retreats to the corner. Flair comes for her and hits the neckbreaker – backbreaker combo into the turnbuckle. Flair goes to the top but Natalya cuts her off and ends up bringing her to the mat with a big powerbomb for a 2 count.
Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter and gets it locked in the middle of the ring. Flair crawls for the bottom rope and makes it, breaking the hold. Natalya slingshots Flair under the middle rope. Natalya with the big discus clothesline for another close 2 count. Natalya with more offense and pin attempts. Flair goes for the Figure Four again but Natalya kicks her out of the ring. Natalya runs around on the outside but Flair hits a big Spear on the floor.
Flair brings it back into the ring and applies the Figure Four. Natalya fights and prevents the Figure Eight but Flair slides under the bottom rope and hangs off the apron while the hold is still locked in, tightening it on Natalya. The hold is broken. Flair goes to the top but Natalya cuts her off and climbs up. Natalya goes for a superplex and nails it to a pop. Both Superstars are down now.
The music hits and out comes Carmella with her Money In the Bank briefcase and a referee. Carmella almost cashes in but she turns around to a big boot from Flair. Natalya takes advantage and drops Flair, covering for the pin and the non-title win.
– After the bell, Natalya’s music hits as Flair looks on disgusted. We go to replays of what just happened. Natalya leaves all smiles while Carmella leaves with her MITB briefcase. She never cashed in. Flair looks on from the ring.
– Still to come, an update on Shane McMahon’s condition plus the situation with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Also, Jimmy Uso vs. Harper. We get a Mixed Match Challenge promo for tonight and go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see media coverage highlights on Daniel Bryan being cleared.
Jimmy Uso vs. Harper
We go to the ring and out come SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. We see recent happenings that have led to tonight’s match. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso stand tall with mics as fans show them some love. They talk about renewing one of the hottest rivalries at WWE Fastlane as they did battle with The New Day with the winners going to WrestleMania as champions but The Bludgeon Brothers interfered. The Usos say this attack was about more than the titles, they wanted to hurt The Usos and did as Jey is still beat up. The Usos declare that they are still here and are holding the titles high. All they do is know how to survive, how to go hard and how to be the best damn tag team WWE has ever seen. Uso says they’re not going to just stand down 3 weeks away from WrestleMania. Uso says he and Harper are going to war tonight. Jey gets hyped up and says it doesn’t matter what condition they’re in, it goes down when they step into the ring. They welcome The Bludgeon Brothers to The Uso Penitentiary. The music hits and out comes Harper with Rowan. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and the match is underway as Harper beats Jimmy around at ringside. They bring it back into the ring and Harper sends Uso into the corner for more punishment. More action between the two for a few minutes. Jimmy ends up turning it around after Harper gets sent shoulder-first into the apron at ringside. Uso returns to the ring for a dive but Rowan appears on the apron and stops him in his tracks. Uso fends off Rowan and turns around to Harper. Rowan tries to get back into the ring but the referee stops him. Jey takes advantage and superkicks Harper while the referee isn’t looking. Jimmy tries to capitalize but they go at it. Harper ends up climbing to the top with Uso and slamming his head into the top of the ring post. Harper floors Uso with a big clothesline and covers for the pin.
– After the match, Jey pulls Jimmy to safety as Rowan enters the ring for a double team. The Bludgeon Brothers stand tall in the ring as Jey checks on Jimmy on the floor.
– Still to come, repercussions or rewards for Sami and Owens? We see Jinder Mahal walking backstage. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and Sunil Singh is in the ring with Jinder Mahal.
Jinder talks about the WWE United States Title and how he’s the real champion after restoring prestige to the title when he had it. Jinder talks about the WrestleMania 34 Triple Threat with Bobby Roode and champion Randy Orton, also taking shots earlier in the promo by calling everyone hypocrites. The music interrupts and out comes Roode. Roode says Jinder is the real hypocrite here. Roode downplays Jinder’s claims about respect and says he doesn’t deserve it. Roode enters the ring and goes on about how winning his title back at WrestleMania will be glorio… the music interrupts again and out comes WWE United States Champion Randy Orton.
Jinder introduces Orton and Orton tells him to shut the hell up. Orton says Jinder doesn’t realize why no one respects him and why he’s not in the same class as other former champion. Orton points out Jinder’s stooge and says Jinder sucks. A “you suck” chant starts up. The three face off and Jinder shoves Singh in for a sacrifice. This leads to Orton hitting the RKO on Singh as Jinder watches from ringside. Singh eats a Glorious DDT next. Orton and Roode have a stalemate after blocking finishers. Jinder watches from ringside as Orton and Roode face off. Jinder points up at the WrestleMania 34 banner and yells out as Orton’s music hits.
– Becky Lynch and Naomi are backstage walking. We go to commercial.
Naomi and Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan
Back from the break and all four Superstars are already out. Tom confirms them for the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal. The Riott Squad’s leader Ruby Riott watches from ringside. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan with a double team early on. Naomi tags in Becky Lynch and they also pull a double team. Becky goes at it with Liv now. Becky approaches but Liv sends her face-first into the turnbuckles.
Logan tags in for an aggressive double team in the corner. Logan taunts Naomi before delivering a quick double knees to the face of Becky. Logan keeps Becky grounded now and gets aggressive with her. Fans chant for Becky. Becky tries to make the tag but Logan slams her on her head. Logan gets dumped to the floor. Ruby checks on her. Logan still gets in and stops Beck from tagging, knocking Naomi off the apron.
Logan goes back after Becky but Becky pulls her into the Dis-Arm-Her. Naomi takes out Liv with a Rear View as she runs in and tries to break it up. Becky keeps the hold locked in and Logan taps.
Winners: Becky Lynch and Naomi
– After the match, The Riott Squad heads to the back as Naomi and Becky taunt them. They celebrate as Becky’s music hits.
– Daniel Bryan is backstage when a staffer informs him that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have arrived. Bryan wants them told that he will meet them in the ring. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Daniel Bryan is in the ring doing a “Yes!” chant with fans. Bryan says tonight has obviously been very big for him but he has one more thing to address. He calls Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens to the ring.
Sami and Owens hit the ring next. Owens says they weren’t going to come tonight because Shane McMahon isn’t here but then they got the big news that everyone has been waiting for for years, Bryan getting cleared to return to the ring. Owens says they raced to get here so they could be with Bryan for the big moment but they got pulled for speeding, but talked their way out of it. Owens disses the people of Texas for boos. Sami talks next about Bryan getting cleared and says this is big, something they wouldn’t miss because Bryan has been one of their biggest supporters. Sami goes on and says SmackDown is definitely the A show now because they have him, Owens and Bryan. Sami says actually that sounds like a dream team. Fans boo. Bryan appreciates the comments but that’s not why he brought them out here. He says he brought them out here because of what happened last week. We see a replay of Owens and Sami destroying Shane last Tuesday.
Sami and Owens are laughing at the replay. Bryan asks if they think that was funny. Owens says they did get carried away a bit and Sami says Bryan has to agree that Shane kind of deserved it. Bryan doesn’t think Sami and Owens get it, they’re acting like this isn’t a big deal. Bryan says this is a big deal and asks if they realize what they did. Bryan says he believes they truly are two of the best performers of this generation and Shane was right when he said Bryan was living vicariously through them because they come from the same places and they’ve known each other for 15 years. But what they did was more than get carried way, they assaulted their boss. Bryan is having a hard time understanding because they won – Shane came out and gave them a match on the grandest stage of them all. Bryan tells them to imagine working an armory years ago in front of 300 people and someone telling them that they could fight each other at WrestleMania. Bryan says they even got what they wanted with Shane leaving his duties as SmackDown Commissioner but they still felt the need to attack their boss. Bryan says Shane was right and he really doesn’t want to do this… fans wake up some and cheer a bit. Bryan says he got fired from the company one time and became a better man. You can learn and grow from it. Bryan says he hates to do this but Sami and Owens are fired. The crowd cheers.
Bryan says this doesn’t mean they are gone forever, they’re just gone now. Bryan says he is so sorry and they know how much they mean to him. Sami and Owens stare at Bryan as he extends his hand for a shake. Fans start singing “goodbye” to the two. Sami and Owens turn away but Owens turns back and floors Bryan. Owens screams at Bryan and blames him for what happened. Sami joins him but Bryan fights back as the crowd pops. Bryan unloads with kicks in the corner on Owens as fans chant but Sami comes over. Bryan hits a German suplex on Sami. Bryan with corner dropkicks for each man now. Bryan with more offense to each of them in the corners. Bryan gets riled up as fans pop big for him. Sami gets the upperhand as they both beat Bryan down now. Referees run down to try and stop things from ringside. Owens holds Bryan in the corner as Sami runs in with a Helluva Kick. The boos continue. Fans chant “you suck” now. Owens is screaming like a mad man.
Owens ans Sami end up with Bryan on the floor. The referees try to get them to back off. Owens hits a huge powerbomb and leaves Bryan laying on the floor. Owens continues screaming. Sami stares down at Bryan. Paramedics rush down with a stretcher as Bryan is laid out beside the ring. It sounds like fans are chanting “you’re still fired” now. Owens continues yelling as he and Sami head up the ramp. SmackDown goes off the air as Bryan is loaded onto the stretcher.
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