– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown opens live from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh with Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
– The announcers welcome us and lead us to a video package on SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan and last week’s show, including his speech on getting cleared to return to the ring, the firing of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and their brutal attack that closed the show. We will find out an update on Bryan’s status later and he will be here.
Bobby Roode and Randy Orton vs. Sunil Singh and Jinder Mahal
We go right to the ring and out first comes Bobby Roode for the opener.
Out next comes WWE United States Champion Randy Orton. Jinder Mahal is out next with Sunil Singh, who is wearing a sling on his arm. Jinder blames the injury on last week’s attack and says he has found a replacement. Out comes Rusev with Aiden English. They march to the ring. Rusev and Jinder stand tall in the ring while Singh and English look on from ringside. Fans start chanting for USA.
Jinder and Roode go at it to start things off. Jinder takes Roode to the corner and beats him down. Roode fights up and out but Jinder drops him with a shoulder. Roode with a big hip toss and an inverted atomic drop. Roode goes for a neckbreaker but can’t get it. Roode knocks Rusev off the apron and hits a Blockbuster to Jinder for a 2 count. Singh ends up on the apron, yelling at Roode. Roode goes for him but Orton pulls Singh off the apron and sends him down on the floor. Orton and Roode have some words as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Orton works Rusev over until Roode tags himself in. Orton comes back in and keeps control until Roode comes right back in. Roode dropkicks Rusev and works him over some more. Orton comes back in to one-up Roode and takes Rusev to the corner, beating him down as the referee warns him. Rusev drops Orton coming out of the corner. Rusev with a 2 count.
Jinder tags in and stomps on Orton while Rusev holds him. Jinder goes to work on Orton now. Rusev comes back in and keeps up the attack on Orton. Rusev with a suplex and a 2 count. Jinder is the legal man now. Orton finally gets an opening with a backdrop. Roode waits for the tag as fans rally. Roode gets the tag and unloads on Jinder. Roode with a neckbreaker and a shot to knock Rusev off the apron. Roode goes to the top and waits for Jinder to get up. Roode comes crashing down with a big right hand. Roode waits again as fans pop. Jinder blocks the Glorious DDT but gets caught with a spinebuster. Roode with a 2 count as Rusev breaks the pin.
Rusev stares at Orton, who doesn’t come in for the save. Roode sends Rusev out to the floor but turns around to a big kick from Jinder for a close 2 count. Orton takes his time coming through the ropes but doesn’t make the save. We go to commercial.
The match continued split-screen during the break but we come back to Jinder keeping Roode grounded. Roode fights back but Jinder drops him with a big knee for a 2 count. Jinder drags Roode over and works on his arm as Rusev tags in for a double team. Rusev with a big suplex and more offense as he beats Roode around the ring. Jinder tags back in to keep up the attack on Roode near their corner. Jinder with knees to the back before keeping Roode grounded again.
Roode fights back and looks for the comeback now. Orton tags himself in as Roode drops Jinder. Roode didn’t see the tag. Orton comes in and they have words. Rusev comes in to attack Orton but Orton catches him. Orton with offense on Rusev, including a powerslam. Rusev goes to the apron but Orton grabs him for the second rope draping DDT and hits it. Orton gets the crowd riled up now as he waits for Rusev to get up. Jinder runs in as does Roode. This leads to Roode accidentally hitting Orton. Roode sends Jinder to the floor. Roode turns around to Orton grabbing him. Roode shoves Orton. Orton drops him with the RKO. Rusev comes over with the Machka Kick on Orton for the pin.
Winners: Rusev and Jinder Mahal
– After the match, Jinder and Rusev stand tall as Rusev’s music plays. We go to replays.
– Still to come, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Shelton Benjamin for the first time in WWE. Also, an update on Daniel Bryan and The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Jinder approaches Rusev backstage. Jinder wants Rusev to attend his Punjabi celebration after he wins the US Title at WrestleMania 34. Jinder offers to get Rusev ringside seats. Rusev says he has a better idea. He just pinned the champion and will now go find Daniel Bryan to get the Triple Threat turned into a Fatal 4 Way. English sings a note on RusevMania as they leave. Jinder orders Singh to take off the stupid neck brace.
– Shinsuke Nakamura walks in on WWE Champion AJ Styles backstage, asking if he’s OK. Nakamura says he’s worried about AJ. Nakamura wonders if AJ has lost his confidence. AJ says he’s never had confidence issues. Nakamura says they both want each other at their bests for WrestleMania. Nakamura says he wants AJ in his corner for the match tonight, he needs him in the corner. AJ mentions how he won’t be out there for Nakamura, he will be there to make sure Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin don’t get in the way of the dream match.
Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott
We go to the ring and out comes Becky Lynch as Greg Hamilton does the introduction. Becky and Bayley are now confirmed for the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal. The Riott Squad is out next – Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and they go at it to start. Ruby drops Becky first and taunts her. Becky comes back and sends Ruby to regroup on the floor. Logan and Liv talk trash, leading to Riott dropping Becky on the apron. Becky falls out to the floor and the referee counts. Ruby brings it back into the ring and covers for a 2 count. Becky keeps Riott grounded now.
More back and forth between the two for a few minutes. Becky unloads with strikes but Ruby backslides her. Becky with more offense, a clothesline and a dropkick. Fans pop for Becky but Ruby sends her to the apron. Becky drops Ruby and goes to the top. Logan approaches and Becky kicks at her. The referee catches Logan. Ruby takes advantage and sends Becky face first into the turnbuckles. Ruby covers for the pin but the referee sees her feet on the ropes. Ruby argues with the referee now.
Becky blocks the Riott Kick and goes for the Dis-Arm-Her but Liv gets on the apron yelling. This leads to another roll-up and the counter before Becky rolls Ruby up for the win.
Winner: Becky Lynch
– After the match, Liv and Logan attack Becky but she takes them both out and sends them to the floor. Becky stands tall as her music hits.
– We see Daniel Bryan backstage walking. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and out comes SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan to a pop.
Bryan stops on the stage and isn’t participating in the “yes!” chants, selling the attack from last week. He smiles as fans chant his name. Bryan says he loves being in Pittsburgh. Last week was one of the best moments of Bryan’s career because he finally got the news he was waiting for – he was cleared and can now continue what he’s loved to do for 16 years. Bryan says the support he’s received from the fans… they start chanting his name again.
Bryan says he has a job to do as the General Manager. They have said a thousand times how SmackDown is the land of opportunities. He proposes to give Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens one more opportunity. Fans boo. But just one. They chant “no!” now. Bryan proposes he and Shane McMahon vs. Sami and Owens at WrestleMania 34. Fans pop now. Bryan talks about how Shane is currently hospitalized but he believes Shane will be good to go for New Orleans. Bryan says if he and Shane win, Owens and Sami remain fired. If he and Shane lose, Sami and Owens will be reinstated to SmackDown. Bryan gives them chances because he thinks they are two of the greatest of this generation, because he’s known them for 15 plus years, because they’ve struggled together and been there for him in the past, because they fought together, because it’s his job as GM to give talents opportunities. Bryan goes on about his GM duties like board meetings, filling out paperwork, wearing cardigans and blazers. Bryan says he’s sick of meetings, sick of paperwork and sick of wearing blazers. He takes his sweater off. Bryan goes on about fighting for 3 years to get back into the ring but they tried to take it away from him last week. Bryan doesn’t care how many times they kick him in the face or powerbomb him, he is back and he will fight at WrestleMania. Bryan goes on and gets fired up as fans cheer for him.
– We get a backstage promo from Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable, who say they are the best athletes on SmackDown but still don’t have a WrestleMania match. Benjamin says he’s going to make it happen for them when he turns up against Shinsuke Nakamura tonight.
– Still to come, The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers.
– Back from the break and Tom confirms that Rusev has been added to the US Title match at WrestleMania to make it a Fatal 4 Way.
– We go to the ring and out comes The New Day – Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston.
They start talking about their Road to WrestleMania 34 and take shots at The Bludgeon Brothers, calling them trash. Woods says Harper and Rowan have a problem – they left The New Day with the ability to walk. Woods goes on about how they will take The Bludgeon Brothers out and look to take back the SmackDown Tag Team Titles. They get the “New Day rocks” chant going as the music interrupts and out come The Bludgeon Brothers.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day
Rowan and Harper head to the ring as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Rowan is going to work on Woods. Harper tags in for some double teaming as Big E watches from the apron. Harper dominates as Kofi talks trash from ringside. Woods fights back and brings Harper to one knee with a forearm. Rowan ends up taking Big E off the apron by sending Kofi into him. Rowan sends them into the barrier. Woods has no one to tag as Harper keeps control of him.
Rowan brings Big E into the ring. Rowan brings the mallets into the ring but out come SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos to stop him. Rowan gets sent into the ring post as the referee calls for the bell.
Winners by DQ: The Bludgeon Brothers
– After the bell, The New Day triple teams Harper and kicks him out of the ring. The Usos hit the ring and argue with The New Day. Rowan and Harper come in swinging the mallets but the other two teams retreat to the floor. The Bludgeon Brothers look on from the ring as the other teams back up the ramp.
– We get a look back at Daniel Bryan announcing his ring return for WrestleMania earlier tonight. We see a tweet from Sami Zayn that accepts the match. Tom reveals that Shane McMahon has been discharged from the hospital. The announcers plug WrestleMania on the WWE Network and go over the matches.
– Still to come, Nakamura vs. Benjamin. Back to commercial.
– The announcers lead us to a video package for Asuka vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
We go to the ring and see Breezango around the trophy for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Dolph Ziggler is out next to face Tyler Breeze.
Fandango gets on the apron and dances as the bell rings. He hops off but comes right back and dances some more. Breeze and Ziggler finally get going. Ziggler gets catapulted into the corner at one point. Ziggler ends up chasing them both around the ring. Fandango keeps running laps around the ring as Breeze and Ziggler go at it. Ziggler eats a superkick for a 2 count. Ziggler ends up avoiding a splash and hitting a Zig Zag for the pin.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
– After the match, Ziggler goes to ringside and drops Fandango with a superkick. Ziggler checks out the Andre trophy before making his exit.
– Still to come, Benjamin vs. Nakamura. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Tom confirms The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos for the titles at WrestleMania.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Shelton Benjamin
We go to the ring and out comes Shinsuke Nakamura for tonight’s main event. WWE Champion AJ Styles is out next to be in the corner of his WrestleMania opponent. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin are out next.
Back and forth to start. Fans chant for Styles at times as Nakamura takes control. Nakamura gets the upperhand and sends Benjamin out to the floor. Gable checks on Benjamin as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and we get Mixed Match Challenge promos from Bobby Roode, Sasha Banks and Finn Balor now that Charlotte Flair has been pulled. Voting is open to determine Flair’s replacement. We go back to the ring and Shelton has Nakamura grounded on the mat after sending him into the apron during the break. Nakamura fights up and out. Nakamura slides out of a hold but they both go down at the same time.
Nakamura comes back and drops Benjamin with a kick to the back of the neck. Nakamura with a charging shot in the corner and then the high knee. Gable gets on the apron but Styles pulls him down and he hits the apron. Benjamin blocks the Kinshasa and hits a Northern Lights suplex for a 2 count. AJ looks on as Benjamin waits for Nakamura to get up. Nakamura blocks the Paydirt and goes for the armbar but Benjamin struggles and turns that into a triangle. Nakamura avoids a pin but Benjamin overpowers him into a half-crab submission.
Nakamura ends up getting the armbar but Shelton is still resisting with the triangle. They break and Nakamura waits for Benjamin to get up. Nakamura comes off the top rope with a knee to drop Benjamin. Nakamura hits Kinshasa for the pin.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
– After the match, Nakamura stands tall as his music hits. We go to replays. AJ enters the ring. Nakamura thanks AJ for being in his corner but says he never needed his help, he only wanted AJ to see how he will beat him at WrestleMania. AJ says Nakamura must be playing mind games. AJ says he won’t be playing any games at WrestleMania. AJ says this isn’t just a dream match for fans, it’s one for him too. It’s a dream match for the fans because they know these two will tear the house down. AJ says his dream match goes a little different because outside of him, Nakamura is considered the best. AJ says he will be considered better than the best after he walks out still champion, which will prove that he’s phenomenal and this is the house that he built. Nakamura taunts AJ and says he will beat AJ at WrestleMania because AJ is too emotional. Nakamura’s music hits and he leaves the ring as AJ watches. Gable and Benjamin come from behind and beat AJ down. Nakamura returns to the ring and makes the save, taking both out. Nakamura waits for AJ to get up for the Kinshasa. Nakamura charges for the move but puts the brakes on. Nakamura stares AJ down while he’s on the mat and taunts him with the “knee 2 face” line. Nakamura’s music hits again and he leaves the ring as SmackDown goes off the air with AJ recovering.
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