Let’s see if Shane can explain himself for his actions from Fastlane as we jump into the first SmackDown Live on the actual Road To WrestleMania.
AJ Styles is still WWE Champion and Asuka is headed toward Charlotte Flair’s title. If you add in the fact that Randy Orton is now US Champion then you’ve got a recipe for an interesting title picture for the Show Of Shows.
AJ Styles came out first and he looked very pleased with himself. AJ Styles welcomed everyone to the house that he built and spoke briefly about the events of Fastlane. Cena got a nice boo when Styles talked about how he was put through an announce table in the six-pack challenge.
The focus soon shifted to WrestleMania and said that it’s unbelievable that he’s going to Mania as champion and the crowd erupted into a “you deserve it” chant which AJ cut off and said, “no, I earned it.”
AJ said he was the “everyman” but when he steps in the ring he’s Phenomenal. Then Shinsuke Nakamura came out and he got his entire entrance.
Nakamura soaked in the moment a little before saying, “AJ you’re a champion, everyone likes you. Everyone likes me too. I respect you at WrestleMania dreams come true. My dream is knees to face and I will become champion.” Then Rusev and Aiden English entered to make everyone else very happy.
AJ Styles vs Rusev
Rusev might not be getting a main event match at Mania but at least he’s the guy wrestling the guys in the top spot.
AJ put Rusev through quite a bit of damage but Rusev didn’t give in. However, every time Rusev tried to really turn things up for himself AJ stopped him in his tracks. Finally, Rusev nailed a spinebuster which led to him treating AJ like a ragdoll for a bit.
Rusev dragged Styles out of the ring and buried his shoulder into the ring post before tossing him back in the ring to apply more damage with a submission hold. AJ fought back but took a backdrop for his trouble.
Rusev tossed AJ out of the ring but that just upset Styles and he returned quickly for some more offense before getting taken back out once again by the Lion Of Bulgaria.
Rusev tried to set up AJ on the turnbuckle but AJ reversed out of it and hit a few quick strikes and a couple forearms. AJ picked Rusev up twice but he got out of each move and then Rusev nailed a kick to the back of the head for a close 2 count.
AJ avoided a Machka Kick and nailed a Pele Kick and tried for a Styles Clash but Rusev was too heavy. Suddenly AJ got Rusev in a Calf Crusher and then suddenly Aiden English jumped in the ring and nailed AJ Styles causing the referee to call for the bell.
Winner: AJ Styles via DQ
They beat AJ down for a bit as Shinsuke Nakamura sat at ringside and watched the whole thing go down. Then Nakamura jumped in the ring and cleared off Rusev and English with Kinshasas.
Before Nakamura left, he just looked at AJ in the eyes and there was an awkward moment which could be read a couple ways at this point but it probably all boils down to respect.
Big E was walking alone backstage and Dasha asked him about what happened at Fastlane. Big E said he wishes he could be there in better circumstances like coming up with ways to fill Corey Graves’ car with pancake batter. But he is now alone and forced to represent the New Day. Then Jimmy Uso showed up and said they got his brother too.
Then Uce said, “let’s go take care of some business.” I really like the feeling of mixing up the Usos and New Day and forming a super team to fight a massive force.
AJ Styles was walking backstage and he told Nakamura that he didn’t need his help at Fastlane and he didn’t need his help tonight. Nakamura said it looked like it did and he will continue to help him until Mania so he can beat him with a knee to the face. Nice.
Jimmy Uso and Big E vs The Bludgeon Brothers
This could get violent. E and Uce obviously understood this fact when they jumped 2B while they were taking off their coats. The babyfaces grabbed chairs and then Harper and Rowan picked up their huge mallets and got in the ring.
The referee got out of there quickly as the four men had a weapons-clad standoff in the middle of the ring. The Bludgeon Brothers won the standoff as the whacked E and Uce’s chairs with their hammers and the babyfaces jumped out of the ring. Keep this in mind that the match hadn’t even started yet.
Once this match got started, Big E started off strong but quickly found out that 2B is extremely large and angry.
Jimmy Uso got the tag and used his speed to pull off some offense and he even knocked Harper down and Superkicked Rowan off the apron but he soon caught a boot from Harper while Big E ate the ring steps thanks to Rowan. Then Jimmy took a Double Powerbomb and that’s all she wrote for this one.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers via pinfall
After the match, the violence continued. Big E took a splash against the barricade and Jimmy Uso almost got another piece too but they just walked off instead.
Sami Zayn cut a backstage interview about how he was seconds from winning the WWE Championship at Fastlane and he’s never going to give up a championship for another person again. He seems to still be blaming Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens for this situation.
Charlotte said as a champion she’s always a target and she wanted to be in the middle of the ring to meet Asuka woman to woman.
Asuka came out and as she bit down on her mask while posing on the turnbuckle Charlotte grinned and welcomed her to SmackDown Live and said “be careful what you wished for.”
“Thank you,” Asuka replied.
Flair said everyone keeps asking her about what would happen if she faced Asuka and it looks like we’ll get the answer to that question at Mania.
Charlotte said when she saw Asuka win the Royal Rumble she was hoping she would pick her and when Asuka’s music hit at Fastlane she got goosebumps because she’s never faced anyone like her but Asuka has never faced anyone like The Nature Girl either.
Then Charlotte said she will end Asuka’s streak and cement her legacy which probably means she won’t be doing that. Asuka said, “I choose you because I like a challenge. You are a queen but I am the empress and Asuka bows to no one. Because no one is ready for Asuka!”
Then they looked at each other as the segment closed out.
Randy Orton’s music hit and the new US Champion came walking out for his segment next.
Jinder Mahal vs Bobby Roode
Randy Orton started things out by saying he’s United States Champion and everyone was happy for him. He is now a Grand Slam Champion and he is on an elite list which is a list he actually cares about.
Orton said Roode deserves his respect but he’s taking the US Title to Mania and nobody is going to stop him.
Then Bobby Roode came out and his entrance was Glorious as always. Roode said he wanted a rematch at WrestleMania and then Jinder Mahal came out to say the same thing.
Once the match got started, Mahal and Roode were pretty evenly matched as Orton watched at ringside with his new title in his lap.
Bobby tried for a Glorious DDT but Mahal pushed him into the turnbuckle and ended up kicking his head off for a two count. Mahal tried for a Khallas but Roode reversed out of it. Bobby returned fire with a spinebuster for a two count.
Sunil Singh got in Bobby’s way as he was climbing up and Mahal knocked him off the top rope. One Khallas later, and Jinder Mahal was the winner.
Winner: Jinder Mahal via pinfall
Randy Orton quickly slid into the ring after his match and hit Jinder Mahal with a huge RKO. Then Orton posed with his title under the WrestleMania sign with a big grin on his face which is nice to see out of him for a change.
Renee Young caught up with Kevin Owens and asked him what he thought about what Sami said concerning how it’s his fault. Owens said he was screwed first at Fastlane and that Sami is a liar and a manipulator and he is the rightful WWE Champion and he’s not holding the title because of Shane.
Kevin said Shane is like all other McMahons who love to steal the glory. He said if Sami can’t see Shane McMahon for who he really is then he’s not afraid to open his eyes to the truth.
We’ll just have to see what that special Shane McMahon announcement is for later in the night.
Naomi vs Carmella
The Glow is still pretty irritated about how The Princess Of Staten Island pulled on her hair last night at Fastlane and she showed up in Indianapolis to seek revenge.
Mella started things off with some aggressive offense while Tom Phillips put Carmella over for showing some real fire in recent weeks. They might be prepping her for a MITB cash-in or they could just be getting serious about her.
As Carm beat Naomi down she yelled in her face, “you’re nobody Naomi! I’m Miss Money In The Bank!” and then she started to mess with her hair even more in the corner until Naomi caught her and then grabbed a handful of hair herself.
Naomi started pummeling Carmella while Mella screamed bloody murder. The Glow tried to kick Mella several times but she ducked under them all until catching a knee to the face. Suddenly, Carmella rolled Naomi up for a pin after stopping a springboard kick and pulling her to the mat. 1-2-3 and Carmella won a pretty big match.
Winner: Carmella via pinfall
Shane McMahon’s Big Announcement
Shane said he wasn’t out to apologize because they crossed the line. It all started when Kevin put his hands (or forehead) on Vince McMahon.
He walked us through Hell In A Cell and admitted that sometimes he had conduct unbecoming of SmackDown’s commissioner. Shane said he spoke to Daniel Bryan about this and announced D-Bry would be returning to SmackDown Live this week.
Then Shane said he’s taking an indefinite leave of absence as SmackDown’s Commissioner. But before he left Shane said he was there to book one match and it will be Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn at WrestleMania.
Then Shane’s music played and he started to walk off but you kne it couldn’t be that simple.
Kevin Owens’ music played and he came out to wish Shane the best in his future endeavors and said he agreed with the decision for a Mania match against Zayn. As he was saying that he didn’t have to wait until Mania, Sami Zayn came out too.
Zayn said Shane just booked this match because it drove him crazy when fans were going crazy when they were fighting at Fastlane. Then he said if he’s booking based on what fans want then he’s glad McMahon is leaving.
Shane said he doesn’t understand why they’re complaining and KO said they do appreciate it. “And we think you’ll appreciate this too,” Owens said before Zayn jumped Shane-O from behind.
KO and SZ beat down McMahon and Owens propped him up for a Helluva Kick in the corner. Then Sami fed Shane to Kevin for a pop-up powerbomb. As referees can down to break up the carnage, the heels kept knocking them down.
Shane ended up on the outside and Kevin held him still while Sami got a chair. They placed Shane’s head in the chair and ran it against the ring post. Yep.
Then Shane and Kevin drug Shane up the ramp as a fan could be heard yelling, “you’re being really mean right now!”
They disappeared with McMahon and when we next saw them Kevin was yelling, “we’re the good guys here!” Zayn got Shane back up and then they double powerbombed Shane onto a piece of equipment that was not intended on being a crash pad for a 48-year-old millionaire.
SmackDown Live went off the air this week with Shane gasping for air as referee surrounded him saying, “you’re gonna make it Shane.”