It’s time for SmackDown Live and with less than 2 weeks until WrestleMania, there will need to be some major events during this show.
After all, Shane McMahon is out of commission and is currently hospitalized while in need of a surgery once his antibiotics take care of all the infection coursing through his body.
Therefore, Daniel Bryan might need a different plan if he wants to take on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at the show of shows. Owens and Zayn are still technically fired, so only time will tell how that plays out.
AJ Styles is also looking forward to facing Nakamura and the King Of Strong Style is looking forward to putting a knee into Styles’ face and taking his WWE Championship on the Grandest Stage Of Them All.
It would also make sense for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles to be addressed in some way. The Usos really deserve a Mania match after fighting so hard for 9 years. But we won’t know until it happens so let’s get right into SmackDown Live from Pittsburgh.
They played a Daniel Bryan highlight package detailing last week’s events in a cinematic way. Then it was straight to the first match of the night.
Bobby Roode and Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal and…
Sunil Singh came out with a neck brace on and his arm in a sling. Mahal said he couldn’t compete and he said that he traded a tiger for a lion… then Rusev came out with Aiden English.
I know, Rusev was still a heel but he still popped huge with the crowd and really makes me wonder why they’re mismatching this match.
Naturally, there were plenty of Rusev Day chants even though he was on the heel team with Jinder Mahal against Roode and Orton.
Roode and Mahal started off the match and Jinder gained the upper hand using underhanded tactics. Roode fired back with a couple shots but Mahal hot a shoulder block that sent Rood down. But Roode came back and hit a hip toss and an atomic drop. He followed it up with a blockbuster and then Sunil Singh got on the apron.
Randy Orton peeled Singh off the apron and sent him into the barricade, neck brace and all. But when Orton got the tag he took some abuse from Jinder because he’s good at making Mahal look good.
Rusev got the tag and hit a nice suplex on Randy but the pinfall was unsuccessful. Mahal tagged in and hit a double axhandle off the top rope on Orton while Rusev kept him stationary.
Orton came back with a suplex and Bobby Roode started clapping to rally the crowd which worked because he got the tag. Roode took Mahal down and knocked Rusev off the apron, then he scaled to the top rope and hit a diving clothesline on Mahal.
Mahal countered out of a Glorious DDT but Roode hit a spinebuster and covered but Rusev broke up the pin. Rusev hit a kick to Bobby’s face while Randy Orton stood on the apron and smiled.
Roode and Mahal kept fighting in the ring for a bit and Jinder gained an advantage and slapped on an arm submission for a bit. Then Jinder held Roode down while Rusev tagged in to continue the assault.
Orton got a blind tag as Roode shot himself off the ropes and when he entered the match it was rather awkward. Randy hit his signature powerslam on Rusev and the he nailed a draping DDT. He was just playing the hits in Pittsburg because Orton then geared up with the RKO.
But Mahal jumped in to hit Randy and then Roode put him over the top rope. Orton didn’t seem to like seeing Roode in the ring so he hit him with an RKO.
Then Rusev landed a Machka Kick on Orton and scored the pinfall which is just excellent for Rusev but begs me to ask why he still isn’t in a match at Mania. It certainly looks like Rusev has earned himself a shot at the US Title if you ask me
Winners: Rusev and Jinder Mahal via pinfall
Backstage, Jinder Mahal and the whole crew were celebrating. Mahal said he was going to get Rusev front row tickets for Mania so he could watch him win the US Title.
Rusev said that’s a generous offer but he had another idea. The Lion Of Bulgaria said since he just pinned the US Champion then he was going to seek out Daniel Bryan and have Mahal’s triple threat turned into a fatal fourway which just sounds amazing and exactly what I just said!
As they walked away Aiden English was singing about RusevMania which is just awsome. Then Mahal looked at Sunil Singh and told him to take off his ridiculous neck brace.
AJ Styles was in the locker room getting in the zone when Nakamura walked in and asked him if he’s okay. He noticed that AJ didn’t jump in to save him last week. Shinsuke said he wants AJ to be his best and he needs to be at his best too.
Then Nakamura asked AJ to be in his corner tonight when he faced Shelton Benjamin. Styles said he didn’t want anything to get in the way of their dream match so he’ll be in Nakamura’s corner because he knows Chad Gable won’t be too far away.
Becky Lynch vs Ruby Riott
Riott tried her best to keep Lynch down. She hit a nice clothesline and stomped Becky down a bit. Lynch took a bump in the corner and the Riott Squad were quite distracting for Beckles at ringside.
Lynch fired out of the corner with a leaping shot and followed with some rapid punches. Riott tried for a sliding pin but it didn’t work. Then Lynch fired herself up before being lifted to the apron. She knocked Riott down with a forearm and climbed to the top rope.
Sarah Logan distracted Lynch and she didn’t fire off the dive. Then she jumped down but Lynch took another bump into the corner. Riott tried to pin her with her foot on the ropes but the ref caught her.
Liv Morgan got on the apron and Becky sent her flying into Logan. Riott rolled Becky up in a pin but she kicked out. Then Lynch caught a roll up on Riott and scored the pinfall.
Winner: Becky Lynch via pinfall
After the match was over, Morgan and Logan jumped in the ring to beat Lynch down but she avoided their advances and sent them all toppling over the top rope to the floor. This was a nice little nod to the upcoming Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal.
It’s Daniel Bryan’s Turn
The freshly medically cleared Daniel Bryan walked out and looked solemn. He didn’t throw up any Yes fingers, he simply stood in the entrance ramp until his music stopped. But he still had a chance to soak it all in.
As the “Daniel Bryan” chants rose up you could see a smile cross his face, but it soon subsided due to the storyline. “Honestly, I love being in Pittsburgh,” he said like a true babyface. At that point, there was no hiding his huge smile.
Bryan said last week was amazing and the crowd cut him off for a huge “you still got it” chant. Then Daniel said he had a job to do as GM of SmackDown Live. He proposed to give Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn one more opportunity because SmackDown Live is the land of opportunity. Then everyone broke out in “No!” chants.
“Here is my proposal: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn face Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania,” Bryan said he the SmackDown Live authority figures win then SZ and KO are fired but if they win then they’ll be reinstated on SmackDown Live.
This is very interesting because Shane McMahon needs a hernia surgery after he’s done with fighting the infection due to diverticulitis which put him in the hospital.
Bryan said he gave them an opportunity because he’s known them for so long. When he needed a bed, they gave him one. He also said he’s doing his job as GM by giving them an opportunity. Then he said as a GM he has to sit in board meetings and do paperwork and wearing blazers.
Then Daniel Bryan said he’s sick of meetings, paperwork, blazers as he took off his cardigan. Bryan said he tried for two years to get back in the ring to wrestle and KO and SZ tried to take that away from him. But he said it doesn’t matter how many times you kick him in the face because “Daniel Bryan is back and Daniel Bryan will fight at WrestleMania!”
Bryan said there are a lot of things he avoided saying but this is a new Daniel Bryan and then he clumsily said he was going to kick Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s ass at WrestleMania but he was angry and passionate and everyone loved it.
The New Day vs Bludgeon Brothers
The New Day cut a nice promo talking about how they were so certain that they were going to Mania that they programmed NOLA in their TomToms but Xavier corrected Big E and said “Garmens” because nobody uses a TomTom anymore.
Woods said the one mistake Harper and Rowan made was letting them be able to talk at the end of it all.
The New Day tried to get an advantage on Harper and Rowan in the early goings of this match, but 2B wasn’t selling much.
Harper and Rowan took control of the match and picked Woods apart in the ring as he sold like a champ. Rowan hit a nice backbreaker and followed it up with a shoulder drop and a knee drop. He tagged Harper in who buried his forearm into Woods’ neck.
Xavier Woods’ neck and back was covered with Kinesio Tape which provided the perfect target. Rowan took Big E off the apron as Harper continued to destroy Woods.
Then they rolled Big E in the ring and Rowan got the big hammers. Suddenly, The Usos ran down and jumped Rowan so he couldn’t bring the hardware in the ring. The referee called for the bell and then a shoving match broke out between the Usos and New Day.
Suddenly, the Bludgeon Brothers rushed the ring with mallets in hand and everyone scattered. Harper actually hammered the ring with his mallet and it made a sickening thud. This segment ended with The Usos and New Day walking up the ramp while Harper and Rowan remained in the ring.
Dolph Ziggler vs Tyler Breeze
It’s always great to see Tyler Breeze compete and when he’s against someone like Ziggler it’s like the battle of the selling. Tyler launched Ziggler into the turnbuckle and it sent him over the top rope.
Then Ziggler chased Fandango around the ring and Breeze followed him. Dango kept running though around and around the ring. Breeze tried to get his attention but Ziggler rolled him up for a pin which he kicked out of.
Then Dolph hit a Zig Zag very quickly while Dango sold some kind of stomach cramp on the outside. 1-2-3 and Ziggler won.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
Ziggler went outside to look at the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy with a look on his face saying, “this is my WrestleMania 34? Thanks for the singles match I’ve always wanted.” Then Dolph superkicked Fandango’s face off for good measure.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Shelton Benjamin
AJ Styles was in Nakamura’s corner for this match which was awfully nice of him to do.
After an opening exchange, Nakamura hammered Benjamin down quickly and pulled off a Good Vibrations causing Benjamin to escape under the bottom rope to converse with Chad Gable for a second to regroup.
Shelton Benjamin soon had Shinsuke all wrapped up in a submission hold until Nakamura broke free and landed a knee to Benjamin’s face. Then Shinsuke told Benjamin to “come on.”
Shinsuke landed a foot to the back of Benjamin’s neck and then set him up across the top turnbuckle to land a knee into his midsection. As Shinsuke thought about the Kinshasa, Gable got on the apron and distracted him.
Styles pulled Gable off the apron pretty quickly and Gable took a nice face bump to the apron. Meanwhile, inside the rin,g Benjamin tried for a Paydirt but Nakamura countered into an armbar.
As Nakamura tried to transition his submission into a triangle, Benjamin pressed Shin’s shoulders against the mat for a two count and tried to break free by lifting up the King Of Strong Style.
Nakamura wouldn’t let go as he got close to a triangle choke but Shelton lifted Nakamura up and planted him on his feet. Suddenly, Shinsuke Nakamura turned around and hit a Kinshasa for the win.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall
AJ Styles applauded his WrestleMania opponent from the outside of the ring while Nakamura posed a little bit. Then Nakamura told AJ to get in the ring.
They both grabbed microphones and Nakamura said, “AJ thank you for being in my corner but I never needed your help. I only wanted you to see how I will beat you at WrestleMania.”
AJ asked if Nakamura was playing mind games and then he said he won’t be playing any games at WrestleMania. He said their match isn’t just a dream match for fans but for himself as well. He said they’re going to tear the house down and put on a clinic.
Styles said outside of WWE that Nakamura’s considered the best but when he walked into Mania and beats him he will prove that he is the best. AJ got really into his promo and was very fired up
Then Nakamura said he will beat AJ at WrestleMania because Styles is too emotional.
After Nakamura left, Gable and Benjamin jumped Styles for a second. Then Nakamura jumped in the ring to run them off. As AJ got up, Nakamura geared up for a Kinshasa on the Phenomenal One.
Nakamura ran at AJ for the Kinshasa, but he stopped short and just patted his own knee while yelling, “knee to face!” Then Nakamura played with AJ’s hair a little and left. Talk about mind games.