The Royal Rumble is in the rearview mirror and Shinsuke Nakamura has a date for WrestleMania where he will face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. The Usos are still looking strong as SmackDown Tag Team Champions. Only time will tell how the Road To WrestleMania will turn out this year and what surprises might be along the way. But the best way to figure out is to sit back and watch… or read.
Shinsuke Nakamura was announced to kick off the show and he got to have a lot of fun during his entrance.
Nakamura cut a short promo about everyone who he’s kneed in the face and then said AJ Styles is next. Then Kevin and Sami came out to talk about how they were screwed out of their title at Royal Rumble.
Kevin played the footage of AJ Styles pinning the wrong guy at the Royal Rumble… well it was a slideshow because of reasons but the point was made.
Sami Zayn said Kevin Owens’ passion coupled with the referee not doing his job meant that AJ pinned the wrong man. Then KO said it won’t be AJ that Nakamura will be facing at WrestleMania, it will be them.
Then Nakamura said, “AJ Styles is a winner, you are losers” there was an awkward pause and Styles came out with his title still in tow.
Styles said that it will be Nakamura facing him at Mania and then he proposed they turn the dream match into a dream team and take on the Yep Movement tonight. So SZ and KO left without saying anything.
Suddenly, they stopped at the base of the entrance ramp and Sami said, “okay, you want this match?” Then they both said “nope” at the same time. Nakamura caught Sami with a right hand and they powdered off while Shinsuke’s music played on.
Kofi Kingston vs Jinder Mahal vs Rusev vs Zack Ryder (#1 Contender For US Title Match)
Daniel Bryan was shown backstage and Sami and Owens joined him. Bryan said AJ doesn’t have the power to book matches but he does so he booked AJ and Nakamura vs KO and SZ for tonight.
Daniel Bryan said that they’ll get another chance to face AJ Styles at Fastlane this time and then he booked Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn which the two best friends didn’t seem to like too much.
Now, back to the ring… Zack and Rusev took the fight outside so Kofi and Jinder could work in the ring. Ryder came in and Mahal was sent to the outside so Rusev and Ryder took over the ring while Big E pelted Corey Graves with pancakes on commentary as he tried to interview Bobby Roode. There was a lot going on at once.
Bobby Roode also called Mojo, “Mojo Riley” which was interesting. Ryder hit a neckbreaker on Kofi in the ring for a two count as Mahal broke up the pin. Ryder sent Mahal to the outside and dropkicked him through the ropes then Kofi hit them both with a dive. But as Rusev acted like he was going to dive, Samil Singh grabbed his foot and then English ran up to him. Big E and Xavier joined the madness and pancakes went everywhere so the referee ejected them all from ringside.
The fight carried on in the ring as Kofi took abuse from Mahal while Rusev and Ryder fought on in the opposite corner.
Kofi was sent outside and laid out as Mahal drove some knees into Ryder. Rusev re-entered the ring and started fighting Mahal who is his former stablemate but that was ages ago and nobody remembers that, right?
Rusev hit Mahal with a running splash in the corner and Jinder left the match so Ryder could work on Rusev and hit a Broski Boot. Then Mahal came up and kicked Zack to send him down for a two count and then he rolled out of the ring so Jinder could work on Rusev but Kofi hit him with a top rope move followed by a Boom Drop. Kofi hit Ryder with an SOS but Mahal broke up the pin and clotheslined Kofi’s head off.
Rusev threw Mahal over the top rope and tried to get a Stackalade (two Accolades at once) on Kofi and Ryder until Mahal broke it up. Zack hit a nice Rough Ryder on Mahal and Rusev took Ryder out. Then Rusev slapped the Accolade on Kofi and won the match.
“Rusev it is,” Bobby Roode said.
Winner: Rusev via submission
After the match was over, Rusev and Roode had a nice little standoff before The Bulgarian Brute walked off while Bobby Roode’s music played.
The Usos cut a backstage video in front of a chainlink fence with a fog machine going. These backstage videos are getting very “16-year-old with a cell phone who just figured out how to use effects in their videos.”
The Fashion Files
Breezango and The Ascension were backstage fielding Twitter questions in a hilarious fashion and then Gable and Benjamin came in and called them embarrassing. “About as embarrassing to losing at the Royal Rumble to the Usos twice?” Breeze asked.
Then Gable and Benjamin flipped over their table and left after laying down a challenge for tonight.
Welcome To The Uso Penitentiary
The Usos were out to welcome everyone to the Uso Penitentiary by cutting an “Uso Manifesto” promo.
They listed everyone they’ve defeated and when Jey said “locked down” an animated prison cell door locked down on the screen. It was… ridiculous.
The Usos said they’re not saying that they’re the best tag team in WWE, but they are. Their words… then they left. But before they could hit the ramp, The Bludgeon Brothers entered the arena and looked very scary with their huge hammers.
Apparently, they’re in action next so they might have just been coming out for their match, but the message was certainly made that The Usos haven’t locked them down yet.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs Enhancement Talent
This was quick and brutal. The Bludgeon Brothers did a lot of bludgeoning because that’s how they roll. In the end, they won with a Double Crucifix because that move hurts a lot.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
Daniel Bryan cut one of those cell phone videos backstage about the new SmackDown Top 10 list. The Authority figures won’t get a vote and Superstars can’t vote for themselves. This will be a way to determine the value of talent… yep.
Shane McMahon was shown talking on his cell phone this time and suddenly Tye Dillinger was there. Tye wasn’t happy about how the Royal Rumble panned out for him because he was jumped by KO and SZ.
Then Baron Corbin asked him what he was doing. He said the opportunity of a title shot belongs to him. Then Tye tried to talk to him.
“You’re still here?” Corbin asked
“Yeah, I’m still here unlike your Money In The Bank contract” Dillinger replied… sick burn.
Then Shane told them to settle it in the ring.
Charlotte Flair Speaks
Flair talked about how proud she was about the Royal Rumble and how she wished for the first time ever that she wasn’t champion so she could enter at #3 and win like “some guy I know.”
Rowdy Ronda Rousey became the subject of her promo for a bit and said “all I know is that I’m walking into WrestleMania as the SmackDown Women’s Champion but the only question is who is going to be standing across the ring from me in New Orleans.”
The Riott Squad came out to interrupt her and Ruby said to forget about Asuka and Rousey. She said her ego is as big as her father’s which was met by plenty of “woos” from the crowd.
Ruby used the word “impossibly” a lot when talking about Charlotte and she said there’s only one Ruby Riott but Charlotte is just a cheap imitation of her father. They got in the ring and surrounded Charlotte while Riott said her time is over.
Charlotte asked her if she’s done yet and “wooed” in her face before getting jumped by all three Riott Squad members but Charlotte cleared the ring. Then they slid back in for round two and got the upper hand on the Nature Girl leaving her laying on the mat.
Ruby hit a Riott Kick to put the cherry on top before they posed over the SmackDown Women’s Champion and left.
Suddenly, Carmella ran down and cashed in her Money In The Bank contract. The referee took way too long and Mella accidentally dropkicked him out of the ring when Charlotte moved.
He was out cold and wouldn’t get up but Charlotte did and she looked pissed. So Mella grabbed her briefcase and left while saying, “not today.”
Nakamura was backstage and AJ Styles approached him about a gameplan. But Nakamura said “I’m going to beat you at WrestleMania” while assuring AJ they’ll be fine tonight if he listens to him.
The announce team was making a big deal about “will they get along?” like AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura have never tagged together before.
Tye Dillinger vs Baron Corbin.
Carmella was interviewed backstage by Renee Young where she called herself the most dangerous woman on SmackDown because she has the MITB briefcase and she broke a nail out there so she couldn’t cash in.
Meanwhile, in the ring, the action was taken outside very soon and Dillinger bounced Corbin off the barricade and hit a jumping clothesline before they returned to the ring where Baron took control.
Corbin threw Tye over the top rope and he took the bump to the outside. Then Baron joined Dillinger outside where he bounced him off the barricade for a change. Once they returned to the ring The Lone Wolf maintained control as he slowed things down with a couple submission holds.
Tye mounted a comeback after Baron took a shoulder to the post and landed a bicycle kick to the head. Dillinger tried for a Tye Breaker but Baron reversed it and hit a chokeslam backbreaker. Then Baron hit the End Of Days and that ended this match.
“No one gets up from the EOD” Tom Phillips said as Baron Corbin’s hand was raised in victory.
Winner: Baron Corbin via pinfall
Rusev and Aiden English cut a backstage cell phone promo about winning the US Title next week against “Bob Roode” and then The Glorious One cut a promo of his own where he spelled out “GLORIOUS” on a calendar.
Kevin and Sami were sitting in silence until Zayn said: “the good news is at least one of us is getting a WWE Title opportunity.”
He said opportunity is all they need, “unless you fail” Kevin said.
They started to throw some backhanded compliments back and forth a little bit while pointing out times they failed. It seems like there is some dissension happening. Why can’t Kevin Owens keep a best friend on the Road To WrestleMania?
Breezango vs Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable
Benjamin and Gable really took a beating to Dango and Breeze early on. It seems like Breezango is an upper tier enhancement talent which is kind of sad.
Dango came back with a bulldog on a reversal for a two count, but Gable quickly took the fight back to him and slid outside to pull Breeze down from the apron.
Gable hit a rolling kick on Dango for a two count and Tyler was still selling his head injury on the outside. But Breeze would soon jump back up on the apron and catch a hot tag. Gable and Dango took each other out but Chad Gable got up on the top rope and hit a double team move to end this one.
Winners: Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
AJ and Sami fought in the ring and cut the ring in half to not allow him to tag in Owens which makes sense. But once Nakamura got the tag, KO was tagged in and picked Shinsuke apart with a variety of strikes and such until he tagged Sami back in.
The Yep Movement kept tagging in and out as Nakamura took all the punishment until he was able to fight back and drive some knees into Kevin for a change.
Zayn tried to help out, but he was sent to the floor. “What the hell are you doing? Are you my partner or not?!” Owens asked. “Get back here!” he demanded as he pined Nakamura for a two count.
Zayn stood at the base of the ramp instead of getting back in the ring so KO got out to argue with Zayn and then he left.
After returning for a few minutes, Zayn ended up leaving for real as Kevin fought AJ and scored a two count. He knocked Shinsuke off the apron but was hit with a Pele Kick and tagged Nakamura who started lighting The Prizefighter up with kicks and knees.
Owens tried to escape from a Kinshasa but AJ threw him back in the ring to take Nakamura’s finisher for the win.
Winners: AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura
Sami Zayn was shown backstage holding his head while Renee Young asked if this was the last we would see of him and Owens. Zayn said, “nope” but he’s the one who’s been overlooked and now it’s his chance to be champion because he won’t be known as Kevin Owens’ best friend, and instead he’ll be known as WWE Champion after Fastlane.