The Royal Rumble is less than a week away and now it seems like WWE still has plenty of stories to build toward the big show. With Kevin Owens possibly suffering from a nagging back issue, who knows how much he’ll be able to do in Philly? There is also a new United States Champion in Bobby Roode and things are bound to get Glorious eventually. So let’s get right into it to see what the Blue Brand brought us this week.

Opening Segment

Kevin Owen’s music hit and the Yep Movement made their way to the ring. Kevin said the future of WWE is in the ring and not a bunch of retirees like what we saw at Raw 25. Then he had everyone give it up for Sami Zayn but nobody did. Zayn had people give it up for KO, but they weren’t into him much either.

Owens said they have proven that AJ Styles has no chance to walking out of the Royal Rumble as WWE Champion because they are the “absolute best competitors on SmackDown Live” and Styles has no shot.

Sami kept saying, “yep” after everything KO said because that’s the thing he does now.

Then Zayn had a chance to speak and his rhetoric was much like Owens’.

After getting a rousing “Yep” chant going (or at least trying), AJ Styles came out to talk a little too. Styles called KO and SZ “Kami” and let’s hope he gives that up soon. Then he said, “nope” to everything they just said, “yep” to.

KO said AJ will soon be hearing “yep” everywhere he goes, “yep.” Then AJ told them to shut their “yep holes for a second”… nice.

Styles said they’re not just facing anyone, they’re facing someone who is phenomenal. He said it’s not the Kami Show, it’s The House That AJ Styles Built. Sami said he knew AJ was going to do his “macho tough guy act” and KO talked some more trash to Styles and the crowd in attendance to keep up his heat.

They played the footage of AJ Styles saying “why don’t you make it a handicap match?” and KO said Styles didn’t think someone would take him up on it. Sami said now AJ has to be a man because he has an authority figure with actual convictions like Daniel Bryan. SZ asked AJ if he was going to be true to his word this time and they played footage of AJ telling Renee Young last week that he would face both of them on the same night.

They asked him if AJ would man up by facing both of them on the same night. “Yes” chants broke out even before Daniel Bryan’s music hit and he came out to book the two matches in a row for AJ tonight. Of course, Styles went ahead and accepted the challenge before D-Bry could book the matches.

Backstage Segment

Shane McMahon wasn’t happy with Daniel Bryan about booking two matches for Styles tonight and Daniel said he wasn’t going to book the match. Shane questioned the ability of Daniel Bryan to do his job and walked off.

Let’s just assume Daniel Bryan is going to win the Royal Rumble at least that makes me happy even it’s not going to happen.

Jey Uso vs Chad Gable

There were a lot of Uso chants at the beginning of this match as Rikishi’s twins have become the babyfaces in this feud. The two wrestled around for a bit and Gable was tossed out of the ring. Once they returned, the former American Alpha member took advantage over Jey by using his wrestling ability.

Gable avoided a Samoan Drop and pushed Jey out of the ring. Gable brought Jey back into the ring and continued his technical assault on the SmackDown Tag Team Champion.

Chad hit a Northern Lights suplex for a two count and climbed up top for a moonsault but Jey moved and Gable landed on his feet. Jey kicked Chad out of the ring but Chad punched him when he went for the dive. However, Gable ended up getting tossed over the top rope on the other side of the ring and then Jey hit him with a dive.

Chad moved out of the way of a splash but Jey landed on his feet and hit a Samoan Drop. Chad plucked Jey out of the air from a splash in the corner and hit a rolling kick followed by a bridging pin suplex for the win.

Winner: Chad Gable via pinfall

That was a nice, clean, and impressive victory for Chad Gable headed into the Royal Rumble.

Backstage Segment

Renee Young asked Shinsuke Nakamura if he had any plans for the Royal Rumble and received a great response.

“Simple I see someone I put a knee in their face, someone else, knee to the face” and so on. Then Baron Corbin came in and said Nakamura is “all show and no go” and his resume speaks volumes and he will add to that when he wins the Royal Rumble. That’s not hype, that’s results.

Baron asked him what he’s done and Nakamura said, “it’s not what I’ve done it’s what I will do at the Royal Rumble, let’s rumble tonight” Nakamura replied.

Tye Dillinger cut a backstage promo that done in the style of a cell phone video like they couldn’t bother to get a camera crew together for him. He announced his participation in the 2018 Royal Rumble… good because they need more people in that match.

Naomi vs Liv Morgan

Liv tried to play with Naomi, but The Glow didn’t play that. These two traded sliding pins and fought on where Morgan pulled a Matrix move to avoid a clothesline but Naomi finally caught her with a kick to the face.

As Sarah Logan yelled on at ringside, Morgan brought Naomi’s face into the middle turnbuckle. Liv stomped on Naomi’s back to flatten her out, but only scored a two count.

The rest of the women’s locker room started lining the ring to watch this match presumably because they had vendettas against The Riott Squad. Naomi scored a sunset flip and got the win.

Winner: Naomi via pinfall

After the match, The Riott Squad jumped The Glow and Becky Lynch jumped in the ring to help out. Then Natalya took out Lynch and Lana kicked Ruby Riott out of the ring. Nattie dumped Lana over the top rope and turned around to lay out Liv Morgan. Then Nattie laid Carmella out with a kick.

Naomi and Becky Lynch rushed the ring and Nattie left. Then Lynch tried to toss Naomi over the top rope but Naomi landed on the apron. As they gave each other a good, Charlotte Flair’s music hit and she came out to spread some of her natural charisma through a promo about friendships and alliances not mattering when they’re trying to win a chance to face The Queen at WrestleMania.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin 

Baron and Shinsuke wrestled around for a bit and then Nakamura told him to “come on.” The fight spilled outside and Baron took control.

Nakamura got in first and told him to “come on” again while Baron waved him off and started to walk toward the back. Shinsuke followed him but it didn’t turn out to be that wise of a move as The Lone Wolf took control and sent him hurling against the ring post.

Once they returned to the ring, Nakamura softened Corbin up with some strikes but Corbin blocked a suplex followed by some blocking from Nakamura as well. Baron took a face-first bump and Nakamura tried for a Kinshasa but Corbin turned it into a Deep 6 but Nakamura kicked out because everyone kicks out of the Deep 6. It’s a cool move but it never seals the deal.

Nakamura took a sick clothesline from Corbin after he ran around the ring post like he does but kicked out of that as well.

Corbin was going for an End Of Days, but Nakamura turned it into an armbar which Corbin turned into a pin. Nakamura kicked out and as he was about to hit the Kinshasa, Randy Orton came in outa nowhere with an RKO.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via DQ

Baron Corbin tried to lock up with Orton but he took an RKO as well. So it was Randy Orton who got to pose at the end of the match as his music played on.

They played a really cool video package for Raw 25 cut to Fall Out Boy’s “Light Em Up” and if it was really as exciting as they made it look, then I missed something.

The New Day and Bobby Roode vs Rusev Day and Jinder Mahal 

The New Day came out and as everyone danced Kofi tossed pancakes into the crowd and Big E poured a box full of pancakes into someone’s mouth. What’s up with the pancakes? Whatever, they announced that all three of them are going to be in the Royal Rumble match.

Then Xavier Woods introduced Bobby Roode and really put him over for becoming US Champion even though that’s something he was trying to do. Bobby Roode came in after they all went “who” several times. Roode looked great with that title around his waist.

Roode thanked New Day for the introduction and put over Washington DC which is a nice change from everything else you hear that’s going on in DC. He said it was a fitting place to debut with his title on television.

Roode said his reign as US Champion is going to be… Glorious, even though New Day had some ideas for words they would say instead that pretty much mean the same thing.

There were tons of Rusev Day chants as The Bulgarian Brute started off the match and took advantage over Kofi. English got the tag and carried on with the assault in the corner and he soon tagged in Mahal to join the fight to cut the ring in half against Kingston.

Rusev got the tag and applied a bearhug until Kofi fought out of it. He took a charge to the corner from Rusev but dodged the second one to hit a bulldog. Kingston tagged in Roode who took out Aiden English on the other side who was tagged in as well.

Bobby hit a Blockbuster from the second rope and did his Glorious taunt. Jinder came in the ring and took a spinebuster then Rusev kicked Roode in the back of the head for a near-fall. Kofi hit a flying move on Rusev and then jumped on both Rusev and Jinder on the outside.

Roode hit a spinebuster and Woods hit his awesome top rope elbow for the win.

Winners: The New Day and Bobby Roode via pinfall

AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens

This is the first match of the night for AJ but KO and SZ never even made it to the ring before Shane McMahon came out and told Zayn that if he goes anywhere near the match then he’ll lose any chance at the Royal Rumble match because he will fire him and the same goes for Kevin.

Kevin Owens sold a knee injury from the beginning and they had a very short match before he tapped out to a Calf Crusher. Kevin might not have had much of a match due to his reported injury.

AJ kept the Calf Crusher on and Sami jumped him. Kevin rolled out of the ring as Sami and AJ got right to fighting while Kevin Owens limped away before crashing to the mat outside the ring.

Winner: AJ Styles via submission

Sami Zayn vs AJ Styles

Zayn didn’t even take his zip-up hoodie off while he applied punishment to Styles. The match hadn’t even officially begun at that point when Sami dragged AJ out of the ring and tossed him against the barricade.

Zayn punished AJ around the ring as Styles sold every punishing blow. Kevin Owens was still laying at ringside while the medical staff surrounded him and brought out a stretcher for The Prizefighter while Zayn covered AJ Styles in the ring for a near-fall.

AJ lit Sami up with some strikes and a basement forearm before getting up to hit a flying clothesline in the corner. Zayn was tossed over the top rope next to Kevin Owens and the medical staff who were still working on him.

AJ hit a forearm to the floor but before he got in the ring, Styles turned his attention back to KO and his injured leg stomping at it. If they’re trying to write KO out of the WWE Championship match at Royal Rumble, that would really suck. But SZ came to Owens’ aide and knocked AJ to the floor.

Zayn climbed to the top rope and Styles stopped him to climb up for a hurricanrana takedown from the top rope. SZ got up and started trading chops and punches with AJ before AJ hit the fireman’s carry neckbreaker for a two count.

They were still tending to KO on the outside which is exactly what happens when someone is actually hurt, right?

Sami gained an upper hand and geared up for a Helluva Kick but AJ brought his foot into Zayn’s face first. AJ hit a Pele Kick for a near-fall as Corey Graves put over the “guts and the will of Sami Zayn.”

The two continued to fight as the medical staff finally put Kevin on a stretcher and prepared to cart him out of the building.

AJ went on the top rope, but Zayn went for a superplex. Styles slipped out and landed a kick to Zayn but Sami got out of the match before a Styles Clash could be applied.

AJ landed a kick from the apron and tossed Zayn back in the ring. Then AJ turned and tipped over Kevin’s stretcher. As Styles returned to the ring, Sami hit a Helluva Kick followed by a blue thunder bomb for the win.

Winner: Sami Zayn via pinfall

Kevin Owens got in the ring to celebrate with Sami Zayn while AJ Styles laid defeated on the mat, the whole time Owens was doing his best to keep selling his injured knee.






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Aaron Varble hasn’t just been writing for more than a decade in various formats including sketch comedy, stand up, television, radio, and other various projects; nor is he just another professional wrestling fan with a master's degree in journalism and Tourette’s syndrome. He's always looking to explore the why not with the why and the how come along with the how. Follow on Twitter @TheVarble