The 2018 WWE Fastlane Kickoff pre-show opens live from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH as Renee Young welcomes us. She’s joined by Sam Roberts, David Otunga and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. Sam is looking forward to the SmackDown Tag Team Title match, Booker is looking forward to the WWE United States Title match and Otunga can’t wait for the Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Title. The panel hypes tonight’s show, WrestleMania 34 and the WWE Network.
– Charly Caruso checked in from backstage and claimed she spoke with Sami Zayn, who was in a great mood when he arrived by himself. She claimed she also spoke with John Cena, who could be on the outside looking in if he doesn’t win the main event. Finally, she noted that Dolph Ziggler would be answering the very worst of the questions that fans submit via social media.
– A video package focussed on the Smackdown Women’s Championship match.
– Young corrected Booker mistakenly labeling himself as the first United States Champion when he was hyping the U.S. Championship match earlier. She noted that Harley Race was the first man to hold the title. Booker said he was talking about the modern era.
– The Kickoff Match will be Tye Dillinger, Fandango, and Tyler Breeze vs. Shelton Benjamin, Chad Gable, and Mojo Rawley.
– A Baron Corbin selfie style promo aired. He wants to be the face of disappointment for the other men in the main event. He wants to be remembered as the guy who took their dream of main eventing WrestleMania and turned it into a nightmare.
– Caruso interviewed New Day backstage. Kofi Kingston had a big tray of pancakes, but all three members spoke about how they put the tag division back on the map and hold the record for being the longest reigning champions.
– A WrestleMania video aired. We are 28 days away.
– Sunil Singh introduced Jinder Mahal, who joined the panel briefly. He said he beat Randy Orton and stood tall over Bobby Roode for the last month. He said he’s the uncrowned champion and questioned why he’s not in the match. The fans chanted “Jinder sucks. Young brought up the Smackdown Top 10 List (so that’s still a thing). Mahal said he should be the U.S. Champion and the No. 1 contender. Huh? Jinder said he might be on commentary for the match, but either way he would be watching very closely.
– Dolph Ziggler was interviewed from backstage by the hosts. Ziggler said he felt like a million bucks. He said he’s been waiting his entire life for an opportunity to headline WrestleMania. Booker read a fan question that asked whether he regretted forfeiting the U.S. Champion. Ziggler said he had no regrets and added something about some championships not meaning what they should. He said he has bigger fish to fry. Booker asked Ziggler if his best days are behind him. Ziggler laughed and said he hasn’t been hurt in 13 years. He said he comes to work to prove how good he is to himself added that he doesn’t care what anyone else things. Ziggler said he thinks he’s proven he’s the best. Ziggler was asked if he believes this is his last chance to win the WWE Championship. He said maybe and noted that WrestleMania could be the last time you see him. “You don’t know!” he closed…
Mojo Rawley, Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs. Tyler Breeze, Fandango and Tye Dillinger
We go to the ring and out first comes Breezango for tonight’s six-man Kickoff match. We see Fashion Files video from earlier with these two teams facing off backstage to set up the match. Tye Dillinger is out next to join Tyler Breeze and Fandango. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin are out first for their team. Out next comes Mojo Rawley.
Gable starts off with Breeze. Gable talks trash and tosses Breeze as he approaches. Fandango comes in and puts on wrestling headgear that Tye hands him. Fans pop. Fandango looks to try and tangle on the mat with Gable but he gets slammed. Breeze tags back in. Gable drops to the mat and invites Breeze to try and out-wrestle him. Breeze hops on Gable’s back like a horse. They go at it and Breeze nails a dropkick. Shelton comes in but he also gets dropkicked. Mojo comes in but Tye and Fandango assist to clear the ring. Shelton and Mojo recover on the floor before Gable floors Breeze. Gable looks down at Breeze as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Shelton works Breeze over. Shelton drops knees over Breeze’s arm and keeps him grounded by the arm. Breeze tries to make a tag but Benjamin drops Breeze by his arm and covers for a 2 count. Gable tags in and they double team Breeze with several moves. Gable with a 2 count. Gable keeps Breeze grounded now. Gable ends up hitting an overhead belly-to-belly but Fandango breaks up the pin attempt.
Mojo tags in and stalks Breeze before going to work on him. Fans chant “you can’t wrestle” at Mojo. Mojo says he didn’t come out here to wrestle. Mojo rams Breeze back into the corner and hits him with shoulder thrusts. Mojo knocks Fandango off the apron after taunting Dillinger. Mojo turns around and Breeze drops him. Tye and Gable tag in. Tye unloads, knocking Shelton off the apron. Mojo comes in but Tye also takes him out. Tye goes back to work on Gable and gets fired up as fans pop and do the “10!” chant. Tye exposes his knee and goes for the Tye Breaker but Shelton runs in. Fandango takes out Shelton. Gable blocks a superkick and rolls Tye up for a close 2 count. Gable with an overhead kick. Shelton tags in and lifts Tye as Gable goes to the top. Tye fights out. Gable lands on his feet but Breeze hits him with a Beauty Shot. Shelton gets sent to the apron and brought down by Tye. Mojo and Tye go at it now with a near fall. Tye ends up dropping Mojo with a shot to the face and covering for the pin.
Winners: Breezango and Tye Dillinger
– We go back to the panel for more comments on tonight’s card. They talk about tonight’s main event and Booker believes Baron Corbin will win. Otunga picks John Cena to win and Sam believes AJ Styles will retain. Renee agrees with Otunga. That’s it for the Kickoff.
WWE Fastlane Opener:
The show opens with a video package highlighting the main feuds heading into tonight’s event. A good bit of time is devoted to the WWE Championship Six-Pack Challenge, with a heavy focus on how tonight’s show will influence the upcoming WrestleMania card. All six men in the Six-Pack challenge get a bit of screen time. We also get a quick look at Roode vs. Orton and the Smackdown Women’s Championship match.
Todd Phillips welcomes us to the show and we’re ready to kick things off right away as the lights go out for Shinsuke Nakamura. The crowd goes wild when Shinsuke enters, singing along to his theme very enthusiastically.
Aiden English is out next to introduce Rusev through song. English opens with a really weird rap/singing combo running down Shinsuke and Columbus before introducing the man himself, Rusev.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
The bell rings and both men are slow to start, sizing each other up. Shinsuke goes for a take down as the crowd chants back and forth for both men. Rusev stops Shinsuke and is able to turn things around with a headlock takeover for a very quick near fall. Shinsuke tries to gain control, but Rusev grabs Shinsuke’s arm and wrenches away. Rusev clamps on a headlock and Shinsuke pushes him off, but falls to a shoulderblock. Rusev avoids a kick from Nakamura, but Shinsuke scores with a knee to the gut and a high jumping knee to the face that puts Rusev down for a two count. Rusev fights back with a knee to Shinsuke’s gut and a big right hand.
Rusev continues to work over Shinsuke’s arm, twisting and yanking on Nakamura’s arm. Nakamura is able to turn things around into a side headlock, but Rusev backs Nakamura into the ropes to break the hold. Shinsuke ducks a clothesline from Rusev, and tells the big man to bring it, to a huge pop from the crowd. Rusev, instead of bringing it, bails out to the floor where English is quick to hype up the Bulgarian Brute. Rusev teases getting back into the ring, but chooses to walk around the ring instead. Rusev eases back into the ring and circles Shinsuke before bailing to the outside once more. Nakamura doesn’t wait, heading out after Rusev and laying in with a series of right hands. Nakamura positions Rusev on the apron and hits a big knee to the side of the head, then a jumping knee down across Rusev’s back. Nakamura brings things back into the ring, but Rusev stops him cold in the ropes and sends Nakamura crashing back to the arena floor. Rusev heads out after Shinsuke and whips him into the barricade before backing him into the ring apron. Rusev backs Shinsuke into the barricade hard before bringing things back into the ring for another near fall.
Rusev stomps Shinsuke right in the middle of his back before bringing Nakamura to his feet in a modified million dollar dream. Nakamura fights out of the hold and brings Rusev down to the mat with a vicious heel hook, but Rusev is able to make it into the ropes to force a break. Rusev blocks a kick and picks Nakamura up for a swinging slam, planting him on the mat for another two count.
Rusev drops an elbow on Nakamura before hitting the ropes and driving him forearm down into Nakamura’s forehead. Rusev stands over Shinsuke and yanks Shinsuke’s arm around his own throat. Nakamura fights up to his feet and trades knees to the gut with Rusev. Rusev whips Nakamura into the ropes and Nakamura ducks a dropkick before connecting with a single leg dropkick. Nakamura connects with repeated kicks to the chest before backing across the ring. Nakamura charges Rusev in the corner with a running knee to the gut. Nakamura hangs Rusev up on the top rope, charging in with another knee to the stomach that puts Rusev down for two. Shinsuke winds up with even more knees to the ribs while Rusev tries to make his way up to his feet. Shinsuke clamps on a side headlock and Rusev tries to fight it off, but Shinsuke will not let go of the hold, and Rusev struggles against the submission. In an impressive show of power, Rusev picks up Nakamura for a huge fall away slam out of nowhere. Rusev picks up Nakamura and Shinsuke comes up with a series of strikes, but Rusev responds by popping up Nakamura and connecting with a giant kick that puts Shinsuke down for two.
Rusev misses with the matchka kick, and Shinsuke connects with a series of strikes and kicks, but Rusev will not die. Rusev connects with a couple of kicks of his own, and Nak responds with a giant kick to the head. Rusev avoids Nakamura in the corner and almost connects locks in the Accolade, but Nakamura fights it off and stops Rusev cold with a huge dropkick. Nakamura charges out of the corner and runs right into a huge matchka kick from Rusev. Rusev pins Shinsuke, but he’s able to kick out at two!
Rusev stomps on Shinsuke’s back, but Shinsuke slides out of the Accolade again. Shinsuke connects with a Kinshasa to the back of Rusev’s head, then connects with another for good measure. Nakamura pins Rusev for three, and this one is over.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Following the match, Shinsuke straddles the top rope and points to the WrestleMania banner, Phillips says he’s sending a message to the winner of tonight’s main event.
– The announcers talk a bit about WrestleMania before turning their attention to Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton. They send things to a video package that highlights Roode’s journey to the US Title through the tournament set up by Daniel Bryan, and Roode’s desire to challenge himself against the best. We also get a pretty nice reminder of some of the history Randy has made, and his accomplishments over the course of his career. Almost as an afterthought in the video package, we also get a bit of the recent history between these two men leading up to this match.
WWE United States Championship Match
Bobby Roods vs. Randy Orton
Back in the arena, Randy Orton is the first man to make his way out to the ring for the next match. Orton gets a pretty good reaction on his way down the aisle.
Bobby Roode is out next, and the Champion gets a very warm welcome, with large parts of the crowd singing along to his theme.
The bell rings and both men are quick to lock up. Roode goes right behind Orton, and Orton turns things around right away. Roode breaks Orton’s grip and begins working over the arm, wrenching away to torque Orton’s shoulder. Orton is able to escape with a drop toe hold, but Roode spins out of a front face lock, and both men return to their feet. Orton clamps on a side headlock, but Roode pushes him away. Orton responds with a big shoulder block to a nice pop from the crowd. Orton hits the ropes, and Roode responds with a shoulder block of his own. Another lockup and this time Roode goes for the side headlock. Orton pushes him away and Roode puts him down with another shoulder block. Orton stands and leap frogs Roode before putting Bobby down with a rear elbow.
Orton is able to trap Roode in another side headlock, and Roode backs Orton in the corner to break the hold. Orton connects with a big uppercut when Roode backs off. Orton leaps up and attempts an RKO, but Roode pushes him away and bails out to the floor to catch his breath. We get another lockup and Roode clamps on a side headlock, only to be backed into the corner. Roode breaks the hold and lays into Orton with a big chop to the chest. Orton comes back with an uppercut, and Roode grabs Orton’s head for the Glorious DDT, but Orton backs out of it and heads out to the floor. Jinder Mahal is shown backstage watching the match along with Samir Singh.
Another lockup, and this time Orton breaks to kick Roode in the gut. Orton picks up Roode with a front suplex across the top rope. Orton pins Roode, but Roode kicks out quickly. Orton continues the assault, stomping Roode in the gut before picking him up and kicking Roode in the chest. Orton catches Roode with a big right hand in the corner, but when he whips him across the ring, Roode exits the corner with a huge clothesline. Roode stomps away at Orton’s fingers, then drops a huge knee across Randy’s chest for another near fall. Roode crouches behind Orton with a rear chin lock, leaning in on Orton. Orton is able to fight up to his feet, but Roode grinds him back down to the mat.
Orton fights up to his feet once more, and he pushes Roode away, catching Bobby with a couple of big right hands. Roode connects with a quick shot to the ribs, to stop Orton. Roode tries for a suplex, but Orton blocks it and reverses, planting Roode on the mat. Orton stands and waits for Roode to turn, connecting with a couple of straight rights. Roode responds with a couple of big forearms, a clothesline in the corner, and a quick neckbreaker. Roode climbs up to the top turnbuckle and launches himself off with a leaping clothesline. Roode psychs himself up, leading the crowd in a Glorious chant. Roode tries for the Glorious DDT, but Orton turns it around into a rollup. Orton connects with a couple of right hands and a snap powerslam, so Roode rolls out to the apron to catch his breath.
Orton attempts the suspension DDT, but Roode comes back into the ring and sends Orton out to the apron. Orton drops Roode’s arm over the top rope, but when he comes back into the ring, Roode recovers and connects with a blockbuster that puts Orton down for a two count. Roode waits for Orton to stand, coming in with chops to the chest in the corner. Orton is able to send Roode out to the apron, and he kicks Roode in the chest before bringing him back into the ring with a suspension DDT. Orton pumps up the crowd before dropping down to the mat and calling for the RKO. Roode pushes off the RKO, and Orton counters the Glorious DDT with a backdrop. Roode transitions into a roll up and Orton kicks out. Bobby clotheslines Randy over the top rope and to the outside. Roode launches Orton into the barricade, but Orton is able to respond with a belly to back suplex, setting Roode down on the barricade. Orton brings things back into the ring for a two count. Orton picks up Roode and seats him on the top turnbuckle. Orton lays in with more big right hands to the side of Bobby’s head. Orton climbs up to the top, and Roode is able to fight him off. Roode flips over Orton and pulls him down into a running powerbomb. Roode pins Orton, but Orton still will not stay down.
Roode goes back out to the apron and climbs up to the top turnbuckle once more. Orton is up and he takes Roode’s legs out from under him, crotching Roode on the top rope. Orton goes up after Roode again, trying for a superplex. Orton is able to connect with the superplex, but he’s too hurt to capitalize on the pin. Orton finally crawls over into a cover, but Roode kicks out at two.
Orton and Roode both stand, trading punches and kicks. Orton kicks Roode in the ribs, then both men begin trading uppercuts. Roode counters an uppercut into a backslide for two. Both men try for their finishers to no avail, then Roode connects with a spinebuster that’s good for a two count.
Roode goes behind Orton, and Orton answers with a back elbow. Roode kicks Orton away in the corner, and he leaps off the middle rope right into an RKO from Orton. Orton pins Roode and gets the win.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Randy Orton
Immediately following the match, Jinder Mahal makes his way down to the ring dressed for a match. Jinder attacks Orton right away, kicking him in the gut and stomping away at Orton. Roode pulls Jinder off and connects with the Glorious DDT. Roode isn’t done, picking up Orton for another Glorious DDT. Roode is visibly frustrated, stomping in the corner and putting his hands on his head, but Roode is the one standing at the end of this one. Roode surveys the ring before heading to the back.
– We get a recap of Ronda Rousey’s debut at the Royal Rumble, and the build to her match at WrestleMania.
Kevin Owens is shown backstage and Sami Zayn walks in. Owens asks if Zayn is there to lie to him again. Owens talks about Zayn kicking him in the face and pinning him in the fatal five way. Zayn says he’s still Owens buddy, his pal, and Owens can count on him. Owens walks away right as Zayn begins to say that he will not let Owens down.
Naomi and Becky Lynch vs. Carmella and Natalya
Back in the arena, the lights go out for Naomi’s entrance, and the fans are a big fan of her day-glo entry into the arena.
Becky Lynch is the next woman to make her way out, and the fans are excited to see the Lass Kicker, giving Becky a warm welcome on her way down the aisle.
Carmella is out next, and Ms. Money in the Bank doesn’t really seem to get much of a reaction out of the fans either way. Carmella tosses her hat at Becky when she steps into the ring, which doesn’t seem to make Becky too happy.
Natalya is out next, and Todd takes the opportunity to introduce all of the foreign announce teams.
Becky and Carmella look to start things off, and they lock up right away. Becky rolls up Carmella for a one count, and Carmella shoves Becky when they stand. Becky shoves Carmella right back, and she attempts the Disarm Her, but Carmella is able to make it to the ropes. Carmella tags out to Natalya who quickly slams Becky to the mat and walks over her. Becky is quick to respond with an arm drag before tagging out to Naomi. Naomi enters the ring and double teams Natalya with kicks alongside Becky. Naomi clamps on a rear chin lock, but Natalya fights her off. Naomi scores with a couple of kicks, then a headscissors takedown. Natalya is ready, responding by taking Naomi to the mat, but Naomi is quick to recover with a modified stunner. Naomi goes to the top, but is distracted by Carmella, and that allows Natalya to pull Naomi down with a running powerbomb for a two count.
Natalya tags out to Carmella who comes in and quickly takes Naomi into the corner for a series of stomps. Carmella moonwalks away, then charges in with a bronco buster that puts Naomi down for two. Carmella grinds Naomi’s face into the mat, swiping her left and right before putting Naomi into a rear chin lock. Naomi is quick to fight up to her feet, but when she tries to make it to her corner, Carmella pulls Naomi down hard by her hair. Carmella drags Naomi to the corner by her hair and tags out to Natalya. Natalya snap mares Naomi over into a rear chin lock, and she tries to wear Naomi down into the mat.
Naomi fights out with an arm drag and she leaps over Natalya getting within inches of a tag. Natalya is able to pull Naomi into the hostile corner, and Carmella tags in, hanging Naomi up over the top rope by choking her with her thighs. Carmella wallops Naomi and pulls her out across the apron, laying into her with a nasty series of clubbing blows across the back. Back in the ring, Natalya tags in and Naomi fights back, avoiding a belly to back suplex and finally making the tag. Becky comes in hot, taking out Natalya with a quick forearm strike, then a Bexploder suplex. Becky heads to the top rope and leaps off with a missile dropkick. Carmella is able to tag in and connect with a jawbreaker, but Naomi makes her way back into the match with a sunset flip. Carmella is able to avoid the rear view, but she makes a blind tag to Becky who comes in with a big leg drop that’s good for a two count. Natalya breaks up the pin and Becky is able to toss her to the outside. Becky connects with a rear elbow to Carmella, but a distraction from Natalya allows Carmella to pull Lynch out of the corner with a headscissors. Naomi breaks up a pin attempt, and Carmella responds by sending her from the apron. Natalya teases interfering with the briefcase, but Becky avoids that and sends Natalya from the ring apron. Becky turns around into a superkick from Carmella, and she pins Becky for the three count.
Winners: Carmella and Natalya
– Carmella and Natalya make their way to the back quickly, and Phillips sends it right to a video package featuring New Day. New Day talks about something or other John Cena will be doing at the Kid’s Choice Awards, and they talk about how they would be the perfect fit for hosting the show, and this is their audition tape. It’s a good excuse for New Day to come up with some silly bits and get slimed.
This segues right into a video package for New Day vs. the Uso’s, which highlights the recent history between these teams, including New Day looking to secure a spot at WrestleMania at the expense of the Uso’s.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos vs. The New Day
New Day is the first team to make their way to the ring, letting Columbus know not to be sour, and to clap for the four time Champs and feel the power! New Day make their way out with Kofi tossing pancakes, and Big E using an Uso shirt to wipe back and forth against his undercarriage. Of course Xavier gets in a couple of toots on his trombone, but unfortunately, no mics in hand.
Out next come SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. No formal ring introductions.
Xavier Woods looks to kick things off against Jimmy, and both men blast each other with right hands right off the bat. Jey makes the blind tag and surprises Woods with a giant superkick out of nowhere. Jey kicks Woods repeatedly in the chest, tagging out with Jimmy quickly and continuing the assault. Jimmy and Jey continue to stomp at Woods repeatedly, tagging in and out in succession. Jey comes in with a giant leaping forearm in the corner and he pins Woods for a two count. Jey clamps on a rear chin lock, but Woods fights up to his feet and out of the hold with an arm drag. Kofi tags in and leaps into the match with a springboard forearm, and a series of dropkicks on both men. Kofi connects with a leaping clothesline on Jey, then he lands a boom drop. Kofi goes for the Trouble in Paradise, but Jey catches him in suplex position instead, and drops him down for a giant kick. Kofi is right back in it, taking out Jey and knocking Jimmy from the apron.
Kofi mocks the Uso chant before connecting with a running hip check to a seated Jey in the corner. Jimmy comes in out of nowhere and wipes out Kofi with a suplex before connecting with a boom drop. Both Jimmy and Kofi go for Trouble in Paradise, but neither connects. Jey tags in and connects with the Midnight Hour along with Jimmy, but Kofi is able to kick out at two. Jey waits for Kofi to stand in the corner, but he misses with a running splash, connecting face first with the ring post. Woods tags in and he ducks a clothesline from Jey before sending Jimmy off the apron. Jey rolls up Woods, then connects with a superkick. Woods responds with a superkick of his own on Jey, then on Jimmy, then he hits another on Jey. Kofi tags in and heads to the top. Woods connects with a superkick and Kofi hits a frog splash on Jey, but Jey is still able to kick out at two.
Woods makes his way back into the match and he heads up to the top rope. Kofi stands on the top on the other side, but Jimmy knocks him off to the outside. Jimmy knocks Woods off to the outside as well, then he picks up his brother. The Uso’s leap over the top rope, and they take out all three members of the New Day on the floor. Out of nowhere, the Bludgeon Brothers’ music hits, and Harper and Rowan make their way down the aisle.
Harper blasts Big E with a big boot before he and Rowan just turn to dismantling everyone on the floor. Harper takes out one of the Uso’s with a black hole slam on the floor. Harper and Rowan double suplex Woods from the apron out to the floor. In the ring, Harper splashes Big E in the corner. On the floor, Rowan suplexes Kofi before crashing headlong into Big E. Harper and Rowan turn to the Uso’s slamming them into each other before dumping one on the floor, then the second Uso on top of the first. Rowan slams Harper on top of the Uso’s then splashes both Uso’s himself.
Rowan and Harper grab their hammers, and Rowan misses with a shot against the steel steps, but Harper ends up tossing one of the Uso’s out into the crowd instead. They begin to walk to the back, but as they walk by Woods, they stop, then turn around and take the ring steps apart. Rowan grabs Woods and picks him up for Harper to slam him down into the ring steps with a nasty powerbomb. Harper and Rowan walk away, leaving complete destruction in their wake. Woods is twitching on the ring steps and looks to be getting placed on a stretcher. No one else is quite so bad, but none of the competitors have been able to make it to their feet.
Renee Young talks about the odds beings stacked against AJ Styles with the Champion. Styles talks about how it’s true, and no one’s had to work this hard to get to WrestleMania ever, and tonight AJ woke up with a smile on his face, because he likes to turn impossible into phenomenal. He says tonight when he beats everyone and makes his way to New Orleans, and he’s interrupted by Shinsuke. Nakamura says he hopes AJ wins, and AJ cuts him off saying at WrestleMania, it’ll be Shinsuke that gets defeated.
– We go back into the arena, where New Day and the Uso’s are just in the process of being helped backstage. We get a recap of the assault from the Bludgeon Brothers, and Woods is carted out on a stretcher.
– A video package for Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott is next.
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott
Ruby Riott is the first woman to make her way out to the ring, and she comes out without the Riott Squad in tow. Ruby gets a small pop.
There are quite a few ‘woo’ chants from the crowd as Charlotte makes her way down to the ring.
After formal ring introductions, we’re ready to begin the match.
The bell rings and Ruby attempts the Riott kick almost immediately, but Charlotte avoids it. Charlotte attempts the Figure Four, but Ruby is able to fight out. Ruby goes to work on the wrist, and she pulls Charlotte back into the ropes by her hair before using the top rope to clothesline Charlotte. Charlotte catches Ruby coming off the ropes and she puts her down with a fallaway slam. Ruby connects with a boot out of the corner, and she jumps on Charlotte’s back with a rear chin lock. Charlotte falls through the ropes and out to the floor with Ruby on her back. Charlotte backs Ruby into the barricade hard before whipping her into the barricade, then sending her back into the ring. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan cause the distraction. Ruby is able to take advantage in the ring and she sends Charlotte out to the floor. Liv and Sarah stalk around the ring, but Naomi and Becky run down from the back to send Liv and Sarah running. Ruby heads to the outside and brings Charlotte back into the ring. Ruby rains down on Charlotte with a series of punches. Charlotte is able to come back with a slingshot suplex, propelling Ruby off the top rope. Ruby is quick to respond by driving Charlotte face first into the middle turnbuckle using her feet. Ruby connects with a stage-dive senton that’s good for a two count. Ruby connects with a couple more right hands before she wraps Charlotte’s arm around her throat and yanks her back in a straight jacket submission.
Ruby allows Charlotte to stand, then pulls her back down, maintaining the straight jacket and bending Charlotte backwards. Ruby screams in Charlotte’s face while continuing to choke Charlotte out. Ruby stand Charlotte up and hits an STO that’s good for a two count. Ruby stomps away at Charlotte, and she tries for another stage dive senton, but Charlotte gets her knees up. Charlotte avoids a boot in the corner and slams Riott down to the mat. Charlotte heads to the top rope, but Ruby stands and pushes her off the top rope and to the outside. Ruby goes for a suicide dive, but she’s caught by Charlotte and thrown backwards into the barricade. Charlotte stands on the barricade and connects with a moonsault. Charlotte brings Riott back into the ring and goes for the pin, but Ruby is able to kick out. Charlotte sets up the Figure Four, but Ruby kicks her away. Charlotte connects with a leaping knee to the jaw of Ruby. Ruby avoids Charlotte in the corner, but then she turns around into the big boot. Charlotte sits herself on the top rope, and Ruby stops her with a big forearm. Ruby heads to the top and brings Charlotte down with a top rope hurricanrana, but Charlotte is still able to kick out at two.
Ruby pulls Charlotte up and chops her across the chest, wooing in her face. Charlotte responds with a slap across the face, then chops to Ruby’s chest. Charlotte tries to whip Ruby across the ring, but Ruby hangs on to the ropes. Charlotte connects with a backbreaker before hanging up Ruby across the middle rope. Ruby takes Charlotte down in the corner and Liv and Sarah crawl into the ring, baiting Naomi and Becky into the ring. The ref sends Naomi and Becky backstage, and Liv and Sarah use the opportunity to ambush Charlotte. The ref doesn’t see anything, but apparently suspects Morgan and Logan enough to eject them as well. Ruby argues with the ref, then turns around into a chop to the chest from Charlotte. Charlotte connects with a belly to back suplex, then a running big boot. Ruby is able to roll up Charlotte for two. Ruby attempts a reverse hurricanrana, but Charlotte counters with an Alabama slam, sending Ruby face first into the top turnbuckle. Ruby turns around into a big spear from Charlotte, and Charlotte is able to lock in the Figure Four. Charlotte bridges into the Figure Eight, and Ruby is forced to tap out immediately.
Winners and STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
Almost as soon as Charlotte is handed the title, Asuka’s music hits, and she makes her way down to the ring to a huge pop from the crowd. Asuka is dressed to compete, and the crowd is pumped to see her here tonight.
Asuka squares up with Charlotte, then points at the WrestleMania sign before dancing her way out of the ring. Charlotte looks a bit concerned at first, but then she smiles and points at Asuka before looking up toward the Mania banner.
– After a quick look at the upcoming HBO documentary on Andre the Giant, Cory is still pumped about the possible Asuka/Charlotte match at WrestleMania. Todd turns their attention back toward Harper and Rowan decimating the New Day and the Uso’s earlier tonight. Apparently, Woods has been diagnosed with a Thorassic spinal contusion, something that certainly doesn’t sound good. Phillips turns back toward tonight’s event, leading into a video package highlighting tonight’s WWE Championship match. The video package highlights all of tonight’s competitors, along with Sinsuke Nakamura, who also gets a bit of time as well.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena
In the arena, Shane McMahon’s music hits, and the Commissioner of Smackdown Live makes his way down to the ringside area. Shane shakes hands with some of the announcers, and some of the fans.
John Cena is the first of the competitors to make his way to the ring, and the crowd of course sing along to his theme with ‘John Cena sucks’.
Baron Corbin is the next man to make his way to the ring, and the crowd doesn’t seem to excited to see the Lone Wolf. He doesn’t seem to garner much of a reaction on his way to the ring.
Dolph Ziggler is the third man out to the ring, and Todd Phillips notes an odd statistic that Ziggler has never been in a one-on-one match at WrestleMania.
Kevin Owens is out fourth, and Owens is follows very shortly by Sami Zayn. Owens looks furious that Zayn makes his way out while Owens is only about halfway down the aisle. Zayn doesn’t even look at Owens on his way to the ring.
AJ Styles is the last man to make his way to the ring, and the WWE Champion gets a great reaction out of the crowd. We get formal ring introductions for everyone, and then we’re ready for the main event.
The bell rings and Cena connects with an AA on Zayn, then on Owens, then one for Corbin and Ziggler as well. Styles is the only man to not charge into an AA, and he circles Cena, soaking in the dueling chants. We get a lockup and Cena is able to clamp on a side headlock. Styles pushes him away, only to fall to a shoulder block. Styles kicks Cena’s calf, before he and Cena trade right hands. Cena ducks a clothesline and he shoulders AJ, but Styles lands on his feet, kicks Cena’s legs, and tries for the Styles Clash. Cena fights out and shoulders AJ once more, dumping him out on the apron on his feet. Ziggler, Corbin, Owens and Zayn all make their way up to the apron, and everyone comes into the ring at once, surrounding Cena for a 5-on-1 beat down. Cena is dumped out of the ring, and things break down into a brawl immediately. Owens and AJ fight to the outside while Ziggler and Zayn pair off.
Corbin interjects and runs Styles into the barricade before he takes out Owens, and sends Owens into the barricade hard. Styles and Zayn trade roll ups in the ring, and Styles sends Zayn to the outside. Owens is in behind Styles and Styles avoids the pop up powerbomb, sending Owens to the mat. Styles connects with the ushi-garoshi on Ziggler, then he hits the moonsault reverse DDT on Sami, but a pin is broken up by Owens. Styles is able to backdrop Owens to the apron, but Owens drops Styles with a big right hand. Styles stops Owens heading to the top turnbuckle with a big right hand. Styles climbs up after Owens, attempting a superplex. Owens fights off Styles with a headbutt. Corbin tosses Styles to the outside, then he’s taken out by Cena. Cena eats a DDT from Ziggler, and Owens hits a frog splash on Ziggler for a pin that’s broken up by Styles.
Styles and Owens trade forearms in the middle of the ring, and Styles stops Owens with a Pele kick. Styles tries for the Styles clash, but Owens backdrops him to the outside instead. Corbin connects with a chokeslam backbreaker on Owens. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Corbin. Cena is in and he connects with a belly to back suplex on both Ziggler and Sami. Cena connects with a double five knuckle shuffle on Ziggler and Sami. Cena attempts the AA on Ziggler, but Ziggler counters with the fameasser in a pretty amazing counter.
Ziggler calls for Sweet Chin Music, but Cena ducks it and locks in the STF on Ziggler. Styles slides into the ring and crashes into Cena to force him to break the hold on Ziggler. AJ tries for the Styles Clash, but Cena shoulders AJ. AJ fights out and connects with the Styles Clash on Cena, but the pin is broken up by Sami. Zayn mounts AJ and blasts him with repeated right hands before clubbing away with wild lefts and rights. Corbin tries to interject and he knees Sami in the gut before sending him out to the apron. Sami is able to connect with a shoulder to the gut on Corbin, but he’s sent crashing out to the floor. Corbin connects with a giant clothesline on Owens before hitting the Deep Six on Styles. Corbin blocks a DDT from Dolph and he launches him up with a giant flapjack. Ziggler is able to escape End of Days, but when he bails out to the floor, Corbin follows and fights with Ziggler out into the crowd. Corbin slams Ziggler into a barricade on the outside before he charges into Ziggler, sending him crashing through some plexiglass in the production area.
Ringside, Owens dismantles a couple of the announcers tables. He places Styles on top of the table and screams in his face, but Styles connects with an enzugiri that wipes out Owens. Cena shoulders Owens on the table and teases an AA, but Owens fights out. AJ charges in and Cena shoulders Styles, sending him crashing through the announcer’s table with a big AA. Cena brings Owens into the ring and runs into a big boot in the corner. Zayn clotheslines Cena out of the ring, and Zayn turns around to face Owens. Zayn stares down Owens and he asks what he told Owens from the beginning. Sami takes a knee and he lays down for Owens in the middle of the ring. Owens looks conflicted, but he slowly makes his way down into the pin. Owens begins to pull him up, and Sami catches Owens in a small package for two. Owens fights out and the two men trade of with a series of right hands. Owens rolls to the outside and Sami follows. Owens tosses Sami into the barricade, and he tries for the powerbomb on the ring apron, but Sami grabs the ropes and avoids the move. Owens climbs up to the apron and attempts a powerbomb, but Sami backdrops Owens on the apron instead.
Sami screams in Shane’s face, asking if his seat is good enough. Sami turns around and quickly avoids a superkick from Owens. Owens connects with Shane instead. Sami leaps through the ropes in the corner and hits a tornado DDT on Owens on the floor. Sami brings things back into the ring and he waits for Owens to stand, but he charges right into a superkick. Owens avoids a Zig Zag and he connects with a pop up powerbomb on Dolph, but Shane McMahon pulls the ref from the ring to prevent Owens from getting three. Sami connects with the Helluva kick on Owens, and Shane pulls Sami out of the cover. Sami is shocked, and he argues with Shane for a moment before leaping into the ring to break up a pin by Ziggler.
On the outside, Corbin charges into Cena with the steel ring steps, wiping him out on the floor. Corbin brings the steps into the ring and uses them to crash into Sami, then Dolph, and finally Owens. Cena rolls into the ring, and he pulls himself up using the ropes. Cena blocks a stair shot from Corbin, rips the steps out of Corbin’s hands, and charges into Corbin with the steps, sending him to the mat. Cena shoulders Corbin and he brings him down across the ring steps with an AA. Cena pins Corbin on the steps, but the pin is broken up by Ziggler.
Cena picks up the ring steps and he charges Ziggler, but Ziggler avoids the shot and connects with a superkick. Cena recovers immediately and connects with an AA. Owens is in and connects with a pop-up powerbomb on Cena, and AJ is in from out of nowhere with a Phenomenal Forearm on Owens. Styles pins Owens for three.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: AJ Styles
Styles celebrates with his title while Shane walks disgustedly away from Owens and Zayn. Cena looks distraught with no clear path to WrestleMania.
It’s official, Shinsuke Nakamura will face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. The show ends with Styles standing on top of the announcer’s table, holding his title high and facing the WrestleMania banner.
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