AJ Styles makes his way to the ring to open tonight’s episode of WWE Smackdown Live from Indianapolis, Indiana.
Styles goes to take the mic but fans start chanting his name. Styles welcomes us to the house that he built and fans pop. Styles says the odds were stacked against him at Fastlane. He admits he was in trouble and got worried when John Cena put him through the announce table. Fans boo. Styles goes on about how he found a way and is still WWE Champion but even better than that, he’s going on to WrestleMania 34. Styles says he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. He talks about the journey to get where he’s at now and says it’s unbelievable but not impossible. Styles says his road to New Orleans has been a tough one. Fans chant “you deserve it” now.
AJ says he earned it and we are four weeks away from Wrestlemania. AJ says his opponent at Wrestlemania is probably the biggest Japanese star, Shinsuke Nakamura. This is a dream match. They both have similar paths to get to the WWE. When it comes to this championship, those comparisons stop. AJ says he is no different than you. If you want to call him ‘the every man’, that is fine until he steps through those ropes. Then he is Phenomenal.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s music plays and he makes his way to the ring.
Nakamura says everyone likes AJ because he is champion. Nakamura says everyone likes him too. He says he respects AJ. At Wrestlemania, dreams come true. He says his dream is Knee to Face and he becomes champion.
Rusev’s music plays and he makes his way to the ring with his lyrical stylist Aiden English. We go to commercial.
Rusev (with Aiden English) vs. AJ Styles
They have some words for each other before locking up. Rusev pushes Styles to the mat. Styles with a waist lock but Rusev with a hip lock take down. Styles with a kick to the leg. Styles with another kick to the leg and a side head lock. Rusev with a shoulder tackle. Rusev wants a test of strength and Rusev with a kick and punches. Rusev with a knee to the midsection but he misses a charge into the corner.
Styles with chops and punches. Rusev with a kick and short arm clothesline. Styles with a Phenomenal Drop Kick but Rusev gets back to his feet. Styles clotheslines Rusev over the top rope to the floor. Styles with a slingshot forearm to Rusev and he sends Rusev back into the ring. Styles with kicks to Rusev and he tries for a suplex but Rusev blocks it. Rusev gets Styles up but AJ lands on his feet. Styles with punches but Rusev with a shot to the throat followed by a spinebuster for a near fall.
Rusev with shoulders in the corner and then he connects with a forearm across the chest. Rusev pulls Styles to the ring post and he wrings the arm into the ring post. Rusev sends Styles back into the ring and he gets a near fall. Rusev with a top wrist lock. Styles with an elbow but Rusev with a back body drop.
Rusev with a front chancery suplex. Rusev kicks Styles while Styles is in the ropes. Rusev gets a near fall. Rusev pie faces Styles on the apron and sends him to the floor. Styles with forearms to the back followed by punches when he returns to the ring,.
Rusev with a drop kick and he celebrates by spinning around. Rusev puts Styles on the turnbuckles and connects with a forearm and Styles barely hangs on the top rope. Rusev with another punch and he goes up top. Rusev sets for a superplex but Styles slides under and drops Rusev on the top turnbuckle. Styles with a series of strikes and a leg sweep followed by a flying forearm. Styles with a forearm into the corner. Styles avoids a round kick. Rusev with a pop up knee to the midsection followed by a round kick to the temple but Styles kicks out.
Rusev sets for the Accolade but he misses the pump kick. Styles with a Pele Kick followed by an Ushigoroshi but Styles holds his knee after the impact. Styles sets for the Styles Clash but Rusev counters to try for the Accolade but Styles goes for the Calf Crusher. Rusev grabs the ropes but Styles applies the Calf Crusher. Aiden English attacks and the referee calls for the bell.
Winner: AJ Styles (by disqualification)
After the match, Rusev and English attack Styles and Nakamura watches from ringside. Eventually, Nakamura gets up and goes into the ring and kicks English and hits Kinshasa on Rusev.
– We take a look at photos from the Tag Title Match at Fastlane and the interference by The Bludgeon Brothers.
Big E walks in the back and he is asked about the challenge by the Bludgeon Brothers. Big E says he wishes he could say that they proved everyone wrong and won the tag titles. He wishes he was here with his brothers but he cannot. The Bludgeon Brothers tried to destroy them. Kofi and Woods will be back. Big E says he will represent The New Day. Jimmy Uso shows up and he says Big E will not be standing alone. Before the Bludgeon Brothers interfered, they had a classic and they will meet again when they heal up. Jimmy and Big E walk together as we go to commercial.
– We are back with a look at the announcement of Kid Rock joining the WWE Hall of Fame.
AJ Styles walks in the back and he sees Nakamura. He says he didn’t need his help against five guys at Fastlane and he didn’t need his help tonight. Nakamura says it looked like he needed his help and he will help him until Wrestlemania when he gives him a Knee to the Face.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Jimmy Uso and Big E
Jimmy Uso and Big E attack Harper and Rowan immediately on the outside. They both grab steel chairs and slide back inside the ring calling for Harper and Rowan to enter. Harper and Rowan grab the mallets and enter the ring with Jimmy and Big E. Jimmy and Big E swing. Harper and Rowan avoid the chair shots. Jimmy and Big E bail.
Commentary points out the match hasn’t even officially started yet as we go to commercial.
We are back and the match is started and Big E with shoulders to Harper in the corner but Harper with a Bossman Slam. Rowan tags in and he hits a splash with help from Harper. Rowan kicks Big E in the corner and then he slams Big E. Rowan walks across Big E’s chest and tags in Harper. Harper kicks Big E in the chest. Harper with chops to Big E but Big E with an elbow and he tags in Jimmy. Jimmy leaps over Harper and connects with an uppercut and a flying forearm. Uso with a thrust kick and uppercut. Harper blocks a super kick and Uso with a kick and corkscrew splash. Jimmy knocks Rowan off the apron.
Harper with a running boot and he sends Big E to the floor. Rowan sends Big E into the ring steps. Rowan tags in and Rowan with a splash to teh back and then they hit a spike power bomb for the three count.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
After the match, Harper splashes Big E against the barricade and then Rowan takes out Big E with a big shot. Harper and Rowan walk to the back with Jimmy still down in the ring.
– We take a look at what happened when Shane McMahon got involved on Sunday after putting himself in harm’s way.
Renee Young is in the back with Sami Zayn. Renee asks Sami who is responsible for his failure on Sunday. Sami says the obvious answer is Shane McMahon because Shane pulled him off Kevin Owens. Sami says he has to blame Kevin Owens. If it wasn’t for Shane’s obsession with Kevin Owens, Shane wouldn’t have gotten involved. He says that while Kevin has been at his side, Kevin is an egomaniac. Sami says he was moments away from being champion but he was robbed because of guilt by association. We go to commercial.
In the Arena:
We are back and Charlotte Flair makes her way to the ring. Charlotte says when you are a champion, you are always a target. When Asuka’s music played on Sunday, she knew what was coming and she was honored. She wants to be in the ring to meet Asuka, woman to woman.
Asuka makes her way to the ring.
Charlotte welcomes Asuka to Smackdown and she tells Asuka to be careful what you wish for. Asuka thanks Charlotte for the invitation. Charlotte says she has been asked all over the world what would happen if you face Asuka. What if the Queen went one on one with the Empress of Tomorrow. We will find out who bows down at Wrestlemania. Charlotte says she was not able to pick her opponent for Wrestlemania but she wanted Asuka to choose her. Charlotte says she got goosebumps on Sunday when Asuka’s music played because it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Charlotte says she has not faced Asuka, but Asuka has never faced anyone like Charlotte. Charlotte vows to end Asuka’s streak and cement her legacy. Charlotte woooos.
Asuka says she chose Charlotte because she likes a challenge. You are the Queen, but Asuka reminds Charlotte that she is the Empress. Asuka bows to no one. NO ONE IS READY FOR ASUKA! Asuka and Flair face off as the music hits.
The music interrupts the face off as new WWE United States Champion Randy Orton makes his way out while Asuka and Flair are still in the ring. Orton marches to the ring as Greg Hamilton does the introduction. Orton is here to address the WWE Universe for the first time as champion. Also tonight, Shane McMahon will make a WrestleMania 34 announcement and Bobby Roode will face Jinder Mahal. Back to a break.
Randy says he has been called many things through his career. Some bad and some good. Until now, he has never been called United States Champion. Winning this title puts him on a short list of elite athletes who are Grand Slam Champions. That is a list he cares about. He says Bobby Roode was a tough competitor on Sunday and Bobby earned his respect. Randy says this title is his now. Randy says he is taking it to Wrestlemania and no one is going to stop him.
Bobby Roode’s music plays and he comes to the ring.
Roode congratulates Randy on his victory. He says Randy got him. Bobby says he gets a rematch and that rematch will take place on the grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. When he retains (sic) that United States Championship, it is going to be absolutely GLORIOUS.
Jinder Mahal’s music plays and he is joined by Sunil Singh.
Jinder congratulates Randy as well for being a first time United States Champion. It seems like you have been in the WWE for an eternity and you finally accomplished it. You have Bobby Roode who has been in the WWE for a cup of coffee and Bobby held that title before you. Forget about the rematch and Wrestlemania, he will beat Bobby Roode like he beat Randy last week.
Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal (with Sunil Singh)
Mahal with a kick and punches. Mahal with an Irish whip and Roode floats over. Mahal avoids a Glorious DDT and goes to the floor but he tries to avoid Orton at the announce table. Mahal pulls Roode to the floor but Roode sends Mahal into the apron before returning to the ring. Roode with a punch and chops. Roode with a kick but Mahal wtih a knee and then he hits a knee drop for a near fall. Mahal chokes Roode in the corner.
Mahal chokes Roode in the ropes and the referee warns Mahal. Mahal with knee drops to Roode. Mahal with a quarter nelson and chin lock. Roode punches Mahal and escapes the hold. Mahal with a side head lock and then both men bump heads and go down. Roode with punches and chops to Mahal followed by a running forearm and clothesline. Roode with a clothesline into the corner followed by a neck breaker.
Roode goes up top and hits a clothesline. Roode sets for the Glorious DDT but Mahal backs Roode into the corner but Roode with a blockbuster for a near fall. Mahal sends Roode to the floor but Roode gets back in the ring and Mahal with a kick to the head for a near fall. Mahal goes for Khallas but Roode escapes and gets a near fall with a rollup. Roode with a spinebuster for a near fall.
Sunil gets on the apron and Roode pushes him into the ring post. Mahal hits the ropes and Roode falls to the mat. Mahal with Khallas for the three count.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
After the match, Randy Orton comes into the ring and hits an RKO on Mahal.
We are back and Kevin Owens is walking in the back and Renee Young asks Kevin about Sami’s comments. Kevin says it is all Shane McMahon’s fault. If Sami was not so selfish, he would see that he wasn’t the only one who got screwed over. Kevin says he would have been the Champion and then Sami wouldn’t have had his chance to win. Kevin talks about Sami lying by not laying down on Sunday. Kevin says Sami is delusional and Kevin says he is the rightful WWE Champion. That is because of Shane McMahon. Shane is like all of the other McMahons. They cannot stand someone else having the spotlight. Why was Shane at ringside on Sunday? Kevin says he will be the one to show Sami the light and see his mistake.
– We have a video for the Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal.
Naomi vs. Carmella
We go to the ring and out comes Naomi. Back to commercial.
They lock up and Naomi backs Carmella into the corner and Naomi with a clean break. Carmella with a kick to the midsection followed by a hair biel. Carmella with another hair biel. Carmella rubs Naomi’s face in the mat and Carmella gets a near fall. Carmella stands on Naomi’s hair. Carmella runs Naomi into the turnbuckles and then she curb stomps Naomi’s head into the turnbuckles. Carmella uses the hair and wraps it around the rope as the referee warns her.
Naomi with a take down and she punches Carmella and rubs Carmella’s face in the mat. Carmella slaps Naomi and Naomi slaps back. Naomi with more slaps to Carmella. Naomi with a clothesline and back elbow. Naomi misses a series of round kicks but she does not miss with a knee. Carmella kicks Naomi when Naomi goes for a springboard move and pulls Naomi to the mat for a three count.
– Shane McMahon walks in the back and we go to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a promo from Rusev and Lana to promote tonight’s Mixed Match Challenge episode, which you can watch at this link.
In the Arena:
We are back and Shane McMahon makes his way to the ring and he shuffles in the ring. We see how Shane interfered in the WWE Championship match at Fastlane.
Shane says he’s had a number of issues with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as of late but he’s not here to apologize because they have crossed the line. Shane talks about how it all started with Owens beating up his dad Vince McMahon months ago. Shane also talks about how Sami interfered in his Hell In a Cell match with Owens. Shane says that led to months of him going bonkers every time he looked at them and maybe he went too far. He mentions having a conversation with SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan today, and that Bryan will be returning to TV next week. Some fans boo this. Shane announces that he will be taking an indefinite leave of absence as SmackDown Commissioner after tonight’s show but before he does, he’s here to make one special match.
Shane announces Owens vs. Sami for WrestleMania 34. Shane’s music hits and he goes to leave but Owens comes out as his music interrupts. Owens knocks Shane and mentions how he can beat the hell out of Sami any time, he doesn’t have to wait until WrestleMania. Sami’s music interrupts Owens and out he comes next. Sami stops and looks at Owens on the ramp, then enters the ring with Shane. Sami is glad Shane is leaving because he makes all of his decisions based on what fans react to, as they reacted to Sami and Owens beating on each other at Fastlane. Owens is in the ring now. Shane points to how he just gave them a WrestleMania match and they are ungrateful. Owens says then Shane will appreciate this as well. Sami attacks Shane from behind and beats him down. Owens joins in and they double team Shane now. Shane tries to fight back but they drop him again. Owens holds Shane in the corner, allowing for Sami to deliver a Helluva Kick. Sami pushes Shane into a Pop-Up powerbomb from Owens. Referees hit the ring but Owens and Sami fight them off as well. Owens brings Shane to the floor and keeps up the attack. Sami brings a steel chair over.
Sami stands the chair up and Owens puts Shane’s neck through it. They both ram Shane into the ring post with the chair around his neck. Sami and Owens drag Shane up to the stage now. They talk trash while dragging Shane to the backstage area. Shane sounds like he’s dying after a powerbomb on top of steel production structure pieces. A referee come over and calls for paramedics, telling Owens and Sami to leave. Shane sounds really bad, grasping for air. The referee tells him to hang on and that he’s going to make it. The paramedics grab a mask and prepare to load Shane on a stretcher as SmackDown goes off the air.
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