Tonight’s episode of SmackDown LIVE opens up from The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida as Tom Phillips welcomes us to the show. He is joined by Corey Graves & Byron Saxton.
Commentary then hypes up The #1 Contender’s Match for The SmackDown Women’s Title scheduled for later tonight.
We head to the concessions area where WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan is angry and talking about how AJ Styles would be here if he was just a fan and he wants to take us on an educational journey. The only concessions we are making, he says, are to our health and well-being. Bryan then asks are we healthy? Are we happy? How do we feel after we eat this garbage?
Bryan then says that we are filling a void and throwing garbage down our throats and that is why we cheer for AJ too. Bryan then snatches a hot dog away from some fans and says that Styles is just like the hot dog and they leave empty and move on to something else. He punctuates his point by throwing the hot dog at the fan he took it from. A drink is his next target, saying that the plastic is choking the earth before throwing it at the fan he took it from too.
Merchandise is up next and he asks for a Yes! Movement t-shirt before mock-remembering that The Yes! Movement is dead, he killed it and one of the reasons why is he didn’t want to fill the earth with toxic garbage like AJ’s t-shirts and gloves. He continues railing against Styles as he exits the concourse to be high up in the stands before saying that he is out here changing the world.
Bryan than says that each one of these people is weak, submissive, impotent and AJ can only fill the void for about thirty seconds, but he will tear that void apart and fill it with something meaningful, something valuable, he will make the world better. Bryan then says that we boo him, but he is changing the world for the better while we change it for the.
R-Truth suddenly comes out of nowhere with the corkscrew forearm and he is beating the holy hell out of The WWE Champion. Referee Mike Chioda separates them and we are informed that we will have a match after the commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and the match is in progress.
WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth (Non-Title Match): Bryan regains his composure and controls the opening moments of this one. Truth finally comes back with a flying back elbow out of the corner on Bryan. Truth misses a shot in the corner and it costs him as Bryan hits a running knee to the face. Bryan covers for the three count after a fairly short match. Winner: WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan
After the match, Bryan stands tall and takes the title as his music hits. Bryan exits up the ramp but AJ Styles comes from out of nowhere and attacks him on the stage. Fans pop as Styles unloads on Bryan and mounts him. Security breaks it up but AJ comes back and sends Bryan into The LED board. AJ grabs a steel chair but Bryan retreats. AJ stands tall and looks out, fired up as fans cheer him on.
Rey Mysterio makes his entrance for a Tag Team Match and we go to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and we get the rest of the entrances for The Tag Team Match.
Samoa Joe & Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Mustafa Ali & Rey Mysterio: Joe and Ali start off and Joe starts off strong, working Ali over in the corner. Rey finally gets the tag and they double team Joe. Almas tags in too and goes at it with Rey now. Almas hits a driver for a two count and he takes control of the pace now. Almas looks for a facebuster, but Rey reverses it into a facebuster and then he tags in Ali. Ali hits a hurricanrana on Almas, then connects with some strikes in the corner. Joe gets involved from ringside and Almas takes control now. Almas looks for a stomp in the corner, but Ali fights him off and both men are down now. Rey gets the hot tag and hits a hurricanrana on Almas, then a kick to the face. Joe runs in and tries to cheap shot Rey, but Rey connects with a kick and a seated senton. Rey hits the Canadian Destroyer/sunset flip powerbomb on Almas for a two count. Joe runs in again, but Rey trips him into the ropes and hits the 619. Ali hits a 450 splash off the top on Joe, but Almas is still the legal man. Almas runs over and knocks Ali out of the ring, then he hits the hammerlock DDT on Rey for the three count. Winners: Samoa Joe & Andrade “Cien” Almas
After the match, Vega enters the ring to celebrate with Almas and Joe. They stand tall as Almas’ music plays and we go to replays. Almas exits the ring as Vega raises his arm. Ali checks on Rey in the ring as Tom talks about these Superstars being in The Royal Rumble Matches later this month in Phoenix.
Commentary hypes up The #1 Contender’s Match for The SmackDown Women’s Title once again.
Carmella gets a promo backstage where she talks about how nobody thinks she is gonna win, and why, because she looks good and likes to have fun? Or is it because Charlotte Flair has learned to use a kendo stick and Becky Lynch grew a personality? Carmella says that she became champion by getting an opportunity and that is all she ever needed and tonight she has got one more opportunity to get at it, because Mella is money.
The Usos are walking and talking about how they have got an opportunity tonight themselves and they welcome The Bar to The Uso Penitentiary to send us to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and The Miz barges in on Shane McMahon, complaining about The Usos getting a shot at The SmackDown Tag Title Titles before they did as The Best Tag Team in The World.
Shane says that they are far away from the title picture and The A-Lister tries to sell him on taking the shortcut. McMahon says that he is excited about teaming, he really is, but he wants to put the work in, challenge themselves and their competition. The Miz agrees after a beat before asking if Shane has thought about outfits, saying that he is enjoying the white leather, at which point Shane begs off and feigns taking a call.
WWE United States Champion Rusev makes his entrance and gets on the mic.
He says that last week Lana, his wife, his love, his heart got hurt because of Shinsuke Nakamura’s selfish actions. Rusev then says that she is at home resting, but he stands before us. Not as United States Champion, not as The Bulgarian Brute with the body of a thousand Hemsworth brothers, no, he stands before us as a husband. A “Lana is the best, Lana #1!” chant goes up before he continues.
He says that Shinsuke can mess with him all he wants, but once you mess with his wife you cross a line and you can’t come back from that. So he calls Nakamura out and promises to break every bone in his fragile body and crush him.
Shinsuke appears in the production truck, saying that Rusev is just trying to get sympathy. Nakamura then says that he is there in the truck to prove to everyone that it is not his fault and he asks the tech to roll the tape. Footage of the attack from last week plays, repeatedly showing The Machka Kick that knocked Shinsuke over while Lana was on his back. Nakamura tells Rusev that he crushed Lana with a smirk on his face.
The Bulgarian Brute then says that if he won’t come to him, he will go to Shinsuke.
Rusev is met halfway by Nakamura ramming some road cases at him, sandwiching him against some gear. Referees and road agents (Jamie Noble & five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce) separate them and check on Rusev and Shinsuke comes back for Kinshasa for good measure to end the segment.
Becky Lynch cuts a promo complaining that she has to win a match to get a shot at the title she never lost, but that’s okay because tonight she can do whatever she wants and at The Royal Rumble Asuka will have to do more than just climb a ladder and she knows that she is on borrowed time until The Man comes around.
The Bar make their entrance and we go to a commercial break ahead of their match.
Back from the commercial break and we get a recap of the segment from last night where WWE Hall Of Famer “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan paid tribute to Fellow WWE Hall Of Famer “Mean” Gene Okerlund, who recently passed away at the age of 76.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. The Usos (Jey & Jimmy Uso) (Non-Title Match) (If The Usos Win, Then They Get A Future Shot At The SmackDown Tag Team Titles): Sheamus and Jey start this one off and Sheamus starts strong with a side headlock takedown. Jey fires up and dumps Sheamus outside and Sheamus regroups with Cesaro on the floor. Back in the ring, Cesaro tags in, but so does Jimmy Uso and The Usos double team him in the corner. Cesaro connects with a kick to the midsection, then Sheamus tags back in. Jey tags in now and Sheamus catches him by the ropes and hits the 10 Beats of the Barron. Jey comes back with a boot to the face and Sheamus is stunned. Jey kicks Sheamus away again and he tags in Jimmy. Cesaro tags in too and Jimmy hits a series of kicks on him. Jimmy follows up with the Samoan Drop, then he hits the running butt bump in the corner. They dump Sheamus and Cesaro outside, then The Usos hit suicide dives on both The Bar members on the floor. Back in the ring, Jimmy Uso hits a flying crossbody off the top on Cesaro for a two count. Sheamus tags in and misses a big boot. Jey tags in and they double team Sheamus. Jey superkicks Sheamus for a two count. Cesaro tags in for the double team on Jey, then Cesaro applies a sharpshooter until Jey reaches the bottom rope to break the hold. Sheamus cheap-shots Jey from the apron. Sheamus tags in and Jey fights back with headbutts. Sheamus fights back and looks for a Death Valley Driver off the top, but Jey breaks free. Cesaro tags in blindly, but Jey knocks him down with a superkick. Mandy Rose’s music hits and Mandy comes out to the stage to interrupt. She gets on the mic and talks to Jimmy Uso and asks if she left her ring gear in his hotel room. Sheamus takes advantage of the distraction to take out Jimmy, then Cesaro drops Jey for the three count. Winners: SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)
After the match, The Bar celebrates and raises their titles until the music interrupts and out comes The Miz. The Miz gives a grand intro for The Bar and tells fans to give it up for them. The Miz enters the ring and congratulates them on the win and for beating all the teams on SmackDown. All but one. The Miz says that he is here to grant The Bar an opportunity of a lifetime – to put the titles on the line at The Royal Rumble against the one team they have not dominated, the best tag team in the world. Cesaro takes the mic and knocks The Miz. Cesaro says that he is going to talk it over with his partner but Sheamus responds with a big Brogue Kick to drop The Miz instead. Cesaro says they accept the challenge.
We see Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville backstage walking. Rose reveals her shorts & top are under the towel. She laughs. Naomi appears and she is not happy. Naomi attacks Rose and unloads on her. Deville joins in for the double team. Jimmy Uso runs up and tells them to back off. Jimmy Uso checks on his wife as Rose & Deville back off.
It’s Charlotte Flair’s turn for a promo and she talks about how Carmella was last year’s hottest thing and Becky Lynch is this year’s hottest thing, but she has been the hottest thing four years running, main evented multiple PPVs and she is not here to prove herself to anyone, but just to reclaim her title.
Their match will be after the commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan is being interviewed on his way out of the building.
He points out that a fat, ignorant man spilled mustard on him before shifting to AJ Styles’ “unprovoked” attack. Bryan asks if did Styles attack because Bryan is changing the world for the better, or just because he has got The WWE Title and he doesn’t. Bryan then says that he doesn’t care why AJ attacked him and if you think what he did tonight is vicious, it is not half as vicious as “The New” Daniel Bryan. Bryan then says that people haven’t seen what he is capable of, but Styles will see at The Royal Rumble and he will never, ever take The WWE Title away, because Bryan is fighting for a bigger cause than he can understand and he will be champion forever. Bryan then walks off.
This feeds into the video package hyping up the new arrivals from NXT coming soon.
The Miz is backstage holding his jaw when Shane McMahon rolls up and The A-Lister congratulates him on his plan to challenge their opponents. Shane tries to explain what he meant and The Miz says that if they are not testing themselves by going right after The Bar, where would they be if they just politely waited their turn and let the opportunity pass them by. McMahon then asks if he thinks they can win. The Miz says that he knows they can and they fist bump.
Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair (Triple Threat #1 Contenders Match For The SmackDown Women’s Title): The opening bell sounds and all three women collide, with Becky getting knocked out to ringside. Carmella and Charlotte trade blows, then Becky rolls back in and cleans house. Becky knocks Charlotte out to ringside, then follows her out and drops her with a shot to the face on the floor. Back in the ring, Becky connects with a kick to Carmella’s face, then Charlotte comes back in and fights with Becky in the corner. Becky ends up slamming Charlotte on top of Carmella, then Becky dropkicks Charlotte. Charlotte starts fighting back on Becky and Carmella and she hits a big boot on Carmella. Charlotte hits a moonsault that connects on both Becky and Carmella, for a two count on each of them. Charlotte and Becky fight up to the middle rope now, but Carmella runs over and slams Becky down to the mat. Carmella punches Charlotte in the face and hits a Frankensteiner for a two count. Carmella dumps Becky outside and hits a suicide dive on her next. Charlotte looks for a moonsault off the top onto Becky and Charlotte on the floor, but she misses and crashes down at ringside. Becky then hits a suplex on Carmella on the floor, then pummels on her. Back in the ring, Charlotte comes back and drops both her opponents, then she locks Carmella in the Figure Eight. Becky comes flying off the top with a leg drop on Charlotte for a two count. Charlotte ends up getting dumped outside, then Becky puts Carmella in The Dis-Arm-Her for the win via submission. Winner: Becky Lynch
After the match, Becky stands tall as Tom confirms her match with SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka at The Royal Rumble. Lynch stands tall as her music hits. We go to replays. Lynch continues celebrating until the music interrupts and out comes Asuka. The Man stares The Empress down as she dances to the ring. Asuka hits the corners to pose for a pop. Asuka takes the title off her waist and raises it in Becky’s face as they talk trash to each other. The face-off continues as SmackDown goes off the air.