Date: January 30, 2018
Location: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA
The Big Takeaway --
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will fight in a singles match next week and the winner will face AJ Styles for the title at Fastlane. The announcement was made by Daniel Bryan as a response to the finish at Royal Rumble. (Later, Shane McMahon didn’t seem happy about this idea but didn’t confront Bryan directly about it.) Owens and Zayn went on to lose to Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event after Zayn bailed on Owens.
Rusev won a fatal 4-way and will face “Bob Roode” for the US Title next week. After the Riott Squad laid out Charlotte, Carmella almost cashed in Money in the Bank but knocked out the referee by mistake before the match could happen.
Also, this show was noteworthy for all of the unnecessary and distracting graphics added to the broadcast. They were all over the place. Add that to the millions of selfie video promos, they’re making this show as difficult as possible to enjoy.
Show Recap --
Shinsuke Nakamura came out to start the show. They’ve added a stupid thing to his entrance. As he does his pose by the ropes, the word “Rockstar” scrolls across in giant red letters. The announcers put over Nakamura vs. AJ Styles as a potential dream match but acknowledged Styles may not be champion by the time WrestleMania rolls around.
Nakamura recapped his Rumble win by letting us know Sami Zayn, John Cena and Roman Reigns all received a knee to the face. The crowd was happy about the latter two receiving knees to the face. Nakamura said Styles would get a knee to the face at WrestleMania and we would get a new WWE Champion.
He pointed at the sign when Kevin Owens and Zayn interrupted. They sarcastically congratulated him on his win then complained about getting screwed in their title match on Sunday. After recapping what happened, Owens claimed they deserved another shot and that Nakamura will be facing them at Mania.
Nakamura said Styles was a winner, but Owens and Zayn were losers. Styles came out next. He said we would get the dream match in New Orleans between himself and Nakamura. Styles wanted to form a dream team with Nakamura tonight to fight Owens and Zayn. The crowd chanted Yes.
Owens and Zayn left the ring. They popped back on the apron just to say “Nope” and they were knocked down by Styles and Nakamura. Nakamura’s music played as the heels backed away.
US Title #1 Contender’s Fatal 4-Way Match: Rusev (w/Aiden English) defeated Kofi Kingston (w/Big E & Xavier Woods), Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) and Zack Ryder (12:43)
Kofi Kingston received a partial entrance. The other three guys did not get entrances. With all participants standing in the ring ready for the match to start, they cut backstage to Daniel Bryan who was approached by Owens and Zayn.
Bryan made the tag match official for tonight. Owens and Zayn complained about getting screwed. Bryan said he couldn’t change anything, but did agree they deserved another shot. He booked Owens vs. Zayn for next week with the winner facing Styles at Fastlane. Bryan was very excited about his own announcement. Owens and Zayn were not.
With the match underway, Kingston hit his crazy backward dive onto Mahal and Ryder. Rusev hopped up and down like he was about to do a dive of his own, but Sunil Singh grabbed his leg. English pushed Sunil into Big E who dropped his pancakes. The chaotic scene led to the referee tossing everyone from ringside.
After Ryder gave Mahal a Rough Ryder, Rusev superkicked Ryder, and then countered Kingston’s Trouble in Paradise attempt into an Accolade for the submission win. Rusev faced off with Bobby Roode (who was on commentary) afterwards. The title match was announced for next week.
The Usos cut a promo backstage. Unfortunately, Sportsnet in Canada went to commercial before it aired. (The graphic reading “The Usos” flashed on the screen, then they cut to commercial.)
There was a Fashion Files segment with Breezango and Ascension, but it was quickly interrupted by Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Gable was embarrassed by the existence of Breezango, and Benjamin was surprised the Fashion Files were still a thing. Gable and Benjamin said Breezango couldn’t beat them in a match and flipped a table over before leaving.
The Usos came to the ring for a promo. They ran down every team they’ve “locked down,” and after each name, a digitized jail cell door slammed on the screen with a cheap sound effect. This was so stupid. The Usos talked about their struggles and going through them together. They welcomed everyone to the Uso Penitentiary.
Before they left, the Bludgeon Brothers entered for their upcoming match. The Usos watched Harper and Rowan walk by them, but Harper and Rowan did not look at the Usos. The Bludgeon Brothers beat two jobbers in 1:47 after a break.
Bryan did a selfie promo to announce the Smackdown Top 10 list. He ran down the rules, including that he and Shane McMahon would not get a vote, and wrestlers could not vote for themselves. Talent, leadership and athletic skill would be considered. The results would help he and Shane determine future matches. He was excited about this idea. (Again, they’ve added even more graphics. Key words from Bryan’s promo were flashed on the screen as he spoke.)
Elsewhere, Tye Dillinger approached McMahon. He talked about what happened at the Rumble when Baron Corbin interrupted. He wasn’t happy about Bryan giving Owens and Zayn another opportunity. McMahon wasn’t happy about it either and Corbin wondered what he would do about it. Dillinger made a crack about Corbin losing his MITB contract. Corbin was pissed so McMahon put them in a match.
Charlotte Flair came to the ring for a promo. They showed clips of Ronda Rousey pointing at the sign at Royal Rumble. Renee Young asked Charlotte about the Rumble. Charlotte said Sunday was the first time she ever wanted to not be champion, just so she could be in the Rumble match. Charlotte said she likely would’ve won, just like someone else she knows who once did.
Charlotte spoke about the moment that “broke the internet” when she stood in the ring with Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Ronda Rousey. Rousey’s name was mostly booed. Before she could say much more, the Riott Squad interrupted. Ruby Riott mocked Charlotte and called her a Ric Flair rip-off, whereas she was an original.
The Riott Squad attacked Charlotte who was able to fight them off. However, they jumped her again and Riott laid her out with a Riott Kick.
With Charlotte laid out, Carmella ran down with her MITB contract and a referee. As the referee called for the timekeeper, Carmella went for a dropkick but Charlotte moved and she hit the referee by mistake. The match never started. Carmella shrieked at the referee to get up. Charlotte got back to her feet so Carmella bailed.
Styles approached Nakamura backstage to talk strategy. Nakamura responded, “I’m going to beat you at WrestleMania.” Styles said he was there to talk about tonight. Nakamura again said he would beat Styles at Mania. Styles wondered if Nakamura was messing with him. Nakamura was about to say it again but admitted he was messing with Styles. Nakamura said, “We’ll be fine. Listen to me out there.” Nakamura smiled and left. Styles appeared nonplussed.
Carmella did an interview with Young where she claimed her almost-cash in went exactly how she wanted. Carmella added that she broke a nail and didn’t want to cash in with a broken nail. Young wasn’t buying it and abruptly ended the interview.
Baron Corbin defeated Tye Dillinger (6:36)
Corbin won with End of Days. Since September, this was just the 7th match for Dillinger on TV or PPV--the 5th involving Baron Corbin.
Rusev and English did a selfie promo. This one was worth it, just to hear Rusev refer Bobby Roode as “Bob Roode.” Roode responded with a selfie promo of his own, where he wrote “Glorious” over the words “Rusev Day” on a calendar.
In the locker room, Zayn tried to find a silver lining, saying at least he or Owens will get a title shot. Owens said that was true, unless Zayn fails. Zayn brought up Owens getting pinned by Styles, and Owens reminded him he lasted about five minutes in the Rumble. Zayn said he won’t fail tonight because he has Owens in his corner. Owens said Zayn wouldn’t fail… tonight.
Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin defeated Breezango (3:37)
Gable & Benjamin won with their powerbomb/flying clothesline combo.
A commercial aired for WrestleMania. The final three people shown were Roman Reigns, Asuka and Ronda Rousey.
WWE Champion AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (15:26)
Nakamura had control over Owens when Zayn tried to interfere, so Nakamura tossed him from the ring. Owens clotheslined Nakamura and went for a tag but realized Zayn wasn’t on the apron. The two of them argued which led to Zayn leaving, pissed at Owens for questioning him. Zayn asked Owens how well would he do without his guardian angel.
After a break, Owens had Styles in a headlock as Zayn watched from the stage. Styles came back with strikes, a clothesline and sliding forearm. He hit a facebuster but Zayn flew in to break up the cover. Owens hesitated but then tagged in Zayn.
Zayn had Styles in a headlock and Owens demanded a tag. Zayn hesitated but then tagged in Owens who hit a senton. Zayn put his hand out for a tag so Owens slapped him in the chest. Zayn then smacked Owens to tag him back in. Styles pushed Owens into Zayn who fell off the apron. Zayn left again, this time to the back.
Styles tried for a forearm but Owens fought back valiantly and gave him a gutbuster and diving elbow drop for two. Styles came back with a Pele kick and made the hot tag to Nakamura. Nakamura hit kicks and set up for the Kinshasa, but Owens escaped the ring. Styles threw him back in and Nakamura gave him a Kinshasa for the win.
They cut backstage to Zayn who watched on a monitor. Young caught up to him and asked if this was the end for him and Owens. Zayn said no. He said this wasn’t about friendship, it was about opportunities. Zayn said Owens has had plenty of opportunities, but he hasn’t. He’s been known as Owens’ best friend but he’ll soon be known as the guy who beat Kevin Owens, who beat AJ Styles and who became WWE Champion.
Nakamura and Styles posed as the show ended.