The build to the Royal Rumble picks up on tonight's SmackDown from the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Last week, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman confronted Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Heyman seemed conflicted and defended Reigns when Lesnar got in his face. Lesnar was confused and told Heyman to shut up. Heyman accidentally distracted Lesnar, which allowed Reigns to hit the Superman punch.
Later that night, Adam Pearce informed Reigns that he had selected his Royal Rumble opponent. Seth Rollins showed up in Reigns' office at the end of SmackDown and laughed hysterically. Reigns vs. Rollins is official for the Royal Rumble, and the two will go face-to-face tonight.
Tonight's SmackDown will feature Lita's return to WWE television. She's set to take part in the women's Royal Rumble match on Saturday, January 29. Tonight will be her first SmackDown appearance in nearly two decades.
Sami Zayn will also attempt to "out-'Jackass'" Johnny Knoxville with the premiere of his "InZayn" stunt show tonight.
Plus, Aliyah takes on Natalya. Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
They recapped the Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman angle from last week. It also included Seth Rollins' return with references to The Shield.
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee discussed Roman Reigns and Seth "Freakin" Rollins going face-to-face later tonight. They also mentioned Lita returning to SmackDown for the first time in 20 years.
The Usos Segment
Jey noted they beat The New Day last week, but they respect them. New Day are the only team to push them to the limit. Jimmy claimed The Usos are the greatest tag team of all time.
Jey thinks they should help Roman Reigns when he goes face-to-face with Seth Rollins. They pointed out that management set up a fatal four-way to determine their next challengers. Jimmy then did the introductions for each team.
Fatal Four-way Championship Contenders match: The Viking Raiders defeated Los Lotharios, Cesaro & Mansoor, and Jinder Mahal & Shanky (9:34)
They had a fine match that dragged but picked up towards the end.
The Usos gave the instructions to all four teams and then super kicked Ivar and Mansoor. The Usos slipped out of the ring as a brawl broke out before they went to break.
The match started during the commercial break. The Usos joined Cole and McAfee on commentary.
Mahal and Shanky isolated Erik in their corner and beat him down. Ivar tagged in and knocked Angel and Humberto off the apron. He then knocked Mansoor and Cesaro off the apron as well.
Shanky missed a splash in the corner, and Erik dropped Ivar on Shanky in the corner. Ivar climbed to the top rope, but Mahal cut him off. Mahal and Ivar fought on the top rope.
Cesaro then jumped up and tried to help Mahal with a double superplex. Instead, Erik jumped back in and gave Cesaro and Mahal a double powerbomb as they gave Ivar a double superplex.
Back from the break, Humberto tried to prevent Mansoor from tagging Cesaro. Mansoor fought back, and Cesaro got the hot tag. Cesaro ran wild and gave Humberto the Samoan drop. Cesaro tried to give Ivar the giant swing, but Humberto broke it up. Mahal then hit the Khallas on Humberto.
Los Lotharios gave Mahal a double superkick and hit a double suicide dive on Mahal and Shanky. Ivar set up for a dive, but Los Lotharios caught him with a double superkick. The Viking Raiders fought back and hit the Viking Experience on Humberto for the win.
The Viking Raiders are the number one contenders for the tag team titles. The Usos jumped on the announce table and taunted The Viking Raiders.
They recapped Sonya Deville interfering in Naomi's match with Charlotte Flair.
Naomi approached Deville in her office. Naomi was furious that Deville interfered in her business last week. She demanded to know why Deville had a problem with her. Deville pointed out that Naomi can't touch her as long as she's wearing her jacket because she's managment.
Deville threatened Naomi that she'd lose her Royal Rumble spot or get fired if she touched her. Naomi walked off when Adam Pearce walked into the office. He noted it's chilly in the room. Pearce turned the temperture up.
They showed a video looking back at The Shield.
Sami Zayn Segment
Sami Zayn was good in the segment although it had an abrupt and weak ending.
Sami Zayn discussed the conspiracy against him. He brought up that actor Johnny Knoxville joined the conspiracy. Zayn played the footage of Knoxville throwing him out of the ring to earn a spot in the Royal Rumble match. Zayn was happy that Knoxville's in the Rumble because he's entering the Rumble too.
Zayn was upset that Knoxville thinks he could be a wrestler. However, Zayn can do whatever Knoxville does but better. He claimed that everyone knows that he's a bigger jackass than Knoxville.
Zayn then introduced his show In Zayn. Zayn ran to the back but came back in a shopping cart with two nameless guys pushing him. They set up a ramp down the aisle with the target/crash pad on the other side of the ring. Zayn pretended he wanted to do the stunt.
The two guys went to push him, but Zayn kept stopping them. Finally, Zayn went to do the stunt but stopped it at the last second. He jumped in the ring when Rick Boogs and Shinksuke Nakamura appeared out of nowhere. Boogs cut his hair and had a different look. Boogs gave Zayn a press slam to end the segment.
In the back, Aliyah was worried about embarrassing herself tonight in her first singles match on SmackDown. Natalya approached and noted there's no shame in losing to her.
Natalya said she holds three records in the Guinness Book of World Records. Aliyah claimed she didn't know that still existed. Natalya didn't appreciate the comment. Aliyah ran off to the ring. Natalya promised to break the Guiness World Record of 3.8 Seconds for the fastest women's match.
Aliyah defeated Natalya (2.79) (WWE time 3.17)
Natalya jumped Aliyah before the match and viciously beat her down around the ring. The referee asked Aliyah if she could continue, but she didn't answer. They announced she couldn't compete, but Aliyah convinced the referee to change his mind.
The bell rang, and Aliyah instantly caught Natalya in a small package for the win. After the match, they announced that Aliyah set a new record for the fastest women's match with 3.17 seconds.
In the back, Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce were impressed with Aliyah's win. They noted it's boiling in the office.
They recapped Seth Rollins turning on The Shield eight years ago.
This was a fun segment.
Michael Cole introduced Lita to a big reaction from the fans. The fans broke into a loud "Lita" chant. Cole noted Lita influenced the women on the current roster. Cole wondered why Lita decided to enter the Rumble this year. Lita noted she was in the main event on Raw and entered the Hall of Fame but never in the Rumble match.
Lita feels she has one more run left in her. She plans on winning the Rumble and main eventing WrestleMania. The fans popped. SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair interrupted and made her way to the ring.
Flair grabbed the mic from Cole and took over the interview. Flair mocked Lita and pointed out that she's entering the Rumble as champion. Flair promised to win the Rumble, throw Lita out and pick her opponent at WrestleMania. Flair wondered how she's going to deal with losing.
Lita called Flair Tonya Harding and made fun of her giant head. The fans broke into a loud "giant head" chant. Flair mentioned defeating Lita's friend Trish Stratus at SummerSlam. She claimed she broke and retired Stratus. Lita pretended to slap Flair, and Flair covered up. Lita then hit the twist of fate to end the segment.
They recapped the 12 Days of Christmas Street Fight from last month. They also recapped Ricochet breaking Ridge Holland's nose at Day 1.
In the back, Sheamus noted Holland's at home because of Ricochet. He promised to get some revenge tonight.
Sheamus defeated Ricochet (9:36)
Sheamus and Ricochet had a good hard-hitting match.
Ricochet promised to defeat Sheamus and break his nose too.
Ricochet had the early advantage with a side headlock. Sheamus broke free with a shoulder tackle and stomped on Ricochet's fingers. Ricochet sent Sheamus to the floor and followed up with a dive. Sheamus regained control by tripping Ricochet on the apron. Sheamus then gave Ricochet a slingshot underneath the ring.
Back from the break, Sheamus was firmly in control, but Ricochet fought back. He hit a springboard crossbody off the second rope to regain control. Sheamus missed the Brogue Kick and ended up on the apron. Ricochet hung Sheamus on the second rope and hit a lionsault to Sheamus' back for a near fall.
Sheamus avoided the 450 splash, but Ricochet landed on his feet. Sheamus recovered and hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Sheamus attempted White Noise off the top rope, but Ricochet broke free.
Ricochet fought back and hit a sunset flip powerbomb for another close near fall. Ricochet tried to pick up Sheamus, but he broke free. The finish came when Ricochet went for a headspring knee, but Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick in mid-air for the win.
They recapped Aliyah defeating Natalya earlier and setting the record for the fastest match at 3.17 seconds.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville discussed the rules for the Royal Rumble. Pearce and Deville were still hot, so Pearce went to find someone to help. Deville took her jacket off when Naomi walked into the office. She noted Deville's not wearing her jacket therefore she could fight her.
Pearce ran back in and agreed that Deville cost Naomi her match last week. Pearce announced Naomi vs. SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair in a championship contender's match next week.
They recapped Seth Rollins defeating Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns seven years ago at WrestleMania 31.
Madcap Moss (w/Happy Corbin) defeated Kofi Kingston (5:45)
Moss and Kingston had a fine match.
Before the match, Kingston read a proclamation from King Woods. Woods suffered a calf injury last week and has to miss the Royal Rumble this year. However, Woods decreed that Kingston would enter the Rumble match representing the kingdom.
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss made their way to the ring. Corbin noted he's happy because he's rich and good-looking. The only thing that'll make him happier is throwing Kingston out of the Rumble.
The only time they were happier was when they injured Drew McIntrye's neck. Moss told a bad joke and started laughing until Kingston began laughing. Kingston promised to defeat Moss.
Moss picked up Kingston, but he reversed and sent Moss to the floor. Kingston then hit a dive wiping out the heels as they went to a break.
Back from the break, Moss was firmly in control and gave Kingston a fallaway slam. Kingston fought back and rocked Moss with a clothesline and dropkick. He followed up with a kick to the chest and the Boom Drop. He set up for the Trouble in Paradise, but Corbin caused a distraction.
Moss avoided Trouble in Paradise and briefly took over. Kingston went for a flying crossbody, but Moss caught him. Kingston briefly fought back and went for the SOS, but Moss countered into the Punchline for the win.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Seth "Freakin"Rollins Face-To-Face
Rollins and Reigns had a good segment but the ending was anti-climatic. The fans treated Reigns as the face in the feud.
Seth Rollins came to the ring first before they went to a break. As Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance, McAfee noted he'd been champion for 502 days. Cole added that he breaks Brock Lesnar's record when he reaches 504.
The fans broke into a loud "Roman Reigns" chant. Reigns demanded that Omaha acknowledge him, and they popped. The fans broke into a loud "Roman" chant. Rollins tried to get Reigns to put his fist out as they did as The Shield. Reigns said that's beneath him now. Rollins pointed out that he beat Reigns every time they fought.
Reigns noted he's in God mode and the greatest of all time. Rollins said he's out here to acknowledge Reigns and his accomplishments. Rollins pointed out that Reigns didn't win the title on his own. First, he needed The Shield, and now he needs The Usos. Rollins claimed he created Reigns, so he could destroy him.
Reigns felt he was wasting his time. He noted Rollins dresses like a clown and sounds like a clown because he's a clown. He admitted that he wouldn't have picked Rollins from Raw. If he wanted to face a megastar, he would have picked Rollins' wife.
Suddenly, The Usos tried to jump Rollins, but he ran out of the ring to the announce table. The Usos chased him, but Rollins escaped again. Rollins and Reigns had a brief staredown before Rollins ran off.
Next Week: SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair takes on Naomi in a championship contender's match.