We had a fantastic Royal Rumble at the weekend (we recapped it here) and they made the right call with the Rumble winner for once. We now have 2 months of hype for what is sure to be the show stealer of Wrestlemania in Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles. So how will they build it up? Let’s find out with the top stories that happened on Smackdown Live.
Daniel Bryan announced an initiative where there will be a list of Top Ten Superstars who will get opportunities. These will be voted on by the Superstars themselves with the criteria of:
Locker Room Leadership
I really hope they do this legit because it would be interesting to see who they would actually pick and if anything comes from this.
Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura came out and told how he kneed everyone in the face at the Rumble and Wrestlemania he will do the same to AJ Styles. He didn’t do it in as many words as that. A lot of saying the words knee and face but you get the drift. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens come down and say the wrong man was pinned and they should be champ. AJ comes down and they end up making a tag team match for tonight, no Teddy Long involved.
Kevin and Sami approach Daniel Bryan backstage to complain about Sunday and Daniel tells them that the referee’s decision is final. Oh we will have words about that on the podcast this week. Daniel makes a number one contenders match for next week where Kevin will take on Sami and the winner will face AJ Styles at Fastlane.
They have locker room interactions from both teams later on where Nakamura keeps telling Styles that he will beat him at Wrestlemania before saying that he is only messing with him and telling him to listen to him out there. Sami and Kevin’s interaction plants seeds of dissension with Kevin basically saying that Sami can’t get the job done without him. They can’t break them up yet. It’s way too early for that.
In the main event, we get the match and during it, Sami and Kevin have a falling out after Sami is knocked down at ringside when KO wants to make a tag. Sami says to see how Kevin does without his guardian angel and heads up the ramp. He hangs around though and runs back down to make the save on a pinfall and is back in the match. They starting tagging each other with slaps instead of tags. AJ causes KO to hit into Sami and Sami walks out for good this time. He does have a match up next on Mixed Match Challenge after all. Nakamura and AJ pick up the win quite handily after that. Sami cuts a promo backstage saying that it is not the end of their partnership but he known as Kevin Owen’s friend. After next week, he will be known as the guy who pinned Kevin Owens and then win be known as the WWE Champion. Damn this was a long section, a lot happened though. That’s a novel idea, things happening to progress a storyline. Shocking stuff. Keep it up WWE.
Charlotte cuts a promo in the ring. She says that she will be champ at Wrestlemania and the only question is who will face her? The Riott Squad comes out and beats down Charlotte leaving her lying in the ring. Apparently she has no friends anymore. Carmella’s music hits and she runs down to the ring to cash in her MITB contract. Before the bell rings, she tries to kick Charlotte but accidentally hits the ref knocking him out of the ring so the match never starts. Charlotte gets back up and Carmella takes her briefcase and runs. Carmella in a backstage promo says that was exactly how she wanted it to go. She just wanted to remind Charlotte that she has the MITB contract. I like this, it made sense besides the Charlotte has no friends part. Sense in wrestling is good. We need more of that.
We get a Fatal 4 Way to determine the number one contender for the US Title. Jinder Mahal, Rusev, Zack Ryder & Kofi Kingston face off for the right to take on Bobby Roode. This of course took place on Rusev Day so Rusev managed to pick up the win. We will get Bobby Roode vs Rusev for the US Title next week on Smackdown on Rusev Day.
We got a full episode of the Fashion Files on Smackdown. None of this going online to watch it bullshit. Breezango put together their Top 10 superstars which is 9 pictures of themselves and The Ascension make it in at spot 10. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin come in and say that Fashion Files is embarrassing. How dare they? They challenge Breezango to a match. Gable and Benjamin get the win further going down the heel road of their recent tweening.
The Usos also cut an awesome promo about all the teams they’ve beaten and how they are the best team in the WWE. Their promos have been on fire lately. As they go to leave, the Bludgeon Brothers make their way out and walk right past them. They then kill some jobbers. So a regular day for the Bludgeon Brothers.
Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger get into it backstage with Shane McMahon. Corbin because he feels he should be in line for a title shot and Tye because Kevin and Sami cost him his opportunity at the Rumble. I wonder who has the better argument here. Tye gets a lovely shot in on Corbin about not having the MITB briefcase anymore. Shane puts them in a match and Baron wins because of course he does.
So Raw had some new Graphics last night which were pretty sweet. Too Sweet if you will. Smackdown Live gets some too. But in a weird way. ROCKSTAR flashed across the screen as Nakamura did his hanging off the ropes spot. It was super weird.
the WWE REALLY wants you to know Shinsuke Nakamura is a rockstar pic.twitter.com/8YHZ2tl9xJ
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) January 31, 2018
Also like they had on Raw the night before, we are getting text for random words they say over backstage promos now. The Usos also got Jail cells popping up on screen as they claimed that tag teams have been locked down. All different and new. Some good, some not so good but fair play for trying something new.
Rusev def. Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder & Jinder Mahal by Submission
The Bludgeon Brothers def. Jobbers via Murder
Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger by Pinfall
Shinsuke Nakamura & AJ Styles def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn by Pinfall.
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