The show opens up with a video package showing the controversial ending of the tag team match from Clash of Champions.
We are live from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ as Tom Phillips welcomes us to the show. He is joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Daniel Bryan makes his way down to the ring. He welcomes us to the show and says that before he talks about what went down last Sunday at Clash of Champions, he wants to talk about the announcement of the Women’s Royal Rumble from yesterday. He says that it is going to be huge, awesome, and a turning point in WWE history. They also have a great show tonight, with Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Jinder Mahal in the main event against Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, and AJ Styles.
Shane McMahon’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring. He greets Bryan and the crowd and agrees that yes, the Women’s Royal Rumble is unprecedented and it will be amazing, but he wants to talk about Clash of Champions. They were there, in the ring, both special guest referees. He has been thinking about it and everything was going the right way when Orton hit Zayn with the most beautiful RKO he has ever seen and he went down to count, smiling, one, two, knowing that when he got to three they’d be gone forever, but that’s not what happened.
As he was coming down for three, Bryan tripped and landed on him, breaking the count. Shane could have counted to fifty. Bryan says that was an accident and McMahon says he knows that know but at the time he got heated. Zayn got Orton rolled up and Shane got down one, two, and then thoughts of what Owens did to his dad, what Sami did to save Owens, and when Owens and Zayn had screwed SmackDown at Survivor Series went through his head and his emotions got the better of him and he stopped counting.
Bryan’s emotions then got the better of him and he got in his face, Sami rolled Orton up again, and Bryan counted one two three quickly, thus Owens and Sami are still here. So, having explained what was going through his head, Shane wants to know what was going through Bryan’s. Bryan says that he did what he did to protect Shane from himself, and this gets a rousing “Thank you, Daniel!” chant from the crowd.
McMahon says that with all due respect he doesn’t need protection from him, and Bryan says he does. He eats, sleeps, and breathes SmackDown but his passion turns him into a hothead, and Bryan protected not just him, but an idea, Their idea. He took the job as general manager because he believes in their shared vision of the land of opportunity for everyone. Not just for people Shane likes.
He may not like Sami and Kevin, but you threaten their livelihood, to take away the opportunity they promise to everyone? McMahon says that he has been trying to figure it out and ruminating on the idea and he can understand how he personally has empathy for Owens and Zayn but he wants him to know to be very careful because as soon as they are done playing his heartstrings they are gonna stab him in the back.
And from a business standpoint he can’t show favoritism to them because it will come around and bite them right in the ear. Bryan scoffs at the idea of Shane McMahon taking a business point of view, asking if he’s saying he should have done what’s best for business? Because he has heard those words before, and he’s struggled against those words. But he believes in Shane, in SmackDown, and in their shared vision.
But if he has a completely different vision, that’s his prerogative, and if he wants to fire somebody, Shane should fire him, because he doesn’t want to see Shane O’Mac turn into Mr. McMahon. Shane takes this in for a second and squares up to Bryan and tells him he respects him implicitly and trusts him, and good luck with the show tonight.
Commentary hypes up the Six-Man Tag Team Main Event Match as well as The Usos taking on Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin and we go to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break, we are just in time for the entrances of the first match of the night.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin: This one is a non-title match. The Usos start off strong and send Gable and Benjamin out to the ring-side floor. Shelton comes in and goes back and forth with Jimmy. Jey and Gable get the tags and Jey fires up. Jey hits a series of kicks on Gable and goes for a Samoan drop, but Gable evades it. Jey finally hits the Samoan drop, then goes up top but Gable stops him. Jimmy comes in but Gable hits him with a German suplex. Gable hits a German on Jey next, then Shelton tags in and they connect with a double team powerbomb/flying clothesline. Shelton pins for the three count. Winners: Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable
After the match, Gable and Benjamin stand tall as their music hits. We go to replays.
Commentary hypes up Dolph Ziggler’s United States Championship Celebration for later tonight and we see Charlotte Flair walking backstage to send us to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break, Charlotte Flair makes her way down to the ring and we get a video package recapping Stephanie McMahon’s historic announcement from last night’s RAW of the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match.
Charlotte gets on the mic and says that the video gave her goosebumps. At Clash of Champions she retained her title and nothing makes her happier than having the honor to carry the title on her shoulder. And Stephanie announced the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble, but you want to know who helped? All of us, the fans, taking to our social media, chanting in the arenas and showing passion, and management listened.
And no matter who wins the Rumble, she will be waiting to defend her title at WrestleMania.
Naomi makes her way down to the ring. She congratulates Flair on her title defense and says that she is out here to be the first SmackDown Woman to declare that she is going to be in the Royal Rumble. And she will see Charlotte at WrestleMania.
The Riott Squad makes their away down to the ring. Naomi calls them the three stooges who won’t be in the Royal Rumble, because the Royal Rumble isn’t about sneak attacks, it is about every woman for herself and surviving the numbers game. She and Charlotte have survived everything they have thrown at them, so why not two of them, step up for a match so they can teach them how to rumble?
We go to a commercial break, and we will come back to the match.
Back from the commercial break and the match is in progress.
Charlotte Flair & Naomi vs. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan): Logan and Flair start off and Logan gets some good offense in early on. She covers Flair for a 2 count before tagging in Riott. Ruby focuses on Charlotte’s leg and keeps things near her corner. They now trade tags to keep control and continuously work on Charlotte’s knee. Naomi gets the tag and cleans house. She hits a scorpion kick on Logan, then another kick for a two count as Riott breaks up the pin. Charlotte comes in and takes out Riott with a big boot. Logan and Naomi go at it and Logan hits a head-butt. Liv gets on the apron, but Naomi dodges the cheap shot and Logan accidentally spears Liv off the apron. Naomi then rolls up Logan for the win. Winners: Naomi and Charlotte Flair
After the match, Naomi’s music hits and she and Charlotte Flair celebrates.
We head backstage where we see that The New Day are in costume (Big E is an elf, Xavier Woods a reindeer, and Kofi Kingston a gingerbread man) with some stocking stuffers. Big E feeds a man a pancake, Kingston goes to hand out a few shirt when Rusev Claus and Aiden “Frosty the Snowman” English shows up. Rusev says that he is going to give the people what they really want, Rusev Day shirts. Rusev Claus has only one list, the naughty list, and everyone is on it, except Aiden.
English sings a version of O Christmas Tree with the lyrics modified to be about Rusev Day and then they challenge The New Day to a match. Rusev stomps Big E’s pancakes and spits on them. Big E tells him he’s flapped the wrong jack and he’s got a fight. Happy Rusev Day!
And so we go to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break, Dolph Ziggler makes his way down to the ring.
He says that he told us so. And anyone is wondering “Why is Dolph in the title match”, this is why, he says as he holds the title up. If you think him winning the title was out of nowhere, you haven’t been paying attention for the last twelve years. For twelve years he has walked into work every day accepting every challenge thrown his way literally and figuratively.
Some guys might tell you that they’re the biggest, the baddest, or the most charismatic, not him, he’s just the best. No one can do what he does in the ring, and if the United States Championship doesn’t prove it to you, it’s not his first one. Maybe you need a refresher course, and if so he plays a clip from Capitol Punishment 2011, where he beat Kofi Kingston for the same title with a sleeper hold.
You think that’s it, he’s just getting started tonight. He’s also a five-time Intercontinental Champion, and we see clips of all those victories as well. What else? Oh yeah, he won Money in the Bank and cashed in to become World Heavyweight Champion. He’s one of the most decorated superstars in WWE history, and night after night, year after year, he has proved it to himself and the rest of the world and he still goes unappreciated.
He says that we are not worthy of his presence, none of us are. We don’t deserve him, and you want something to remember him by? He looks at the title and sets it down in the ring and leaves.
We head backstage where we see that Daniel Bryan is in his office on the phone with someone when Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens enters with a bottle of champagne to give to him to thank him for doing the right thing on Sunday. Sami says that he didn’t just do the right thing for them, but for their legions of devoted fans that know that they are the best thing of SmackDown. Bryan says that he didn’t do it for them or their fans, but for SmackDown, and he doesn’t drink.
They play it off like they knew and bring up the elephant in the room, his grudge against Randy Orton for stealing his title as the centerpiece of the Authority who tried to break his mind, his body, and his soul. Ironically enough what Shane McMahon is trying to do to them. And, as a friend, they want him to know that Shane might try to do that to him next.
But the good thing is that they are ready to get the last laugh, and Bryan says that they are delusional and if they don’t stop gloating he might have to fire them himself. He orders them to get ready for their match.
The New Day are walking backstage throwing pancakes at everyone to send us to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break, Big E does the usual New Day promo and The New Day make their way down to the ring.
The New Day vs. Rusev Day: Everyone in this match is wearing a Christmas themed costume. Rusev chases Kofi around to start as Kofi taunts him. English tags in and Kofi drop-kicks him. Rusev runs in but Kofi throws him outside. The New Day grabs a red bag from ringside and they start throwing out t-shirts to people in the crowd. Rusev and English drop Woods and Kofi from behind. English and Kofi are the legal men and English is beating him down. Rusev tags in and continues the assault on Kofi. Xavier finally gets the tag and lays into English with kicks. Kofi and Rusev come in, and Rusev dumps both Kofi and Woods to the outside. English and Rusev now go to the announce table and start pulling stuff off of it. English and Rusev set up a plate of The New Day’s pancakes with whip cream on it, and English tries to slam Xavier’s face into it but Xavier escapes. Kofi hits a suicide dive on Rusev at ringside, and Xavier and Kofi slam English’s face into the pancakes. Back in the ring, Woods hits a flying elbow drop on English for the three count. Winners: The New Day
After the match, The New Day celebrate by dancing in the ring as their music hits.
Commentary sends to a preview of this week’s episode of Total Divas.
AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Shinsuke Nakamura are shown backstage talking strategy to send us to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break, we get some hype for Hideo Itami’s debut on 205 Live tonight immediately following SmackDown Live.
We get all our entrances for our main event, but the match itself will start right after the commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and we are just in time for the bell.
The Singh Brothers introduces Jinder Mahal and are at ringside in his corner for the main event.
AJ Styles, Randy Orton, & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, & Sami Zayn: Randy Orton starts this one off with Jinder Mahal as he knocks the other heels off the apron. This one quickly becomes a ringside brawl as all the other four men spill outside and fight on the floor. Orton slams Jinder onto the announce table then throws him back in the ring. Orton goes for the early RKO, but Jinder escapes. Orton drops him, then Nakamura and Zayn come in. Nakamura backs Zayn up to the ropes and rips some of his chest hair out. Zayn charges but Nakamura drops him, then tags in AJ. AJ beats on Zayn, then quickly tags in Orton who picks up Zayn and drops him across the top rope. Jinder tags in and starts putting the boots to Orton. Jinder drops Orton with an elbow to the face. Owens tags in and continues to stomp on Orton.
AJ comes in and he has some trouble against the combination of Zayn, Owens, and Jinder, as they trade frequent tags and wear down the WWE Champion. Jinder hits a series of knee drops on Styles. Nakamura and Zayn comes in and Nakamura tees off with kicks. He follows up with some knee drops on Zayn, then hits the good vibrations in the corner. He sets up Zayn in the corner and hits a running knee strike for a two count. Nakamura misses one kick, but connects with the second one and gets another two count on Zayn. Zayn escapes a suplex attempt and hits a cheap shot, but Nakamura comes back with an armbar attempt. Owens runs in and hits a senton on Nakamura to break it up. Orton throws Owens outside, then Jinder runs in and hits a DDT on Orton. AJ runs in and hits a Pele kick on Jinder, then AJ hits a suicide dive on Owens outside. The Singh Brothers get on the apron which appears to lead to a cheap shot on Nakamura. The referee kicks the Singh Brothers out, but they don’t leave. Orton hits an RKO on Jinder, then he hits a draping double DDT on both Singh Brothers. AJ comes flying off the top rope with a Phenomenal Forearm on Owens, then Nakamura hits the Kinshasa on Zayn for the three count. Winners: AJ Styles, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura
After the match, Styles, Orton and Nakamura celebrates their win in the ring and stares down the heels laying at ringside as SmackDown goes off the air.