We’re still feeling the after effects from this past Sunday, when the WWE Champion, AJ Styles defied the odds yet again. Contrary to what mathematicians and statisticians would have you believe, Styles vowed to go to WrestleMania, and he made good on his word, winning the Six Pack Challenge to retain the WWE Championship.
However, it wasn’t without its fair share of controversy. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were fingertips away from the WWE title, but Shane McMahon ensured that neither one of them gets the bragging rights of being a WWE Champion. The Commissioner got involved in the match after eating a Superkick from Kevin Owens, costing both the Superstars the chance to go to WrestleMania with the WWE Championship on their shoulders.
Meanwhile, Asuka altered the landscape of WWE, when she chose Charlotte Flair as her opponent for WrestleMania. Charlotte defeated Ruby Riott at Fastlane, only for Asuka to stand face – to – face with the Queen, with both women relishing the challenge ahead of them.
We also crowned a new United States Champion this past Sunday, as Randy Orton defeated Bobby Roode. Last but not least, The Bludgeon Brothers showed just how devastating they can be, as they took out The Usos and The New Day.
SmackDown Live finally started to pick up the pace en route to WrestleMania. So what went down this week on the blue brand? Let us take a closer look.
AJ Styles talks about winning the Six Pack Challenge, Nakamura responds
The WWE Champion, in all his glory, opened the show this week. Styles reminded the fans that he was still the ‘Champ that runs the camp’, and talked about how no one could believe their eyes when he made his WWE debut. Styles then talked about winning the WWE Championship, and the long road he traversed to get to where he is.
Shinsuke Nakamura then made his way out, as Styles said that their match was the one the fans wanted to see. AJ called Shinsuke Japan’s biggest Superstar, while Nakamura told Styles that he wanted to face him at WrestleMania. Nakamura ended the proceedings by predicting a knee to AJ’s face, and warned Styles that he would take the title away from him.
AJ then faced Rusev, who had Aiden English in his corner. The WWE Champion started strong, but the Bulgarian Brute soon turned on the nozzle, stifling AJ and gaining control of the match. After some back and forth action, AJ went for the Calf Crusher, but English attacked the champion. Nakamura made the save, as AJ and Shinsuke stood tall to end the segment.
The Bludgeon Brothers continue their path of destruction
Backstage, Big E ran into Dasha, who asked him about The Bludgeon Brothers wanting to face the remnants of their vicious attack this past Sunday. Big E said that he would face the duo, even if he had to do it by himself, but Jimmy Uso entered the fray, with both men agreeing to put their differences aside to take on the common enemy.
Big E and Jimmy waited for Harper and Rowan in the ring, and immediately took the fight to them before the bell rang. Uso and Big E brought two chairs, but those weapons proved to be of little use, as Harper and Rowan swung their mallets. The referees finally managed to get things under control, as Erick Rowan and Luke Harper dominated the match. Big E was taken out, and the duo planted Jimmy to pick up the win.
Post match, Harper and Rowan continued their attack on Big E, leaving him and Uso in a heap.
Asuka and Charlotte Flair ready to go to war
At Fastlane, Asuka surprised everyone when she confronted Charlotte Flair, thus confirming her opponent for WrestleMania. The SmackDown Women’s Champion made her way out this week, to talk about the challenge ahead of her. Charlotte expressed her happiness at the fact that Asuka chose her, and said that she would cherish the opportunity to truly test herself against one of the most dominant Superstars in the company today.
This brought the former NXT Women’s Champion out to the ring, as Asuka spoke about wanting to face Charlotte Flair. Asuka told Charlotte that she would win the title at WrestleMania, and that no one was ready for her. Both women stared each other down, with a hint of smile on their face, as they licked their chops at the inevitable showdown between the two at WrestleMania.
Jinder Mahal makes his case for a United States Championship match at WrestleMania
The new United States Champion, Randy Orton strolled out, as The Viper cherished the opportunity to call himself the United States Champion. The former champion, Bobby Roode ensured that the celebrations didn’t go for too long, as he vowed to win back the title. Roode reminded Orton that he had a rematch coming his way, and said that he would see him at WrestleMania.
Jinder Mahal then interrupted the duo, and promised to beat the Glorious Superstar. Mahal and Roode then went toe – to – toe, with Roode controlling the pace of the match. Bobby had the match under control, until Sunil Singh provided the distraction, allowing ‘The Maharaja’ to pick up the victory.
Jinder didn’t have much time to soak in the feeling however, as Orton dropped him with an RKO!
Carmella and Naomi faced each other, with the Ms. Money In The Bank finding an imaginative way to beat the former SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn send Shane to the hospital as a parting gift
The Commissioner of SmackDown Live, Shane McMahon teased a major announcement for WrestleMania, and talked about Owens starting the rivalry when he attacked his father. Shane gave his side of the story, and explained why he couldn’t let Owens and Sami win the WWE title at Fastlane. The young McMahon then admitted that he overstepped his bounds, and said that he was going to take a temporary leave as the Commissioner.
Shane then announced a match between Owens and Zayn at WrestleMania. This brought Owens and Zayn to the ring, and Shane told them that they should be happy. The two Superstars then viciously attacked Shane, wrapped a chair around his neck, and sending him into the ring post! As Shane gasped for air, Owens and Zayn dragged him backstage, where Owens power bombed Shane onto a crate, leaving him in a state of shock and torment!
The referees checked on Shane, as SmackDown came to a close.