Last week on SmackDown Live, things reached a boiling point between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. With their friendship teetering at the brink, Zayn walked out on Owens, leaving him alone to fend for himself.
With WWE Fastlane approaching, the General Manager of SmackDown Live, Daniel Bryan announced that Sami would face Kevin this week, with the winner going on to face AJ Styles. Shinsuke Nakamura waits in the wings, as he will face the winner of the Fastlane main event at WrestleMania 34.
Also on last week’s show, the Bulgarian Brute, Rusev won a Fatal Four Way match, and earned the right to face the United States Champion on this week’s show. Will Rusev’s new – found popularity propel the Superstar to win the U.S. Title – and celebrate Rusev Day? Or will the Glorious Superstar continue his impressive title run?
Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan argue about KO and Sami’s opportunities
The Commissioner of SmackDown Live, Shane McMahon was already in the ring when the show opened. Shane talked about what transpired last week, and said Owens and Sami did not deserve another shot at the title. He then called Daniel Bryan to the ring, and explain his decision to put both men in a number one contender’s match.
Bryan marched out, and both men argued about Owens and Zayn getting title opportunities. Daniel made his argument, and said both men deserved the opportunity to go for the title. McMahon blamed Bryan for getting emotional, and living vicariously through Sami and Owens, saying he wanted to compete in the ring.
This brought the WWE Champion out, who talked about traveling thousands of miles every week to compete, and defend the WWE title. Styles said Shane and Bryan were obsessed with Owens and Zayn, and said he would walk out of Fastlane as still the WWE Champion, and go to WrestleMania.
The New Day were shown eating pancakes.
Nakamura confronted Styles backstage, and told him that he would see him at WrestleMania.
Charlotte Flair faced Liv Morgan, with the other two members of the Riott Squad at ringside. The SmackDown Women’s Champion and Liv went back and forth, and while Ruby and Sarah tried to intervene, the champion managed to trap Morgan in the Figure Eight, and forced her to submit.
The Bludgeon Brothers faced two local enhancement talent, and defeated them with ease.
The Usos then walk past The Bludgeon Brothers, and cut yet another promo about being the SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
Daniel Bryan revealed the Top 10 SmackDown Live Superstars list, and they were in the following order.
#10 Tye Dillinger
#9 Randy Orton
#8 Becky Lynch
#7 The Usos
#6 The New Day
#5 Bobby Roode
#3 Shinsuke Nakamura
#2 Charlotte Flair
#1 AJ Styles
Bobby Roode successfully defends his title; Randy Orton attacks
Aiden English made his way out, and introduced Rusev to the fans. Rusev then made his way out to face Bobby Roode, with the United States Championship up for grabs.
The fans were firmly behind Rusev, chanting Rusev Day, and urging the Bulgarian Superstar to take the fight to Roode. Both men went back and forth with control, as Rusev tried to establish his dominance with an early onslaught.
The champion then fought his way back into the match, as Rusev countered the Glorious DDT with a knee to the mid section. Roode turned the tables with a Spine buster, but Rusev managed to hang on, and dropped Roode with a big boot.
The match reached its conclusion when Roode connected with the Glorious DDT, and picked up the win to retain his title.
Post match, Orton attacked an unsuspecting Roode, and laid him out with an RKO! Orton then dropped English and Rusev with RKOs to end the segment.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, still smarting from their encounter with Breezango last week, faced The Ascension in a tag team match. While The Ascension did get some of their offence in, Gable and Benjamin controlled the action, and picked up the relatively easy victory.
AJ Styles interferes in the main event; will defend the title in a Triple Threat match at Fastlane
Before the main event, Zayn and Owens cut promos backstage, with each man vowing to win the WWE title.
Sami and Owens hesitated to get things going, as both men locked up. However, it didn’t take long for both men to start going at each other’s throats, with Owens sending Sami to the outside. AJ Styles was watching all the action from the announce table, as Sami and Owens threw everything but the kitchen sink at each other.
The action soon kicked into higher gear, with Owens dropping Sami with a Super kick, following by the frog splash for a near fall. Sami then nearly won the match himself with the Blue Thunder Bomb. Both men then ended up on the outside, as Sami confronted AJ, leading to Styles attacking Zayn and causing a disqualification.
Post match, Daniel Bryan made his way out, and announced a Triple Threat match for Fastlane for the WWE Championship.