Turn back the clocks to this time about four years ago, and the WWE Universe was swept by the Yes Movement. Daniel Bryan had just become the hottest property in professional wrestling, and not even the WWE machine could keep him down.
Four years later, the tenacious grappler has fought tooth and nails to rescue his professional wrestling career. Last week, the wrestling world, regardless of their preferences and wrestling styles, rejoiced at the news of Bryan getting medically cleared to compete once again in the WWE.
But the General Manager of SmackDown Live didn’t have much time to be gleeful, as Owens and Zayn ensured that his return to SmackDown Live last week wouldn’t be a happy one. Owens and Sami attacked Bryan, similar to what they did to Shane McMahon, and left him in a heap.
Things are heating up on SmackDown Live, and with WrestleMania almost upon us, this week’s edition provided some more clarity on the stakes involved at WrestleMania.
Rusev added to the United States title match at WrestleMania
This week’s SmackDown Live kicked off with the United States Champion, Randy Orton and Bobby Roode in the ring, waiting for their opponents. However, Jinder Mahal revealed that Sunil Singh was injured, and wouldn’t be able to compete. He then revealed his replacement, the Bulgarian Brute, Rusev!
Rusev and Mahal worked in tandem to gain control of the match in the early going, and as the match progressed, Randy Orton let Roode handle things for himself. Later on, Roode did the same, but when Rusev tried to get involved, Bobby stepped in. Rusev’s shot led to Roode falling on to of Orton, which led to both the Superstars turning on each other.
Orton RKO’d Roode, but got caught with the Machka Kick by Rusev! Rusev pinned the champion, to pick up the victory for his team.
Post match, Rusev demanded to be added to the Triple Threat match at WrestleMania, and was granted his shot. It is now a Fatal Four Way match at WrestleMania for the United States Championship!
Becky Lynch faced Ruby Riott, with the rest of the Riott Squad at ringside. While Ruby maintained control over Lynch, the Lass Kicker managed to turn things around, and won the match via roll up!
Daniel Bryan hands Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn a lifeline at WrestleMania
The General Manager of SmackDown Live returned after taking a beating at the hands of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn last week, and talked about enduring a tumultuous 3 years before fighting his way back to becoming a wrestler once again. He then turned his attention to what happened last week, and addressed Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Bryan mentioned the fact that he gave Owens and Zayn opportunities because that’s what he wanted to do as the General Manager. He then announced that both the Superstars will get another opportunity at WrestleMania 34, when they go up against the team of Bryan and Shane. Daniel then mentioned that if Owens and Zayn managed to win, they would be reinstated on SmackDown Live.
Bryan then said that he may not be able to say things as a GM or a role model, but at WrestleMania, he would kick Owens’s and Zayn’s butt.
The New Day made their way out, and cut a promo about The Bludgeon Brothers. The New Day mocked the duo, before they made their way out. The New Day faced The Bludgeon Brothers in a tag team match, but before long, Harper and Rowan looked to put The New Day out of commission.
This brought The Usos out, who saved The New Day. However, the match ended in a disqualification, which The New Day members weren’t thrilled about. The two teams argued to end the segment.
Tyler Breeze faced Dolph Ziggler, but before Breeze could mount any significant offense, he got distracted by Fandango, leading to Ziggler picking up an easy win.
Shinsuke Nakamura plays mind games ahead of WrestleMania
The number one contender, who was scheduled to face Shelton Benjamin, told AJ Styles that he wanted him at his best at WrestleMania. He then told the champion that he wanted him in his corner.
In the ring, Benjamin mounted his offense, only for Nakamura to make his comeback and win with the Kinshasa. Post match, Shinsuke told Styles that he wanted him in his corner, for him to see how he’d beat him at WrestleMania. As the two Superstars argued, Benjamin and Gable attacked Styles. However Nakamura fought them off.
Shinsuke then teased hitting AJ with the Kinshasa to end the show.