SmackDown Live has still a long way to go until FastLane that will take place on March 11. However, we’ll know who will face AJ Styles at this PPV for the WWE Championship in this episode. The leaders of the Yep Movement Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will square off to determine who’s going to be the #1 contender for the WWE Championship. Could they still be best friends in the ring as they’re fighting for a chance for the Gold? United States Champion Bobby Roode is set to face Rusev for the title. Daniel Bryan is also set to reveal the first-ever SmackDown Live “Top 10 Superstars List” while Charlotte Flair will look for payback against Riott Squad’s Liv Morgan.
Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review brought to you this week by your French Enygma, Steph.
Commissioner Shane McMahon opened the show to complain about the main event of the night. This match may have some epic implications, for him neither Sami Zayn nor Kevin Owens deserved the opportunity. He introduced SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan to tell him he thought he didn’t listen to the fans as he kept giving the same 2 Superstars an opportunity. Shane claimed the fans wanted to see someone else go for the title (the crowd agreed) but Bryan replied, as the referee made a mistake at Royal Rumble, he was trying to turn the negative into a positive making this huge main event for tonight. If Shane was looking forward to seeing Zayn and Owens rip each other apart, he was bothered Bryan rewarded them again and was unable to understand his decision.
Shane told Bryan this situation was emotional for him as Bryan has changed WWE forever with The Yes! Movement and while he’s had a similar career path as Owens and Sami, they aren’t Bryan. And so The Yep! Movement is a cheap imitation of the greatest thing Bryan has ever created. Shane claimed he didn’t want Bryan to allow Sami and Owens to manipulate him any longer. Shane pushed the button a little further when he insinuated, as Bryan is not physically able to compete, Sami and Kevin could be for him a way to compete by proxy. Bryan stopped Shane to confirm he Bryan interrupted Shane to ask what exactly he was trying to do. But out came AJ Styles who said he couldn’t deal with SmackDown officials being obsessed over Sami and Owens. Not only Daniel Bryan but Shane too. He asked them to stay out of his way tonight so AJ could create his own destiny and control his own luck.
HERE ARE THE OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
– Backstage, while The New Day was swimming in a sea of pancakes, Shinsuke Nakamura told AJ Styles he would defeat him WrestleMania 34.
– Charlotte Flair defeated Liv Morgan. The whole Riott Squad was at ringside and interfered in the match many times until the referee sent them backstage. Charlotte felt the threat the Squad was representing, allowing Morgan to take control. But when the Squad was not there anymore, Flair found her way back to the match, applied the Figure Eight to make Liv Morgan tap. After the match, Charlotte Flair went to the announce table to say “one down, 2 to go”.
– Backstage, Renee Young asked Kevin Owens if his friendship with Sami Zayn could survive tonight’s main event. Owens replied she was asking the wrong person because it was up to Sami and if he could handle losing to Owens.
– The Bludgeon Brothers destroyed some enhancement talents. Usually, I would say “what to add?” but, this time there was something to add. As Rowan and Harper were heading to the back, The Usos appeared and the two teams faced off for a few seconds.
The Uso Street Code
In the ring, Jimmy and Jey told last week they let us know about this Day One-ish and this week they were here to let us know what it means to be locked down in The Usos Penitentiary. No fingerprints, no sleeping on concrete or being on a gang. The Penitentiary is a state of mind, not a prison. It’s about defeating people who are hungry for success and thirsty to be in the spotlight.
– The SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan SmackDown Live Top 10 List
Daniel Bryan and SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon will use this tool to make decisions and plan matches. Bryan said the list was compiled by the roster and they could not vote for themselves, as well as Shane and himself. Here was the list: 10. Tye Dillinger, 9. Randy Orton, 8. Becky Lynch, 7. SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions The Usos, 6. The New Day, 5. WWE United States Champion Bobby Roode, 4. Naomi, 3. Shinsuke Nakamura, 2. SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, 1. WWE Champion AJ Styles.
– WWE United States Champion Bobby Roode defeated Rusev. Sorry but yesterday was not Rusev Day like Aiden English sang before the match. The crowd was on fire, chanting “Rusev Day”. It fuelled Rusev in the beginning of the match, as he was able to control Roode. It really seemed like the title would change hands that night but Roode fought back with rights, a flying forearm, a splash in the corner, a neckbreaker and a flying clotheslines. English got involved, allowing Rusev to hit a massive superkick. Rusev avoided a Glorious DDT and went for The Accolade but Roode rolled up out of the hold. Rusev countered a Glorious DDT twice, but the third was the good one as Roode retained. A very good match, Roode celebrated, English checked Rusev when Randy Orton appeared and hit an RKO outta nowhere on Roode and Rusev. Orton stood tall.
– Backstage Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable had a board of photos with them, like The Fashion Files one. As they’re here to bring prestige back to the division, they couldn’t believe how these clowns were in the division with them. Last week they targeted and took out Breezango, this week they were going after The Ascension. They invited everyone to come watch the carnage.
– Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable defeated The Ascension. A victory would have been a great birthday gift for Konnor but Gable and Benjamin were indestructible. The duo is in full heel-turn mode and it’s pretty good to watch.
– As he was about to walk off the curtain, Renee Young asked Sami Zayn for comments on tonight’s main event. He said tonight is his chance to step out of Kevin Owens’ shadow. Owens held titles, he never did. Even as best friends he knew Owens would stop at nothing to get to WrestleMania 34. But so will Sami stop at nothing.
#1 Contender Match for the WWE Championship: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
The fact AJ Styles was at the announce table was obviously the sign this match would not end the fair way. Zayn and Owens have known each other for so long they could have only provided a great match. Owens took control at first with a shoulder drop from the ropes. Sami replied by taking Owens down twice from the ropes again. They slapped, had some words, but Sami took Owens down again. The action went to the floor and Zayn knocked Owens off outside.
Back from the break, Owens got the upper hand on Sami with a lariat, a superkick, a neckbreaker and a Corner Cannonball Sami countered into an Exploder attempt. Owens countered the move but Sami ended up hitting a tornado DDT from the corner. Owens blocked a Superplex attempt, but Zayn blocked a Senton by getting his knees up. Owens went to the floor, Sami followed and ran for the DDT through the ropes at the corner, with a “This is awesome” chant from the crowd. Owens countered a Helluva Kick into a superkick and hit the Frogsplash on Zayn. Owens then yelled at Sami to stay down because he was the one that would win the title. But Zayn fought back, blocking the Pop-Up Powerbomb and hitting the Blue Thunderbomb. Owens kicked out and rolled to the floor again. Sami followed but lost his temper talking trash to AJ Styles. AJ told him to finish the match but Sami kept running his mouth in AJ’s face. Styles decked Zayn and Owens. The match was stopped.
Styles jumped into the ring to attack Zayn but Owens stopped him. Zayn and Owens were thrown to the floor and Styles launched himself over the top rope, taking Zayn and Owens down on the floor. AJ returned to the ring and yelled about how he wanted a winner. SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan came out and announced that it will now be a Triple Threat Match at FastLane due to the outside interference. It will be Sami vs. Owens vs. Styles. Styles was not happy at all and was yelling as Owens and Zayn backed up the ramp.
The main event was an awesome match but the end was shitty. If one of you really thought we would have a winner yesterday night, I’d reply this Triple Threat match has been carved in stone since Royal Rumble. Daniel Bryan and Shane would easily be involved in the match and the Yep movement would come to an end. A good surprise from Roode and Rusev who offered a very, very good match. But the episode was unequal, hurting the eyes like a broken record can hurt the ears. FastLane is only taking place in one month, way too many things can happen until then… good ones, please…
All pics and screencaps courtesy of WWE.com