WWE SmackDown Live was broadcast from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama at 8:00 p.m. ET on January 9, 2018.
WWE SmackDown Live main event: Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, & AJ Styles def. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens in a handicap match
Only one way to sum this match up: SHENANIGANS!
The match started like your normal tag match, but Zayn and Owens clearly weren't having any of this after a few minutes. They tried to leave, only to be blocked by Shane McMahon on the ramp. Shane said that walking out on the match wasn't going to work, and that this was now a no-countout match.
The match resumed, with Orton, Nakamura, and Styles gaining an upperhand on Zayn until Owens interfered with a chair for the disqualification.
NOT SO FAST! Shane came back out, saying that this match was no also no disqualifications, anything goes. Styles chased Owens off with a chair, while poor Zayn was left to fend with Nakamura and Orton.
Zayn... didn't win.
Nakamura hit the Kinshasa, Orton hit the RKO, and the team got the pin for the win.
Shane will be happy after this one. Daniel Bryan, on the other hand? We'll have to see how he reacts next week.
AJ Styles addresses the controversy around his handicap match at the Royal Rumble
The was the opener for the show. Styles had a sit down with Renee Young to discuss the events of last week's show. Styles was pretty blunt, saying he didn't think that it was fair, and he seemed pretty fed up with the bickering between Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon.
This brought out Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, who did their best to mock Styles. The two proclaimed that they were going to be the first ever co-WWE champions — didn't Punk and Cena do that already? — once they beat Styles at the Rumble.
AJ was not amused.
Becky Lynch (w/ Charlotte and Naomi) def. (sub) Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan)
Match started and almost immediately went to commercial. This was after spending about five minutes on entrances. You know, the stuff dreams are made of.
After the match return, Ruby was in control for much of the match until... she just wasn't. Becky was able to lock in the Dis-Arm-Her for the win which... kind of makes the Riott Squad look like a bunch of chumps, don't ya think?
Hopefully this means Becky is on to big things, at least.
Mojo Rawley def. (pin) Zack Ryder in a first-round match in the U.S. Championship tournament
Rawley won in a quick match to advance in the tournament bracket. No one cared for the match, which is kind of sad considering how popular Ryder used to be.
Rawley's win means the semifinals for said tournament are now set: it will be Rawley vs. Bobby Roode, and Xavier Woods vs. Jinder Mahal. For what it's worth, Woods already seems to be game planning for his opponent.
The Usos vs. Benjamin & Gable rematch announced for the Royal Rumble
Benjamin and Gable were out to address their match from last week, where it initially looked like they had won the tag titles from The Usos. The two made jokes about the referee's "error", and even referenced last night's College Football Playoff title game between Alabama and Georgia. That elicited a good chant of "Roll Tide".
Daniel Bryan emerged to put a stop to the nonsense. Bryan said that the ref's decision on the match was now final, but he did acquiesce into giving the team a rematch for the titles at Royal Rumble. And that match will be a... TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS MATCH!
Best of the rest of WWE SmackDown Live
- Becky Lynch entered the women's Royal Rumble match.
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) def. (pin) The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) in about 37 seconds.
- Orton and Nakamura both indicated backstage that they were ready to challenge AJ Styles for the title if they were to win the Royal Rumble.
- The Fashion Police (Breeze & Fandango) def. (pin) Rusev & Aiden English. They won with a rollup on Rusev, which is a bit of a surprise since the Fashion Police hadn't won anything in a while. It made for a very sad Rusev Day.
WWE SmackDown Live leading up to the Royal Rumble
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