By: Jamie Henry –
Last night’s WWE Smackdown at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana begins with AJ Styles coming out. Styles, who retained his WWE Championship at Fastlane, talks about beating the odds to win the aforementioned Six-Pack Challenge, and how he’s now going into Wrestlemania 34 as the champion to the crowd chanting ‘you deserve it’. He then goes on to talk about his Wrestlemania opponent, Shinsuke Nakamura, and the comparisons between the two, which is few. Nakamura eventually interrupts, saying that he respects Styles, but that he will become the new champion. Rusev, surprisingly, interrupts alongside Aiden English.
Styles and Rusev’s face off starts with a stare down before Styles attempts to attack as Rusev throws him away easily. They go back and forth as Styles attempts numerous shoulder throws before Rusev nearly pins him with a kick. The crowd seems mildly interested in the match with Nakamura watching from the corner before eventually Styles attempts a Styles Clash, fails and then tries to get Rusev to submit and fails once more with a Calf Crusher. When Styles manages to get Rusev into the Calf Crusher, English interrupts, causing the match to end in disqualification and Nakamura, slowly getting up and watching, goes to help Styles out by attacking English and then Rusev with Kinsasha’s. With a nod towards Styles, whose in the corner, Nakamura walks out of the ring, leading to a few fans being left disappointed, wanting more between the two men.
Big E is seen backstage alone next, no doubt due to the Bludgeon Brothers attacking The New Day and The Uso’s at Fastlane. We learn that the Bludgeon Brothers have challenged whomever is left standing as Big E talks about how they attempted to destroy The New Day in a passionate, serious speech that I didn’t know Big E was capable of. Jimmy Uso comes up and says he’ll be standing next to Big E during their confrontation.
Styles is seen next walking backstage as he approaches Nakamura saying he didn’t need Nakamura’s help, with Nakamumra disagreeing and saying he’ll be helping Styles up until Wrestlemania so he can beat him.
The only two members of The Uso’s and The New Day that are cleared to compete, Jimmy Uso and Big E, come out for their match against The Bludgeon Brothers. Big E and Jimmy Uso attack early on, taking the early advantage. They then grab steel chairs, the crowd cheering before The Brothers grab their mallets. In a moment of humor, the referee dives out of the ring as the two teams standoff, watching from outside as the crowd begins to chant. The Brothers swing their mallets, hitting the chairs being held by Uso and Big E, causing the two men to land on the outside of the ring. Once the match finally begins, Big E and Uso hold their own for the most part, however, the duo fall to The Bludgeon Brothers as they pin Jimmy Uso for the win. Even though the match is over, that doesn’t stop them from continuing their attack on Big E, who is outside of the ring, as the crowd chants ‘No!”
Sami Zayn is backstage, being interviewed by Rene Young, who asks who Zayn blames for Fastlane loss. Zayn admits the obvious person is Shane McMahon, who cost him and Owens the match, but he also adds that he blames Owens for being involved with McMahon numerous times in the past.
Charlotte Flair comes out, as does Asuka, who has officially challenged Charlotte Flair for the Women’s title at Wrestlemania 34, teasing a superstar shakeup afterwards. The two have a brief promo with Asuka saying she bows to no one as no competitor is ‘ready for Asuka’ and then the two have a stare down, leaving some excitement for the match. While the crowd seemed dead during the segment, the crowd perked right up when Randy Orton’s music came on. I find myself annoyed as this is the second week in a row where the music of a man is interrupting a woman’s segment early.
Orton, the new United States champion, comes out to talk about his new championship and the fact that he is now a grand slam champion, something that has alluded him his entire career – he mentions the list is a very short, elite list – which, isn’t exactly true but nonetheless. He goes on to mention Bobby Roode, saying that he has earned his respect but the title is his now and he is taking it to Wrestlemania 34. Roode then interrupts claiming that he is demanding his rematch for Wrestlemania 34, at which point, Jinder Mahal interrupts, stating him and Roode have a match right now and that he will beat Roode. The match has numerous silent moments but is a good outing nonetheless, both men having close moments of pinning one another before eventually, Mahal pins Roode with the Kalass. Orton then sneaks in and RKO’s Mahal as the crowd cheers. I truly hope this means Mahal will be included in the United States Champion match.
Kevin Owens is backstage as Renee Young questions him about Zayn blaming him for his Fastlane loss. Owens lashes out, saying Zayn is being selfish, that he was also screwed over and that Zayn should realize that. He also adds that Zayn is a liar and a manipulator, and that Owens is the rightful champion.
Shane McMahon comes out for an announcement about Wrestlemania 34. His announcement is that after tonight, he will no longer be Smackdown’s Commissioner since his emotions are getting in the way when it comes to Owens and Zayn. He also adds that Owens and Zayn will be facing one another at Wrestlemania 34. Owens interrupts, but before he can really get anywhere, Zayn interrupts, who says that he is glad that McMahon will no longer be involved. McMahon admits he is baffled, as he is giving Zayn and Owens a match at Mania. Cue Zayn attacking McMahon from behind as Zayn and Owens continue to destroy McMahon with a Helluva Kick from Zayn and then a pop up powerbomb from Owens. They also attack referees who come out to help McMahon, continuing their destruction of McMahon, throwing him against the ring post with a steel chair over McMahon’s neck.
We end the show backstage with McMahon trying to breathe after being dragged by Zayn and Owens; the two of them shouting that they are the good guys, giving McMahon another popup powerbomb. We’re left wondering if they planned their comments to Young in her interviews and if McMahon will insert himself into their Wrestlemania match.