Tonight, SmackDown Live hosts WWE’s last Pay-Per-View before WrestleMania: Fastlane. The build for the last brand-exclusive event was less than great, but the lineup delivers decent matches that plant big story seeds for the next few weeks. Highlights of the show include one title change throughout the show, along with the main event of AJ Styles defending his WWE Championship against five other men.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English)
Two weeks ago, Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Aiden English in a meaningless match. However, Rusev wanted revenge and with room on the Fastlane card, they fight tonight.
Both men are evenly matched, but Shinsuke Nakamura manages to kick out of everything that Rusev throws at him. With Rusev dazed in the center of the ring, Nakamura hits him with the running Kinshasa knee strike to pick up the win and to build momentum towards his WrestleMania debut. Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Bobby Roode (c) vs. Randy Orton – United States Championship
Both Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton wanted to challenge Bobby Roode for the United States Championship. Daniel Bryan sided with Mahal, while Shane McMahon thought that Orton was the rightful challenger. McMahon overrules Bryan’s decisions, so Orton challenges the former NXT Champ.
In a seemingly “meaningless” sequence, Randy Orton intercepts Bobby Roode out of midair to hit his signature RKO, then he pins Roode in the center of the ring. For the first time in his career, Randy Orton is the United States Champion. Winner, and NEW United States Champion: Randy Orton
While Orton celebrates, Jinder Mahal comes to the ring and attacks The Viper. Roode fends Mahal off with the Glorious DDT, then he hits one to Orton as well.
Naomi & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya & Carmella
Another card filling match brings us a tag match in the women’s division. It has been a while since Carmella and Natalya have been featured prominently and with Carmella’s briefcase expiration date coming up soon, this is their time to shine.
While Natalya distracts the referee with the Money in the Bank briefcase, Becky Lynch has to knock her off of the apron. When Lynch turns around, she eats a superkick from Carmella and the Princess of Staten Island picks up the pinfall. Winners: Natalya & Carmella
The Usos (c) vs. The New Day – SmackDown Tag Team Championships
Last year, the Usos and the New Day had the best rivalry of the year. They stole the show on the SummerSlam Kickoff Show and many other cards. Tonight, they go to battle again with the New Day looking to become five-time tag champs.
While the action intensifies outside the ring, the Bludgeon Brothers (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) interfere and lay waste to everybody. The carnage ensues until Harper powerbombs Xavier Woods onto the steel steps, leading to medical personnel rushing to ringside. Result: No Contest
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ruby Riott (w/The Riott Squad) – SmackDown Women’s Championship
Ruby Riott never actually earned this match; she just annoyed Charlotte Flair enough into getting it. A win for Riott here would be the first meaningful thing the trio does since they debuted.
When Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan of the Riott Squad are ejected from ringside, Ruby Riott’s emotions get the best of her as she gives Charlotte Flair the opportunity to strike. Flair then locks in the Figure Eight Leg Lock, scoring the win and retaining the title. Winner, and STILL SmackDown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
After the match, Asuka comes dancing to the ring and silently challenges Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. John Cena – WWE Championship
When Daniel Bryan gave Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn the opportunity to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship in a Triple Threat Match, Shane McMahon decided to do the same with Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler. John Cena was added to the mix when he defeated AJ Styles just two weeks ago in his pursuit to be featured at WrestleMania.
Shane McMahon is sitting at ringside for the match when Kevin Owens accidentally superkicks him. When Owens goes to pin Dolph Ziggler, McMahon pulls him off of the cover. Shane O’Mac does the same to Zayn a few minutes later, costing them both wins. Later in the match, Styles finds the perfect opportunity to hit the Phenomenal Forearm to retain his title and securing his spot at WrestleMania. Winner, and STILL WWE Champion: AJ Styles
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