This week, SmackDown Live continues the build toward Clash of Champions, the blue brand’s first exclusive Pay-Per-View since October. The whole point of the show is that every championship will be defended, so a good portion of tonight’s matches involves the titleholders. Also, there is the ongoing destruction by the Bludgeon Brothers and the Riott Squad, as well as the ongoing feud between SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon and the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
After bending the rules in last week’s main event, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens come down to the ring to prove why they were not in the wrong. During Zayn’s over-the-top explanation, Owens is hit by an RKO out of nowhere. Shane McMahon then shows up to announce a few matches. At Clash of Champions in a couple weeks, Zayn and Owens will take on Randy Orton and a partner of the Viper’s choosing. For tonight, however, Zayn will go one-on-one with Orton with Owens handcuffed to the bottom rope.
The New Day vs. Rusev & Aiden English
Since SmackDown Live aired last week, three matches were announced for Clash of Champions. One of those matches pits the New Day against The Usos and the team of Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin in a Triple Threat Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
After taking out Big E at ringside, Rusev and Aiden English use the numbers game to double-team Kofi Kingston, picking up the surprise victory over the four-time champions. This win puts Rusev and English in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match in a couple weeks. Winners: Rusev & Aiden English
Charlotte Flair’s title defense against Natalya will now be a Lumberjack Match.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. An Irrelevant Tag Team
In the past two weeks, The Bludgeon Brothers won consecutive matches against the Hype Bros, leading to the breakup of Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley. Tonight, they continue their destruction against two men half their size.
Unsurprisingly, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan destroy their opposition in just over a minute, showing how dangerous they can be. Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode
At Clash of Champion, Baron Corbin will defend the United States Championship against both Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode. Before then, Corbin takes on Roode in a singles match with Ziggler on commentary.
Ziggler leaves the commentary table to hit Roode with the Zig Zag, then he does the same to the champion. Winner (via disqualification): Bobby Roode
Charlotte Flair vs. Tamina
Before her title defense, Charlotte Flair prepares by facing one of the lumberjacks, Tamina. The ring is surrounded by Lana, Carmella, and Natalya, to give the SmackDown Women’s Champion a “preview” of what is to come.
While Tamina gets some offense in, Charlotte Flair shows that she is leagues ahead of her opponent. To end a pretty awkward match, Flair locks in the Figure Eight Leg Lock to score the win. Winner (via submission): Charlotte Flair
After the match, the Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, & Sarah Logan) shows up to give a little preview of their own. Logan stares down Tamina and Tamina strikes before she can get sucker punched. The other women quickly break things up while Charlotte retreats to safety.
Sami Zayn (w/Kevin Owens Handcuffed to the Bottom Rope) vs. Randy Orton
Because they continue to get under the skin of Shane McMahon, the Commissioner put them in quite the situation by forcing Kevin Owens to be handcuffed to the ring rope. The only time that Zayn has defeated Orton was thanks to a low blow which stemmed from an Owens distraction. This is going to be a true test of “put up or shut up” for the former NXT Champion.
Zayn attempts a Helluva Kick, but Orton dodges and gets a quick roll-up on Zayn to win the match. Owens (who cut himself free from the handcuffs with bolt cutters) starts attacking Orton until Shinsuke Nakamura shows up. Orton and Nakamura make easy work of Zayn and Owens, with it being all but confirmed that Nakamura will be Orton’s partner for Clash of Champions. Winner: Randy Orton
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