The January 9th, 2018 edition of WWE SmackDown Live took place at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL.
– This week’s broadcast opens up with a replay of last week’s main event, where Sami Zayn beat AJ Styles in a non-title match.
– Tom Phillips welcomes us to Birmingham, Alabama. He’s joined by Corey Graves and Bryon Saxton at the broadcast table.
– WWE Champion AJ Styles comes out to the ring to kick off the show with an interview with Renee Young. Styles joins Renee in the ring and they talk about the Handicap Match at Royal Rumble. Styles says he was being sarcastic when he proposed it, but he can’t take it back and he has a strategy. AJ says the decision to book the match was not fair, but life isn’t fair. AJ mentions his displeasure with both Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon, and then he gets interrupted by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Owens and Zyn come down the ramp and mock AJ, and tell him he has no chance of leaving the PPV with the WWE Title. Owens says he and Zayn will be the first ever co-WWE Champions. Shane McMahon’s music hits and he comes out next. Shane says he agrees with AJ, and doesn’t think it’s fair he has to defend his title in a Handicap Match. Shane questions Bryan’s decision, but does support his call for now. Shane wants to talk about having a different Handicap Match here tonight: Owens & Zayn vs. Nakamura, Orton, & Styles. It sounds like that’s the main event tonight, and Shane heads backstage.
– We see Shane arrive backstage and he approaches Daniel Bryan, who was watching on a monitor. Bryan says Shane made a great main event for tonight, and they shake hands. Bryan walks off and Shane seems confused by him.
– Ruby Riott vs. Becky Lynch: Women’s Champion Charlotte and Naomi are at ringside watching this one. Ruby Riott is accompanied by Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. Becky starts off strong from the opening bell. Logan tries to grab at Becky’s leg under the ropes, and Ruby tries to capitalize on the distraction, but it backfires and Becky drops her. Becky throws Ruby out to ringside ontop of Liv and Sarah. Back in the ring, Ruby drops Becky and works on keeping her grounded. Becky breaks free, but Ruby slams her down again. Ruby hits some knee strikes and applies an abdominal stretch. Becky breaks free and rolls up Ruby for a two count. Becky fires up and lays into Ruby with strikes, and drops her with an uppercut. Becky follows up with some suplexes. She goes for a running kick, but Ruby dodges it and connects with a kick of her own. Ruby goes for another kick, but Becky blocks this one and latches on to her with the Disarm Her for the win via submission.
Winner: Becky Lynch
– The Riott Squad retreats to the stage after the match as Ruby, Charlotte and Naomi stand their ground in the ring.
– We see footage from earlier today of Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch talking about being Mixed Match Challenge partners.
– We see a Fashion Files video from earlier tonight that ends with Breezango backing out of being in The Ascension’s corner tonight.
– The Ascension vs. The Bludgeon Brothers: The Ascension double teams Harper off the opening bell. Harper fires up and drops both Konnor and Viktor, and Konnor gets thrown outside. Rowan tags in and they double team Viktor for the win after a quick squash match.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
– Rowan and Harper invite Konnor to come back in the ring after the match, but he holds off. After Rowan and Harper leave, Konnor finally gets back in the ring to check on Viktor. Rowan and Harper turn around and hit the ring again. They double team Konnor and leave him laying. The Bludgeon Brothers head backstage as their music plays.
– Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable are still to come later tonight.
– Bobby Roode comes out to the ring next.
– WWE United States Title Tournament Match: Zack Ryder vs. Mojo Rawley: Roode is watching from ringside. Ryder and Rawley both come out to new entrance songs. Ryder connects with a dropkick early on, and Mojo rolls outside to stall. Back in the ring, Mojo takes Ryder into the corner. Mojo backs up and charges, but Ryder stops him with knees. Ryder goes up top but Mojo knocks him down. Mojo continues the beat down on Ryder until Ryder catches him with a neckbreaker. Mojo charges and Ryder drops him then goes for the Broski Boot, but Mojo rolls outside to avoid it. Ryder kicks him through the ropes anyways, then throws Mojo back in the ring for a two count. Mojo ducks a shot and comes back with a big running lariat in the corner. Mojo pins and advances in the tournament to a match with Roode.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
– Mojo celebrates his win and Roode steps in the ring. They come face to face, then Mojo backs off and points at Roode.
– Jinder Mahal is backstage with the Singh Brothers and he cuts a promo about 2017 being his year because of his WWE Title reign. Now he has his eyes on the WWE U.S. Title, and he will beat Xavier Woods in a tournament match next week. Jinder says Woods and The New Day are a fad, and the Modern Day Maharaja is forever.
– Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable are backstage warming up.
– The broadcast team promotes the upcoming RAW 25th Anniversary Show.
– We see footage from earlier of Natalya and Nakamura learning that they’ll be in the Mixed Match Challenge.
– Benjamin and Gable come out to the ring and get on the mic. They want justice from last week’s controversial loss to The Usos. They talk about what it takes to be successful in WWE. Benjamin cuts a promo about fans sitting on their couches stuffing their faces and gets booed. Gable talks about how they should be the Tag Champs right now, and along with Benjamin keeps knocking the fans too. They say the referee was a snitch, and snitches get stitches. They call out The Usos, but Daniel Bryan comes out instead. Bryan says they need to understand that the referee’s decisions are final, and they need to respect that. Bryan says they didn’t win because they pinned the wrong Uso, and he stands behind the decision. Bryan sets up a 2-of-3 falls match between The Usos and Benjamin/Gable, and it sounds like that’ll take place at the Royal Rumble.
– Randy Orton is backstage warming up when AJ Styles walks in and they talk about tonight’s main event. Orton says AJ needs to trust him tonight, and he can also trust that he’s going to win the Royal Rumble and then tag the WWE Title from him. Nakamura walks in and says not so fast, because he’s also going for the Title.
– Rusev Day vs. Breezango: English sings and announces that he and Rusev will be in the Royal Rumble match. English and Fandango start off and Fandango takes control early on. Breeze tags in and they double team English. English takes a breather at ringside and gets some words of encouragement from Rusev. Back in the ring, English takes control of Breeze. English goes for a senton but misses, and Fandango gets the tag. Fandango beats on English until English stuns him with a kick and tags in Rusev. Rusev flattens Fandango and then hits a spinning heel kick. Rusev goes for the Accolade, but Breeze runs in. Rusev throws Breeze outside, then drops him again when he tries to come back in. Fandango takes advantage of the distraction and rolls up Rusev for the three count out of nowhere.
– After the match, Breezango retreats up the ramp to celebrate. Rusev Day is in the ring shocked at the loss.
– Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon chat backstage about the tag decision. Shane says he and Bryan are not on the same page, and he knocks Bryan’s decision making. Shane says Bryan is coming off as unstable, and asks if he’s okay. Bryan says he could say the same thing about Shane, especially given Shane’s gene pool. Shane says they’ll agree to disagree, and he’ll leave Bryan alone.
– We go to the broadcast able where the announcers promote the Royal Rumble PPV.
– Handicap Match: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura: Orton and Owens start this one off. Orton takes control early on, but Owens stuns him with a boot to the face. Orton goes for the RKO early, but Owens evades it and rolls outside for a breather. They brawl outside before taking the fight back in the ring where Sami tags in. Sami works over Orton until Orton decks him and tags in Nakamra. Nakamura takes over the match with knee strikes to Sami. Nakamura hits a big kick, then followers up with a few more to Sami. Styles tags in now and continues the offense on Zayn. Sami fends off AJ and tags in Owens. Sami pulls Owens to safety to avoid a shot from AJ, and they roll outside. The ref starts counting them out, but Shane McMahon comes out to interrupt. Shane says this isn’t happening on his watch, and this match is now a No Count Out match. Shane calls for the match to be re-started, and AJ and Orton immediately leave the ring to brawl with Owens and Sami on the ramp. Back in the ring, Sami and AJ are going at it until Owens tags in. Owens puts the boots to AJ in the corner, then hits a lariat for a two count. AJ finally hits a neckbreaker on Owens to stop his momentum. Orton gets the tag and cleans house. Orton DDTs Sami and looks for the RKO, but Sami avoids it. Owens runs in with a steel chair and nails Orton, and the ref calls for the bell.
Winners via DQ: AJ Styles, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura
– Owens delivers more chair shots after the bell. Owens and Zayn start heading up the ramp, but Shane McMahon comes out again. Shane says he’s making this a No DQ match now too, and re-starts the match again.
– No DQ Handicap Match: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura: AJ runs up the ramp with a steel chair and delivers some chair shots of his own. Owens and AJ brawl backstage, while Sami brawls with Nakamura at ringside. Sami tries to escape through the crowd, but Nakamura and Orton stop him and beat him down around ringside. Back in the ring, Nakamura hits the Kinshasa on Sami, and then Orton hits the RKO on him for the three ccount.
Winners: AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura
– Orton and Nakamura celebrate in the ring as SmackDown goes off the air.