The January 22nd, 2018 edition of WWE SmackDown Live took place at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, KS.
– The broadcast team welcomes us to the last stop before Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, and then Becky Lynch comes out to the ring to kick off the show. Becky Lynch gets on the mic and says it wasn’t long ago that no one cared about her, but now everyone has an opinion about what “The Man” should be doing. She says the only thing she should be doing, is main-eventing WrestleMania and taking out everyone in her way getting there. Becky starts talking about Asuka, and then WWE Women’s Champion Asuka makes her way out to the ring to interrupt. Asuka gets in Becky’s face and holds up her Title belt. Charlotte comes out to interrupt next. Charlotte gets on the mic and says what everyone wants to see is her throwing all the other women over the top rope on Sunday to win the Royal Rumble. Charlotte talks trash to Asuka and Becky, and then Asuka attacks Becky and they brawl all over the ring. The fight spills out to ringside as agents and referees try to pull them apart and Charlotte watches from the ramp. Becky throws Asuka over the announce table and stomps on her. Becky finally backs off and heads up the ramp as Asuka yells at ringside.
– Back from the commercial break, Becky and Asuka brawl backstage until they are pulled apart.
– We see a video package looking at Mandy Rose’s interaction with Jey Uso and brawl with Naomi last week. A narrator says there will be an eruption of emotions in this match, and that’s up next.
– Naomi vs. Mandy Rose: Sonya Deville is at ringside in Mandy’s corner. Before the bell, Naomi charges Mandy on the ramp and brawls with her at ringside. They finally get in the ring and the ref calls for the opening bell. Naomi drops Mandy again, and Mandy rolls outside for a breather. Back in the ring, Mandy starts to fight back, but Naomi shuts her down with a kick and a Sling Blade. Mandy finally mounts some offense and hits a series of strikes in the corner. Naomi comes back with more kicks and a headscissor takedown. Sonya Deville distracts Naomi from ringside, which leads to Mandy slamming Naomi face-first into the ring post for the three count.
Winner: Mandy Rose
– After the match, Jimmy Uso comes out and helps Naomi to her feet.
– We see a pre-taped promo from Rey Mysterio talking about his Royal Rumble history, and his intentions to win this Sunday. He says Sunday is about making history, but this week is about respect, and getting revenge on Andrade Almas tonight in a best 2 of 3 falls match.
– The Miz is backstage warming up, then Shane McMahon walks in. They head towards the gorilla position for The Miz’s singles match against Cesaro up next.
– We see a shot of the outside of the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita where it’s currently snowing.
– The Miz vs. Cesaro: Shane McMahon and Sheamus are both at ringside for this one. Sheamus distracts Miz early on, and Cesaro capitalizes with a series of punches and European uppercuts. Cesaro hits a gut-wrench suplex, then a backbreaker for a two count. The Miz starts fighting back, and he drops Cesaro then applies the Figure Four. Sheamus pulls Cesaro out of the ring for the save, and the ref yells at him. The Miz slides outside to get in Sheamus’ face, but Cesaro immediately drops him with an uppercut. Back in the ring, The Miz starts to fight back, but he misses a shot off the top rope and Cesaro uppcuts him out of mid-air. Meanwhile at ringside, Sheamus attacks Shane from behind. Cesaro chokes Miz on the ropes, then Sheamus hits a cheap shot on Miz when the ref isn’t looking. Cesaro follows up with the Neutralizer for the three count.
– After the match, Shane tackles Sheamus into the ring steps, then he fights off Cesaro. Shane slams Cesaro into the ring post, then lays him on the announce table. Shane goes up to the top rope, but before he can jump, Sheamus pushes Shane off the top rope down onto the barricade at ringside. Sheamus throws Miz into the ring post, then Sheamus and Cesaro double team Shane at ringside. The Miz lays on top of Shane to try saving him from the beating. Cesaro and Sheamus pick up Miz and lay him on the announce table, and then they double powerbomb Shane onto Miz through the table. The Bar holds up their Tag Title belts before leaving.
– We see a video package looking at Samoa Joe attacking Mustafa Ali last week, and a pre-taped promo from Ali.
– The Miz and Shane are shown still recovering at ringside. Vince McMahon is shown watching backstage on a monitor and shaking his head.
– WWE Chairman Vince McMahon comes out to the ring and gets on the mic. Vince says he’ll reserve commenting on what just happened to Shane at ringside for now. He introduces AJ Styles first, and then introduces WWE Champion “the new” Daniel Bryan. Bryan walks around the ring, and Vince asks him to step into the ring. Bryan gets on the mic at ringside, and says he’s not falling for this trap and he refuses to step into the ring with a sociopath. Bryan complains about AJ slamming him into processed animal carcasses last week in the hallway of the arena. Bryan trashes AJ and talks about how bad it would be if AJ were Champion. Bryan says AJ just wants fame and money, but Bryan uses his power for the greater good. AJ says Bryan coming out and talking like a jackass isn’t the greater good. Bryan says AJ makes the fans laugh and cheer, but he doesn’t make them think about their actions that they should feel bad about every day of their lives. Bryan says he’ll tell the people what they need to hear, because he’s not the people’s champion, he’s the planet’s champion. AJ calls Bryan a hypocrite and says he’s afraid of facing AJ at the Royal Rumble. AJ and Bryan exchange words until Vince interrupts. Vince says he’s tired of this, and tells Bryan to get in the ring. Bryan says of course Vince doesn’t want to listen to him, because him and the entire baby boomer generation are the parasites of the world. Bryan says Vince’s generation just takes and takes from the people and the planet. Bryan rants about economic and environmental debt that Vince’s generation has created, and he trashes the fans. Vince says “dammit, I’m not going to tell you again, get in the ring.” AJ tells Vince that if he wants a face to face, it doesn’t have to be in a ring, and AJ hops out to ringside. Daniel throws his Title belt down and runs away, and AJ catches him and beats on Bryan at ringside. AJ throws Bryan into the barricade and ring steps, and then into the ring. AJ looks for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Bryan grabs Vince as a human sheild, so AJ stands down. Bryan charges and boots AJ in the face, then Bryan slides out of the ring, grabs his WWE Title belt and heads up the ramp.
– R-Truth and Carmella are backstage talking about the Royal Rumble. Truth says he’s going to win the Rumble and face either AJ or Bryan. Truth says he doesn’t want to face Brock Lesnar, but he might want to face the Cruiserweight Champion “Bobby Murphy.” Carmella tells Truth there’s a weight limit for that, and Truth thinks she was calling him fat and he walks off. Carmella runs into Charlotte and talks to her about the women’s Rumble match. Carmella says she goes in at #30, and no one is getting through her. Carmella admits she’s never been in a Rumble match, but she’s confident because she’s Charlotte Flair.
– Samoa Joe vs. Mustafa Ali: The opening bell sounds and Joe immediately takes the fight to Ali. Joe kicks Ali out to ringside and follows him out. Joe tries to throw Ali into the ring post, but Ali leaps up to the apron and jumps down on Joe on the floor. Back in the ring, Ali hits a dropkick on Joe and then pummels on him in the corner. Joe fights back with a stiff chop to the chest and Ali is down. Joe misses a shot in the corner, and Ali looks to springboard off the rope at him, but Joe knocks Ali off the rope and down to ringside. Back in the ring, Joe hits a splash in the corner and then the Pele Kick for a two count. Joe follows up with knees to the body, but then he misses a splash in the corner. Ali comes back with some right hands and a facebuster. Ali dodges a shot from Joe, then he hits some dropkicks and Joe falls out to ringside. Ali hits a suicide dive on Joe on the floor, then Ali leaps off the barricade on to Joe and pummels on him. Back in the ring, Ali boots Joe in the face a few times and then hits a tornado DDT for a two count. Ali goes up top, but Joe gets to his feet and grabs him from behind. Joe pulls Ali down from the turnbuckle to the mat in the Coquina Clutch. Ali taps out for the finish.
Winner: Samoa Joe
– Andrade Almas is shown backstage getting ready for his match tonight against Rey Mysterio.
– The Royal Rumble Kickoff Show will feature Shawn Michaels, Booker T, JBL, Jerry Lawler, and Beth Phoenix, starting at 5 PM ET before the Royal Rumble.
– The New Day is backstage watching some old Royal Rumble footage. They do a brief interview in the back where Tony Chimel makes a guest appearance. Kofi says he has an idea for how to keep his feet off the ground at the Rumble, but we’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out what it is.
– Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade Almas: Zelina Vega is barred from ringside for this 2-out-of-3 falls match. The opening bell sounds and Andrade immediately puts the boots to Rey and drops him. Rey fights back with a headscissor takedown, and Andrade falls out to ringside. Rey springboards off the top rope down on to Andrade at ringside for a hurricanrana on the floor. Back in the ring, Rey and Andrade trade kicks until Rey hits the seated Senton. Rey looks to follow up with a springboard moonsault, but Andrade dropkicks him out of mid-air for a two count. Andrade looks for the DDT, but Rey reverses and hits the Canadian Destroyer for a two count. Rey leaps up to the turnbuckle, but Andrade pulls him down and Rey is selling a knee injury now. Andrade goes up top, but Rey knocks him down too. Rey and Andrade trade punches up on the top turnbuckle, and Rey looks for a Frankensteiner, but Andrade reverses into a flying sit-out powerbomb from the very top rope for a three count. Andrade scores the first fall of the match, and it’s 1-0. Andrade continues the attack on Rey and hits a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. Andrade looks for another powerbomb, but Rey reverses into another Canadian Destroyer for a three count. The score is now tied 1-1. Rey dumps Andrade out to ringside and hits a shot on him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rey hits the West Coast Pop for a two count. Rey takes Andrade over to the ropes, and Andrade pulls off an arm bar on Rey over the ropes, until the ref breaks it up at the count of 5. Rey fights back and tries to powerbomb Andrade off the apron to the floor, but Andrade lands on his feet. Andrade throws Rey into the ring post, and then back in the ring. Andrade hits the hammerlock DDT and pins, but Rey gets his foot on the bottom rope to break the pin. Andrade goes for an arm bar, but Rey breaks free. Rey springboards off the top and crashes on to Andrade. Rey hits an inverted hurricanrana for a two count. Rey hits the West Coast Pop into the ropes, then hits the 619 on Andrade. Rey looks for the finish, but Samoa Joe runs in out of nowhere and powerbombs Rey off the apron to the floor. Joe hits the ring and throws Andrade into the ring post. Joe takes Rey into the ring and locks in the Coquina Clutch. Joe gets on the mic and says he told everyone he came here to make a statement. Joe says what you see in this ring tonight is exactly what he’ll do the to the other 29 superstars in the Royal Rumble. As Joe is talking, Randy Orton comes from out of nowhere and hits the RKO on Joe. We go to replays as Orton poses on the turnbuckle and SmackDown goes off the air.