Like last week, SmackDown Live has taped ahead of time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania so that the wrestlers don’t have to work on New Year’s Day.
New Year!! New Day!!
The New Day celebrated New Year in the ring and announced they will be in the Royal Rumble. We saw Kofi Kingston ranting about lack of title opportunities for him and was calmed down by Wood. Big E was dressed up as the (New Year’s) Baby and he started throwing pancakes in the crowd taken out from his diapers.
Samoa Joe vs Jeff Hardy- Qualifier for WWE Championship Contender
The winner of this match will get to participate in the Fatal 5-Way match in the main event of the night to determine the no 1 challenger to Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship. Joe started the match focusing on Hardy’s leg like the last week’s match. But Hardy soon turned the tables and was hurting Samoa Joe’s leg. He went for a leg lock but Joe rolled out of the ring. As Joe took control, Hardy tried to counter by “Whisper in the wind” in vain, and Joe hit a dropkick. Jeff made a comeback by hitting a series of signature moves in “The Twist of Fate” and “the Swanton Bomb”. Joe rolls out of the ring to avoid being pinned and as Hardy followed him, Joe put the Coquina Clutch on Hardy outside the ring. As the referee was about to reach 10 counts, Joe came back in the ring and again locked Hardy in the Coquina Clutch. Hardy passed out and Joe was declared the winner.
Winner- Samoa Joe by submission
Do you want to see the Real AJ Styles?
AJ Styles is backstage with Shane McMahon and Vince McMahon. Styles, without looking at Vince, said that maybe he should apologize, but he won’t and later in the Fatal-5-way match, he’s going to see the real AJ Styles. He even teased attacking Vince again, but Shane stood up ready to retaliate. Vince stopped him and AJ walks out. Shane McMahon asks if Vince wants to see the real AJ Styles and Vince smiles and says yes.
Rusev vs Nakamura intensifies!!
Rusev and Lana came out with a cheer from the
Naomi vs Sonya Deville
Naomi was ready to take down Rose even before the bell and referee had to control her. Rose moved out of the ring and it turned out Sonya was actually the opponent after some drama. Naomi beat Sonya down until Rose provides a distraction. Deville hits a sliding knee for a two count. Rose showed a revealing photo of her in just the towel to distract Naomi. Amid the distraction, Deville hits a new finisher (some mixture of DDT and Spinebuster) to score the win.
Winner- Sonya Deville
Cena said that he doesn’t know why he is back but someone would surely respond to his open challenge. The Man Becky Lynch heads to the ring and told Cena that she would replace him as the face of the company. They were soon interrupted by Zelina Vega and Andrade Almas with Vega claiming that both Becky and Cena are history. Cena challenged Vega and Almas for a match against him and Lynch and we have a Tag Team Match next.
John Cena and Becky Lynch vs Andreas Almas and Zelina Vega
Lynch knocked Vega down with a shoulder and hit a dropkick. Vega made a tag to Almas and Becky seemed up to facing him but eventually allows Cena to get in the ring after some drama. Andrade took control with some quick strikes as Zelina provided some distraction. Cena reverses a suplex but Almas continued his control over the match. Cena avoided a double knee in the corner and made the tag to Becky. She unleashed a series of strikes on Vega. Cena took down Almas with his signature. When he went for the pin, Becky threw Cena out of the ring and made Zelina tap to get the win. Cena went for a handshake with Lynch after the match but she taunted him with the You Can’t See Me gesture and left.
Winner- John Cena and Becky Lynch
Backstage, Miz was pitching concept art for matching outfits to Shane McMahon for their tag team. They’re all awful designs and Shane
Asuka was confronted by Triple H, who praised her for being on a roll. Charlotte, Carmella,
AJ Styles vs Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe vs Mustafa Ali vs Randy Orton – Fatal-5-way to determine Daniel Bryan’s WWE title opponent at Royal Rumble
To start the match, Ali goes after Samoa Joe first while Rey and Randy lock up. Joe threw Ali out of the ring and AJ did the same to Joe, starting the match on a high note. Styles took out Mysterio with a backbreaker before going after Orton. Styles’ rampage was stopped when his effort to return in the ring was stopped by a punch from Orton. Mustafa hits a rolling X-factor on Orton for a two count. Some exhilarating moves followed where every wrestler countered each other’s move. AJ Styles had taken his game up a few notches and he again took everyone out. Joe finally tripped him on the apron, Orton followed with a backbreaker on him on the apron and Joe slammed him through the announce table.
Orton and Joe locked their eyes when Ali and Mysterio took them out with high-flying moves. Rey and Mustafa start trading takedowns. Ali hit a Spanish Fly on Mysterio from the top turnbuckle but got himself hurt. When he went for the pin, Joe broke it. Joe countered the 054 and put him in the Coquina Clutch near the ring. Rey broke it up with a 619 on Joe and then he hit Ali with another 619. Orton then tripped Rey and went inside the ring to hit RKO on Ali but Mysterio breaks up the pin with a flying leg drop. Mysterio then hit another 619 on Orton. As he was about to jump back in the ring, Joe got involved with him in the ringside. AJ took the advantage and hit the 450 on Orton for the pin and the win. Have to say that this has been one of the best matches on SmackDown in recent times.