The year’s first WWE SmackDown Live started with AJ Styles opening the show. It was announced that he was later scheduled to faced Sami Zayn in the ring. The SmackDown Tag Team Titles were also set to be defended in a match between the Champions, The Usos, and Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable. We do WWE Smackdown Ratings for each segment between +5 to -5.
Opening Promo: +4
The show started with AJ coming out to open New Year’s SmackDown Live. He wished the fans a happy New Year, and talked about his resolution to defend the WWE Championship and take it all the way to Wrestlemania. He also talked about the previous week when Zayn had been allowed at ringside, and he lost the match due to a distraction which had been created.
Bryan and Shane came out with Shane accusing Bryan of having some sort of vendetta and having a kinship with Owens and Zayn. He says that he would be at ringside for the Sami Zayn and Styles match if Owens was allowed to be. Bryan said that if Shane was out there, then Kevin Owens should also be allowed to be there. Bryan added he would also be at ringside.
Tension continues to mount as Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan kick off SmackDown LIVE with WWE Champion AJ Styles. Get your first month of WWE Network for FREE: http://wwenetwork.com Subscribe to WWE on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1i64OdT Visit WWE.com: http://goo.gl/akf0J4 Must-See WWE videos on YouTube: https://goo.gl/QmhBof
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs The Usos [WWE SmackDown Live Tag Team Title Match]: +4
The match started fast with a huge Superplex from Shelton to start off, and Gable following it up with a huge moonsault splash. The match came to a sudden halt, as Jimmy Uso was hit with a huge powerbomb, with Gable picking up the win.
It seemed like Benjamin and Gable had picked up the win, but an official ran out informing everyone that Gable and Jimmy Uso were not the legal men and did not have the right to end the match. The match was restarted again.
Gable and Benjamin went for the move again, with Jey hitting Gable with the Superkick when he came in with a jump. They hit Shelton with a superkick as well, before Jimmy hit a splash to pick up the win.
After scoring a pinfall victory over Jimmy & Jey Uso in a non-title match two weeks ago, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin get their opportunity at the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs Breezango: +3
The Bludgeon Brothers faced Breezango for the third time, and this time Harper and Rowan did not allow the match to start before they attacked Breezango. They knocked them down, and Konnor and Victor came out for the save. They did not do too well trying to save them and were knocked down after a Double Powerbomb.
Fandango & Tyler Breeze engage Harper & Rowan after The Ascension challenged the ominous duo to a rematch on Breezango’s behalf. Get your first month of WWE Network for FREE: http://wwenetwork.com Subscribe to WWE on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1i64OdT Visit WWE.com: http://goo.gl/akf0J4 Must-See WWE videos on YouTube: https://goo.gl/QmhBof
Xavier Woods vs Aiden English [United States Championship Tournament First Round Match]: +4
Aiden English and Xavier Woods squared off in the tournament for the United States Title. Aiden English countered an Honour Roll by Xavier Woods to smash his face into the ring steps. Woods hit Aiden English with a gigantic Backbreaker, for a near fall, after which English and Woods exchanged pinning opportunities.
English went to the top turnbuckle, he tried to powerbomb Woods from there. But Woods threw him over his shoulder onto the mat, after which Woods hit a Flying Elbow on Aiden English, for the win. The New Day reigned supreme on Rusev Day.
Xavier Woods and Aiden English battle to see who will take on former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal in the second round of the tournament to crown a new United States Champion.
Riott Squad vs Welcoming Committee: +2
Natalya and Liv Morgan went at it against each other, with Natalya trying to put Liv in an armbar, but instead hit her with a Discus Clothesline. The Welcoming Committee was in control with Tamina picking apart each of the members of Riott Squad, till Sarah Logan used a Rolling Knee to the back of the head of Tamina to pick up the win.
The Riott Squad won the match, and addressed the crowd, saying that Magic did not exist. Charlotte came out to the ring to say that she believed in Magic. She addressed Ruby and said action had consequences, and Naomi came out as well. Becky joined them, making her return and the three of them took apart the Riott Squad one by one, destroying them. Becky gave two huge BeckSploder suplexes and had them retreating.
One week after their post-match brawl at the conclusion of Ruby Riott’s showdown against Naomi, recently-named Royal Rumble Match entries Natalya, Carmella and Tamina duke it out with Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in a Six-Woman Tag Team Match.
AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn: +4
The match had Owens, Shane and Bryan, all at ringside. Styles and Zayn started off the match with some big shots before Sami hit AJ with a Fisherman Suplex. AJ hit Sami with a Gut Buster, but Sami soon came back with a Blue Thunder Bomb.
The referee fell out of the ring, and Kevin stopped him from getting back to the ring. AJ almost pinned Sami, but the referee was unable to pin him. Shane punched Kevin and threw him away from ringside. The distraction was enough for Sami to pick up the win over AJ Styles.
AJ was furious and said that it would be best if he faced both Sami and Kevin together. Daniel Bryan announced that Styles would defend his title against Sami and Kevin in a handicap match at the Royal Rumble.
With Shane McMahon, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens all at ringside, SmackDown LIVE’s main event between WWE Champion AJ Styles and Sami Zayn threatens to once again end in controversy.
This SmackDown Live felt amazing yet again with Sami and Kevin’s feud with Shane continuing. The show got a rating of +21 out of a possible +30.