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WWE SmackDown Live results (Jan. 2, 2018): Tag team titles

WWE SmackDown Live comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 2, 2018) from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Philadelphia.

Advertised for tonight: The Usos defend the tag team championship against Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin, and more!

Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)


When there's lightning, you know it always bring me down 'cause it's free and I see that it's me who's lost and never found. I cry out for magic, I feel it dancing in the light. It was cold, lost my hold to the shadows of the night. No sign of the morning coming, you've been left on your own but me, I'm just here to liveblog this here pro wrestling show, folks.

The show opens with a recap of last week's main event between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens.

Commentary then hypes up Styles vs. Sami Zayn as well as our tag title match for tonight, and AJ makes his entrance.

He wishes us a happy new year and welcomes us to the first SmackDown of 2018 and reiterates that it is the House That AJ Styles Built. He says he's sure plenty of superstars have made new year's resolutions and so has he-- he's taking the WWE Championship to WrestleMania and walking out with the title still around his waist. And maybe that's not gonna happen with Sami and Shane McMahon getting involved, so that leads to his second resolution, beat Zayn tonight.

The question is, with the man that allowed Sami to be in Kevin Owens' corner allow the opposite? Well that man offered to come out and tell us his position tonight--

Enter Daniel Bryan... and as soon as he gets all the way into the ring, Shane McMahon comes out as well. He says he had the best intentions when he came to the ring last week, trying to make sure it was a level playing field but inasmuch as his actions may have lead to Styles losing, he apologizes, and AJ accepts that apology. McMahon says he's been accused of having a vendetta against Zayn and Owens, and he knows Bryan thinks that.

As much as he has his issues with those two, he thinks Dan has an equal and opposite kinship with them. Why on earth would you let Sami ringside last week otherwise? But before he gets to that, he's got a bigger question-- is the Yes! Movement becoming the Yep! Movement? Shane cuts Bryan off before he can answer and says he doesn't think he'll keep Owens from coming down tonight, so in the spirit of fairness, he'll be at ringside tonight himself.

Dan says that's not exactly what he was thinking but since he's declared himself ringside, they might as well have KO out here, too. And if both of them are out for the main event, Bryan wonders why he shouldn't be at ringside himself, and lets the crowd in a "Yes!" chant over it.

Commentary shows us the bracket for the United States Championship tournament and hypes up Woods/English for it, but first we'll see our tag title defense after the break.

Back from commercial in time for entrances.

The Usos come down mics in hand and cut a promo on Gable and Benjamin, talking about their resolution to become tag champs, but standing in front of them is the Usos, soon-to-be three-time tag team of the year, grinding 365 days a year, volatile tag team champions. They welcome Chad and Shelton to the Uso Penitentiary.

Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs. the Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

Jimmy and Shelton to start, Benjamin knocking the other Uso down and isolating him. Tag to Gable, Jimmy fighting back but Shelton slams him off the top, Chad with a moonsault... JEY MAKES THE SAVE AND WE GO TO BREAK!

Back from commercial, Gable is in control but Jimmy breaks free and connects with a 540 roundhouse kick to open the path to a tag! Tags made, Jey slides low and low-bridges Benjamin to the floor and follows it up with a suicide dive! Back in, hip toss sends Chad outside and he gets a dive as well! Inside again, fired up, Jimmy with him, off the ropes but Shelton picks Jey off and throws him into the barricade!

Cutting Jimmy off on a dive with a knee strike, they get him up...

Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin win by pinfall with the powerbomb / diving lariat combination on Jimmy Uso, winning the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

Gable & Benjamin celebrate up the ramp but referee Jason Ayers comes down and we get a replay showing that Jimmy wasn't the legal man! Referee Brian Nguyen apologizes for his mistake and the match restarts!

Or it will after the break, at least.

Back from commercial, Gable and Benjamin are hesitant to give the titles up and get the match restarted and the Usos attack! Jey and Shelton in the ring, Uso throwing superkicks, Samoan drop, setting him up in the corner and calling for the hip attack but Gable makes the save! Koppo kick to Jimmy, Jey distracted and nearly loses to a schoolboy pin! Thrust spinebuster from Benjamin, drawing him up but Jey's body control saves him and Jimmy nails Chad with a superkick!

Tag to Jimmy, a superkick party ensues, up top...

The Usos win by pinfall with a diving splash from Jimmy Uso on Shelton Benjamin, retaining the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

Backstage, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn roll into an interview. He scoffs at the idea that he'll affect the outcome tonight and asks what's different tonight from last week? This morning he had an omelette, last week he had his eggs sunny side up, that's different. Last week was Chicago, this is Orlando, that's different. But the outcome won't be different tonight, because Sami is going to beat AJ Styles.

Zayn says all Bryan is doing is being a good general manager and nothing changes the reality of the situation and this continues to be the seven-- Sami and Kevin Show. Owens says Zayn is going to tear the House That AJ Styles Built down brick by brick tonight.

Commentary hypes up a women's trios match as well as the rematch between Breezango and the Bludgeon Brothers, and we go to break.

Back from commercial in time for entrances, but the Bludgeon Brothers don't even bother with the match, they just clobber the crap out of Breezango.

The Ascension run down for the save but the Brothers take them out as well, and Viktor takes the double crucifix powerbomb!

New Day are in the locker room trying to get Xavier Woods to guess a present they've bought him for the new year. He has several incorrect guesses before he calls that it's pancakes in the shape of 2018 with whipped cream and whatnot. He appreciates it, and points out that if he wins the United States Championship, they ALL win the United States Championship.

He goes to blow out the candle and make a wish when Rusev Day appear in frame! Aiden English says he wishes for every single day to be (big pause) Rusev Day! And that's exactly what's going to happen when he beats Woods tonight and moves on to be United States Champion. Rusev mocks New Day for acting like children, blowing candles out and making wishes, and he blows the candle out for them to show what he thinks of their wish.

And so we go to break.

Back from commercial Mojo Rawley cuts a promo about how when he beats Zack Ryder in the tournament next week, he'll be back in the past where he belongs. Woo woo woo, you know it.

Rusev Day are in the ring... but it's Rusev that sings today! He gets through his delightful ditty about how English is going to win and then Big E does the deal.

Aiden English vs. Xavier Woods (WWE United States Championship Tournament First Round Match)

Circling, collar and elbow, English with a side headlock, taking Woods to one knee before he gets shot off and levels the former tagchamp with a shoulder. Leapfrog, waistlock denied, Woods tries a wheelbarrow bulldog that gets blocked, off the ropes he clips Aiden with an elbow! Cover gets one, back to their feet, he passes English to the floor but misses the plancha!

Kick to the breadbasket, Rusev comes over but he's just kidding, Aiden sidesteps an Honor Roll and puts Xavier into the steel steps! Back inside, the cover comes up empty and English proceeds into kicks and then mounted punches. Snapmare to a reverse chinlock, wrenching it in but Woods gets to his feet and throws him off. Superkick cuts the charge off and both men are down and out!

Throwing chops, Xavier tries to get some breathing room, whip reversed to a kick, off the ropes and Woods gets an Argentine backbreaker rack and drops it into a lungblower! Charging into a boot, waistlock, standing switch, O'Connor roll, reversed, no good! Fireman's carry, English throws him into the spinebuster... NOPE! Drawing him up, Aiden thinking about an avalanche powerbomb but Woods fights out!

Avalanche back body drop connects! Already perched, Xavier climbs to the top and walks the ropes...

Xavier Woods wins by pinfall with the Gran Naniwa elbow drop, advancing to face Jinder Mahal in the semifinals.

Rusev looks on, dead inside, as New Day celebrate and we see Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers watching on a monitor backstage.

New Day celebrate more by throwing pancakes at the commentary team.

Backstage, Natalya, Tamina, Lana, and Carmella are interviewed about their match tonight. Nattie says they're feeling pretty good and before there was a Riott Squad, there was a Welcoming Committee, and that's them. Carmella says it's 2018 now and the party is over, and Lana quotes a famous American saying, "only fools rush in". In reality, she says, the Squad showed their hand, and Tamina finds that foolish.

Neidhart says tonight they're going to show the Riott Squad that while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there's no substitute for the real thing, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, we're shown former WCW superstar Karl Malone in the front row.

Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, & Sarah Logan) vs. Welcoming Committee (Carmella, Natalya, & Tamina)

Morgan and Natalya to start, circling, collar and elbow, Neidhart gets a side headlock takeover but Liv reverses to a headscissors. Nattie reverses to one of her own and Morgan pops out of it as they return to circling. Lockup, armbar, Natalya reverses to a wristlock and Liv rolls through and reverses to her own. Whip across, matrix a lariat but the discus lariat finds home and gets two!

Looking to finish it, Neidhart goes for the Sharpshooter but Morgan panics and rolls to the floor to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Logan has Carmella locked down with a single-arm Japanese stranglehold, sending the Princess of Staten Island crashing back to the mat when she tries to escape. Break with a jawbreaker, but Sarah clears the apron. O'Connor roll, tag to Tamina and Snuka comes in with force, lariat, back elbow, superkick for Riott when she runs in,she ducks one from Logan and hits a Samoan drop!

Tamina heads up top but Ruby runs interference and Liv knocks her down! Logan capitalizes...

Riott Squad win by pinfall with the cartwheel knee drop from Sarah Logan on Tamina.

Post-match, Riott gets on the mic and says she bets everybody here in Orlando believes in magic, but magic isn't real. It's just like the crowd-- phony. Day in and day out we pretend our way through our dreary lives, pretending we're happy when deep down we're all miserable and we all need a strong dose of reality, so take a good look, because the Riott Squad is real.

Their destruction? Real. Their success? Real. That's why they're all going to be in the women's Royal Rumble. All the other women dream--

Enter Charlotte Flair. She congratulates the Riott Squad on their victory and Ruby on her speech, but she disagrees. She's a dreamer, and like everyone here, she believes in the power and magic of her dream. Find something you're passionate about and your world can change, but Riott said she believes in reality, so Flair will give her a dose of her own.

Actions have consequences, so she's going to introduce someone who wants to teach all three of them a lesson... it's Naomi! But wait, Charlotte has one more, someone who wants to make them pay for their actions... BECKY LYNCH IS BACK! The three of them charge the ring but the Riott Squad meet them halfway and we have a brawl!

Charlotte gets in the ring and hits a boot on Logan, Naomi has a springboard kick for Morgan, and Lynch hits the exploder on Riott! Another for Liv and the babyfaces stand tall in the middle of the ring.

Commentary hypes up our main event and we go to break.

Back from commercial we are reminded that John Cena will be in the Royal Rumble, and this is followed by some hype for the show itself.

Corbin stares into the camera and smirks a little before saying the Royal Rumble was designed for him and he can't wait. He reminds us of the rules and again says he can't wait. The Lone Wolf is officially in the Royal Rumble match, and he can't wait to main event WrestleMania.

Entrances for our main event ensue, first AJ Styles, then Daniel Bryan, followed by Shane McMahon, and then we go to break.

Back from commercial we get a hype package for Miz's return to Raw next week.

AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn

Styles in with a lariat out the gates! To the corner, shoulder thrusts, to the next corner, putting Zayn's face into the turnbuckles, following with a suplex in the middle of the ring and a cover that barely gets one. Sami back with right hands of his own, putting boots and punching in the corner, AJ throwing chops in return, off the ropes and a back body drop puts the champion on the mat for two!

Chops in the corner, moving to trade punches in the middle of the ring and Zayn drops Styles with an overhead elbow to the back of the neck. Off the ropes, leapfrog, drop down, dropkick, and Sami rolls outside next to Kevin Owens. Styles out after him and Shane immediately comes around to keep the peace, joined moments later by Daniel Bryan.

Back inside, Zayn cuts him off with a kick and follows it with an exploder suplex for two as we go to break.

Back from commercial, Zayn has Styles locked down in the middle of the ring with a rear chinlock. AJ uses a finger for leverage but Sami adjusts and takes him back down with a reverse chinlock. Back to his feet, Styles throwing elbows, breaking into a slugfest, turning it up into the Styles Rush, off the ropes with a sliding forearm! Fired up, leaping lariat in the corner, pumphandle gutbuster... NOPE!

Fireman's carry, Zayn throwing elbows and he gets away to the apron, where he hangs AJ's neck over the ropes and climbs the turnbuckles. The Phenomenal One cuts him off, fireman's carry follows through this time and he hits the Ushigoroshi for a nearfall! Calling for the Styles Clash, Sami takes a knee to block and flips out when AJ does get him up... BLUE THUNDER DRIVER! NOT ENOUGH!

Sami on the prowl, waiting for Styles to get in position but he's got the Helluva Kick scouted and counters with Calf Killer! Zayn's in agony but AJ rolls him dead in the center of the ring and reapplies, leaving him nothing to do but crawl in screaming agony until he can get the ropes! Styles picks the leg but it turns into a slugfest until he lands the Pele Kick!

AJ charges in and gets back body dropped to apron but it puts him where he likes, he springboards, nobody home, he lands on his feet, looking to roll him up, referee Mike Chioda is bumped to the floor, Styles grabs a crucifix pin and has a cover for a long count but Kevin Owens delays Chioda from returning until it's too late! Shane heads over and shoves Owens down before ordering Chioda to throw him out!

Daniel Bryan comes around and says if McMahon is throwing Owens out he should leave with him! AJ disposes of KO but Sami capitalizes...

Sami Zayn wins by pinfall with the Helluva Kick.

Owens and Zayn celebrate on the ramp and Styles gets on the mic to address them. He tells Bryan and McMahon to stop bickering, he doesn't care whose side they're on, and here's a thought-- why not just make it a handicap match if Owens and Zayn are just going to fight him together anyway? Dan is down with that and he makes the match!

Bryan leads the crowd in "Yes!" chants as Shane stares at him.

That's the show, folks.

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