WWE SmackDown Live comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 23, 2018) from the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C., featuring the go home show to the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for this coming Sunday night in Philadelphia.
Advertised for tonight: Naomi vs. Liv Morgan, Bobby Roode & New Day vs. Jinder Mahal & Rusev Day, 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.)
WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR JAN. 23
Dark night! There is no light in the realm of the black magic man. Souls flight into the cold blight of the destroyers magic land. Poor man! Those spirits are stronger, they’re the ones who will reign. Your strugglings are in vain. Blind man! You’re sucking your own blood. Soon black magic’s dying, you’d better start crying, but me, I’m here to liveblog this pro wrestling show, folks.
The show opens with Kevin Owens making his entrance in the arena, flanked by Sami Zayn as always.
Owens says what you have in front of you is the future of WWE, not a parade of retirees like you saw on Raw 25 last night. They hype each other up as future WWE Co-Champions and KO says the Yep! Movement is more than an affirmation, it’s about persevering in the face of unsurmountable tyrrany no matter the odds. Like when Shane McMahon put them in a three-on-two handicap match a few weeks ago.
Shane’s vendetta backfired, because all that happened that night is they proved that AJ Styles has no chance of walking out of the Royal Rumble as champion. They’re two of the greatest competitors on SmackDown, and if they couldn’t overcome the odds of a handicap match, AJ has no chance. Sami says he knows Styles isn’t the smartest so he’ll spell it out-- they’re going to beat him, take his champion, and become the first-ever WWE Co-Champions.
And just for a little insult to injury, after they take the title, they’re going to hurt him. They proceed to “Yep!” a bunch--
Enter AJ Styles. He asks if he heard Kami correctly that they’re going to beat him and suggests an alternative-- Nope. Are they gonna be co-champions? Nope. Are they gonna hurt him? Nope. That annoying? Because they’ve been annoying him for months now. Kev says he doesn’t care because after they win he’s gonna have to hear “Yep!” everywhere he goes, even in his dreams.
AJ says they’re confident and why shouldn’t they be? They have the advantage. But they’re facing someone who is phenomenal, and as long as there’s fight left in his body he’ll make sure they don’t win. This isn’t the Kami Show, it’s SmackDown, the House That AJ Styles Built. Owens admits that he’s phenomenal but above all else he’s predictable, and Sami says he said Styles was gonna come out here and do his macho tough guy act.
KO says it makes sense that AJ would come out here and speak with ignorance, since ignorance is the official language of Washington, DC. Zayn says that ignorance got him into this pickle in the first place, and rolls the footage of a frustrated Styles pitching a handicap match a few weeks ago. KO says he didn’t expect anyone to take the offer but when they did AJ immediately tried to backtrack and weasel out of it.
Sami says that Styles is being forced to be a man by an actual authority figure with actual convictions making him live up to his word, but with Daniel Bryan not here right now, will AJ be true to his word? Sami acts like he can’t remember what he’s talking about and they roll more footage, of Styles saying he’ll wrestle them both separately in the same night, and Owens goads him about weaseling out of it again.
Speak of the American Dragon, enter Daniel Bryan. He says enough is enough and Owens and Zayn are right about being two of the greatest to ever step in the ring and they’re also right about how difficult it is to win a handicap match, but he has faith in AJ. Styles asks him to stop advocating for him and says he doesn’t know if he’s in bed with “these two dirtbags”.
AJ says if Kev and Sami think they can beat him back to back, he wants to find out. But he’s not just going to beat them, he’s going to hurt them.
Commentary hypes up Jey Uso vs. Chad Gable and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Daniel Bryan rolls up on Shane McMahon backstage and stares at him for a long beat. McMahon is incredulous that he put the WWE Champion in back to back matches, but Dan says he wasn’t going to sanction anything, because AJ doesn’t need to prove anything. Shane goes to leave and Bryan pulls him back to ask if he doubted AJ and McMahon says he actually doubted Dan.
Chad Gable vs. Jey Uso
Gable going for a leg pick but Uso gets the ropes and escapes. Second try, he hammers him with some clubbing blows but Chad gets a waistlock takedown and holds onto it, another, almost a German suplex in its arc, to the corner, referee Jason Ayers orders the break and Chad breaks clean. Grabbing an armbar, whip, reversed, Gable picks a leg, trips him up, back to the waistlock and then riding him.
Crossface strikes, Jey gets to his feet and manages to shrug the Olympian off to the floor! Big slicing right when he comes back in knocks him right back out and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Gable gets a nearfall off a bridging northern lights suplex and climbs up top but nobody’s home for the moonsault! Pass to the apron, the enzuigiri knocks him down on the second pass, off the ropes but Chad cuts Jey off with a forearm strike and stops the dive! Uso dumps him out of the ring on the opposite side and hits a suicide forearm strike!
Back inside, headed up top, the diving splash comes up empty but he hits a Samoan drop! Running hip attack blocked, waistlock, Chaos Theory denied, rolling Koppo kick puts him in the corner, CHAOS THEORY! IT’S OVER!
Chad Gable wins by pinfall with Chaos Theory.
Backstage, Shinsuke Nakamura is interviewed. He says in the Rumble if he sees someone, he’s gonna put his knee in their face. Next person? Knee. Face. Knee. Face. Baron Corbin rolls up to say Shinsuke is all show and no go but it’s okay because the WWE Universe cares about him. But that doesn’t pay his bills so they can keep their opinion to theirselves, and his resume speaks volumes.
What has Nakamura done? Shinsuke says it’s not what he’s done, but what he’s gonna do at the Royal Rumble, and he wants to rumble tonight.
Naomi makes her entrance, she’ll be in action after the break.
Back from commercial we get a handcam promo from Tye Dillinger saying he’s entering the Royal Rumble and anything is possible.
Liv Morgan vs. Naomi
Collar and elbow, Liv backs Naomi into the corner but she comes out with a kick and the sliding slap for a two count. Jackknife pin, Morgan powers out with a bridge and reverses to a backslide, no good, matrix evasion on the lariat, Liv keeps ducking kicks but gets caught with a knee to the face! She manages to keep her wits about her and put Naomi into the turnbuckles, following it up with a double stomp to the back.
Only good for two, she follows it up with a Japanese stranglehold and the Welcoming Committee comes down to observe the match. Morgan with a lariat, Becky Lynch joins the crowd as Liv gets her to the apron and gets decapitated by a roundhouse kick! Slingshot in...
Naomi wins by pinfall with a slingshot sunset flip.
The Riott Squad attack Naomi after but Becky Lynch makes the save and dumps them over the top to remind us how battle royals work. The Welcoming Committee run in, Natalya dumps Lana over the top and Carmella lays Morgan out with a superkick before dumping her in turn. Nattie lays Carmella out and books it as Lynch and Naomi come back into the ring... and Becky dumps Naomi to the apron in turn.
Charlotte Flair comes out, mic in hand. She says friendships and alliances don’t really matter when you’re trying to win an opportunity to face the Queen at WrestleMania. So good luck to all of them, but especially to the winner. Wooo!
Commentary hypes up the AJ Styles challenge series as well as Corbin/Nakamura, and we go to break.
Back from commercial, we get a hype reel for Mixed Match Challenge.
Baron Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Circling, collar and elbow, Corbin backs Nakamura into the corner and breaks with a slap to the chest. Shinsuke grabs a waistlock, Baron reverses to a wristlock, Nakamura rolls through and reverses to a hammerlock, into the ropes and the King of Strong Style does his weird wiggly break. Calling him over, knee to the midsection, knee drop across the face, Good Vibrations!
The Lone Wolf bails and Nakamura follows, giving him an opportunity to toss him into the apron and back inside, but Shinsuke’s fired up. Corbin goes to leave, Nakamura follows after but Baron throws him into the ringpost and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Corbin is in control with a half nelson neck crank but Nakamura is able to post to his feet and force him to hoss him back to the mat. Back up, body blows, Baron with an elbow but Shinsuke gets a short-arm knee and a strike rush off. Duck the lariat, jumping kick, he’s fired up and throwing chest kicks. Corbin catches on and gets hit by the off foot!
Charging knee in the corner, Nakamura sets him up for the rope-hung knee strike for a two count. Inverted exploder suplex denied, Baron goes for a suplex but Shinsuke blocks and throws a few knees into a gourdbuster. Charging in for Kinshasa, Corbin reverses... DEEP SIX! NO GOOD! Boot up on the charge, diving over, Corbin slips out and comes back in with a huge lariat that almost ends the match!
Going for End of Days... SHINSUKE REVERSES INTO A FLYING ARMBAR! Corbin reverses to a pin but Shinsuke kicks out! Reverse roundhouse connects, he’s fired up for Kinshasa... RKO OUTTA NOWHERE?!
Shinsuke Nakamura wins by disqualification.
Corbin comes in and tries to fight Orton and gets an RKO outta plain sight!
Commentary goes through some of the press that Raw 25 got before feeding into a recap video of the show.
We get a little more hype for the AJ Styles challenge series as well as a six-man tag to send us to break.
Back from commercial, Big E does his thing and New Day make their entrance.
E begins the promo, saying last night they made history at Raw 25, and Kofi Kingston says they’ll make history again because they’re here to announce that your boys are entering the Royal Rumble match, baby! Xavier Woods says speaking of history, their partner tonight made history last week by beating not one but two men to become your new WWE United States Champion.
Bobby Roode makes his entrance and thanks New Day for that wonderful introduction, saying he couldn’t think of a more fitting place than Washington, DC to debut as new United States Champion. His goal is to be the best United States Champion in history and he knows that’s no easy task, but his reign as champion will be absolutely-- stupendous, delicious, and exuberant are offered up as options by New Day but he corrects them-- glorious!
Jinder Mahal (with only one Singh Brother in tow) and Rusev Day make their entrance, but the match will have to wait until after the break.
Back from commercial, the match is in progress.
Bobby Roode & New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Jinder Mahal & Rusev Day (Aiden English & Rusev)
Rusev has Kingston in a bear hug. I can hardly bear it! Kofi breaks out with a few punches and Rusev lands a knee to the midsection before charging in with a huge crossbody block in the corner. He knocks Xavier Woods off the apron but Kingston is able to bulldog him out of the corner and we get tags! Roode lays English out with a couple lariats, one in the corner sets up a swinging neckbreaker and he knocks Jinder off the apron.
Diving blockbuster follows, he’s feeling it but Rusev blindsides him with a roundhouse kick and Aiden gets a schoolboy for two! Kofi in, big trust fall suicide dive, English with a fireman’s carry, Bobby slips out, blind tag from Woods and he comes in with a gamengiri! Spinebuster connects, Woods climbs up top and takes a few steps...
Bobby Roode & New Day win by pinfall with the Gran Naniwa elbow drop from Xavier Woods on Aiden English.
Commentary shills for the WWE Network and hypes the Royal Rumble up some.
AJ Styles makes his entrance and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn follow, but Shane McMahon comes out to recall Sami Zayn, because if Sami goes anywhere near the ring during the match, he’s out of the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble. In fact, he’ll be fired on the spot, and the same goes for Owens when Zayn wrestles Styles after.
We go to break with Owens jawing at McMahon.
Back from commercial in time for the bell.
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
Styles right in with punches, backing Owens into the corner, chops, KO comes back and runs the ropes but gets laid out with a dropkick! Whip across, leaping lariat sidestepped to set up the cannonball but AJ sidesteps that in turn! Picking the leg, rolling through...
AJ Styles wins by submission with the Calf Killer.
Styles refuses to let go of the hold for a long beat and Zayn jumps him the second he lets go! Mounted punches, referee Jason Ayers tries to regain control, checking on Owens and Styles in turn. Sami comes back hammering AJ with forearms as Owens hobbles at ringside. Zayn putting boots to Styles in the corner and Ayers has to bodily pull him away.
Sami heads outside and drags Styles outside to beat on him! Whip into the steps and AJ’s knee clips the steel as he bumps over them! Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are shown watching stonefaced backstage. Zayn back on the attack, mounted punches and we go to break with the second match yet to begin.
Back from commercial in time for the bell!
AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
Sami comes right in hammering AJ corner to corner, choking him with one foot! A medic and referee Charles Robinson check on Owens as Zayn keeps pounding square in the middle of the ring. Styles gets a wild haymaker off but Zayn keeps punching and knocks him right back down. Chops in the ropes, whip across and a lariat lays Styles out but the cover’s only good for two.
EMTs have arrived with a stretcher for KO as Zayn locks a rear chinlock on the Phenomenal One. AJ gets to his feet throwing elbows but Sami turns it into a reverse chinlock and eventually breaks it with a knee. That’s the opening AJ needed, though, as he gets the Styles Rush and a sliding forearm off! Big corner lariat, fireman’s carry denied, into the ropes and he dumps Zayn to the floor!
A slingshot forearm lays him out from there! AJ goes after Owens just to be sure but Sami comes to and clobbers him with a lariat to send us to break.
Back from commercial, Sami is shoving Styles disdainfully, crossface lands before going to the reverse chinlock. Styles to his feet, body blows, an elbow strike to the jaw, a chop in the corner sends Zayn staggering. He pops up to the second but AJ hits him in the breadbasket and climbs to meet him... AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER! Slugging it out when they get back to their feet, chop for forearm, Sami pulls ahead, off the ropes, and gets caught with Ushigoroshi... NOPE!
Thinking about the Styles Clash, Zayn floats out, knucklelock, step-up tornado DDT connects! Waiting for him to get up for it but AJ fends the Helluva Kick off with a boot of his own! Moonsault comes up empty, duck a return strike and hit the Pele kick... NO GOOD! Waistlock applied, Sami fights out with elbows and catches Styles with the Michinoku Driver... NOT ENOUGH!
AJ pulls himself up the turnbuckles and Zayn sets him up top, climbing to meet him, front chancery as Owens is loaded into the stretcher but Styles slips out and puts him face-first into the turnbuckle! Low superkick, Styles Clash denied and Sami scrambles to the floor. AJ to the apron, he hits a sliding knee right to his face and rolls Zayn back inside before shoving Owens over, stretcher and all!
He comes back in and gets caught with the Helluva Kick! Back suplex lift...
Sami Zayn wins by pinfall with the Blue Thunder Driver!
Owens and Zayn celebrate together over AJ’s unconscious body.
That’s the show, folks.