WWE SmackDown Live comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Mar. 20, 2018) from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming WrestleMania pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza scheduled for early next month in New Orleans.
Advertised for tonight: Daniel Bryan is back to take control of the show, 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 MAR. 20
We’re leaving together, but still it’s farewell. And maybe we’ll come back to earth, who can tell? I guess there is no one to blame, we’re leaving ground. Will things ever be the same again? It’s the final countdown, Daniel Bryan is once again cleared to wrestle, and I’m here to liveblog this here pro wrestling show for you with tears in my eyes, folks.
The show opens with a video package that starts with footage of Daniel Bryan’s retirement speech and concludes with coverage of the news from today that he’s been cleared to compete.
Live in the arena, the American Dragon makes his first entrance as a freshly cleared in-ring competitor, in his street clothes. First off he mentions what happened to Shane McMahon last week and says he’ll address that but the two people he needs to talk to aren’t here yet, so he’s gonna talk about something else. A little over two years ago, when he was forced to retire it was one of the hardest days of his life.
But he focused on one thing, being grateful, and he kept on focusing on being grateful. When he was depressed and angry and mad that he couldn’t do what he loves to do and he focused on being grateful, and he has a lot to be grateful for. He has amazing family, friends, the best fans in the world, and he also has an amazing, beautiful wife. At this point he’s choked up and I’m crying.
He says he was depressed and angry and trying to be grateful and his wife saw that all he wanted was to get back in the ring and told him it’s wonderful that he’s grateful but he needs to fight for his dreams. She’s the one that encouraged him to start going to see specialists, so he went and saw them and when he got good reviews she said to go see another one, and another one, and well-deserved “Thank you, Brie!” chants go up.
And then she told him to fight for his dreams because that’s what Daniel Bryan does, he fights for his dreams. So when he got depressed he wasn’t just grateful, he got angry and decided he wanted to fight and when he wanted to quit Brie told him to fight for his dreams and if he fights for his dreams his dreams will fight for him! Because every hard thing seems impossible until it becomes real.
Over the last two months he’s asked WWE to look at his case and they sent him to the best neurologists all over the company and every doctor he’s seen has said the same thing, and that’s that that he’s cleared. There was a time when being cleared to compete in a WWE ring seemed impossible but now it’s real. He’s got a lot of thank yous now, first for WWE and their doctors because first and foremost they looked at him as a person and not a wrestler and for that he’s grateful.
He’s also grateful they’d look at his case again so he could come out here and say yes, he is cleared. He wants to thank every person here and watching at home because we’ve supported him this entire time. Every week when he comes out here the crowd chants “Yes!” and “Daniel Bryan!” and “You deserve it!” and for that he thanks us. And last but not least, he wants to thank Brie and he doesn’t think any of us really understand how she’s supported him and for that he is incredibly grateful.
So now onto the fun stuff! He doesn’t know exactly when or where he’ll get back in the ring-- literally everyone in the crowd points to the WrestleMania sign and he takes a long contemplative look at it before asking if that sounds like a good idea. He says he doesn’t know for sure if that’s gonna happen, but will Daniel Bryan compete in a WWE ring again?
YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!
I’m sobbing like a child and commentary asks if Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will face repercussions before telling us that Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev will have a match after the break.
Back from commercial, Daniel Bryan is walking backstage when he runs into Charles Robinson. Lil Naitch congratulates him and he asks him to keep an eye out for Owens and Zayn and tell them to see him when he does. Dolph Ziggler rolls up and congratulates him and says he can’t wait to beat him, to which Bryan says he can certainly try.
We head to ringside for our match and see that AJ Styles has joined the commentary desk.
Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Circling, Rusev grabs a wristlock, wrenches it in, and Nakamura uses the ropes to reverse to one of his own. Rusev with a side headlock takeover, Shinsuke gets out, test of strength, the Bulgarian Brute pops him in the face but Nakamura sidesteps and wants more! Trading kicks and forearms, Rusev gets him in the corner for leg kicks, off the ropes, and big spinning wheel kick gets two to send us to break.
Bakc from commercial, Rusev has a reverse chinlock in but Nakamura fights out with elbows. Whip across, duck a lariat, a jump kick connects and both men are down and out! To their feet, Shinsuke with a strike rush into the chest kicks, lands a front kick finale and gets Rusev in the corner for a choke. Up top for the running knee to the midsection, Rusev is staggered but able to counter Kinshasa with a drop toehold, follows it up with a buzzsaw roundhouse... NOPE!
Calling for it, Shinsuke sidesteps the Machka Kick, Rusev ducks a few kicks but gets caught by the flying armbar! Trading pins...
Shinsuke Nakamura wins by pinfall with a folding press.
Aiden English hits the ring to put boots to the King of Strong Style with his partner in Rusev Day! AJ Styles slowly rises to his feet and passes his title and his vest off but Nakamura is able to recover and run Rusev Day off before the Phenomenal One makes the save!
A video package for the SmackDown Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania follows. Charlotte Flair is shown watching backstage when Natalya rolls up. She says she saw the look in Flair’s eyes and she’s scared. Charlotte asks what she’s on about and Neidhart says it’s only a matter of time before the Queen bows down to the Empress. Flair tells Nattie to get off the catnip and that she’s just looking forward to her greatest challenge.
Natalya throws a fit talking about how Asuka stole her spot at WrestleMania and she’s only undefeated because she hasn’t wrestled her yet. Charlotte says she can’t wrestle her at WrestleMania, but she’ll wrestle her tonight.
Commentary again asks about repercussions for Zayn and Owens and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get a hype video for WrestleMania.
AJ Styles is walking backstage when he runs into Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura says he didn’t need AJ’s help, and Styles says he knows, he saw. Shinsuke has one more thing and AJ cuts him off saying he knows, he’s gonna beat him at WrestleMania. Nakamura tells him he should have more confidence, but yes, he’s going to beat him at WrestleMania with a knee to the face.
Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger
To the corner, Dillinger out with a side headlock, he blocks the shoot off by sliding low so Corbin goes to suplex him and he shifts gears to a cravate. Shot off, he comes back with a knee, whip, sidestep a kick, he throws a chop and Baron knocks him down with a punch! Drawing the Perfect 10 up, another right hand, the Lone Wolf puts him in the corner, charge over, pass outside and back in and he runs right into a big boot from Dillinger!
Clothesline to the floor, slide to the apron, he jumps off, caught in the goozle, float over, kick to the midsection, back in, Tye pops up top, off with a crossbody but he gets caught! He’s able to block End of Days so Baron throws him to the floor and brings him back by smashing his face into the apron! Wristlock...
Baron Corbin wins by pinfall with the short-arm End of Days.
Charlotte Flair makes her entrance for her match and we go to break.
Back from commercial in time for the bell.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
Collar and elbow, Natalya grabs a wristlock but Charlotte flips her out of it. Back to the lockup, Neidhart with a wristlock, Flair reverses, Nattie reverses the reversal and takes her down for a front chancery but Charlotte turns it into one of her own. Back to their feet, arm wringer into a pin but the Queen gets away. Waistlock takedown into a cover, only two, headlock takeover, Neidhart with a front kick and a hammer smash, whip to the corner, up and over, O’Connor roll into a bridge but no pinfall!
Another cover gives way to a crossface strike and then Flair grabs the figure four headscissors, rolling Natalya through a few times. She escapes, whip to the corner, slingshot into a cover, Flair with a neckbreaker, a low kick, and we go to break.
Back from commercial and Natalya is in charge with an abdominal stretch locked in. Charlotte slips out but Nattie turns it into a backslide only to eat a boot to the face. To the corner, Flair gets Neidhart’s foot over the ropes but she escapes before the knee comes down and puts boots to the Queen in the corner. Referee Charles Robinson warns her off but Nattie tells him to shut off and resumes with a snapmare and a running stomp!
Charlotte’s able to pop up and hit a clothesline before drawing herself to her feet on the ropes. Throwing chops, big whip and a big chop follows, scoop into a fallaway slam! Neidhart’s able to trip Flair up into the turnbuckles face-first but Charlotte counters the discus lariat with a boot! Looking for the figure four, no dice, Nattie crawls away and sidesteps a charge but ends up taking the STO / backbreaker combo in the corner!
Flair climbs up top, Natalya gets up and crotches her... revolution powerbomb! NOPE! Sharpshooter applied but Charlotte’s able to get to the ropes and force the break! Nattie with a catapult into the middle rope, the discus lariat hits this time... NOT ENOUGH! Going for a suplex, Flair counters with a small package for a nearfall, picks the leg for the figure four and gets booted to the floor!
Natalya charges around... and gets caught with a spear! Back inside, Charlotte locks the figure four on and gets into a slap exchange rather than bridging back. They roll to the apron... AND FLAIR FALLS BACK OFF THE APRON, EFFECTIVELY BRIDGING BACK AND DOING MORE DAMAGE! Headed up top again, Nattie cuts her off, struggle in the corner... Neidhart with the superplex!
Both women are down and out... HERE COMES CARMELLA WITH REFEREE DANILO ANFIBIO IN TOW! CHARLOTTE HITS THE BOOT, NATTIE FROM BEHIND...
Natalya wins by pinfall with a schoolboy pin.
Commentary informs us that since the bell never rang for the cash-in, Carmella still holds the briefcase.
We’re apprised of things that will be happening tonight and get a hype reel for tonight’s episode of Mixed Match Challenge to send us to break.
Back from commercial we get another round of hype for Daniel Bryan being cleared for in-ring competition and I’m getting misty again, damnit.
The Usos make their entrance and cut a promo. They appreciate the love and get down to business. At Fastlane it was Usos vs. New Day once again battling it out for the tag titles, one of the hottest rivalries renewed and putting on another classic... until the Bludgeon Brothers got involved. They were out to hurt them and beat Jey up so bad he’s still banged up, but they’re still here and holding the tag team division up with the titles.
In case you don’t know already, the Usos don’t know how to back down, just how to survive and be the best tag team WWE has ever seen. Nine years in the game and you think you can take what they’ve worked so hard for, a chance to be on WrestleMania? Jimmy’s going to war with Luke Harper tonight and it doesn’t matter what shape they’re in, as soon as you step in the middle of the ring, it’s on lockdown and you’re in the Uso Penitentiary.
The Bludgeon Brothers make their entrance and we go to break.
Jimmy Uso vs. Luke Harper
We come back with the match in progress and Harper taking it to Jimmy on the floor! Back inside, big right hand into a choke in the corner! Chops in the corner, Usos fights back with chops, hard whip into the corner and he takes a right hand to the throat before Luke throws him aside! More chops in the corner, Harper charges over with a boot but Jimmy ducks out the way and he goes flying over the top!
Jim puts him into the LED board on the apron so hard a section goes out but is stopped short by Rowan. He knocks him down, enzuigiri on Luke, Jey gets a superkick in while referee Danilo Anfibio is distracted, another superkick from Jimmy... NOPE! Mule kick from Harper, going for the Brodie Bomb, denied, Jimmy up top, cut off with a kick, Luke climbs after him and smashes his face into the post!
Lining him up...
Luke Harper wins by pinfall with a discus lariat.
Jey pulls his brother out of the ring before the Bludgeon Brothers can jump him!
Jinder Mahal is shown walking backstage to send us to break.
Back from commercial and Sunil Singh gives his man a big intro.
Jinder Mahal says he’s sacrificed everything for a spot on the grandest stage of them all, and with his looks and physique he could be the biggest movie star in Bollywood, but he chose to hone his craft and restore glory to the WWE Championship. He made SmackDown the premiere show but we still disrespect him and show him with hatred and contempt.
He says we should be worshipping him and we claim to be open-minded but all we care about is maintaining the status quo with men like Randy Orton--
Enter Bobby Roode. He says Jinder is the only hypocrite in the arena right now. If he wants to talk about not getting respect, well, respect is a two-way street and as far as he’s concerned, Mahal doesn’t deserve any respect. As a matter of fact, the only thing that he deserves at WrestleMania is Roode beating him in the middle of the ring and winning back his United States Championship.
Oh, and when he does, it’s going to be absolutely--
Enter Randy Orton. Jinder welcomes him as a Grand Slam Champion but Orton tells him to shut up and that he doesn’t understand why nobody respects him or puts him over as one of the great champions, but he’ll tell him why. It’s because without his little stooge... he sucks. Orton hits the rope-hung DDT on Singh and Jinder bails, leaving Randy and Bobby to have a stalemate!
Becky Lynch and Naomi are shown walking backstage to send us to break.
Back from commercial we’re informed that Bobby Roode and Randy Orton will team up against Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh next week.
Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Riott Squad (Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)
Logan and Naomi to start, Sarah pulls ahead, tag to Morgan, she ducks a series of roundhouse kicks but eventually one connects and Naomi tags Lynch in. Double team, Becky ducks a lariat, rolling solebutt, and Liv heads to the ropes for safety. Hard whip into her corner, Morgan tags Logan back in and smashes Becky into her boot. Putting boots to her, snapmare, sliding knee strike... NOPE!
Grounded cobra clutch applied, Lynch flips out of it and goes for the tag but gets caught by a spinebuster. Reversal, Sarah dumped to the floor, Riott throws her back in and she clears Naomi from the apron. Pick the leg, cradle German suplex reversed to a headlock takeover, Lynch grabs Dis-Arm-Her, Naomi hits Rear View to stop Morgan from saving...
Becky Lynch & Naomi win by submission with Dis-Arm-Her from Lynch on Sarah Logan.
Backstage, Bryan is on the phone with someone he hasn’t spoken to in a long time when a crewmember rolls up to tell him that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have arrived. He tells the guy to tell them he’ll meet them in the ring and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Daniel Bryan is already in the ring and waiting for Owens and Zayn.
He says it’s been a very big night for him but he still has one more thing to address, and he bids them come to the ring.
They oblige him, clapping and smiling, going so far as to hug him when they get in the ring. KO begins, saying they’re thrilled for him and they weren’t gonna come to the show without Shane McMahon but then they got the news that Bryan had been cleared for in-ring competition so they raced over as quick as they could. They would have gotten here earlier but they got pulled over for speeding.
They managed to talk their way out of it, because... what’s the saying? Everyone’s dumber in Texas? But the important part is they’re here to share it with him now and it feels incredible. Sami says they wouldn’t miss it for the world and Bryan’s been their biggest supporter since day one. When the locker room hated them, Dan was fair, when Shane had his personal vendetta and did everything to keep them down, nope, not Daniel Bryan, he was always fair.
And now Bryan gets to return to in-ring competition?! It’s a classic case of good things happening to good people! And you wanna talk about Raw vs. SmackDown, A Show vs. B Show, any show with KO, Zayn, and Bryan on it is THE dream show. In fact, those three dudes sound like a dream team. Bryan smiles and laughs to himself a moment and says he really appreciates that but it’s not why he brought them out here.
He brought them out here because of their beatdown of McMahon from last week, and he rolls the tape. Owens laughs and Zayn tries to cut him off, which leads Dan to ask if they thought it was funny. KO admits they got carried away and Sami says he knows it looks extreme but you can’t tell him he didn’t kinda deserve it. Bryan says he doesn’t think they get it, they think this is no big deal but it’s not a small thing.
It’s a big deal. So, they have to understand and know that from the bottom of his heart he thinks they’re two of the very best performers of this generation, and when Shane McMahon said that he was living vicariously through them, he was right, and every time they succeeded he was like “Yeah!” because they came from the same place and they’ve known each other for fifteen years, but that’s more than getting a little carried away.
They assaulted their boss, and here’s what he doesn’t get, what he has a hard time understanding-- they won. Shane came out, admitted he treated them wrong and gave them a singles match against each other at WrestleMania! Imagine the three of them ten years ago at a tiny armory if they were told that they would get a chance to fight each other at WrestleMania?
Not only that, but Shane said he was leaving and they knew Bryan would be here in their corner to run the show... and they still felt the need to assault their boss. Dan doesn’t get it, and Shane was right, and he really doesn’t want to have to do this... Bryan talks about how he got fired twice and became a better man and grew and he hates to do this...
...but Sami and Kevin are fired. The two Canadians look distraught and plead their case, and Bryan says it doesn’t mean they’re gone forever, it just means they’re gone for now. Bryan shakes Sami’s hand and then reaches out to Owens, who shakes... AND CLOBBERS BRYAN TO THE MAT! He’s screaming mad and Zayn gets on Dan for mounted punches!
They psyche each other up but Bryan picks Sami’s leg and beats on him! Chest kicks in the corner! Sami from behind with a sleeper... BRYAN WITH A GERMAN SUPLEX! RUNNING DROPKICKS CORNER TO CORNER! HE’S FIRED UP LIKE HE NEVER HAD TO LEAVE! OWENS IS ON HIS KNEES... THE YES! KICKS! ZAYN BLOCKS THE BUZZSAW AND PUTS THE BEATING ON THE AMERICAN DRAGON!
FULL NELSON... KO WITH THE SUPERKICK! OWENS DRAGS HIM UP IN THE CORNER AND HOLDS HIM IN PLACE... HELLUVA KICK! Bryan drags himself up Sami’s legs and Kev punches him to the mat! Zayn throws him to the floor, they follow after... APRON POWERBOMB!
Owens loses his mind with primal rage as Zayn broods. EMTs come down witha stretcher and load Bryan onto it as “You still got it!” chants ring out.
I’m crying again. He’s really back.
That’s the show, folks.