We’re now just five days away from the final pay-per-view before WrestleMania 34, with Tuesday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, bringing us the go-home edition of SmackDown Live. While Tuesday’s show was not as lackluster as some of the recent offerings from the blue brand, it did have its moments that made you roll your eyes. It was also a pretty eventful edition of the Tuesday night show with two more matches added to the card on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, and the advertised SmackDown Live main event getting a little crowded.
SmackDown closes with a bang
AJ Styles took the microphone in the middle of the ring while being serenaded with the familiar chants of his name. The WWE champion said that while the odds are stacked against him with the six-pack challenge format on Sunday at Fastlane, he’s not going to complain about it being unfair, rather he’s just going to fight. Styles then ran back the comments from John Cena on Raw on Monday night where he proclaimed he’ll win the title on Sunday, and when he does, Styles can cash in on his rematch at WrestleMania in New Orleans against Cena and Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura. The “Phenomenal One” wasn’t having any of that, though, stating he wants his ‘Mania moment and he wants Nakamura one-on-one come April 8. Dolph Ziggler made his way out to the ring — still with the incredibly nonsensical record scratch beginning his entrance — and he told Styles his head’s not in the right place because he’s pandering to the people. After telling the champion he could take his WrestleMania dream and shove it, Styles suggested they just have the main event match right then and there, and the bout was on.
AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler ended in a no contest: Styles and Ziggler were given a good amount of time to work a fun match, but it never came to a conclusion. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn bolted down to the ring to beat down Styles and Ziggler before the latter two ran them off. This brought out SmackDown Live commissioner Shane McMahon, and the obvious assumption was that he was going to announce an immediate tag team match. That was not the case as McMahon brought out Baron Corbin to set up a Fatal Five-Way just days before the six-pack challenge at Fastlane.
Sami Zayn def. Kevin Owens (via pinfall), AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin: Zayn got the win Tuesday night in the main event after stunning his best friend Owens. After the two had cleared the ring and Owens was in the corner, Zayn flew across the ring and nailed his buddy with the Helluva Kick and secured the 1-2-3. At the top of the ramp following the match, when asked about why he did what he did, Zayn told everyone in a solid mini-promo segment that he was out to prove he’s the best WWE has to offer.
It was a pretty welcome twist to not have McMahon make his way out to go full-on Teddy Long and set up a tag team match, and the bout between the five men pretty much delivered. But what must be discussed, obviously, is the conclusion of the bout. We’ve been able to decipher for a while now that we’re headed for Zayn vs. Owens at WrestleMania, but for as long as these two have feuded both in and out of WWE, the dynamic of Zayn taking on the role of sneaky heel while Owens is presented as the sympathetic babyface could be one of the more intriguing stories to watch play out in the entire company heading into ‘Mania. We know these two can deliver in the ring against one another, but the build to the bout has the chance to be special given the role switches.
What else happened on SmackDown?
- Charlotte Flair and Ruby Riott face off in the ring: The SmackDown women’s champion and her challenger at Fastlane on Sunday opened the show. Riott began the segment by talking about all the attributes that make Flair great, then she admitted forming the Riott Squad last year for the sole purpose of destroying the myth of the SmackDown women’s champion. Flair responded by telling Riott she’s never been handed anything in her career, and just as the Riott Squad appeared ready to pounce on the champion, Bobby Roode’s entrance interrupted as the United States champion made his way to the ring to watch the upcoming Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal matchup.
- Jinder Mahal def. Randy Orton via pinfall: Mahal earned the victory after hitting The Khallas on Orton. Roode, who faces Orton this Sunday, was on commentary for the match. Near the end of the bout as Orton and Mahal were battling on the outside, Orton tossed Mahal into Roode at the announce table. Just as Orton seemed poised to get the victory, Roode hopped up on the apron to chastise Orton, causing the distraction that led to the Mahal win. Also in this one, Orton renewed the tradition of seeing how high he can toss a Singh brother.
- Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn seem fine backstage: A backstage segment ran earlier in the evening with Owens stating to Zayn that he was surprised by his recent declaration of laying down at Fastlane for KO to make sure his friend becomes the WWE champion. Owens then said it’s really not surprising at all given what a good guy Zayn is, and the two embraced to close the segment. Obvious foreshadowing for what was to come later on in the night in the main event.
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev set for Fastlane: The 2018 Royal Rumble winner was set to discuss his projected WrestleMania 34 opponent Styles in a backstage interview, but he was quickly interrupted by Rusev and Aiden English. Rusev went at Nakamura because his knee from last week apparently left English without his “beautiful” voice. The “Bulgarian Brute” challenged Nakamura to a match at Fastlane on Sunday and the Japanese sensation promptly accepted before showing off his own singing voice with “Nakamura Day.”
- Becky Lynch def. Carmella via submission: Carmella actually got in most of the offense in this bout against Lynch which was brought upon by their little social media war. With frustration setting in for Carmella because she couldn’t get the job done, Lynch eventually trapped her in the Dis-Arm-Her to get the submission victory. Backstage after the match, Natalya and Naomi bickered and a match was added to the Fastlane card on Sunday pitting Naomi and Lynch against Natalya and Carmella.