The Miz and Maryse kicked off SmackDown at London’s O2 Arena by welcoming special guest AJ Styles onto “Miz TV.”
The A-Lister wasted little time stirring the pot of controversy. After highlighting The Phenomenal One’s longstanding alliance with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson during their days in Japan, he proceeded to grill the No. 1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship about whether he, in any way, influenced his cohorts to attack Roman Reigns on Raw. In response, Styles not only denied involvement, but also made it very clear that he does not need Gallows and Anderson’s help in his World Title Match against The Big Dog at WWE Payback.
When Miz and Maryse decided to further pushed their guest, attempting to adapt various movie quotes to fit their points — along with a tad too much PDA — Styles knocked The Awesome One to the canvas.
Later, it was announced that Miz and Styles would square off one-on-one on SmackDown.
In a heated WrestleMania rematch pitting United States Champion Kalisto against Ryback, The Big Guy was determined to prove his adversary’s victory over him on The Grandest Stage of Them All was nothing more than a fluke.
In the height of the action that followed, he did just that. In spite of The Lucha Dragon’s high-flying athletics, Ryback was able to counter Kalisto’s Salida del Sol attempt and score an earth-shattering victory with Shell Shocked.
One has to speculate that the huge non-title win by The Human Wrecking Ball has to put him on the short list for another U.S. Championship opportunity.
As Dolph Ziggler was emerging to once again go to war against Baron Corbin on SmackDown, The Lone Wolf ran down the ramp and unleashed a vicious surprise assault on The Showoff from behind. Corbin once again dropped the former World Champion with End of Days onto the unforgiving the ringside floor.
When pressed for comment moments later as to why he carried out the unprovoked onslaught, Corbin simply responded, “because I can.”
Following an earlier confrontation with Intercontinental Champion Miz on “Miz TV,” AJ Styles stepped through the ropes to battle The A-Lister one-on-one. But at the height of a fairly evenly matched showdown that took both competitors to the limit, The Awesome One decided to take a walk.
However, his exit was blocked by the sudden emergence of Styles’ old friends Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson — a tandem who carried out assaults on both WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and The Usos in recent weeks.
Whether The Phenomenal One had anything to do with the intimidating pair’s decision to walk down the ramp remained a mystery. What was clear was that their two-man roadblock opened the door for the No. 1 contender to the World Title to hit his adversary with a pair of flying forearms, both outside and inside the ring, to walk out with the victory.
But was Styles in cahoots with his longtime allies? Perhaps the WWE Universe will find out when Gallows & Anderson debut against The Usos this Monday night on Raw.
Poised to take on WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte at WWE Payback — with her uncle WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart on hand to counter any interference from Ric Flair — Natalya teamed with Paige on SmackDown against Naomi & Tamina.
In the contest’s final moments, when Tamina broke up the pin attempt that saved her partner, Natalya quickly locked her in the Sharpshooter. Seconds later, London’s hometown hero Paige cinched in the PTO to make Naomi tap out.
Last week on SmackDown, instead of teaming with R-Truth for the first-time-ever as scheduled, Goldust decided to combine forces with Fandango in the WWE Tag Team Tournament Match — leading to the debut of Goldango! In response, Truth took on Fandango one-on-one, with Goldust serving as special guest referee. What could happen, right?
Well not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before all three Superstars began to dance in the middle of the match. While The Bizarre One was able to regained his composure and return to his duties before long, Fandango made the mistake of continuing, allowing R-Truth to cut in and drive his unsuspecting opponent’s head into the canvas for the pin fall.
Turns out the old ’80s adage was the Truth after all, sooner or later, “the rhythm is gonna get ya!”
It was only a matter of time. As Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady were addressing the WWE Universe, The Vaudevillains interrupted on the top of the ramp. Both teams staked their claim by promising to emerge victorious over the other in the WWE Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contenders’ Tag Team Tournament final at WWE Payback.
In an epic prelude to two incredible singles showdowns at WWE Payback, Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn combined forces against Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens in SmackDown’s tag team main event.
When order broke down in the final minutes, though, Zayn looked to help his partner by charging into the ring from his corner and temporarily dismantled an interfering Jericho with a Helluva Kick that hurled the six-time World Champion out of the ring. The InZayn actions plowed the road for the legal man Ambrose to prepare to launch an aerial assault on a war-torn Owens.
But Jericho quickly recovered in time to climb to the apron and push The Lunatic Fringe off the top turnbuckle and onto the ropes. KO was quick to capitalize on the damage, picked up the huge three-count to build momentum toward the May 1 event.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Ryback defeated Kalisto (6:47)
- AJ Styles defeated The Miz (w/ Maryse) (14:14)
- Paige & Natalya defeated Team B.A.D. (Naomi & Tamina) by submission (5:20)
- R-Truth defeated Fandango (w/ Special Guest Referee Goldust) (1:53)
- Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho defeated Sami Zayn & Dean Ambrose (9:41)
- Dark Match: Dolph Ziggler defeated Baron Corbin by Count Out (7:20)
- Dark Match: AJ Styles defeated Alberto Del Rio
Other on-screen talent
Ryback v Kalisto
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin ended in a No Contest
AJ Styles v The Miz
Paige & Natalya v Naomi & Tamina
R-Truth v Fandango
The Vaudevillains confront Enzo & Big Cass
Owens & Jericho v Zayn & Ambrose