AJ Styles kicked off SmackDown LIVE talking about how he wants to be a fighting WWE Champion and how he has his sights set on Jinder Mahal for their rematch at WWE Clash of Champions this Sunday.
The Phenomenal One was soon interrupted by The Singh Brothers, but instead of introducing The Modern Day Maharaja, Samir & Sunil declared Mahal was on his own at Sunday's pay-per-view after the former WWE Champion ruthlessly attacked them two weeks earlier.
Styles invited them to the ring to hug it out, and they insisted they were both done with Mahal, but The Phenomenal One was clearly not buying it. And as they continued their verbal joust, Mahal finally made an appearance, just in time to see the WWE Champion turn the table on the obvious trick and unleash an assault on Sunil and Samir before throwing them out of the ring just five days before the highly anticipated WWE Championship Match at WWE Clash of Champions this Sunday.
Just five days before The Riott Squad serves as three of the Lumberjacks in the SmackDown Women's Championship Match at Sunday's WWE Clash of Champions, Ruby Riott went one-on-one with SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair in a hard-hitting affair.
In the final moments of an intense contest, Charlotte's WWE Clash of Champions opponent Natalya suddenly left the SmackDown LIVE announce table and unleashed a surprise assault on The Queen, opening the door for Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan to launch a 3-on-1 assault on the titleholder that nearly ended with the incorporation of the dangerous steel steps. That is until Naomi, who suffered injuries after being on the receiving end of a similar attack at the hands of the terrible trio, suddenly emerged to help even the odds.
As The Riott Squad retreated up the ramp, they were suddenly jumped by fellow Lumberjacks-in-waiting Carmella, Tamina & Lana, who forced The Riott Squad to scurry away to safety.
Seeking payback on Dolph Ziggler for his mid-match Superkick one week ago, Booby Roode made a strong statement en route to the United States Title Triple Threat Match at WWE Clash of Champions by leaving the announce table and dropping The Showoff with the Glorious DDT. Though his actions gave Ziggler a disqualification win, Roode evened things out by hitting a second Glorious DDT on United States Champion Baron Corbin after the bell.
After charging their way into SmackDown LIVE's highly competitive Tag Team division several weeks ago, The Bludgeon Brothers continued their mission of dark destruction by laying waste to Colin Delaney, earning the victory with their devastating double-team maneuver. Will the punishment continue this Sunday at WWE Clash of Champions when Harper & Rowan face Breezango?
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn hit the ring to deliver a passionate address to anyone who would listen, insisting Commissioner Shane McMahon had stepped way over the line when he ordered KO to be handcuffed to the ring ropes during Zayn's match against Randy Orton last week.
Shane also upped the ante when he made himself the Special Guest Referee for a WWE Clash of Champions tag team match pitting KO & Zayn against Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura and added the stipulation that Owens & Zayn will be fired from all of WWE if they lose. As a result, the outspoken pair emulated General Manager Daniel Bryan's legendary “Yes! Movement” and attempted to Occupy SmackDown LIVE.
When Daniel Bryan emerged to confront the troublesome duo, he appointed himself the second Special Guest Referee for Sunday's high-stakes tag match to ensure a fair outcome.
Prior to their match against Rusev & Aiden English, who will challenge them for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles along with two other squads in a Fatal 4-Way at WWE Clash of Champions, The Usos partook in a war of words with both their imminent opponents and Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin.
In the wild contest that followed, The New Day provided some lively commentary, and Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin remained at ringside. Then, at the height of the action, bedlam between the teams allowed Rusev to deliver a fierce kick outside the ring. This set up The Drama King to drive Jimmy Uso's head into the canvas and score a huge win over the SmackDown Tag Team Champions five days before WWE Clash of Champions!
In SmackDown LIVE's turbulent main event, Shinsuke Nakamura went to battle against Kevin Owens with their respective WWE Clash of Champions tag team partners Randy Orton and Sami Zayn in their corners and General Manager Daniel Bryan joining the SmackDown LIVE announcement team.
When Owens inadvertently knocked the referee to the canvas with a wild right hand, Bryan donned the stripes and jumped into the action as his impromptu replacement. A few wild moments later, when Nakamura turned his attention toward an interfering Zayn on the apron and knocked him to the floor below, Owens capitalized on the distraction by executing the bone-jarring Pop-up Powerbomb on The Artist. Bryan then counted Nakamura's shoulders to the canvas to give KO a monumental victory.
What do Bryan's actions reveal about how he will carry himself as the second Special Guest Referee at WWE Clash of Champions? And will Bryan be able to co-exist with SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon, who will also be wearing the stripes?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Tye Dillinger defeated Mike Kanellis
- Charlotte Flair defeated Ruby Riott (w/ Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan) by disqualification (5:00)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Baron Corbin by disqualification (3:00)
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Rowan & Harper) defeated Colin Delaney & Juan Francisco de Coronado (3:00)
- Rusev & Aiden English defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (7:00)
- Kevin Owens (w/ Sami Zayn) defeated Shinsuke Nakamura (w/ Randy Orton)
Other on-screen talent
Jinder Mahal & The Singhs attack AJ Styles
Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Bludgeon Brothers vs. Colin Delaney & Juan Francisco de Coronado
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn attempted to Occupy SmackDown
Rusev & Aiden English vs. The Usos
Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
- WWE Smackdown Live #956 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #956 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #956 on WWE Network