The February 27, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on February 27, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
With his Road to WrestleMania still not fully defined, free agent John Cena kicked off SmackDown LIVE with a plan to land himself on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Cena, acknowledging that he was asking for one more chance, proposed turning the Fatal-5 Way for the WWE Title at WWE Fastlane into a Six-Pack Challenge.
Both SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon and SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan hit the scene with thoughts on Cena's proposal; Shane stated that he thought The Cenation Leader would be a worthy addition to the title bout, noting that SmackDown is The Land of Opportunity. Bryan agreed, but also insisted that opportunities need to be earned. With that in mind, Bryan made a mega main event — John Cena vs. AJ Styles with the caveat that a win would get Cena into the WWE Title Match at WWE Fastlane!
Despite suffering a loss against WWE Champion AJ Styles last week, Baron Corbin proved to be a threat to walk out of WWE Fastlane as the new WWE Champion when he decimated Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn after the match. The Lone Wolf looked to continue asserting his dominance against The “Yep!” Movement in this contest against Zayn, but Corbin also had to keep an eye on KO, who was at the announce desk. During the match, Shane McMahon voiced his displeasure with Daniel Bryan for allowing Owens at the commentary desk, but Bryan respectfully disagreed, prompting Shane to briefly exit the office.
KO held nothing back on commentary, claiming that Shane's decision to give John Cena an opportunity to join the WWE Fastlane main event was just another example of the vendetta against The “Yep!” Movement. When Shane-O-Mac returned to the office, he seemed to be a bit amicable, agreeing with Bryan that the action was great.
In the pivotal moments, Dolph Ziggler bolted to ringside and superkicked an unsuspecting Owens square in the back of the head. Zayn didn't see the kick, but he did notice KO sprawled out on the ground, and the distraction allowed Corbin to catch Sami off guard and drop him with End of Days for the victory. However, before Corbin could bask in his win, Ziggler slid into the ring and hit the also unsuspecting Lone Wolf with a picture-perfect Zig Zag.
Back in the office, Shane-O-Mac mockingly joked that maybe Daniel should go and check on Owens & Zayn. The “Yes!” Man declined that offer, but still clearly off-put, asked if he could leave for the evening, which Shane approved. Following that, the disgruntled Owens and Zayn ran into Shane and asked him if they had seen what occurred during the match. Shane simply, and gleefully, answered “Yep!” The Commissioner then informed them that Bryan had left for the night and that they would maybe want to leave soon as well, as Brie “hates it when they are late for dinner,” much to the dismay of The “Yep!” Movement.
After Ruby Riott turned the tables on Charlotte Flair last week by defeating Becky Lynch in a Six-Woman Tag Team Match and boisterously claiming “one down, two to go,” Riott looked to continue her countdown on SmackDown LIVE, squaring off against Naomi, with The Riott Squad and Flair & The Irish Lass Kicker at ringside.
As Riott looks to gain even more momentum en route to her SmackDown Women's Title encounter against Flair at WWE Fastlane, the rough and rugged competitor seemingly had an answer for Naomi's dynamic and explosive offense at every turn, and she dimmed The Glow with a vicious Riott Kick for the win.
It was now “two down, one to go” on the scorecards of both Charlotte and Ruby.
The New Day will rekindle their already-legendary rivalry with SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos in a title bout at WWE Fastlane thanks to their victory against Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable last week.
The frequent opponents came face to face in the ring, and a fired-up Jimmy & Jey went into a tirade about how they were overlooked and underappreciated during large portions of their time in WWE. They also made it unequivocally clear that they were hellbent on having their first-ever WrestleMania match and would do so by defeating The New Day at WWE Fastlane.
Big E retorted back at nine-year veterans, emphatically stating that he, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods have worked unbelievably hard for the past several years to earn opportunities, adding that they're not going anywhere and will enter WrestleMania 34 as five-time Tag Team Champions.
As tensions began to rise between and fisticuffs appeared imminent, The Bludgeon Brothers stalked to the ring. The New Day and Usos immediately ceased their debate and divided the ring, as Harper & Rowan entered the ring with mallets in hand. Both teams decided to exit, leaving The Bludgeon Brothers ... but how much longer until Harper & Rowan strike?
After confronting Shane McMahon about a lack of Rusev Day on SmackDown LIVE over the past several weeks, Shane-O-Mac provided Aiden English the ultimate spotlight: A match against Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura, who looked sharp as ever, was brutally brilliant, though he suffered a setback when Rusev (who was flanking English at ringside) dropped WWE's Rockstar behind the official's back with a stinging kick. However, even those dirty tactics weren't enough, as Nakamura rallied and finished English off with a thunderous Kinshasa for the win.
After the victory, The King of Strong Style began to celebrate on his way up the ramp, but before he could exit, he was greeted by John Cena, who was arriving for his high-stakes match against WWE Champion AJ Styles. Cena and Shinsuke stared one another down, with both pointing to the WrestleMania sign, signaling what everyone already knew: Everyone's sights are set on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
With the stakes astronomically high, John Cena squared off against WWE Champion AJ Styles for the first time ever on SmackDown LIVE. If Cena prevailed, he would be added to the WWE Title Match at WWE Fastlane. If not, the 16-time World Champion's WrestleMania prospects would look bleaker.
With Cena and Styles so familiar with one another after their classic series of matches over the past several years, they were more than ready for each other's offensive onslaughts in this pulse-pounding main event. Both Superstars kicked out of each other's signature maneuvers and broke free from one another's excruciating submissions, with Styles even surviving a cataclysmic Attitude Adjustment through the announcer's table and narrowly avoiding the count-out loss.
In the match's final moments, Cena somehow reversed The Phenomenal One's Calf Crusher into another ring-shaking AA for the monumental victory that now granted him access to the WWE Title Match at WWE Fastlane.
Cena would have virtually no time to bask in the victory though, as The “Yep!” Movement and Baron Corbin crashed the party, attacking both Cena and Styles. However, the sixth Superstar in the WWE Title Match at WWE Fastlane, Dolph Ziggler, rushed to the ring and assisted Cena and Styles in dispatching their attackers. That goodwill did not last long, as Ziggler then dropped Styles, which prompted Cena to lay out Ziggler with an AA as SmackDown LIVE went off the air in a state of complete chaos.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Tye Dillinger defeated Mojo Rawley
- Baron Corbin defeated Sami Zayn (11:34)
- Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan) defeated Naomi (w/ Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair) (8:32)
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Aiden English (w/ Rusev) (9:33)
- John Cena defeated AJ Styles (21:39)
Other on-screen talent
SD Live management announces Main Event
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
Ruby Riott vs. Naomi
The Usos & New Day come face to face
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Aiden English
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
- WWE Smackdown Live #967 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #967 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #967 on WWE Network