The January 23, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on January 23, 2018 at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C..
With their 2-on-1 Handicap Match against AJ Styles for the WWE Title at Royal Rumble just five days away, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn weren't bashful to show their confidence and excitement. Clearly taking exception to their hubris, Styles hit the scene to verbally combat The “Yep!” Movement. Words were exchanged, and a challenge was laid down: Owens boldly upped the ante on Styles and suggested he accept two singles matches against him and Zayn back to back tonight.
This prompted SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan to make his arrival, but before he could really say much of anything, Styles cut him off and accepted the matches after implying that Bryan – due to his recent behavior—would probably just put him in the match anyway.
With their squads poised to clash in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles this Sunday at the Royal Rumble event, Chad Gable took on Jey Uso, as Shelton Benjamin and Jimmy Uso patrolled ringside.
After Benjamin & Gable executed a blindside attack of The Usos last week, the match was high-octane and incredibly physical. In the height of the action, Gable weathered Jey's explosive attack, connecting with a clutch kick and planting his opponent with the Rolling German Suplex to claim a major win heading into the title bout at Royal Rumble.
With all eyes on the historic first-ever Women's Royal Rumble Match this Sunday, Naomi took on Liv Morgan as the war between The Riott Squad and the rest of the Team Blue women raged on.
As Morgan and The GLOW battled it out in the ring, Natalya, Carmella, Lana and Becky Lynch made their way out to the square circle one by one, joining Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan, who were in Morgan's corner. Naomi and Liv went back and forth, but experience won out, as Naomi claimed a pivotal victory with a rollup after a pinpoint accurate kick.
After the contest, the WWE Universe was treated to a preview of the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble Match when chaos broke out. Near the end of the pandemonium, Lynch looked to make a bold statement ahead of Sunday by tossing Naomi over the top rope, though Naomi held on and landed on the apron. As Naomi began to re-enter the ring, SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair arrived to remind the entire division that, regardless of who wins on Sunday, they would inevitably bow to The Queen at WrestleMania.
After a frosty altercation earlier in the night, The Lone Wolf and WWE's Rockstar sought to settle the score in a high-stakes bout on SmackDown LIVE, just five days before each man looks to conquer the 30-man field in the Royal Rumble Match.
Even with the grueling Royal Rumble Match less than a week away, Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura did not hold back when it came to hitting hard.
However, who would’ve come out on top will remain a mystery, as Randy Orton hit the scene to deliver some nasty RKOs on both Superstars, outta nowhere of course. What spurred The Viper's actions? Was it a simple “friendly” reminder that it's every man for himself this Sunday in the stacked Royal Rumble Match?
New United States Champion Bobby Roode teamed up with The New Day to square off against Rusev, Aiden English and United States Title Tournament runner-up Jinder Mahal.
The action was like something out of Super Smash Bros. (shout-outs to UpUpDownDown!), as all six Superstars captivated the WWE Universe with a thrilling match. In the end, Xavier Woods rose up for The New Day and Roode, defeating English with his signature top-rope elbow after The Glorious One took down The Mozart of Mayhem with a ring-rattling Spinebuster.
The New Day rocked ... and it was GLORIOUS!
In his first of two matches against The “Yep!” Movement, AJ Styles squared off against Kevin Owens in a rekindling of one of 2017's fiercest rivalries. Styles would not need to have eyes in the back of his head to keep an eye on Sami Zayn because SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon declared that if either “Yep!” Movement member interfered in the other's match tonight, he would fire them on the spot. Because of this declaration from Shane-O-Mac, Styles fought freely against Owens, defeating him quickly with the excruciating Calf Crusher.
However, before The Phenomenal One could even begin to start thinking about his upcoming match with Zayn, Sami blindsided him with a relentless attack. With the match between Styles and Zayn already scheduled and Owens vs. Styles having concluded, this was not in violation of Shane's pre-match decree.
With Sami Zayn having taken advantage of a loophole in Shane McMahon's stipulation for the evening, he continued to pounce on AJ Styles as their match officially began. Zayn would not let up, but in a surprise to no one, neither would Styles, who fought back valiantly. During the match, Kevin Owens remained at ringside tending to what appeared to be an injured ankle.
Eventually, a stretcher was called for Owens, but that didn't stop The Phenomenal One from trying to get his licks in on KO whenever he could while still fending off Zayn. With KO being loaded onto a stretcher, The Phenomenal One dashed out of the ring and flipped it over, laying Owens out. However, the distraction proved critical, as Zayn jumped on Styles when he re-entered the ring, hitting him with the thunderous Helluva Kick and the Blue Thunder Bomb for the win.
After the contest, an exhausted Styles tried to muster the strength to get up, as Zayn and Owens celebrated Sami's major victory and the possibility of being the first-ever co-WWE Champions on Sunday.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Mojo Rawley defeated Tye Dillinger
- Chad Gable (w/ Shelton Benjamin) defeated Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy Uso) (8:44)
- Naomi defeated Liv Morgan (w/ Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan) (3:11)
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin ended in a No Contest when Randy Orton made his Royal Rumble Presence felt by RKO'ing both Baron Corbin & Shinsuke Nakamura (12:33)
- Bobby Roode & The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (w/ Big E) defeated Aiden English, Jinder Mahal & Rusev (4:55)
- AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens (1:39)
- Sami Zayn defeated AJ Styles (16:44)
Other on-screen talent
AJ Styles agrees to take on Owens & Zayn
Chad Gable vs. Jey Uso
Naomi vs. Liv Morgan
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, & Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal, Rusev, & Aiden English
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
- WWE Smackdown Live #962 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #962 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #962 on WWE Network