The January 30, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on January 30, 2018 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Following his monumental victory in the Men's Royal Rumble Match, Shinsuke Nakamura opened the show to let everyone know that he planned on putting AJ Styles down in their title bout at WrestleMania. However, The King of Strong Style was interrupted by the disgruntled duo of Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, who believed they were robbed of becoming co-WWE Champions at Royal Rumble.
The King of Strong Style didn't take kindly to the interruption, and AJ Styles then hit the scene to come to the aid of his WrestleMania opponent when it looked like Owens & Zayn were poised to attack. Styles expressed excitement for his dream match against Nakamura at WrestleMania, but he proposed that they form a dream team and take on Owens & Zayn tonight. However, KO & Sami didn't seem too keen on the idea and declined, which promptly resulted in The Phenomenal One and The King of Strong Style literally knocking them down a peg and off the ring apron.
However, after The “Yep!” Movement returned to the backstage area, they were met by SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan, who informed them that they would indeed be facing Styles & Nakamura tonight. However, that wasn't at all. Due to the controversial end to their title bout at Royal Rumble, Zayn & Owens would get another opportunity to capture the WWE Championship... by facing off against one another next week on SmackDown LIVE with the winner going on to face Styles for the title at WWE Fastlane!
With Bobby Roode's United States Title reign now in full swing, a quartet of Team Blue's finest squared off in a Fatal-4 Way Match to determine who would get the next opportunity at The Glorious One for the prestigious championship. Roode sat in on commentary as Rusev, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder and Jinder Mahal pushed one another to their limits as they all tried to earn the coveted title opportunity.
A chaotic opening saw Ryder and Kofi whipping out high-risk maneuvers on top of the remaining New Day members, while Aiden English and Sunil Singh caused a ruckus at ringside. Xavier Woods, Big E, English and Singh were soon ejected from the ringside area, paving the way for an even playing field.
Rusev showed off tremendous agility at the end of the match, evading his opponents’ best shots and seamlessly locking Kofi in The Accolade for the tapout victory.
After his win (on Rusev Day, no less), The Super Athlete made his way to the commentary desk to stare down Roode one week before their title showdown on SmackDown LIVE!
Fresh off their hard-fought clean sweep victory over Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match at the Royal Rumble event this past Sunday, The Usos stood tall on SmackDown LIVE and reminded the WWE Universe that they have tag team gold in their blood. They reinforced that they were the baddest team on the planet and would welcome any challengers into The Uso Penitentiary.
With those big claims spoken, Jimmy & Jey took off, but they soon found themselves staring down the arriving The Bludgeon Brothers. Harper & Rowan, who were in action next, did not even look at The Usos on their way to the ring, but they certainly gained the attention of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
The bludgeonings just keep coming! Harper & Rowan continued their path of destruction, defeating two local competitors in convincing fashion, punctuating the victory with their punishing double-team maneuver to deliver a message to The Usos.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair joined Renee Young in the ring and reflected on being ringside for the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble Match this past Sunday as well as sharing the ring with Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss, Royal Rumble Winner Asuka and sports icon “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey at the conclusion of the event.
However, The Queen's primary concern was deciphering who she would be squaring off against at WrestleMania, as the women of Raw and SmackDown LIVE await Asuka's decision. She was soon interrupted by Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan. Riott belittled the Flair family name, and then, like a pack of wolves, The Riott Squad surrounded The Queen and pounced. Charlotte was at first able to clear the ring of the squadron, but the numbers game soon caught up to her, and she was left down by the unrelenting group.
Just when it seemed like the insanity had ceased, Carmella rushed out to the ring with her Money in the Bank contract, clearly ready to cash in on The Queen. The Princess of Staten Island handed her briefcase to an official and charged at Charlotte, but The Queen maneuvered out of the way, and the F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S Superstar clobbered the official instead, sending him careening out of the ring to the floor. Princess Mella screamed at the referee to get up, but by then, Charlotte had staggered back to her feet, and Ms. Money in the Bank thought better of cashing in her contract ... at least for now.
With Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger both frustrated over what happened to them in the Men's Royal Rumble Match on Sunday, the two exchanged heated words in the backstage area before agreeing to a match on SmackDown LIVE.
Each looking to right the ship, The Perfect 10 and The Lone Wolf picked up right where they left off during their intense rivalry in summer 2017. Dillinger gave Corbin his best, rattling off a ton of offense that had his opponent reeling, but Corbin survived, connecting with the devastating End of Days for the victory.
After a tense exchange earlier in the night, Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable took on Breezango after The Ascension egged on Fandango & Tyler Breeze to accept the match.
Still frustrated by their loss to The Usos in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match this past Sunday at Royal Rumble, Benjamin & Gable were locked in, weathering The Fashion Police's unique offense and defeating them with their top-rope Powerbomb/Bulldog combo, despite The Ascension cheering Breeze & Fandango on from afar.
This dream tag team match proved to be as unpredictable as it was exciting, as AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura joined forces to face off against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in Team Blue's thrilling main event. However, a major wrench was thrown into the situation earlier in the evening when SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan announced that Kevin Owens would square off against Sami Zayn next week, and the winner would challenge Styles for the WWE Championship at the next SmackDown LIVE pay-per-view, WWE Fastlane.
It appeared Owens & Zayn had put their looming showdown next week in the back of their minds when the opening bell rang for their monumental clash with Styles & Nakamura. However, the looming contest couldn't be forgotten for long, as Owens angered Zayn, prompting Zayn to briefly leave Owens by his lonesome. Zayn returned, but the dissension between the two “Yep!” Movement members remained apparent, causing Zayn to leave for a second time!
With Sami gone, Owens could not overcome the numbers game and fell to Nakamura's pinpoint Kinshasa. Renee Young caught up with Zayn backstage to ask him if we had just seen the end of The “Yep!” Movement. Sami answered with an emphatic no, but he also made it clear that he planned on exiting KO's shadow next week on SmackDown LIVE when he defeated him to become the next challenger for AJ Styles’ WWE Title at WWE Fastlane.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Naomi defeated Natalya
- Rusev (w/ Aiden English) defeated Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh), Kofi Kingston (w/ Big E & Xavier Woods) and Zack Ryder in a Fatal Four Way Match to be the #1 Contender for the WWE United States Championship (15:32)
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) defeated Chris Wylde & Rory Gulak (1:21)
- Baron Corbin defeated Tye Dillinger (9:33)
- Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin defeated Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) (4:21)
- AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (13:15)
Other on-screen talent
Shinsuke Nakamura & AJ Styles stand united
Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Zack Ryder vs. Jinder Mahal
The Usos vs. local competition
Carmella attempts to cash-in
Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger
Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable vs. Breezango
AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
- WWE Smackdown Live #963 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #963 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #963 on WWE Network