The March 13, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on March 13, 2018 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
WWE Champion AJ Styles did what many pundits believed to be “impossible” when he walked out of the Six-Pack Challenge at WWE Fastlane with his title still in hand. And as Styles arrived to kick off SmackDown LIVE, The Phenomenal One focused squarely on his upcoming blockbuster title defense against 2018 Men's Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 34.
Styles spoke to how important it was for him to enter WrestleMania as WWE Champion, his improbable ascension to the top of WWE and his dream match against The King of Strong Style at The Show of Shows.
Nakamura seemed to agree that their match at WrestleMania is indeed a dream, but he also made it clear that he came to WWE to become WWE Champion, and The Phenomenal One was now the only roadblock remaining. However, just when it looked like tension could possibly rise between the two Superstars, Rusev and Aiden English arrived, as The Bulgarian Brute prepared to take on Styles next on SmackDown LIVE.
Following his nail-biter loss to Shinsuke Nakamura at WWE Fastlane, Rusev squared off against AJ Styles on SmackDown LIVE, as WWE's Rockstar and The Drama King observed from ringside.
Rusev was aggressive in the early goings, wearing down the WWE Champion with an onslaught of offense that was both grounding and dynamic. Just when Styles executed a slick counter to trap The Bulgarian Brute in the Calf Crusher, Aiden English jumped into the ring and attacked the WWE Champion.
Styles was awarded the disqualification victory, but it was small potatoes compared to the beating that he was receiving from English and Rusev. After observing the attack for a few moments, The King of Strong Style came to the aid of his WrestleMania opponent, disposing of English and then connecting with the devastating Kinshasa on Rusev.
The mutual respect between Styles and Nakamura remained strong enough tonight, but can it last all the way to WrestleMania?
After suffering a brutal attack at the hands Harper & Rowan on Sunday night at WWE Fastlane, Jimmy Uso and Big E, the only two medically cleared members of The Usos and The New Day, teamed up to seek a measure of retribution against The Bludgeon Brothers on SmackDown LIVE.
Right from the get-go, Jimmy and Big E were in no mood for messing around, jumping The Bludgeon Brothers during their entrance and getting a solid amount of damage done to the behemoths. Uso and Big E then grabbed chairs, but Harper & Rowan grabbed their mallets and used them to knock the chairs out of their opponent's hands, causing the unlikely duo to retreat to the outside and regroup.
From there, Jimmy & Big E fought valiantly. Although they were cleared to compete, it was evident that neither was 100 percent following Sunday's savage attack. Harper & Rowan overwhelmed their weakened opponents with their vicious powerbomb combo on Jimmy for another emphatic victory.
After the match, Harper & Rowan proceeded to drop Big E, who was already reeling on the outside. The message being sent? The bludgeonings are far from over.
Following her shocking decision to challenge SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair for the title at WrestleMania, Asuka made her first appearance on SmackDown LIVE to go face-to-face with The Queen.
Charlotte did not even remotely beat around the bush, making it clear that she was ecstatic that Asuka chose her as her WrestleMania opponent because it now allowed her the opportunity to end The Empress of Tomorrow's undefeated streak and cement her own legacy.
Asuka absorbed every word The Queen had to say, but she reinforced the idea that she bows to no competitor and that no one – not even Charlotte Flair – is ready for Asuka.
Randy Orton won the United States Championship for the first time this past Sunday at WWE Fastlane, overcoming Bobby Roode in a highly contested matchup to become a Grand Slam Champion, though he got more than he bargained for when he suffered surprise attacks from both Jinder Mahal and then Roode after the contest.
The Viper stepped out on SmackDown LIVE to celebrate his victory and congratulate Roode on his hard-fought performance at WWE Fastlane. Before long, however, The Glorious One hit the scene, declaring his intentions to invoke his rematch clause for a United States Title Match at WrestleMania. However, Mahal arrived and claimed he was going to defeat Roode right now, and he wanted Orton to sit at the commentary desk to watch.
After Bobby Roode dropped The Modern Day Maharaja with a Glorious DDT at WWE Fastlane, and the two engaged in a heated exchange on Team Blue, it was not a surprise to see The Glorious One and Jinder Mahal come out swinging on SmackDown LIVE.
Sunil Singh paid for hopping onto the apron when Roode shoved him into the ring post, but The Modern Day Maharaja capitalized by connecting with the Khallas for the win. The Modern Day Maharaja did not get long to celebrate, though, as Orton slithered into the ring and hit the unsuspecting Mahal with a ruthless RKO outta nowhere.
For now, The Road to WrestleMania remained quite rocky for the United States Title.
Carmella entered SmackDown LIVE fresh off scoring a victory over Naomi in tag team competition at WWE Fastlane, and she's begun to loosely allude to the idea of cashing in her Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania. First, however, Ms. Money in the Bank would have to square off against The Glow here on the blue brand.
The two Superstars picked up right where they left off on Sunday, ferociously battling inside the squared circle. Ms. Money in the Bank scored the win by dodging the hard-charging Naomi to leave her tangled in the ropes, then grabbing her by the hair and slamming her to the canvas for the 1-2-3.
SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon was at the center of controversy on Sunday when he cost both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn opportunities to win the WWE Championship. However, Shane-O-Mac, who seemed somewhat pleased over potentially causing a permanent rift between Owens and Zayn, claimed to have a huge WrestleMania announcement.
He first had two blockbuster revelations regarding the future of SmackDown LIVE: General Manager Daniel Bryan would return to the blue brand next week, but The “Yes!” Man would be going it alone, as Shane would be taking an indefinite leave of absence as SmackDown LIVE Commissioner.
Shane-O-Mac then declared that Owens and Zayn would compete against one another at WrestleMania 34, drawing out the irate KO & Sami, who believed Shane was just trying to toy with them one more time before he took off.
Zayn and Owens refused to have it though, mockingly “thanking” Shane for the opportunity at WrestleMania and then proceeding to deliver an unrelenting assault onto Shane that included a Helluva Kick and a Pop-up Powerbomb. WWE officials tried to stop the beatdown, but The “Yep!” Movement took them out too.
From there, Owens and Zayn continued their savage attack, first wrapping a chair around Shane's throat and smashing it into the ring post, then dragging Shane into the backstage area and giving him a tandem Powerbomb back-first into heavy steel equipment.
From there, Owens & Zayn left the scene, but not before doing an immense amount of damage on the Commissioner, who was hauntingly loaded onto a stretcher as SmackDown LIVE concluded.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) & Tye Dillinger defeated Chad Gable, Mojo Rawley & Shelton Benjamin via pinfall.
- A.J. Styles defeated Rusev (w/ Aiden English) via disqualification (11:16)
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) defeated Jimmy Uso & Big E via pinfall (2:34)
- Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) defeated Bobby Roode (6:28)
- Carmella defeated Naomi (2:56)
Other on-screen talent
AJ & Shinsuke both declared their intentions
AJ Styles v Rusev
The Bludgeon Brothers v Jimmy Uso & Big E
Charlotte Flair and Asuka went face-to-face
Jinder Mahal v Bobby Roode
Carmella v Naomi
The "Yep!" Movement viciously assaulted Shane McMahon
- WWE Smackdown Live #969 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #969 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #969 on WWE Network