After SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan went against Shane McMahon's wishes by opting not to fire Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn last week, Shane-O-Mac called Bryan out to the ring to try and clear up the matter. The “Yes!” Man made it clear to Shane that he never intended to fire Owens & Zayn and noted that Team Red would immediately snag two of SmackDown LIVE's biggest stars if Team Blue let them go. Shane understood Bryan's reasoning and although he still didn't seem thrilled with Zayn and Owens being gainfully employed, he zigged instead of zagging and announced that Owens’ match tonight against Randy Orton would now be No Disqualification with Zayn barred from ringside.
Following a vicious war of words on social media over the weekend, The New Day squared off against Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable, as SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos offered their unique insight while providing guest commentary after The New Day served them some pre-match pancakes.
In a high-octane contest that saw all four competitors shine, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston triumphed by dropping Benjamin with an emphatic UpUpDownDown for the 1-2-3.
It was a new week for The Hype Bros, who immediately asked for a rematch against The Bludgeon Brothers after falling to the imposing duo last week, but the same bludgeoning, as Harper & Rowan quickly demolished Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley for the second straight Tuesday en route to another dominant victory.
After the short bout, a battered Ryder & Rawley were approached by Dasha Fuentes for an in-ring interview. Despite the team's shortcomings and troubles as of late, Ryder remained positive, saying that the duo would have to build itself back up even though they've hit rock bottom. That's all he got to say, however, as Mojo savagely attacked him from behind. Rawley laid Ryder out with a barrage of strikes, then left his partner writhing in agony following the shocking attack.
The white-hot rivalry between WWE Champion AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal continued to escalate here on SmackDown LIVE, with The Phenomenal One taking on The Singh Brothers in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. However, as soon as Styles entered the ring, Mahal and his cronies attempted to gain an advantage by doing a blindside number on AJ prior to the contest even starting.
And, despite the pre-match beatdown, numbers advantage and The Modern Day Maharaja lurking at ringside, Sunil and Samir Singh were no match for the untouchable Styles, as AJ pushed through and found victory with a jaw-dropping second-rope Styles Clash to Samir onto Sunil who was right below.
After the match, it seemed Mahal was going to attempt to blindside Styles, but AJ exited before Mahal could grab him, leading to Jinder delivering ring-rattling Khallases to both Singh Brothers, making a clear statement that his ruthless streak was far from gone.
Following their dynamic and dastardly debut last week, the trio of Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan – collectively known as The Riott Squad - looked to make an immediate impact on Team Blue by defeating the team of SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, Natalya and Naomi.
The combination of the new group's intensity and Flair and Natalya's ongoing problems led to a massive breakdown when Natalya hopped off the apron and walked away, leaving Charlotte and Naomi high and dry. This put The Queen and Naomi at a massive disadvantage, which eventually led to Morgan and Logan using the steel steps to brutalize Naomi on the outside, leaving her incapacitated and prompting the medical staff to take her away on a stretcher.
This left Flair by herself against The Riott Squad, and although she briefly rallied, the numbers game proved too much, and The Riott Squad scored the victory in their debut match on the blue brand when Riott planted The Queen into the canvas with a wicked kick to the face.
WWE medical staff evaluated Naomi after the contest. Please keep with WWE.com and WWE's social channels for further updates.
After barely avoiding firing (at least for now), Kevin Owens, whose best friend Sami Zayn was banned from ringside, was forced to go to war against Randy Orton in a brutal No Disqualification Match.
Orton, still harboring a ton of resentment for Owens & Zayn being instrumental in Team SmackDown's defeat to Raw at Survivor Series, held nothing back against KO right from the get-go. The match saw it all, including Kendo stick attacks, savage superplexes and a plethora of physicality.
However, Zayn found a way to interject himself, waiting until Orton and Owens fought to the top of the stage and were not technically at ringside (thus Zayn was not breaking Shane McMahon's stipulation), to take full advantage of the No Disqualification parameters. Zayn viciously attacked The Viper with a steel chair, targeting his left leg.
Orton attempted to fight back after the assault, but KO targeted Orton's damaged left leg, finishing The Apex Predator off with a superkick and picture-perfect frog splash for the controversial win.
- 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
- The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (w/ Big E) defeated Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin (8:00)
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) (1:00)
- AJ Styles defeated The Singh Brothers (Samir & Sunil Singh) (w/ Jinder Mahal) (3:00)
- The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan) defeated Charlotte Flair, Naomi & Natalya (9:00)
- Kevin Owens defeated Randy Orton in a No disqualification match (17:00)
Other on-screen talent
Shane McMahon made major changes to the SmackDown LIVE main event
The New Day vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Hype Bros
AJ Styles vs. The Singh Brothers
The Riott Squad vs. Charlotte Flair, Natalya, & Naomi
Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton
- WWE Smackdown Live #954 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #954 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #954 on WWE Network