With the promise of a big announcement, SmackDown LIVE kicks off with SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon. Shane says that, in less than two weeks, the Alamodome in San Antonio will host the Royal Rumble and the annual Royal Rumble Match will be packed with Superstars as Shane rattles off The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Baron Corbin, and Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose as just a few of the confirmed names for the Royal Rumble Match as 30 men will compete for the opportunity to be in the main event of WrestleMania. The Commissioner then says that the WWE Champion will have a “detour” on the road to WrestleMania before Shane announces that, on February 12 at WWE Elimination Chamber in Phoenix, the WWE Championship will be defended inside the demonic Elimination Chamber! Shane continues, saying that six Superstars, including the WWE Champion, will be locked inside the unforgiving structure with the last Superstar remaining walking out as the WWE Champion.
This brings out WWE Champion AJ Styles, who takes issue with Shane McMahon’s announcement, saying that, after he beats up John Cena at the Royal Rumble, he is going to have to defend the WWE Title inside the Elimination Chamber. The Commissioner says that AJ is correct, but that’s assuming that Styles leaves the Royal Rumble as the WWE Champion, saying that Cena may be the one walking out of San Antonio as a sixteen-time World Champion before mocking the strut of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The champion then says that Shane should “consult the champ” before making such a big decision but Shane reminds the champion that he is the Commissioner and the only one he has consulted is SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan. Shane then says that, in his view, AJ Styles is “one of the best” and AJ is what he says he is and that is “phenomenal”, but the only thing that isn’t phenomenal is AJ’s “attitude”. The champion takes issue with this, saying that maybe he should take his attitude and the WWE Championship and go back to Japan! Styles then says that he’s never been in an Elimination Chamber Match before AJ is interrupted by the arrival of the man who will challenge Styles for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble, John Cena.
The #1 Contender starts to speak, but the WWE Champion cuts John Cena off, accusing Cena of getting a title match because his “brother-in-law” is the SmackDown LIVE General Manager. AJ Styles then tells the crowd that they don’t “respect” him and they don’t respect the WWE Championship before saying that he doesn’t understand why SmackDown LIVE is “against” AJ Styles. The champion then asks who is “next” to come out there and try to steal his spotlight and it doesn’t take long for AJ to get his answer as The Miz, along with his wife Maryse, come out to the ring. The Miz says that, when he gets his rematch against Dean Ambrose, he will get the Intercontinental Title back and, whether he wins the Royal Rumble Match or walks out of the Elimination Chamber Match as the WWE Champion, he will be exactly where he belongs and that is in the main event of WrestleMania. The Miz then vows to walk out of WrestleMania as a dual champion, saying he will do more for both championships than anyone that has come before him. Styles asks if The Miz is “delusional” before saying that the best thing that The Miz can do for his Hollywood career is to stay away from him and the Elimination Chamber Match. The Miz responds by saying that, while AJ Styles was in Japan, he was “beating John Cena” before beating John Cena was “cool”.
The Miz then says that he brought the Intercontinental Championship “out of obscurity” and made it more prestigious than any other champion to come before him, saying that, when people talk about SmackDown LIVE, they’re not talking about WWE Champion AJ Styles, they’re talking about The Miz. AJ then reminds The Miz that the last time they were in Memphis, he knocked The Miz’s teeth out before saying that he’s surprised that The Miz doesn’t “perform with a limp” before asking Maryse if The Miz performs with a limp! Styles and The Miz are then ready for a fight with Shane McMahon keeping both men back before the Commissioner makes an impromptu match between Styles and The Miz right now!
Per the orders of SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon, the opening match of the night would see WWE Champion AJ Styles go one-on-one with The Miz, with Maryse in his corner, in a non-title match with #1 Contender for the WWE Championship John Cena a guest on commentary. During the match, the action would spill to the outside and this is when AJ Styles would throw The Miz into John Cena, who stops himself from colliding with The Miz. However, the distraction would be enough for AJ Styles to catch the #1 Contender with a right hand as the referee calls for the bell. The champion then hurries into the ring with John Cena right behind him, but AJ is quick to escape on the other side of the ring. This allows The Miz to attack Cena from behind as Miz would go for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Cena counters, hitting the Attitude Adjustment on The Miz. AJ then goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Cena dodges the champion before hitting AJ Styles with the Attitude Adjustment, as well! Cena then holds up the WWE Title belt in what could be a sign of things to come at the Royal Rumble.
After being attacked and locked in the Sharpshooter at ringside by Natalya on last week’s SmackDown LIVE, Nikki Bella would make an appearance on SmackDown LIVE. Nikki wastes no time in calling Natalya out, saying that they’re going to finish what they started last week. When Natalya doesn’t show up, Nikki says that Natalya is “the best there ever will be at stabbing people in the back. This is when Natalya would appear in the crowd, telling Nikki to watch the Tron before Natalya heads backstage with Nikki rushing to get a piece of Natalya. Natalya heads to the merchandise stand, noticing that the Nikki Bella merchandise is right next to the John Cena merchandise before taking issue with the lack of Natalya merchandise. Natalya then decides to confiscate several of the shirts before Nikki Bella catches up with Natalya, tackling Natalya through a table before the two women brawl on the concrete with security struggling to break it up before finally managing to get the bitter rivals separated.
In a match requested by “The Lunatic Fringe” himself, SmackDown LIVE would see Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose go one-on-one with The Wyatt Family’s Randy Orton, with Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper in his corner, in a non-title match. During the match, the action would head to the outside where Dean Ambrose would take Randy Orton down with a clothesline, but the looming threat of Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper would get the attention of the Intercontinental Champion. This would allow “The Viper” to take advantage, slamming Dean Ambrose back-first onto the announce table. Later on in the match, Dean Ambrose would send Randy Orton to the outside before “The Lunatic Fringe” dives to the outside, but Orton gets out of the way and Ambrose takes out Luke Harper. Back in the ring, Orton catches Ambrose with his patented suspended DDT before “The Viper” sets up for the RKO.
However, this is when Luke Harper would inexplicably get into the ring, which brings Bray Wyatt onto the apron as Bray shouts at Harper, demanding to know why Harper is getting involved. Harper then leaves the ring, but the damage was done as Harper’s actions would distract Orton long enough for Ambrose to surprise Orton with a roll-up, scoring the three-count to pick up the win. After the match, Randy Orton is left furious in the ring as Bray Wyatt glares at Luke Harper on the outside. Orton then stares down Luke Harper before Harper gets into the ring and, despite Bray getting into the ring to try and keep the peace, a brawl breaks out between Orton and Harper!
Bray manages to keep his two followers separated as Bray shouts at Harper before going to confront Orton, but when it looks like Harper is going to go against his leader’s orders and attack Orton, Bray pops Harper with a right hand! This puts a smile on the face of Randy Orton as Luke Harper points at Orton, saying “he did this” to Bray. This leads to Bray daring Orton to fight him with Orton pointing at Harper, trying to put the blame on Harper. Harper responds by leaving the ring and walking to the back, leaving Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton staring each other down.
SmackDown LIVE would then feature a special appearance from a Memphis legend as WWE Hall of Famer and Memphis’ own Jerry “The King” Lawler would host the returning King’s Court. Lawler says that it’s the first ever King’s Court on SmackDown LIVE and there’s no better place for the return of The King’s Court than in Memphis. The Hall of Famer then introduces his guest, “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler, who makes his way to the ring. Lawler welcomes Dolph to The King’s Court, but Dolph doesn’t say anything before the Hall of Famer says that he’s known Ziggler for a long time and he’s always seen Dolph as a “good person”. The Hall of Famer continues, saying that, lately, that goodness has “faded” almost as much as the “bleach” in Dolph’s hair. Dolph still doesn’t say anything to “The King” so Jerry continues, saying that Dolph is thinking that his new “attitude” is going to help him win some matches, asking Dolph to comment. Struggling with an unwilling guest, Jerry Lawler says that Ziggler is going down what he believes to be the “wrong path”. Lawler then shows the footage from last week where Ziggler lost to Kalisto and Dolph would respond to the loss by destroying both Kalisto and Apollo Crews with a steel chair.
Jerry Lawler then asks Dolph Ziggler to comment on his actions from last week, but Dolph still refuses to comment before Ziggler starts to leave the ring. The Hall of Famer urges Dolph not to leave, saying that he could have interviewed an “oil painting” and it would have went better than this. Dolph then decides to stay and talk, saying that he almost didn’t come out to be a guest on The King’s Court because he knew that Lawler would have tried to make him “look bad” and “dirty my name” in front of his friends and family in his hometown. Ziggler then says that he knows this because he brought some footage of his own, saying he wants Lawler to take a “long, hard look” at the footage. Dolph then presents the footage from an episode of RAW in September 2012 where, during a match that featured both Dolph and Lawler, “The Show Off” would repeatedly hit elbow drops to the chest of the Hall of Famer.
Dolph then explains the sickness behind the footage, reminding everyone that he hit those elbow drops on Lawler moments before Lawler had a heart attack live on the air later that same night. Dolph continues, saying that he knows that Lawler “blamed” him for his heart attack before saying that Lawler should blame him. Ziggler then says that he knows that it took Lawler “years” to get the courage to face him man-to-man but, if Lawler doesn’t stop with the questions, he is going to “finish” what he “started” four years ago.
However, the Hall of Famer doesn’t back down from Dolph Ziggler as Jerry Lawler says that it’s “too bad” because he’s got “one more question” for Dolph. Lawler then asks Dolph what it feels like to know that, no matter how many times he changes his attitude, he will always be a “loser”! Dolph then turns around as if he is about to leave the ring only for Ziggler to kick the Hall of Famer right in the chest with a super kick! Showing no remorse for his actions, Dolph Ziggler then leaves the ring as John “Bradshaw” Layfield quickly leaves his announce position to rush to the aid of Jerry Lawler in the ring. JBL helps Jerry Lawler to his feet as the Hall of Famer shouts at Dolph, saying that, if Ziggler has any “guts”, he will get back into the ring. However, Dolph just keeps walking to the back, ignoring the Hall of Famer’s challenge.
Bray Wyatt then appears on the Tron, announcing that The Wyatt Family will be entering this year’s Royal Rumble Match. Bray then says that a “family divided is no family at all” before saying that, next week, Randy Orton and Luke Harper will go one-on-one. Bray says that “one will stand and one will fall”, but assures everyone that, in the end, The Wyatt Family will be “stronger than ever”.
Then it was time for the main event as the SmackDown Women’s Championship would be on the line inside a steel cage as Alexa Bliss would defend the SmackDown Women’s Title against former champion Becky Lynch in a Steel Cage Match where the only way to win is by pinfall, submission, or escaping the cage, either over the top or through the door with both feet touching the floor. Early on in the match, both women would find themselves battling on the top rope with both sending the other into the cage, resulting in both champion and challenger falling to the mat. Shortly after this, Becky Lynch would be the first to try and climb over the top of the cage, but Alexa Bliss would catch the challenger, pulling Becky back down. Becky then delivers a kick to the champion before hitting Alexa with a Becksploder suplex off of the second rope! Alexa is able to kick out before the champion tries to climb out of the door, but Becky stops Alexa with both champion and challenger scrambling to try and get out of the cage.
This is when La Luchadora would get on the ring apron, standing in the open doorway, keeping Becky from escaping. Alexa tries to take advantage of the distraction, but Becky is able to lock in the Dis-Arm-Her on the champion. La Luchadora then enters the ring and, with no disqualifications in a Steel Cage Match, the masked competitor would catch Becky with a kick to the head. Alexa then plants Becky with her patented DDT, pinning Becky to successfully retain the SmackDown Women’s Title with a huge assist from La Luchadora. After the match, Alexa Bliss would shout at the referee, ordering the referee to get out of the ring and the referee does as he’s told before La Luchadora raises the hand of Alexa Bliss.
Alexa and La Luchadora then put the boots to Becky Lynch, but Becky manages to fight back against the two-on-one odds, taking the champion down before Becky sets her sights on La Luchadora, trying to rip the mask off of La Luchadora before Becky succeeds in exposing the masked competitor! Becky is then left in just as much shock as everyone else to discover that the woman under the mask was none other than former Women’s Champion Mickie James! The notoriously unhinged Mickie James then smiles at Becky before Alexa attacks Becky from behind before Mickie puts the finishing touches on Becky with a Mick Kick to the head! Mickie then hand the SmackDown Women’s Title belt to Alexa before raising the champion’s hand with a smile on her face.
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