Before SmackDown LIVE gets underway, AJ Styles confronts SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan backstage with AJ demanding to know where SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon is. The GM tells Styles to “calm down” with AJ responding by saying that he will slap the next person that tells him to calm down. This results on Daniel Bryan getting in AJ’s face, but Styles says that he can’t do anything to Daniel Bryan in Daniel’s “delicate condition”, but he can sure do something to Shane McMahon. Daniel then says that Shane will be here later but they can work this out. AJ says that Shane & Daniel have been screwing him over so he’s going to go out to the ring and tell everyone why that is. Daniel tells Styles that he has his career to think about with AJ saying that this is what he’s thinking about is his career.
SmackDown LIVE then kicks off with “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles making his way to the ring. Styles says that you would think that the “greatest Superstar in WWE” would have the red carpet rolled out for him leading to the main event of WrestleMania, but instead he’s had to jump through hoops like a “circus monkey”. AJ then says that John Cena didn’t have to jump through any hoops, saying that Cena went to his girlfriend’s brother-in-law, Daniel Bryan, and said he wanted a WWE Title shot against AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble so Cena got his wish. AJ then admits that he got beat by John Cena and lost the WWE Title, saying that he was owed a one-on-one rematch for the WWE Title but he instead got put into a Triple Threat Match for the title that he didn’t get beat in. Styles continues, saying that he didn’t get his one-on-one rematch for the WWE Title even after that as he instead got put in the Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Title with five other Superstars.
AJ then says that, a few weeks ago, he “clearly won” a battle royal to determine the #1 Contender for the WWE Title at WrestleMania, but the battle royal ended in controversy so that led to a one-on-one match with Luke Harper to decide the #1 Contender, which AJ won. Styles then says that Randy Orton burns down Bray Wyatt’s house and, instead of getting arrested for his actions, Randy Orton gets to go to WrestleMania to challenge Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship. AJ continues, saying that he had the “best year” in 2016 and he’s the one who put SmackDown LIVE on the map and he’s the reason that people watch the WWE Network yet he doesn’t even have a match at WrestleMania. Styles says that he could have slapped the “kale chips” right out of Daniel Bryan’s mouth, calling the GM a “puppet”. AJ then says that he and Shane McMahon are going to have a discussion about his career here tonight, adding “if I even have one” before throwing the microphone down and exiting the ring.
After Natalya attacked her during a tag team match last week and costing them the match, Becky Lynch would be out for revenge on SmackDown LIVE as “The Irish Lass Kicker” would go one-on-one with Natalya. In the end, it was Becky Lynch locking in the Dis-Arm-Her, making Natalya tap out to pick up the win. However, there would be no time for celebration for Becky as, as soon as the match was over, Carmella would come out of nowhere with a super kick to Becky Lynch! “The Princess of Staten Island” would follow this up with a super kick to Natalya as well! Carmella then leaves the ring with James Ellsworth by her side having made a major statement with WrestleMania just a few weeks away.
The Miz & Maryse then appear in the ring for a “special edition” of Miz TV on SmackDown LIVE as The Miz introduces himself and Maryse as their own guests. The Miz says that they have exposed John Cena & Nikki Bella as the “frauds” they truly are. The Miz then shows their attack on John Cena & Nikki Bella last week before showing their comments from last week’s Talking Smack where The Miz depicts John Cena as a robot obsessed with furthering his own brand while Maryse says that Nikki Bella is “jealous” of her because she has a wedding ring on her finger. The Miz then says that Nikki Bella will never have a wedding ring on her finger because John Cena only loves himself, saying Cena is the most “plastic” person he has ever met. Maryse then recalls an incident that was originally filmed for Total Divas but Nikki Bella requested that it be edited out of the show. Maryse says that Nikki and her used to be best friends before Nikki stabbed her in the back, explaining that she was offered a contract to be on the first season of Total Divas alongside Kelly Kelly and The Bella Twins, but Nikki told her not to sign the contract yet, saying that she could get Maryse more money.
Maryse continues, saying that she trusted Nikki Bella but WWE contacted Maryse and said that the offer was off the table. Maryse then says that she tried to negotiate a new contract with WWE and Nikki told her to let her help because she’s dating John Cena and that makes her “untouchable”. Maryse then says that she never heard from Nikki Bella again after that except for a text message from Nikki telling Maryse that she and Brie were going to be on the first season of Total Divas and she hoped that Maryse didn’t mind. Maryse then says that Nikki took “opportunity” away from her and Nikki took three and a half years of her time and that is time that she will never get back. Maryse continues, saying that she is going to make Nikki Bella suffer as much as Nikki has made her suffer and she is going to expose Nikki for what she truly is, a “backstabbing bitch”!
This brings out John Cena & Nikki Bella, who rush the ring as The Miz & Maryse make a hasty retreat up the ramp. Nikki then takes the microphone away from John Cena, saying that, if she had the power to keep Maryse from getting a job in WWE, then why is Maryse standing there right now? Nikki says that her and Maryse were never best friends, saying that, when she and Brie agreed to be a part of Total Divas, it was Maryse who made up some elaborate story and stabbed them in the back. Nikki continues, calling Maryse “embarrassing” before saying that Maryse steals the money of the fans each and every night. Nikki then says that all that Maryse does is hang onto the arm of some “poor excuse” of a man like a “brainless, spineless blowup doll”.
Nikki then challenges Maryse to a one-on-one match right here tonight. The Miz argues that Nikki Bella can’t make matches, saying that Nikki isn’t John Cena before saying that Maryse has “nothing to prove” against Nikki. The Miz then says that Cena & Nikki can go back to being “terrible people” before The Miz is set to wrap up Miz TV. However, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan comes out to the stage, saying that The Miz promised him that it was going to be a “very special edition” of Miz TV but all The Miz did was go into the ring, run his mouth, and run away just like every other edition of Miz TV. Daniel then says that all the taunting The Miz has done to him over the last several months has made him want to punch The Miz in the face and the fact that The Miz knows that Daniel can’t do anything about it makes him want to punch The Miz in the face even more. The GM then says that, even though he can’t do that, he knows of two people who can punch The Miz in the face before announcing that, at WrestleMania, it will be The Miz & Maryse facing John Cena & Nikki Bella in a Mixed Tag Match! This would be a cause for celebration for John Cena & Nikki Bella as The Miz & Maryse are outraged by this decision.
After finding out last week that the title match promised to her by Alexa Bliss was a lie, former allies would face off on SmackDown LIVE as Mickie James would go one-on-one with SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss in a non-title match. At the end of a hard-fought match, it was Mickie James avoiding Alexa Bliss’ Insult To Injury before scoring with the Mick Kick, pinning the SmackDown Women’s Champion to pick up the win.
Backstage, after waiting all night for SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon to arrive, AJ Styles would finally get what he was waiting for as Shane would exit his car before being ambushed by Styles! “The Phenomenal One” would beat his boss down, tossing Shane head-first into the side of a parked car before tossing Shane into a car window, shattering the window in the process! WWE Agent Fit Finlay then intervenes, getting AJ to back off as Finlay desperately shouts for paramedics. The paramedics and a WWE doctor then tend to Shane as the doctor examines the wound on Shane’s head, urging Shane to go to the emergency room, but the Commissioner refuses. The medical personnel are able to convince Shane to at least go to the trainer’s room to get checked out, assisting Shane.
Meanwhile, in the locker room, AJ Styles hears an earful from The Usos and Curt Hawkins about attacking Shane McMahon before AJ grabs his bag and exits the locker room. However, AJ is stopped by Daniel Bryan, who is flanked by police officers as the GM tells Styles that he has lost “all respect” for AJ after what he just did to Shane McMahon, saying that AJ isn’t “untouchable”. Styles asks if Daniel is going to fire him and the GM says that’s exactly what AJ is going to do! Daniel then tells Styles to get out of the arena as the police officers escort the apparently fired AJ Styles out of the building.
Following a backstage confrontation last week, SmackDown LIVE would see Mojo Rawley go one-on-one with Dolph Ziggler. During the match, Mojo Rawley would repeatedly try to embarrass Dolph Ziggler by throwing him over the top rope in a sign of what he could be doing in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Apparently fed up with Mojo Rawley, Dolph would refuse to get back into the ring, opting to take a count-out loss.
With less than three weeks to go before he challenges his former master Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, “The Viper” Randy Orton would make an appearance on SmackDown LIVE to address Bray Wyatt. Orton says that he’s been waiting for months for his opportunity to attack Bray Wyatt, saying that he had to figure out how to hit Bray where it “hurt the most”. Orton then explains that he organized a plan to become a member of Bray Wyatt’s family, saying he earned Bray’s trust and the longest he stood by Bray’s side, the “venom” in his veins grew deeper. Orton then says that, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and, when the time is right, screw ‘em” before saying that he had to find a way to become more “sadistic” than ever before and to do that he had to find the one thing that Bray Wyatt loves more than anything else and that is Sister Abigail. Orton continues, saying that, as Bray’s compound burned to the ground before him and he heard the “screams” of Sister Abigail, he could feel Bray Wyatt’s power being stripped away from him. Orton then says that, for the first time, Bray had “fear” written all over his face because, in Bray’s world, he only fears one thing and that is “being alone”. Orton continues, saying that Bray Wyatt is “alone” but he still needs to finish what he started and that is why, at WrestleMania, he will take “everything” from Bray Wyatt.
This is when Bray Wyatt would appear on the Tron, saying that he was “hopeless” and stripped of all his power until he found his way back to what was left of his home. The WWE Champion then says that Randy Orton thought that he burned the soul of Sister Abigail and so did he, but he should have known better. Bray continues, saying that Sister Abigail is the “spawn of Satan” and was forged in “hell itself”, saying that Sister Abigail still lives in the “black hearts” of all of her “apostles” and she entrusted all of her power to him. Bray then says that he is the “lord of lords” and he has no boundaries, saying that it is his duty to “purge” all of the infidels in this world and he’s going to start with Randy Orton. The champion then says that Sister Abigail lives through him now, declaring that he is “born again” and, in her ashes, he baptizes himself. With that, Bray Wyatt rubs the ashes of Sister Abigail all over his face and body before stretching his arms out and saying “follow the buzzards” before letting out a scream.
After attempting to crush Dean Ambrose under a forklift last week, Baron Corbin is interviewed about his attack. Corbin says that Dean Ambrose went looking for him so he put Ambrose in the hospital, saying that, if Ambrose can climb out of his hospital bed and show up to WrestleMania, then he will take everything from Ambrose, including his Intercontinental Championship and then he will put Ambrose “down for good”.
The SmackDown Tag Team Champions would return on SmackDown LIVE as American Alpha would face The Usos in a non-title match. As this match takes place, a more intriguing story is taking place backstage as it appears as though Shane McMahon would finally agree to go to the hospital before changing his mind and staying at the arena. Meanwhile, in the match, Jimmy Uso would take Chad Gable out with a super kick before blasting Jason Jordan with a super kick as well, allowing Jey Uso to pin Jason Jordan as The Usos pick up a win over the SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
Against the advisement of backstage agents, Shane McMahon would grab a microphone and head out to the stage with a brief message for AJ Styles. The Commissioner says that AJ Styles said that he didn’t have an opponent for WrestleMania, but he’s got one now as Shane makes it clear that he wants to face AJ Styles on “The Grandest Stage of Them All”!
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