For the first time since finding out he will defend the WWE Championship in a Fatal 5-Way Match at Fastlane, SmackDown LIVE would kick off with WWE Champion AJ Styles as AJ would be interviewed in the ring by Renee Young. When asked if he feels like he is still in control of his own destiny heading towards WrestleMania, AJ says that he is still in control of his destiny before admitting that this Fatal 5-Way Match is a big problem, saying that anything can happen in the title match at Fastlane. Styles points out that he could be in the middle of a fight on the outside and he can lose the title without even being involved in the decision. AJ then says that Kevin Owens is “big” and “athletic” but he knows that he can take him before saying that Sami Zayn is “ruthless” when he wants to be, but he can beat him. The WWE Champion continues, saying that Dolph Ziggler is every bit the man that he says he is but Dolph isn’t “phenomenal”.
AJ is the interrupted by one of his four challengers at Fastlane as Baron Corbin makes his way to the ring, reminding AJ Styles that he beat him for the United States Title in the past. Corbin then says that he’s a “fighter” before vowing that he will be the new WWE Champion come Fastlane. This brings out Kevin Owens, who vows to put AJ Styles through the announce table at Fastlane before calling Corbin a “little cub”. Corbin responds by calling a “punk” before Owens continues, saying that Baron doesn’t belong anywhere near the WWE Championship. Owens then says that Shane McMahon has it out for him and has for months before Styles asks if Owens got that “boil” lanced off of his back, referring to Sami Zayn. Owens says that Sami let him down last week before saying that Shane McMahon wants to catch him off-guard. This brings SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon out to the stage as Shane says that Phoenix wants “action” before announcing that the main event will see Baron Corbin face AJ Styles in a non-title match before putting Kevin Owens in a match against Dolph Ziggler right now.
Per the orders of Shane McMahon, the opening match of the night would see two of the four challengers for the WWE Title at Fastlane face off as Kevin Owens would go one-on-one with “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler. During the match, Sami Zayn would rush down to ringside, which would distract Dolph Ziggler long enough for Kevin Owens to catch Dolph with a super kick to the side of the head, pinning Ziggler to pick up the win.
Jinder Mahal then appears in the ring with Sunil Singh to address United States Champion Bobby Roode, saying that Bobby Roode is a “glorious egomaniac” and an “inglorious liar”. This brings out the United States Champion himself as Roode says that Jinder wants to be United States Champion so badly that he is trying to get Roode and Randy Orton to fight each other. Now in the ring, Roode says that the truth is that, in a fair fight, Jinder knows that he “can’t win” against him. Jinder admits that he wants to be the United States Champion before telling Roode to admit that he’s “better” than Randy Orton with Roode saying that he never said that. Jinder then asks if Roode is “afraid” of Randy Orton and Roode responds by saying that he’s not afraid of Jinder Mahal. Jinder tries to bring Randy Orton up again but Roode cuts him off, saying “enough about Randy Orton” before saying that this is about “you and me”.
This brings out the third piece of the puzzle as “The Viper” Randy Orton makes his way to the ring, arguing with Bobby Roode before delivering a right hand to Jinder Mahal before Roode sends Jinder out of the ring. Sunil Singh then quickly leaves the ring, narrowly avoiding the United States Champion before Orton tries to surprise Roode with the RKO but Roode counters before planting “The Viper” with the Glorious DDT! Jinder Mahal then waits for his moment to strike before hitting the United States Champion with the Khallas! This once again leaves Jinder Mahal standing tall in the ring over both Roode and Orton.
Backstage, the friction between SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon and SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan continues with the two arguing over who should challenge Bobby Roode for the United States Title at Fastlane. Daniel says that every decision he makes is met with “resistance” from Shane with the Commissioner arguing that he’s only resisting the decisions that Daniel makes that are based on “emotion”. Shane then says that Bobby Roode defending the United States Title against Randy Orton at Fastlane is the match that should be happening, telling Daniel that the decision is “final”. Daniel then exits, telling Shane “whatever you say, boss”.
In Charlotte Flair’s continuing crusade to defeat every member of The Riott Squad, the SmackDown Women’s Champion would enlist the help of Becky Lynch and Naomi as the team of Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, & Naomi would face The Riott Squad in a 6-Woman Tag Match. At the end of a chaotic match, it was Ruby Riott catching Becky Lynch with the Riott Kick, pinning Becky to pick up the win for The Riott Squad.
In a peculiar backstage confrontation between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, Sami says that he has always done what is “right” before saying that, together, they will take out the opposition. Sami then says that he will “do the right thing” and “lay down” for Kevin Owens! Sami then says that all Owens needs to do is become WWE Champion and go on to main event WrestleMania. Sami and Owens then hug with Owens clearly confused by Sami’s sudden change of heart.
In a rematch from last week’s SmackDown LIVE, The New Day’s Big E & Xavier Woods, with Kofi Kingston in their corner, would face Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin with the winners facing The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles at Fastlane. During the match, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin would hit their signature double team move on Big E but a distraction by Kofi Kingston would occupy the referee long enough to give Xavier Woods the time he needed to come in and break up the pinfall attempt. Gable & Benjamin would then argue with the referee and The New Day would take advantage as Xavier Woods would toss Chad Gable out of the ring before delivering the Shining Wizard to Shelton Benjamin, pinning Shelton to pick up the win for The New Day as The New Day will challenge The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles at Fastlane. After the match, The Bludgeon Brothers would come out, walking past The New Day on their way to the ring.
The Bludgeon Brothers were then in action on SmackDown LIVE as Harper & Rowan would face local competitors Eduardo Especial & Normal Rogers. It was another one-sided match for The Bludgeon Brothers as Harper & Rowan would dominate the two local competitors before Harper & Rowan hit their double team arm lift powerbomb to Normal Rogers with Rowan pinning Rogers for the win.
Then it was time for the main event as, before they are part of the Fatal 5-Way Match for the WWE Title at Fastlane in less than three weeks, WWE Champion AJ Styles would go one-on-one with “The Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin in a non-title match. In the end, it was AJ Styles connecting with the Phenomenal Forearm, pinning Baron Corbin to pick up the win. After the match, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn would waste no time in ambushing the WWE Champion, sending AJ Styles out of the ring. While Kevin Owens would follow AJ to the outside, Sami Zayn would remain in the ring and Baron Corbin would take advantage of this as “The Lone Wolf” grabs Sami and plants Zayn with the End of Days. Owens then rushes into the ring to come to the aid of Sami but Owens is also caught with the End of Days by Baron Corbin. This leaves Baron Corbin standing tall, having taken out two of his four adversaries ahead of Fastlane while also proving that he doesn’t have to pin the champion to walk out of Fastlane as the WWE Champion.
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