The rivalry between WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura is heating up as their WrestleMania dream match draws near. Last week, The Artist saved the titleholder from an attack at the hands of Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin, then stopped just short of drilling Styles with a Kinshasa and letting him know what lies ahead in New Orleans. This week on SmackDown LIVE, Styles and Nakamura will join forces to take on Gable & Benjamin. Will they be able to focus on tag team victory, or will the bad blood lead to defeat?
SmackDown Live kicks off with Daniel Bryan making his way to the ring. Massive pop from the crowd for Daniel as Bryan introduces Shane McMahon back to SmackDown. Shane makes his way to the ring. Great pop for Shane O' Mac. Shane congratulates Daniel for being medically cleared and also states he is medically cleared and ready to go for Wrestlemania. Daniel finally attempts that Shane was right when it came to Sami and Kevin. Daniel wants to mend fences by hugging it out but Shane wants to just shake hands. Daniel and Shane eventually hug it out and are officially on the same page and are looking to get revenge. Shane thanks Daniel for reinstating Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and look forward to riding them forever at Wrestlemania.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charolette Flair vs Natayla:
Charolette makes her way to the ring and during her entrance there is a mid entrance promo video via split screen to promote Ronda Rousey's mixed tag team match at Wrestlemania. As we head to commercial break Natayla makes her way to the ring. We are back from break and Charolette is in control with a side headlock. Natayla breaks free and gains control with a body scissors. Flair breaks free only for Natayla to regain control and ware her down with a headlock. Charolette breaks free and brings Natalya down to the mat for a couple of near falls leading back to a headlock leading to another near fall. Flair tosses Natyala in the corner for a couple of boots to Natayla for a near fall then quickly puts Natayla in a figur four headlock. Natayla rolls out of the ring due to frustration but charolette follows her out and follows that with a couple of chops before Natalya throws Flair into the steps as we go to commercial break as the match continues with split screen. Natalya brings Charolette back in the ring and holds her down with a side headlock for a while before letting her go so she can gloat. Charlotte eventually fights back and sends Natalya to the outside and when Flair goes out to follow Batalya sweeps her legs and sends her crashing to the floor. Back from break Natalya has Charolette tied up in the abdominal stretch. Near fall for Natalya then transition into a surfboard on Charolette but escapes and begins her comeback only to get a near fall. Natalya somehow gets Flair caught in the sleeper hold but Charolette breaks free and goes for the moonsault but Natalya counters it. Both women are down but Natalya rolls out of the ring leading to Carmella coming out to attempt a cash-in but Flair stops her leading to Natayla to try and roll her up but Flair counters and goes into the Figure Eight for the submission win. Asuka makes her way to the ring after the match. Asuka says at Wrestlemania the queen will bow down to the empress. Charolette says she's ready but ask if Asuka is ready as they stare each other down. Winner: SmackDown Women's Champion Charolette Flair
AJ Styles reacts to Shinsuke's actions from last week. Styles says he wears his emotions on his sleeve but they are not his weakness. Styles also states that Nakamura takes him too lightly and that will be his downfall at Wrestlemania.
We're back from break and a video package is played about Daniel Bryan being medically cleared and what has been going on between Shane, Daniel, Kevin, and Sami over the past seven months.
Rusev vs Jinder Mahal:
As we are heading to commercial break Bobby Roode makes his way down to the commentator's table as he will be on commentary for this match. We're back from break and Snuil Singh attempts to outdue Aiden English as he sings to introduce Jinder Mahal. As Jinder is entering the ring Aiden shows up and does his usual shtick as he insults Snuil and Jinder then introduces Rusev. Loud Rusev Day chants from the crowd. Jinder and Rusev each shove each other in the corner and the ref looks for the clean break. Randy is shown watching the match from the locker room. Rusev gets the upper hand as Jinder slides to the outside as we head to break. Back from break and Jinder is in control of Rusev with a side headlock which leads to Mahal hitting a big knee for a two count followed by multiple knee strikes for another near fall. Jinder remains in control of Rusev. Another mid March video promoting Roman vs Brock for the Universal Title. Rusev mounts a small comeback and hits Jinder with a big kick to the side of the head which leads to a near fall. Rusev looks for the Accolade but Mahal gets to the ropes to break the hold and throws Rusev to the outside only for Rusev to climb back in the ring to eat a knee strike from Jinder for a near fall. Rusev amounts another comeback but Snuil distracts Rusev allowing Jinder to get a near fall. Rusev hits the Macka kick for the win. During the celebration Randy comes out of nowhere and hits an RKO on Rusev and Aiden jumps all over Randy. Roode gets off commentary but before he could enter the ring Orton hits another RKO on English after Roode shoves him into Orton.Roode enters the ring and they have a staredown. Winner: Rusev
Shinsuke Nakamura reacts to AJ Styles comments and agrees with Styles saying that he is playing games. He says that he came to America to compete at Wrestlemania. Also says Styles will make a mistake and he will capitalize with a knee to the face and become WWE Champion.
We're back from break with New Day talking about Wrestlemania being free for new subscribers to the WWE Network. The Usos show up and say New Day and The Bulgedon Brothers will pay a price then the Bulgedon Brothers crash the party.
Zack Ryder, Breezango, and Tye Dillinger vs Mojo Rawley, Baron Corbin, Primo, and Dolph Ziggler:
As the segment ends Corbin is making his way to the ring for the eight man tag match. Ryder and Rawley start off but Ryder is eventually pushed into enemy territory going into the break. During the break via split screen Ziggler is tagged in but Ryder eventually tags in Tye who has a small burst until Ziggler stops him in his tracks and tags in Corbin. Corbin gets in a few shots before tagging in Mojo. Tye tags in Fandango and Mojo tags in Primo. The match eventually breaks down but Fandango and Cornin are the legal men and Corbin hits the End of Days to pick up the win for his team. Winners: Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, and Primo Colon
Benjamin and Gable don't care about Nakamura and Styles. They said they will beat them and send them limping into Wrestlemania.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens show up and stand on the commentary table saying they will break Daniel and talk about Daniel's family. They call Shane a failure and gloat about the attacks on Vince and Shane. Daniel and Shane come out and proclaim this is the last time we will see Sami and Kevin on Smackdown as Shane leads the Na Na Na Goodbye song.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs Shinsuke Nakamura and WWE Champion AJ Styles:
Benjamin and Gable make their way to the ring and as they enter the ring Naksmura makes his entrance followed by AJ Styles. Nakamura and Gable start off the match with back and forth go behinds and Nakamura misses with the kick leading to a little standoff. Gable gains control with a wristlock but Nakamura counters with an armbar dragging Gable to the corner and Nakamura pats Styles on the head as a way to tag him in. Styles emotions get the better of him cause the mindgames allowing for Gable and Benjamin to capitalize as we head into the break. We're back from break as styles lands a kickto Gable and they each tag in their respective partners and the trade blows. Gable tags back in leading to tag team maneuver with Shelton landing a knee to Nakamura then Gable lands a dive attack from the top rope. Gabe in control with a wristlock and another mid match promo about charolette vs Asuka. Gable tags in Benjamin but Nakamura attempts to amount a comeback but Benjaim thwarts it. Nakamura starts a comeback and counters a knee strike attempt from Shelton and both laid out on the mat but Shinsuke makes it to the corner and tags in Styles as Benjaim tags in Gable. Styles burst in the ring with a flurry of shots. Styles hits the phenomenal forearm right in front of Nakamura for the win. Shelton Benjamin attacks Nakamurafter the match who gets rid of him. From behind Styles looks to hit the phenonal forearm but doesn't connect and pats Nakamura on the head just like Shinsuke did last week. Winners: WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura
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