Hours before SmackDown went on the air, it was announced that Daniel Bryan was medically cleared to compete in a WWE ring. Predictably, the night will revolve around this news and the news of a possible injury AJ Styles suffered at a live event over the weekend. Throughout the night we’ll see how these and other stories unfold with only a few weeks away from WrestleMania.
Join us as we recap a SmackDown which is sure to be action-packed.
As announced minutes before Smackdown went on the air, Daniel Bryan opens the show. As anticipated, he addressed the news that he is medically cleared to compete in a wrestling ring. Bryan claims that Brie Bella was the one who inspired him to keep going to the specialists and to keep fighting. Bryan thanks the WWE and the WWE fans for supporting him. Lastly, Bryan thanks Brie for keeping him motivated.
Daniel says he does not know when he will get in the ring, which started a “WrestleMania” chant.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
The match started with both Aiden English and AJ Styles at ringside. Rusev took control early, keeping Nakamura to the mat. We come back from commercial to find Shinsuke to have taken control. The two continued to go back and forth until Nakamura went for and an armbar. The two traded pin attempts until Nakamura scored a pinfall after an O’Connor roll.
Charlotte and Natalya are found backstage. Nattie claimed that she is better than both Flair and Asuka and that Charlotte will lose at Mania. A match was made between Natalya and Charlotte for later in the night.
Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger
It was announced beforehand that both men have announced their entry into the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Corbin put Dillinger away quickly with an “End of Days”.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
The two went back and forth early. Flair and Natalya traded blows and chops until they both laid motionless on the mat. Natalya hit Charlotte with a big spinning powerbomb followed by a sharpshooter. Charlotte went for the figure eight, but both rolled out the ring.
Natalya hit Charlotte with a superplex and Carmella’s music hits. Carmella gives the ref the briefcase, only to get hit by a big boot from Charlotte. Off the distraction, Nattie rolls up Flair for the 1-2-3.
Jey Uso vs. Luke Harper
The Usos opened the segment with a promo. They reminded us of what happened at Fastlane and they said they’re looking for retribution tonight.
We come back from commercial to find the match already started. Both get distracted by the other’s partner. Harper beat Jey after a Discus Clothesline.
Mahal, Roode and Orton Segment
Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh are in the ring. Mahal called the fans hypocrites and said that they should all be thanking him. Mahal is interrupted by Bobby Roode and it is announced that at WrestleMania, Randy Orton will defend his United States Championship against Roode and Mahal. Roode is interrupted by Orton who tells Mahal to “shut the hell up.”
The three square off, each attempting finishers, but the segment ends in a stalemate.
Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Riott Squad
The match got off to a quick start and it is announced that all five of these women will be in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal. Lynch slapped the Dis-Arm-Her on Logan. Morgan went to break it up but was intercepted by a Rear View from Naomi. Logan taps to end the quick match.
Owens, Zayn and Bryan In-Ring Segment
We open the segment with Bryan, who asks Zayn and Owens to come to the ring. Zayn and Owens claim they’re proud and excited for Daniel Bryan. Bryan said he didn’t bring out Zayn and Owens to celebrate, but to talk about what happened to Shane McMahon.
Bryan says he’s rooted for Owens for Zayn, but they crossed the line, even though they got what they wanted after all. Daniel Bryan fires Zayn and Owens on the spot. Bryan claim “this doesn’t mean you’re gone forever, just for now.” Owens knocked Bryan down, yelling at him and continuing to punch him. Bryan seems to come back and even does the “Yes” kicks to Owens, but the numbers advantage seems to be too much.
Bryan gets hit with a Heluva kick and a powerbomb to the apron before Owens and Zayn finally decide to leave. As Bryan gets put on a gurney, the show comes to an end.
An overall great night for SmackDown on the road to WrestleMania. We saw the semi-return by Daniel Bryan and a match made for WrestleMania with the U.S. Championship on the line.
With great matches, lots of stories unfolding, and a great ending segment, this night will prove to be a pivotal one on the road to WrestleMania.