SmackDown Recap: March 7, 2017
S2017 episode 916 Aired on March 7, 2017

Last week’s SmackDown LIVE saw a flurry of activity where the WWE Title was concerned. First, AJ Styles won the No. 1 Contender’s Match against Luke Harper to gain entry into the WWE Title Match at The Showcase of the Immortals. Then, Randy Orton burnt down the Wyatt Family Compound and declared he was coming for the head of WWE Champion Bray Wyatt.

Because these two instances stand in direct conflict with one another, Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan kicked off SmackDown LIVE by explaining their decision to have The Viper take on “The Face that Runs the Place” in tonight’s main event with the winner definitively going on to face The Eater of Worlds for the most prestigious prize in WWE at The Show of Shows.

Prior to his WWE Title No. 1 Contender’s Match against Randy Orton, AJ Styles was once again unable to contain his displeasure for Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, still firmly believing that he was being robbed out of the WrestleMania title opportunity that he had earned by defeating Luke Harper last week.

Once The Viper made his way to the ring, however, The Phenomenal One was as focused-in as ever. In their first ever clash, Orton and Styles absolutely threw down, both displaying why they believed they belonged at the center of The Ultimate Thrillride.

After an enthralling several minutes of back and forth action, it was The Viper who was able to strike and seal the deal with a major RKO for the win. With his ticket to WrestleMania officially punched, the question quickly became … what would happen next between he and his former leader, Bray Wyatt?

WWE Network's Talking Smack revealed that AJ Styles and SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon had a backstage altercation after SmackDown LIVE went off the air.

Styles, clearly frustrated over his loss to Randy Orton in the No. 1 Contender's Match in the main event, got right in Shane's face and they quickly began to argue. WWE officials had to separate the two, who were both irate by the end of the confrontation.

In other action … John Cena & Nikki Bella def. James Ellsworth & Carmella … Dean Ambrose called out Baron Corbin for the second straight week and got more than he bargained for … Alexa Bliss hosted SmackDown LIVE’s Women’s Division “Blissertation” … and Alexa Bliss & Mickie James def. Becky Lynch & Natalya.