Following the contentious events of last week’s SmackDown LIVE, John Cena journeyed to “Miz TV.”
Cena arrived, however The Miz immediately cut The Cenation Leader’s microphone and The A-Lister proceeded to go on a verbal tirade against the 16-time World Champion. When Miz finally granted Cena access to the mic, he responded with an impassioned speech on Miz’s character.
The situation intensified when a disgusted Maryse slapped John. However, the slaps would soon cease when an incensed Nikki Bella ran out to equal the odds. Miz & Maryse hightailed it out, putting a cap on the drama … for now.
Following the controversial conclusion to last week’s No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal, where the referees were unable to conclusively determine whether Luke Harper or AJ Styles achieved victory, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan made this match between the two Superstars where the winner would officially advance to the WWE Title Match against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania.
There was a controversial moment when Styles landed The Phenomenal Forearm for the victory, but Harper got his foot on the rope and the referee did not see it. The official counted to three, but shortly after the bell rang, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon came out and restarted the match.
At one point, Shane and Styles got into a heated debate and Harper, who was aiming for AJ’s head, accidentally struck Shane.
With the match restarted and it all on the line, it appeared The Backwoods’ Behemoth might get a chance to avenge his former master on The Grandest Stage of Them All, but, alas, it was not to be as The Phenomenal One finished off his opponent with a Springboard 450 Splash to become the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship and headline WrestleMania.
WWE Champion Bray Wyatt came before the WWE Universe to make it clear that he had given Randy Orton the “keys to the kingdom” after The Viper declared that he refused to challenge Wyatt for the title at WrestleMania as long as Wyatt was the master and he was the servant. Well, it turned out that “keys to the kingdom” was a literal statement. The Reaper of Souls sent his “brother” on a mission to follow the buzzards toward The Wyatt Family Compound.
The WWE Champion, from within the ring, began to wax poetic about how new No. 1 Contender AJ Styles had no chance against him at WrestleMania and was simply a sacrificial lamb. However, The New Face of Fear’s world instantly changed when The Apex Predator suddenly appeared on the TitanTron to shock the WWE Universe.
At first, it simply seemed as if Orton had completed his master’s wishes of arriving at the hallowed ground of the Compound. Orton went on to explain that underneath the ground he was standing on was where Sister Abigail laid. Orton then proclaimed that he was going to burn the spirit of Sister Abigail to death and watch Bray burn with her. The Viper then proclaimed that he would momentarily be the master and Bray the servant.
Orton declared that he was coming for Wyatt and his WWE Championship at WrestleMania. The New Face of Fear was engulfed with rage, but not as engulfed as the Compound itself, which Orton lit with gasoline and then set Sister Abigail’s resting place ablaze.
With Orton’s shocking betrayal comes many questions. The biggest now, however, is what becomes of the WWE Title Match picture now at WrestleMania?
In other action … Becky Lynch def. Mickie James in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match … Dean Ambrose vs. Curt Hawkins never occurred; Ambrose calls out Baron Corbin … and Dolph Ziggler def. Apollo Crews in a Chairs Match.