After announcing he'd be taking an indefinite leave of absence from his position, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon delivered on his promise to make a major WrestleMania announcement, but the plan backfired on him when Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn were not happy with what they heard. Elsewhere, matters intensified between WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, as their WWE Title Match at WrestleMania 34 draws closer.
WWE Champion AJ Styles did what many pundits believed to be “impossible” when he walked out of the Six-Pack Challenge at WWE Fastlane with his title still in hand. And as Styles arrived to kick off SmackDown LIVE, The Phenomenal One focused squarely on his upcoming blockbuster title defense against 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 34.
Styles spoke to how important it was for him to enter WrestleMania as WWE Champion, his improbable ascension to the top of WWE and his dream match against The King of Strong Style at The Show of Shows.
Nakamura seemed to agree that their match at WrestleMania is indeed a dream, but he also made it clear that he came to WWE to become WWE Champion, and The Phenomenal One was now the only roadblock remaining. However, just when it looked like tension could possibly rise between the two Superstars, Rusev and Aiden English arrived, as The Bulgarian Brute prepared to take on Styles next on SmackDown LIVE.
After Bobby Roode dropped The Modern Day Maharaja with a Glorious DDT at WWE Fastlane, and the two engaged in a heated exchange on Team Blue, it was not a surprise to see The Glorious One and Jinder Mahal come out swinging on SmackDown LIVE.
Sunil Singh paid for hopping onto the apron when Roode shoved him into the ring post, but The Modern Day Maharaja capitalized by connecting with the Khallas for the win. The Modern Day Maharaja did not get long to celebrate, though, as Orton slithered into the ring and hit the unsuspecting Mahal with a ruthless RKO outta nowhere.
For now, The Road to WrestleMania remained quite rocky for the United States Title.
SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon was at the center of controversy on Sunday when he cost both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn opportunities to win the WWE Championship. However, Shane-O-Mac, who seemed somewhat pleased over potentially causing a permanent rift between Owens and Zayn, claimed to have a huge WrestleMania announcement.
He first had two blockbuster revelations regarding the future of SmackDown LIVE: General Manager Daniel Bryan would return to the blue brand next week, but The “Yes!” Man would be going it alone, as Shane would be taking an indefinite leave of absence as SmackDown LIVE Commissioner.
Shane-O-Mac then declared that Owens and Zayn would compete against one another at WrestleMania 34, drawing out the irate KO & Sami, who believed Shane was just trying to toy with them one more time before he took off.
Zayn and Owens refused to have it though, mockingly “thanking” Shane for the opportunity at WrestleMania and then proceeding to deliver an unrelenting assault onto Shane that included a Helluva Kick and a Pop-up Powerbomb. WWE officials tried to stop the beatdown, but The “Yep!” Movement took them out too.
From there, Owens and Zayn continued their savage attack, first wrapping a chair around Shane’s throat and smashing it into the ring post, then dragging Shane into the backstage area and giving him a tandem Powerbomb back-first into heavy steel equipment.
From there, Owens & Zayn left the scene, but not before doing an immense amount of damage on the Commissioner, who was hauntingly loaded onto a stretcher as SmackDown LIVE concluded.
In other action … AJ Styles def. Rusev via disqualification … The Bludgeon Brothers def. Jimmy Uso & Big E … Charlotte Flair and Asuka went face-to-face … Tensions continued to rise between Randy Orton, Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal … and Carmella def. Naomi.