On one of the biggest nights of his life, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan spoke emotionally about once again being cleared to compete in WWE. When he fired Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn later in the night, however, his celebration turned upside down, as he suffered a brutal assault at the hands of The "Yep!" Movement.
WWE.com revealed earlier in the day, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan was cleared for in-ring competition. In a touching address to the WWE Universe, Bryan spoke openly about the struggles of being unable to do what he loved most and compete in the ring over the past two years.
The “Yes!” Man even said the night he had to step away from the ring was one of the toughest nights of his life. However, tonight was one of the best, as he could announce his return! Bryan spoke extensively on how his wife, Brie Bella, pushed him to keep trying to return. The former WWE Champion then thanked the WWE Universe, saying that there was nothing better in the world than entertaining them.
While he wasn’t sure whether he would be able to compete at WrestleMania, Bryan said he was definitely on the path back. And did he seem excited about it? “YES!”
With WWE Champion AJ Styles watching on at ringside, The King of Strong Style and Bulgarian Brute faced off in an ultra-physical confrontation with stiff strikes a plenty. Rusev kept Shinsuke Nakamura grounded for most of the contest, but Nakamura caught The Super Athlete with an elaborate rollup following a thrilling sequence for the victory.
After the bell, English immediately pounced on WWE’s Rockstar, and the staggered Rusev soon joined in on the beating. The Phenomenal One looked ready to come to Nakamura’s aid (albeit slowly), but by the time Styles was finally “ready” to assist, Nakamura had already turned the tide with a flurry of kicks and cleared the ring of Rusev Day.
The mutual respect between Styles and Nakamura doesn’t necessarily seem to equate to the lending of a helping hand on The Road to WrestleMania.
Following their heinous actions last week, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were all smiles tonight on SmackDown LIVE — both because of their attack on Shane McMahon last week and, seemingly, because of Daniel Bryan’s announcement that he was now cleared for competition.
Owens and Zayn seemed overjoyed, hugging Bryan and claiming that their attack on Shane-O-Mac last week was a gift to the SmackDown LIVE General Manager, but The “Yes!” Man saw it differently. Bryan was disappointed, not only by Owens & Zayn’s actions, but also their lack of remorse. Because of this, the General Manager said that he finally saw things clearly and had only one move to make: firing Owens and Zayn.
After expressing some regret, Bryan shook their hands and told them they could one day make it back to WWE, but a seething KO initiated an assault on Bryan. Owens and Zayn were relentless, but the General Manager ferociously fired back, bringing the WWE Universe to a state of absolute frenzy as he darted about the ring and unleashed a flurry of “Yes!” Kicks. However, Owens and Zayn soon overwhelmed Bryan, and the attack concluded with them decimating Bryan with an Apron Powerbomb.
KO & Sami were enraged, while medical personnel tended to the battered Bryan.
In other action ... Baron Corbin defeated Tye Dillinger ... Natalya defeated Charlotte Flair ... Harper defeated Jimmy Uso ... and the animosity grew between Jinder Mahal, Bobby Roode, and Randy Orton.