Friday Night’s WWE SmackDown kept up the momentum for WWE’s march to the Royal Rumble match. The episode saw the much-anticipated return of several superstars. One such superstar to make his comeback was John Morrison, who made his appearance in an in-ring promo after almost a decade. The Usos also returned to help Roman Reigns against Dolph Ziggler and King Corbin but suffered a crushing defeat. Take a look at what happened in the SmackDown universe.
The Miz faced an onslaught from New Day’s Kingston but withstood it bravely to overcome his opponent. He targeted Kingston’s knee and followed up with Yes Kicks. Kingston countered with an SOS, before hitting The Miz with double boots.
The other half of New Day, Big E stood at the ringside, encouraging his partner to fight on as the Miz applied the 'Figure Four', hoping for a tap out. When that did not work, the Miz rolled outside the ring to distract Big E while John Morrison launched a sneak attack on Kingston and took him out. The Miz returned to the ring and defeated Kingston in a skull-crushing finale.
The rivalry between Alexa Bliss and Mandy Rose continued in a singles match on Friday. Bliss started strong, but an interruption by Heavy Machinery’s Otis and Trucker allowed Rose to turn the tables. She defeated Bliss via pinfall.
This was a match that never happened. Instead, Lacey Evans had SmackDown women’s champion Bayley to deal with. She informed that Sasha Banks was in Los Angeles and wouldn’t come for the match. Lacey Evans refused to accept the explanation. The two took the fight off-stage and brawled backstage till Bayley retreated.
Braun Strowman fought Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in pursuit of his first singles championship in WWE. But he found out that he would have to put up with interference from Cesaro and Sami Zayn. Strowman started strong but was hampered by Cesaro and Zayn. But the champion controlled the pace of the match, till an attack went wrong and he ate the clothesline. Strowman took advantage of the wrong move and overcame interference of from Nakamura’s cronies to hit the champion with a power slam for a pinfall victory.
Before the match, Roman Reigns cut a promo, vowing to win the Royal Rumble and the WrestleMania for the fifth time. He then introduced the Usos, but they were interrupted by King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler.
The heels attacked Jey Uso early on and looked like they were dominating the match. But Jey tagged Jimmy, and there was a resurgence. However, it was short-lived as the Revival, the members of King Corbin’s posse, made an appearance allowing the heels to wrest back control.
Reigns did come back into the ring to hit Corbin with a Spear, drawing a disqualification. As he looked to punish Corbin further, Robert Roode made a surprise entrance and left Reigns on the floor. The heels came together to finish off the Usos and Reigns.