The second SmackDown Live of the year certainly promised a lot when it came to Royal Rumble build. For starters, going into the show, we knew that by the end of it we would know who will be taking on Asuka for her title at the show. There was also a fair bit more build to one of the biggest PPVs of WWE's year as the Road To WrestleMania grows ever closer.
Much like Raw did on Monday night, this week's SmackDown Live started in unconventional fashion. Daniel Bryan was standing outside one of the concession stands ready to give a fresh lecture on how fans are destroying the planet. The WWE Champion compared stuffing junk food and buying merchandise to supporting AJ Styles. That all it does is fill a hole for 30 seconds before you move on to something else. When he eventually made his way down to ringside, his opponent for the night R-Truth was waiting for him and he had heard more than enough.
Truth jumped Bryan out of nowhere and put an end to the champ's incessant lecturing. Once Bryan had got his bearings, the match could begin. Despite Truth starting with the upper hand, it was not a long match. Once the former leader of The Yes Movement got a foothold he finished his veteran opponent off fast. One running knee to the face and it was over. After the match, Bryan got attacked yet again. This time it was by Styles, and he was a lot angrier than Truth. WWE staff had to drag The Phenomenal One off of Bryan. We hope you're happy Vince McMahon because this is apparently the Styles you have been waiting to see.
Ever since Mustafa Ali was moved from 205 Live to SmackDown Live he has found himself in some high profile matches. This week was no different. Last week, Ali fulfilled a lifelong dream of battling against Rey Mysterio, and this week he got the chance to team with him. The two of them took on Andrade 'Cien' Almas and Samoa Joe. Despite some incredible offense from Ali and Mysterio, it was the heel team that managed to pick up the win. An impressive reversal from Almas when Mysterio tried to hit him with a 619 changed the tide. After that, all it took was a hammerlock DDT to finish the veteran luchador off.
A confrontation between Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura ended in disaster last week, at least for The Bulgarian Brute. With Lana on his back, Nakamura received a Matcha Kick from the United States Champion, sending him crashing down with The Ravishing Russian on his back. This week, Rusev came to the ring to talk of his anger towards Nakamura for what happened to his wife. However, Nakamura was in the TV truck with footage that highlighted the incident was actually Rusev's fault. The US Champ obviously didn't take kindly to that, and as he went looking for Nakamura, he was attacked. Turns out the whole TV truck goading was simply a trap.
When The Usos and The Bar faced off on SmackDown Live this week, we were hopeful that the Mandy Rose love triangle storyline had been scrapped. That is not the case. With Jey Uso reaching for the tag, Rose emerged to distract Jimmy claiming she had left some things in his hotel room. Distracted by Rose, The Usos wound up losing. That's when The Miz inserted himself into proceedings. Now without challengers, The A-Lister suggested he and Shane McMahon take them on at Royal Rumble. After laying him out with a Brogue Kick, the champions accepted.
The main event of the night was a triple threat match to decide who will face Asuka for the SmackDown Women's Title at Royal Rumble. Carmella versus Becky Lynch versus Charlotte Flair. Last week, all three women made compelling cases for why they should be the one to get a shot against The Empress. After a hard-hitting match, no offense to Carmella but it became clear why she was included in the match. So that she could take the fall. The Princess Of Staten Island dumped Flair out of the ring but didn't have a close enough eye on The Man. Lynch grabbed her arm and placed her in the dis-arm-her, making Carmella tap. It was teased but now its official, Asuka versus Lynch at Royal Rumble.