Tonight’s WWE SmackDown featured a special Gauntlet match that allowed the winner to challenge Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble, and it featured some of the biggest stars SmackDown has to offer. Out first in the match was Rey Mysterio and Sami Zayn, though before Zayn got in the ring Zayn revealed he brought unbiased documentarians with him to film this and capture the conspiracy that lost him his Intercontinental Championship. He kept talking for a while and then talked trash to Mysterio, saying that he is undeniable. Mysterio then dropkicked Zayn into the second rope and hitting the 619. He hit the top rope and hit a frog splash and pinned Zayn in record time.
Zayn was shocked and livid, but Mysterio moved on to take on Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura came out hitting hard, but Mysterio got the upper hand and sent Nakamura to the outside. Nakamura went for a knee on the apron but Mysterio evaded. Mysterio hit a sunset flip on the outside but Nakamura hit a knee to the face and almost go the pin but Mysterio kicked out.
Nakamura kept up the attack, though Mysterio delivered a headbutt and then hit a flurry of offense until a pin attempt but Nakamura kicked out. At one point Nakamura caught Mysterio but Mysterio was able to flip him over and hit another 619. He went to the top turnbuckle and hit a splash but Nakamura got his knees up and locked in the armbar, causing Mysterio to tap.
At this point Baron Corbin sent Dominik Mysterio at ringside into the steel steps, then kicked Shinsuke out of the ring and slammed Mysterio.
At that point Corbin and Nakamura went at it for a while, and a few times it looked like Corbin might take it, but Nakamura was able to deliver a knockout blow and put an end to Corbin’s hopes of challenging Reigns. Up next was Daniel Bryan, and once the match started Bryan hit Nakamura with a dropkick and then hit a dive that sent Nakamura out to the announce table. Bryan then went to the top rope but Nakamura caught him with a kick and halted his momentum.
Bryan put Nakamura into an Ankle Lock and then slammed Nakamura hard on the mat with a nasty German Suplex. Then it was time for the YES Kicks, and there were a lot of them. Bryan went for a final kick but Nakamura reversed it, though that was reversed by Bryan into an armbar and then into the YES Lock. Bryan then went at Nakamura’s arm and elbow, but he slipped off the top turnbuckle with his next move, giving Nakamura a chance to get in some offense. Bryan would almost get a pin in the next sequence but Nakamura kicked out, and then they traded kicks.
Bryan would hit more kicks and then get Nakamura in the corner, followed by several charges and dropkicks. The third one though was one too many, as Nakamura hit Bryan with a high kick and that was enough for the pin.
Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman then came out, and they waited for Adam Pearce to take his spot in the gauntlet. Reigns and Uso then went in to take out Nakamura, followed by Reigns talking to the referee and Pearce on the outside. Nakamura was knocked out cold, then Reigns told Pearce “I do whatever I want to do. I employ you, so do your job.”
Reigns then sent Pearce inside the ring and he was superkicked by Jey Uso. Reigns then had them ring the bell, and Jey Uso put Pearce on top of Nakamura. Reigns then told the referee to get to it and he did a three count and gave Pearce the win, meaning that he will have to challenge Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
You can find the official description for tonight’s SmackDown below.
“Tonight at 8/7 C, a Gauntlet main event will determine who challenges Universal Champion Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble, Apollo Crews will challenge Intercontinental Champion Big E and The Street Profits will take on Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode in a SmackDown Tag Team Title Match. Don’t miss SmackDown, tonight at 8/7 C on FOX.”
Here’s the card:
SmackDown Gauntlet Main Event – Winner Challenges Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble
Apollo Crews vs Big E
The Street Profits vs Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
What have you thought of SmackDown thus far? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things WWE with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!