A confident Men's Royal Rumble match victor Shinsuke Nakamure opened the WWE Smackdown show on Tuesday with the promise that he will take down AJ Styles in their title bout at WrestleMania. He lists all of the men he kneed in the face on his way to winning the Rumble before saying that he is going to do that to AJ Styles and become the new WWE Champion. The best friends seem to be imploding in anticipation of their match next week in addition to what happened on Sunday at the Royal Rumble.
The first match on SmackDown Live Tuesday was a fatal four way between Kofi Kingston, Jinder Mahal, Zach Ryder and Rusev.
More on him in a moment. The two paired up to take on SmackDown Live's residents heel duo, Kevin Owens, and Sammy Zayn.
Owens tries to escape, but Styles throws him back into the ring and Shinsuke Nakamura immediately picks him off with the Kinshasa knee strike. Perhaps we even see it cashed in at WrestleMania?
Much like Raw, all of this is to say that there seems to be a number of storylines kicking off the Road to WrestleMania, and a lot of them are encouraging in this very early stage. You'd maybe assume Mahal would have gotten another shot at Roode, but it was a nice surprise to see the Bulgarian Brute get the nod here. Rusev won via submission on Kofi and will face Bobby Roode on next week's show for the US Title.
The Bludgeon Brothers def. Jobbers via pinfall: Prior to this match taking place, The Usos came out to the ring to cut a promo on all the teams they've put in "lockdown". As they were ready to depart from the ring, the Bludgeon Brothers' music hit, and they made their way down the ramp past The Usos, obviously foreshadowing the next feud for the tag champs.
Speaking of tag teams, it was pretty surprising when the Usos defeated Gable and Benjamin at the Royal Rumble in two straight falls. This was an interesting match as it looks like the Zayn and Owens team could be coming to an end. Frankly, it's hard to disagree with Jimmy and Jey. Rusev's first couple of years in WWE saw him undefeated for most of it, where he held onto the US Title only until he faces John Cena at WrestleMania.
Battered and bruised, it looked like Carmella would finally cash in her Money in the Bank contract when she rushed the ring. While Flair was able to fend them off initially, they ended up outnumbering the champ to leave her laying prone.
-Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin get into a scuffle with Breezango backstage before the Usos come out to the ring and talk about all of the team's they've "locked down" including Sheamus and Cesaro among others.
Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger: Mostly a showcase win for Corbin that also served as an easy opportunity to flip over to the State of the Union address. The victor of the match earned the right to go on to challenge Roode, you guessed it, on next week's SmackDown broadcast.