We open with a video package highlighting Seth Rollins' and Roman Reigns' interactions last week, during which Rollins reminded Reigns that Rollins has his number and Reigns claims he's in god mode. Reigns mocks Rollins, saying if he wanted to fight a megastar he'd fight Seth's wife. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcome us to Nashville as we get this party started!
The Usos are already in the ring and open us up. "The Bloodline is now in your city! And tonight we're here for one reason and one reason only--to celebrate the longest reigning Universal Champion ever." They note that today is day 508, surpassing Brock Lesnar's prior record of 504 (I believe 504). The Usos then run down former Universal Champions, stating that none of them carried it longer than Reigns. Worth noting: the piped-in audience cheers at mention of Roman. Possible face turn coming soon? The Usos then announce their cousin, the Head of the Table, and out he comes!
Roman's music cues at 8:05pm--let's see how long the entrance is! As Reigns makes his entrance, Cole and McAfee touch on Reigns' title defense against Rollins in just eight days! After a relatively short (4.5 minute) entrance, the Bloodline stand in unison in the ring and Roman gets on the hot mic. "Nashville," pause for the cheap pop, "acknowledge me." And here come the boos. Roman continues as each member of the Bloodline has a blue strap (title) over their shoulders. The Usos call for a highlight reel of the "most dominant WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns." A video package airs, showing us Reigns' capturing of the Universal title from Braun Strowman over a year and a half ago. The video touches on various day-of-reigns and matches, including his defeat over Bryan Danielson, Braun Strowman, et cetera. We return to the ring.
Roman prepares to get on the mic when Seth Rollins' music plays and out comes Mr. Becky Lynch in a...kimono-ish robe-suit jacket? Dude has an interesting taste in style. Rollins tells the audience it's not a party without Seth Rollins. "Hell of a package right there, congratulations longest reigning Universal Champion of all time and we should celebrate. WE should celebrate the fact that the title reign is going to come to an end very, very shortly." Rollins babbles on as he claims complete responsibility for Roman Reigns' success in the WWE. He reminds us that Reigns sent the Usos to Raw to "do your dirty work for you. If you had a message, you've got my number--just text me. But since we're out here for a celebration, we should be celebrating the longest, reigning SmackDown Tag Team Champions in history, the Usos." He goes on to claim the Usos are the cornerstones of the Bloodline and the Usos are what makes Roman a winner. He tries to lead the crowd in an Uso chant but fails spectacularly.
Roman calls Rollins "Little brother" and asks him if John Cena wrote that promo for him, haha. Reigns goes on to ensure Rollins that their match at the Rumble will be one-on-one, and he gives his word that the Usos won't interfere. Rollins, however, doesn't believe him and offers a remedy--"how about tonight I find a partner, I take on the Usos, and when I beat them they're barred from ringside during our title match at the Royal Rumble!" The crowd pops at this notion. Reigns thinks it over for a few moments. Jey Uso speaks first, telling Rollins "hell yeah, we got ourselves (a match.)" The Usos call Rollins a crazy bird and say no one back there likes Rollins enough to team with him. Rollins admits they're right...and then out comes Kevin Owens! Reigns decides to raise the stakes, stating that if Rollins loses tonight, he loses his shot at the Royal Rumble "and I'm going on vacation 'til WrestleMania, baby," Roman adds with a grin. Rollins cackles as he accepts--big main event coming up tonight!
When we return from break, Corbin and Moss are in the ring and telling their lame jokes. Kofi is out next and, surprisingly, is joined by fellow New Day member--Raw's Big E! The crowd pops big for our former champ. We start with Moss taking an early lead. We're reminded that Kofi will be in his 14th Royal Rumble--only three behind current record holder, Kane, who sits at 17. Kofi quickly fires up after a small spurt of offense from Moss. Kofi calls for the Trouble in Paradise but Corbin distracts. Moss takes advantage and sends Kofi to the outside. Corbin directs Moss, ordering him to whip Kofi into the steel steps. Moss whips him but Kofi leaps the steel steps, then turns 180 and leans back, taking out Moss! Big E comes from outta nowhere and runs over Corbin and we head to break with the New Day standing all! When we return from the break, Moss is in control over Kofi. Moss wastes time taunting Big E at ringside, then unloads a series of stomps into Kofi's gut. Moss looks for a corner spear but Kofi dodges and Moss connects with the ring post. Kofi starts his comeback sequence, dropping Moss with consecutive dropkicks before attempting a Trouble in Paradise. Kofi hops up on the top turnbuckle and immediately hits a dragon kick off of the top, knocking down Moss. Again, Kofi drives Moss down into the mat and covers for two. Kofi looks for a leaping strike but Moss catches Kofi in midair and slams him down, covering for two. Kingston catches Moss with a high kick off the rebound--not a finisher, just a high kick--and down goes Moss for the count. After the match, Big E hits the Big Ending on Madcap Moss as Corbin looks on helplessly at ring side.
Your Winner, Kofi Kingston!
We get a short video of last week's match. Prior to the match, Natalya vowed to win her third Guinness World Record--fastest victory. She chose Aliyah for her opponent, then proceeded to violently eat Aliyah prior to the bell. Aliyah picked up the quick roll-up win as soon as the bell rung, surprising Natalya and setting a new record for shortest match.
Aliyah is out first and we head to a break ahead of this rematch, up next. When we return, it's announced that Summer Rae is in the Rumble this year. She's in attendance and waves to the crowd. The bell rings and Natalya takes Aliyah into the corner before using a suplex to take her right back to the middle, covering for less than a one count. Natalya gets verbally abusive to Aliyah as her arrogance causes her to nearly be rolled up by Aliyah. Nattie repeatedly attempts covers throughout the short match. Aliyah uses a top-rope headscissors takedown to send Natalya flying, but Nattie takes a page out of her dad's playbook to drop Aliyah with a discuss clothesline. Nattie looks for a back submission but, again, Aliyah rolls her up and nearly picks up the win. Nattie starts to stomp a mudhole in Aliyah in the corner as the ref warns her. Nattie refuses to stop and the ref counts his warning, then disqualifies her!
Your Winner by Disqualification, Aliyah!
Natalya continues her assault on Aliyah post-match. Xia Li returns to television as the newly christened "the Protector" hits the ring to make the save. Cole tells us that Xia Li is anti-bullying and the "protector" in SmackDown.
Pat goes on a verbal tirade, excited about the Rumble and the prior match, and Michael Cole visibly can barely keep from cracking up. A hyperactive McAfee throws a stack of paperwork at Cole. Just worth noting as McAfee is a fool, yo.
Los Lotharios, cousins Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo, make their way out as we head to break. The Viking Raiders are out next, and we're shown a very short video package in which the Raiders defeated Los Lotharios and two other teams to become the new contenders for the SmackDown tag titles. The bell rings and we start with Humberto and Ivar. Ivar controls early and brings Erik in quickly. Humberto whips Erik, makes a blind tag, and helps Angel double-team Erik. Angel rips his pants off as he batters Erik on the ropes before tagging in Humberto. Angel holds Erik's legs out so Humberto can stomp his midsection. The duo hit a double dropkick and Humberto covers for two. Humberto attempts a standing moonsault but Erik dodges it and hits a huge revolution knee strike to rock Humberto. Ivar is tagged in as is Angel and Ivar takes him down with a huge running strike. Ivar drops an interfering Humberto with another huge knee shot before hopping up and attempting a splash. Impressively, Angel counters the attempted splash into a heavy Powerbomb! The Raiders recover, hit the Viking Experience, and pick up the win.
Your Winners, the Viking Raiders!
Feel the glow! Naomi makes her way out to a huge pop from the crowd! We head to a break ahead of the contenders match. When we return, our Queen makes her way out in a beautiful, new black and white robe and ring gear set. She must have a hundred plus robes like her dad by now. Flair gets a great, healthy mix of boo-dominant cheering and jeering from the crowd. Flair does her usual schtick as Lil' Naitch, her dad's fave WCW ref, presents the title. WWE Official Sonya Deville enters the ring and forces Lil' Naitch to give her his ref shirt, then sends him to the back. Sonya Deville is the special referee now. Flair comes out of the gate swinging, viciously driving Naomi's face into the mat multiple times. Flair uses her thighs to grab Naomi's head and smash her face into the mat again twice more. Flair transitions to a thigh/neck hold. Naomi attempts to escape and Flair rolls through before kipping up. Flair taunts Naomi, telling her to check out the ref they've got tonight. Flair starts with Flair Chops in the corner. Naomi counters the third attempt with a kick to the face. Naomi looks for a Hurricanrana but Flair counters into the best Boston Crab outside the now-defunct Lion Tamer! Naomi breaks free and drops Flair; Deville flees the ring as Naomi covers for easily a six-count, per Cole. Deville waits to enter the ring until Flair recovers and chopblocks Naomi's knee out from under her. Flair slaps on a Figure 4 and Deville, in shades of Montreal, calls for the bell without Naomi tapping. Even McAfee states, "what in the Bret Hart (happened)?"
Your Winner by Submission, Charlotte Flair!
Zayn makes his way out as Cole reminds us that Zayn's obsessed with Royal Rumble "rival" Johnny Knoxville. We head to break. When we return, a table is set up in the ring with two pairs of cuffs, two night clubs, pepper spray, a cattle prod, and various tasers. Zayn welcomes us to "self defense" and mentions that Knoxville once tested similar on himself. Zayn wants to prove that anything Knoxville can do, Zayn can do better. He starts with the "livestock jolt 3000...on its max setting it can put down a rhinoceros." He sets it to it's lower setting, then realizes it's more voltage than he thought. Zayn looks to shock himself in the calf but takes a moment to work up the nerves before pretending to shock himself. He admits "not great, not gonna lie, it wasn't fun" but then calls it a piece of cake. He adjusts the cattle prod from level one to level two (of three). "Fun fact, this level of voltage is exactly what Johnny Knoxville used on himself...it incapacitated him for 15 minutes." He tries to summon up the courage, then decides to up the ante--he's going to shock himself in the heart. He supposedly shocks himself in the chest again, but it's obvious that it's just a sound effect.
Johnny Knoxville makes his way out on the mic, entering the ring and addressing Zayn. "You were so concerned about me making a mockery of your profession in this ring but it seems like that's what you're doing to mine." Crowd with a loud Johnny chant as he tells Sami that something seems off with the weapons. He demands to see the cattle prod and has to snatch it from Zayn. Zayn fearfully tells Knoxville to be careful. Johnny states it is legit "but somebody forgot to turn it on." He "fixes" it for Sami then process to "shock" Sami in the stomach. Sadly, the "zap" sound effect lasts a few seconds longer than the prod touched Zayn. Oops. Knoxville then tells Zayn he'll see him at the Rumble and dumps Zayn over the top rope, elimination style, before leaving.
Sheamus and a returning Holland make their way down to the ring. After a break, we return to find Ricochet out and the ref calls for the bell. The Celtic Warrior takes the lead early on, using an Irish Curse backbreaker to ground the high-octane Ricochet. Sheamus works the neck with an inverted sleeper. Ricochet escapes and rocks Sheamus with a step-up Enziguri. Sheamus counters with a backbreaker that grounds Rico again. Sheamus positions Ricochet on the apron and hits his trademark Ten Beats of Bodhran as the crowd counts in tandem. The ref counts her warning and Sheamus stops at nine, exits to the apron, and uses the tenth blow to send Ricochet back into the ring. Ricochet starts his comeback, using a springboard dropkick to knock Sheamus to the floor. Ricochet looks for a Suicide Dive but Sheamus counters with a knee to the face, dropping Ricochet like a sack of potatoes. Sheamus positions in the corner and hits the Brogue Kick, picking up the quick victory.
Your Winner, Sheamus!
Jarrett, in full Double J country wear with hat, comes across Boogs and Nakamura. He compliments Boogs' guitar-manship then asks for his name, making Boogs' day.
As announced early into our programming, this main event has major repercussions on next weekend's Royal Rumble. If Owens & Rollins win, the Usos are barred from ringside; if they lose, Rollins forfeits his title shot at the Rumble. The Usos are out first, followed by both Owens & Rollins. The ref squares our competitors up and we get ready for the bell. We head to yet another commercial ahead of our main event. When we return, we start with Jimmy Uso and Seth Rollins. The crowd continues humming Rollins' theme for a few moments longer. Rollins sends Jimmy outside then taunts the Uso as the ref begins to count out Jimmy. Jimmy enters cautiously and tags in Jey as the Nashville crowd chants for tables. Jey locks a side headlock on Rollins and uses it to take him to the mat, rolling back and forth as both jockey for advantage. Jey pops up and kicks Seth in the gut before taking him to the Usos corner and tagging in Jimmy. Jimmy and Jey use frequent tags to continuously stomp away at Rollins in the corner while the ref counts his warning-and resets with every tag. Rollins finally gets some offense in, battling Jimmy to the corner and tagging in Owens. Owens and Rollins now use quick tags to return the favor, stomping mudholes in Uso's gut. Rollins, now legal, pulls out his inner Hogan with a kick to the gut followed by a textbook Scoop Slam. Rollins ascends the turnbuckles but Jey causes a distraction, allowing Jimmy to drop Rollins off the top. Again the Usos cut the ring in quarters and keep Rollins in their corner, using quick tags to sustain their offense. We're reminded that Reigns has never beaten Seth in the big matches, when it matters most.
Rollins explodes out of the corner, dropping Jimmy as he makes the hot tag to KO. Owens fires off fists to Jimmy then drops him with a lariat and connects with the standing Senton. KO knocks Jey off the apron, posts up in the corner, does the "D-X "suck it" chant and motion and hits the cannonball on Jimmy! KO goes up top and, despite Jey's attempt to interfere, flies off the top looking for another Senton. Jimmy gets the knees up and Owens spills to the floor, where the Usos connect a low angle Superkick to Owens' jaw as we go to break! When we return, we find Roman Reigns still watching from the back as KO attempts to fight off both Usos. Jey and Jimmy tag in and out, again using quick tags and stomps to keep Owens grounded in the corner. The ref counts his warning and Jimmy backs off. The crowd is coming alive as Owens ducks under an Enziguri before firing off a step-up Enziguri of his own, laying out Jimmy! Both men make hot tags to their partners!
Rollins hits the ring on fire, taking Jey down with a shoulder block, then a Sling Blade, and finally a gut buster! Rollins clotheslines Jey over the top rope, then reveres a Jimmy sneak attack into a toss out of the ring. Rollins hits a tope suicida on both Usos! Rollins hops up on the apron and gets the crowd to hum his theme. Rollins looks for a pin but only garners a two. Rollins looks for a Falcon Arrow but Uso counters with a standing switch. Both men hit a standing switch each until Uso lays Rollins out with a back drop. Uso covers for a close two. Rollins looks for a buckle bomb on Jey but Jimmy makes the blind tag. The Usos hit the Ally-Uce and nearly pick up the win! The crowd fires up behind Rollins, clapping for him and singing his theme. Jimmy looks for a top rope tag but misses Rollins taking the blind tag. Owens hits a pop-up sit-out powerbomb for a close two on Jimmy as Seth crashes into Jey outside the ring.
Owens climbs up top as the crowd gets tot heir feet and cheers. Jimmy clocks KO with an uppercut followed by a step-up kick. Jimmy's looking for Superplex but Owens counters into an inverted Fisherman's suplex (modified) off the top rope! Owens covers but Jey Uso makes the save! Rollins is legal now and immediately takes it to Jey's face. Jimmy with a superkick to Seth; KO with a Stunner to Jimmy! Jey clocks Owens with a Superkick, and Rollins takes out Jimmy! Rollins with a discuss forearm to the back of Uso's neck as the crowd is hot for Rollins, loudly humming his theme and cheering for him. Nashville loves Rollins! Rollins sets up for the Stomp when Roman Reigns attacks, taking out Rollins with a Superman Punch!
Your Winner, Seth Rollins! The Usos are BARRED from ringside at the Rumble!
And that's a wrap! From us to you, have a wonderful weekend and keep safe from the elements. And if anyone wants to tech guru this humble reporter with Axs, hit me up on Twitter. Have a great weekend, folks, and stay safe out there. See you all Monday Night for Raw.