WWE Smackdown: AJ Styles faces Sami Zayn, The Usos defend Tag titles

By Wade Sheridan  |  Jan. 3, 2018 at 6:57 AM
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Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The first Smackdown Live of 2018 featured WWE Champion AJ Styles taking on Sami Zayn and The Usos defending their Smackdown Tag Team Championships.

The main event of the night, Styles was eager to take down Zayn after Kevin Owens had defeated him last week due to accidental interference from commissioner Shane McMahon.

McMahon addressed what happened last week and announced that he would be at ringside to ensure a fair match. General manager Daniel Bryan in his continued fight to defend Owens and Zayn, then allowed Owens to be at ringside for the bout along with himself.

With three bystanders looking on, Styles and Zayn then collided in the ring for a competitive match that once again ended in controversy. After the referee tumbled out of the ring, Owens appeared to help him back up but was instead distracting him from re-entering the squared circle to give Styles the victory following a three count.

McMahon then pushed Owens to the ground and demanded that the referee eject Owens from ringside. This caused Bryan to get on the microphone and ask that McMahon leave the ringside area as well. The conversation was enough of a distraction for Zayn to nail Styles with the Helluva Kick which earned him an upset victory over The Phenomenal One.

As Zayn and Owens celebrated, Styles got on the microphone and challenged the best friends to a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. The idea excited Bryan who then announced that Styles would get his wish at the Royal Rumble but that his WWE Championship will be on the line.

Also on Smackdown, Tag Team Champions The Usos defended their titles against the team of Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable.

The formidable duo appeared to have defeated The Usos after Benjamin pinned Jimmy for the three count, however, after a replay review, it was clear that Jey was the legal man and thus the match was restarted.

The Uso twins then took advantage of a visibly upset Benjamin and Gable and retained their titles after delivering a Double Superkick to Benjamin followed by a top rope Splash for the three count.

Other moments from Smackdown Live included The Bludgeon Brothers decimating Breezango and then their Fashion Files friends The Acension; Xaiver Woods defeating Aiden English in the first round of the United States Championship Tournament; and The Riott Squad defeating Natalya, Carmella and Tamina before they brawled with Naomi, Smackdown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and a returning Becky Lynch.

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