Styles stumbles into handicap match for WWE title at Royal Rumble

Styles stumbles into handicap match for WWE title at Royal Rumble

For the second time on WWE television, and the first on SmackDown, WWE Champion AJ Styles will go one-on-one with Sami Zayn. Because of this, the main event match which was scheduled to be AJ Styles vs Sammy Zayn, with Kevin Owens barred from ringside. This led to SmackDown Commissioner McMahon attempting to eject Owens from ringside. We get it: McMahon is a hothead and Bryan may be showing favoritism toward a couple underdogs like him. The distraction allowed Owens to provide a distraction that Zayn took advantage of, delivering the Helluva Kick for the upset victory. As a result, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon both ended up in the ring talking about the rumors of favoritism. The Champ Who Runs the Camp kicked the year off by having arguably WWE's match of the year against John Cena at the Royal Rumble.

On Tuesday, Styles announced to the Orlando audience that as part of his New Year's resolution, he was going to take out Zayn in the main event. The normal thing to do in that situation would be booking a triple threat match, not a handicap one.

Styles' involvement, as the grizzled veteran unfairly suffering the wrath of dueling authority figures, helps garner heat for the program and creates an even more engaging narrative for fans to invest in.

Charlotte eventually interrupted, saying she wanted to give the Riott Squad a dose of reality.

Shane McMahon was in AJ Styles corner during his match with Sami Zayn. Teaming with Flair keeps her locked in a subservient role as a non-contender to the SmackDown title, but perhaps that can change over the coming weeks. WWE should have introduced these women individually but instead shoehorned them into a faction that is simply a faded facsimile version of Absolution on Raw.

What else happened on SmackDown?

The Bludgeon Brothers were mean to the Fashion Police and the Ascension again.

United States Championship Tournament: First Round Match: Xavier Woods (with Big E & Kofi Kingston) def. Aiden English (with Rusev) by pin following the Up, Up, Down, Down to advance to the Semi-Finals.

Mojo Rawley cut a promo talking about defeating Zack Ryder in the USA title tournament next week.

Woods will face Jinder Mahal in the semifinals of the tournament.

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