Tonight’s WWE Friday SmackDown is live from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Michael Cole welcomes us and he’s joined at ringside by Wade Barrett. We see two black SUVs pull into the back parking lot. The Bloodline hops out – Sami Zayn and Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos in one truck, with Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman in the other. Sami and The Usos are fired up, in a good mood tonight. Sami Zayn offers a fist bump to Roman Reigns but he keeps walking past him. Sami Zayn looks a bit concerned as he watches everyone else enter the building.
– Drew McIntyre and Sheamus defeated The Viking Raiders via pinfall and advanced to next round in Smackdown Tag Team Titles #1 contenders tournament. After the match, Sheamus and Drew McIntyre stand tall and Cole confirms Sheamus and McIntyre vs. Hit Row or Los Lotharios. Sheamus and McIntyre celebrates.
– We go backstage to Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns. Sami Zayn enters and asks Reigns for a second to talk. Sami is nervous. He knows this is a big night for The Bloodline but he couldn’t help but notice Reigns’ gave him a frosty reaction in the parking lot. Sami wants to just make sure everything’s cool. Reigns says he saw how Sami was last week and he knows Sami is trying to cover up everything tonight. Reigns tells Sami to just give it to him straight, tell the truth about what’s going on.
Sami says everything is fine, really. Reigns says no, tell me the truth. Sami says if he’s being honest, he was a little disappointed last week. He takes pride in carrying his weight for the family and he didn’t know The Usos were coming out during the match with Kevin Owens. Sami says he felt a little slighted. He says Owens keeps mentioning how he’s being used and for a split second last week… Sami says he just doesn’t know, it’s all fine. Reigns tells Sami to get out.
Roman Reigns says he’s not going to do this every single week. Heyman looks on worried. Reigns tells Sami again, to just get out. Reigns says The Tribal Chief has to run his game plan by The Honorary Uce… when did this start? When does he have to ask Sami for his approval? Reigns tells Sami to just get out, go find Kevin Owens, go find his own Bloodline or something, and stop using Reigns and his Bloodline. Get out of here, man. Reigns calls on The Wise Man… and Heyman motions for Sami to find the door.
– Raquel Rodriguez at backstage. She says everything is bigger in her home state of Texas and at the Royal Rumble, she plans to make this the biggest moment of her career. She’s counting down the days, minutes and seconds until she rushes to the ring to earn her way to WrestleMania 39.
– LA Knight makes his way to the ring. Enhancement talent Greg Jones is already waiting in his corner. LA Knight takes the mic and wants to talk to you. He asks if someone can help Bray Wyatt figure out what’s going on? One week he’s saying he’s not Uncle Howdy, then he’s saying “I am him,” but one name says it all and that’s LA Knight. Yeah.
LA Knight says that means at the Royal Rumble he will be the one to make Wyatt ask himself if maybe he should’ve stayed away, maybe he should’ve never come back. He goes on and says Wyatt has been living check to check on his past glory, but he can walk into LA’s bank and find out those checks are trash. Knight says whether it’s pitch black or daylight, he will turn Wyatt’s switch off just like that, and that’s not an insult, it’s just a fact of life. Yeah. The bell rings.
– LA Knight defeated Greg Jones via pinfall in quick match. After the match, Knight stands tall. However, a distorted version of the Firefly Fun House music quickly interrupts. We see Abby The Witch, Huskus The Pig, and Ramblin’ Rabbit. They announce that they are back. We see Wyatt bent over, plumber’s rear and all showing, as he nails a sign to the door. Wyatt turns around and says he can see you.
Bray Wyatt welcomes us back to the Firefly Fun House. Yowie! Wowie! Wyatt apologizes for the mess and says we’re working on it. He says he has seriously missed everyone and he can’t wait to have lots of fun here with his friends once again. Rabbit says LA seems cool, can he be their friend? Abby tells Rabbit to shut the fuck up. Rabbit is worried about the Royal Rumble because he’s scared of the dark. Huskus says something about loving the dark chocolate as he munches on a chocolate bar.
Wyatt jokes with Rabbit and says in th dark is where things might hide under your bed and come out when you sleep… and eat you. Wyatt goes on and says maybe you should be scared of the dark. Wyatt looks at the camera and smiles. We see another TV screen and Uncle Howdy is on it, with the usual graphics flashing. Howdy is laughing. Howdy says now that I told you so… all you needed was a little push. He repeats these words.
We go back to Bray Wyatt and he’s very serious now as he looks at the camera. Bray Wyatt tells LA Knight… I hope you are satisfied, I hope you understand you are the one that opened the door and now whatever comes from there, it is your problem. See you at the Royal Rumble. Bray Wyatt smiles and laughs, then says bye bye, have a nice day. LA Knight looks on from the ring as the Fun House music starts back up.
– Hit Row defeated Los Lotharios via pinfall and advances in SmackDown Tag Team Titles #1 Contenders Tournament. After the match, Hit Row regroups at ringside and Michael Cole confirms Sheamus and Drew McIntyre vs. Hit Row for the second round. Los Lotharios looks on from the ring as Hit Row taunts them.
– We get the third return vignette for Cody Rhodes, which confirmed him for the Royal Rumble. This is the same video that aired on Monday Night Raw.
– Braun Strowman at backstage. He says he’s made a career out of tossing bodies around, so the Royal Rumble was made for The Monster of All Monsters. Strowman says if anyone stands in the way of him going to WrestleMania 39, then they will get these hands.
– The SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair makes her way to the ring. Flair takes the mic and gives a “Wooo!” shout-out to Detroit. She says it seems Deville has a real problem with her. Flair doesn’t know why, maybe it’s because Flair beat her two weeks ago. Flair says if Deville has a problem with her, she doesn’t need to attack from behind or whine to Adam Pearce, she can come say it to her face, woman-to-woman. Flair calls Deville out and says Detroit would love to see her. Fans pop. The music hits and out comes Deville to boos.
Deville doesn’t care what this disgusting, dirty city wants. Fans boo. She cares about what she wants and what she deserves, and that’s a title shot. Deville says Flair must not think she’s worthy. Deville tells a fan to shut up as she enters the ring. Deville speaks but a “you suck!” chant drowns her out. Deville goes on about how people need to realize she’s a star every time she comes out, people shut up and listen every time she speaks, and last week it took six people to rip her off Flair. Is Flair really that arrogant and entitled that she doesn’t see it? Fans chant “you suck!” again and Flair smirks, saying Detroit has made up their mind about Deville.
Flair says she has always told Deville she’s a star, but is Deville saying the others backstage aren’t stars? Flair asks Deville why she thinks she’s more special than anyone else. Flair says Deville keeps demanding title shots, so maybe Flair isn’t the entitled, arrogant one in this ring. Flair says Deville called her shot and lost, and on top of that she tapped out. Fans chant “you tapped out!” now. Flair says maybe Deville should be focusing on the Royal Rumble and not the title, but if Deville wants to fight, she’ll do it right here in Detroit. They tease a match but Deville says no. Fans boo. Deville asks why should she do that when there’s nothing in it for her. No thank you. Unless Flair is willing to put her title on the line.
Adam Pearce comes out and says he’s heard enough. Adam Pearce says he thought he made himself clear to Sonya Deville… Deville suddenly drops Charlotte Flair with a cheap shot. Sonya Deville quickly retreats and Adam Pearce isn’t happy with her as they have words on the stage. Fans chant “you suck!” as Sonya Deville goes backstage to talk to Pearce.
– We go backstage to Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman. Roman Reigns asks Paul Heyman if he can believe this guy, Sami Zayn. Paul Heyman says he’s never liked Sami Zayn since day one, but he supports Roman Reigns’ visions for The Island of Relevancy and he tried to look at things from the perception of the Special Counsel and as your Wise Man, but as your Wise Man, just perhaps if you could take it into your ruthless consideration, isn’t it better, as we’re about to sign a contract to defend the Undisputed WWE Universal Title against Kevin Owens of all people, that when it comes to Sami, my Tribal Chief, maybe it’s better to have him in the castle pissing out, instead of out of the castle pissing in? Reigns thinks it over.
– We get a new vignette for Lacey Evans. We see her beating up other women in the WWE Performance Center rings. The voice-over says your weapon and method of destruction is the Cobra Clutch. Your opponents have two choices – they can tap out or black out. You will break their spirits, you will capture titles, you will make every woman in WWE tremble in fear at the name Lacey Evans. And that’s an order. This is Operation Cobra Clutch.
– Imperium defeated The Brawling Brutes via pinfall and advances in SmackDown Tag Team Titles #1 Contenders Tournament. After the match, Vinci and Kaiser stand tall in the middle of the ring and Michael Cole confirms Imperium vs. Legado del Fantasma or Maximum Male Models for next week. Vinci and Kaiser embrace to celebrate.
– Paul Heyman approaches Sami Zayn backstage. They stare at each other for a second, and Sami Zayn stands up. Paul Heyman says your Tribal Chief would like to see you now. A serious Sami nods and looks around.
– Shayna Baszler at backstage. She says to imagine being in the Royal Rumble with a broken ankle, imagine throwing other bodies out with a hurt shouldr, or beating 29 other women with a broken arm. So the other women may want to stay away from Baszler because as far as she’s concerned, she won’t just eliminate them, she will tear them apart, limb by limb.
– Michael Cole sends us to a video package for the Raw 30th Anniversary special on Monday.
– We go backstage to Karrion Kross and Scarlett. Kross says she just reminded him that in one week he will be stepping in the ring with Rey Mysterio. A clock is ticking in the background. Kross says normally he gets really amped up before a fight but this time, not so much. We see some highlights of Kross beating Rey up. Kross says Rey can’t figure out if he wants to be a family man or the greatest of all-time and in this business you can’t be both, that’s not how it works. Kross says so now he’s going to take Rey out and after that, he’s going to take out 29 other Superstars in the Royal Rumble because that’s his too. Time is running out for everyone. Tik, tok.
– Legado del Fantasma defeated Maximum Male Models via pinfall and advances in SmackDown Tag Team Titles #1 Contenders Tournament. After the match, Legado del Fantasma stands tall in the middle of the ring and Cole confirms Legado vs. Imperium in a second round match next week.
– Sami Zayn enters the room where Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns are waiting backstage. Sami asks if Reigns asked to see him. Reigns says it’s no secret he has a temper but that’s why he’s put people in place, like The Wise Man, to counsel that anger. Reigns says he wasn’t hearing Sami before, but Sami just wanted clear communication, to bee a part of the game, of the team. Reigns says Sami is a perfectionist just like him. Sami says you can’t become the greatest if you don’t think of all the little details, and that’s what Sami does, and that’s why they get along.
Sami thanks Reigns for understanding. Sami says he came in expecting the worst but it means the world to hear Reigns say that. Reigns says that’s alright, it’s on him. Reigns says sometimes he just expects the same amount of love, respect and loyalty he gives out. Sami says don’t say that, we all love you, we all love you, you’re The Tribal Chief, The Head of The Table, you’re steering the whole ship, this is nothing without you. Sami says he will always put what’s best for The Bloodline first, what’s best for this family first, any time, anything Reigns wants him to do, just please tell him and he will do it.
Roman Reigns nods and Heyman is all smiles in the background. Reigns says clear cut communication, this is what he needs Sami to do – find The Usos, make sure the SUVs are in place, call the pilots to make sure the jet is fueled up and ready to go. Reigns says he’s going with Heyman and Solo Sikoa to sign this contract, then let’s get out of here. Sami says it’s done. Reigns asks if we’re good. Sami says better than good, really. Sami thanks Reigns so much. Sami stands up and offers a fist bump, while Reigns is still sitting. Reigns looks at Sami’s fist and says he owes Sami one. Reigns does the fist bump and Sami smiles, looking relieved. Sami walks off. Heyman leans over and says thank you my Tribal Chief.
– Adam Pearce is in the ring for a Royal Rumble contract signing. The music hits and here comes The Bloodline – Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman. They stand tall at the entrance-way and Reigns raises gold as the pyro goes off. Roman Reigns enters the ring to more pyro. He takes a seat and places his fear on the table as Pearce looks on.
But Kevin Owens suddenly enters the ring from behind, lays out Sikoa to the floor, then drops Reigns with a Stunner as fans go wild. Sikoa comes back to the apron but Owens superkicks him off. Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos rush down but Owens kicks them both off the apron. Owens goes to the floor to continue hitting The Usos with superkicks several times.
Jimmy Uso is sent into the steel ring steps. Heyman cowers in fear in the corner as Owens re-enters the ring. Reigns is trying to get up but Owens grabs him for a big Pop-Up Powerbomb through the table. Heyman screams out from the corner. Owens approaches Heyman but he’s screaming on. Owens grabs the contract from Heyman and signs it to make the title match official for the Royal Rumble.
Sami Zayn runs down and hits the apron. Owens looks on from the ring and Sami stares him down. Owens smirks and tosses the contract at Sami. Owens retreats through the crowd now. Sami looks to chase him but he stops at the ropes, next to Heyman in the corner. Owens stands with fans on the steps in the crowd now as they cheer him on. Sikoa and The Usos come back in the ring to check on Reigns. Sami holds the con tract and stares out at Owens. Heyman looks at Sami, then to the contract in his hand. Reigns is being helped up to his feet now from the table debris, clutching his shoulder. Owens looks on from the crowd as Sami looks at the contract in his hand, then down at Reigns, and back out at Owens and Friday Night SmackDown goes off the air.