Bengaluru, January 2: In the first episode of 2019 delivered by WWE Smackdown Live we witnessed the return of John Cena, who featured in a mixed tag team match and that indeed was something fresh on the card.
Plus, a huge fatal-5-way main event match took place to decide the challenger for WWE Championship at Royal Rumble. While, a rematch from last week was also on the match card during the show that took place at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The New Day kicked off Smackdown Live with New Year celebrations and they cut an entertaining promo before informing that all three of them will go solo in 2019. Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston then announced that each one of them will enter the Royal Rumble 2019 match as well to end the segment.
Samoa Joe competed against Jeff Hardy in the opening contest of Smackdown Live. It took place for the final spot in the fatal-5-way match which was set to take place as the main event. Joe was able to lock in the Coquina Clutch on Hardy to get a submission win and joined the likes of AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Mustafa Ali in the aforementioned match. The winner set to be the new #1 contender for WWE Championship.
Vince McMahon continued his quest to see the real version of AJ Styles. The former WWE Champion dared him to show it with an intense confrontation. Meanwhile, Shane McMahon had concerns if his father was right in instigating the Phenomenal One. But The Boss seemed confident.
WWE United States Champion Rusev and Lana showed up on Smackdown to celebrate the championship victory. Shinsuke Nakamura came from behind and gave a cheap shot on Rusev. Lana tried to stop Nakamura by jumping on his back, but got injured. An irate Rusev hit Nakamura with a superkick. The former US champion hit back as he landed the Kinshasa on Rusev to stand tall.
Mandy Rose confronted Naomi and intended to compete against her. But it was Sonya Deville who stepped up against Naomi. Mandy showed a towel-draped picture of herself on the tron telling that she sent this to Naomi's husband, Jimmy Uso. This provided a distraction which allowed Deville to hit a spinebuster on Naomi for the victory.
John Cena returned next on Smackdown Live with an open challenge to anybody from the Smackdown locker room. Becky Lynch interrupted him and said that she's the one who runs things in the blue brand. This ensued a confrontation between the two of them. Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega interfered further to set up an impromptu mixed tag team match.
Becky Lynch and John Cena teamed up to take on Zelina Vega and Andrade "Cien" Almas in a mixed tag team matchup. Cena was able to connect with the Five Knuckle Shuffle followed by the Attitude Adjustment. But Lynch tossed Cena out of the ring. Vega wanted to pick up the win by rolling her from the back. But Lynch locked in the dis-arm-her to force Vega to tap out to the submission move.
Shane McMahon and The Miz featured in a backstage segment with plans on how they could dress up as the future tag team. Meanwhile, Triple H addressed the women's locker room as everyone seemed eager to become the new number one contender for Smackdown women's championship. It will be determined at a later date, as per Triple H.
The fatal-5-way match took place as the main event of Smackdown Live. Rey Mysterio was moments away from the win after connecting a 619 on Randy Orton. But Samoa Joe took Rey outside the ring.
AJ Styles took advantage of that and executed a 450 springboard splash on Orton to pick up the pinfall win. With this win, AJ will now face Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship.