KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/20: Styles talks about Fastlane title defense, Charlotte & Becky & Naomi vs. Riott Squad, New Day vs. Gable & Benjamin

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c)


FEBRUARY 20, 2018

Announcers: Tom Philips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves


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-Renee Young introduced A.J. Styles. As Styles came to the ring, they went to the announcers who talked about the added competitors in the Fastlane WWE Title match. As Renee asked Styles the first question, fans chanted “A.J. Styles!” He politely stopped her so he could soak up the cheers. Styles acknowledged the fans by standing on the second rope. Then came a “too sweet!” chant. Renee asked if he feels he is still in control of his own destiny at WrestleMania. He looked up at the sign and said said he still is. He said any man who steps in the ring with him he feels he can beat. He said if it sounds cocky, he’s backed it up his whole life. He said the Fatal Five-way is a big problem because anything can happen inside and outside the ring. He looked at the commentator’s table. He said it’d feel good to put Kevin Owens through that table.

Styles mentioned KO and Sami and said he knows he can beat them. He said Ziggler is the “Show-off,” but he is not phenomenal. He was interrupted as he was about to get to Baron Corbin. Corbin walked out with a mic in hand. He said he wanted to stop Styles before he asserted that Styles could beat him. He said the last time they faced each other, he beat him. He said he has Styles’s number, and Styles knows it. Corbin said Styles is just an athlete, whereas he’s a fighter. He said he doesn’t even have to beat Styles, though, as he might pin someone else instead.

Owens walked out and said he was putting fans out of their misery but shutting up both Styles and Corbin. He told Styles he won’t have to run around trying to protect his title, because he’ll be putting Styles through the ringside table with a Pop-up Powerbomb. He said last week Corbin didn’t look like a Lone Wolf, he looked like a scared little cub. Corbin fired back that he dropped him like the little punk that he is once he got back to his feet. The crowd “Ohh’d.” Owens said he’s pretty cocky for someone who got handed his opportunity on silver platter by Shane McMahon. He said Shane has had it out for him since he destroyed his father with the headbutt heard around the world, and since then he’s had to scratch and claw for everything.

Styles said he wasn’t listening to anything he just said, but he wanted to know if he got that boil lanced off his back. Owens asked, “What?!” Styles said, “Oh, that boil. You know him as Sami Zayn.” Owens fake-laughed. Owens said if he had time to prepare for his match against Corbin, Corbin would still be on the ground. He was interrupted by Shane McMahon.

A “Shane-o-Mac” chant started after he walked onto the stage. Shane said that’s enough talking, it’s time for action. He asked Corbin to put up against Styles in the main event one-on-one. He told Owens he is also in singles competition against Ziggler “right now.”

(Keller’s Analysis: When Ziggler’s record-scratch entrance took place, no reaction. Not cheers, not boos. Just indifference. All that TV time invested in his character and it still doesn’t resonate in any beneficial way.) [c]


The bell rang right after the break. Ziggler went after Owens aggressively. Graves complained that Owens had no time to prepare for this match and it’s unfair and a sign of Shane’s vendetta against KO. Byron said maybe Ziggler didn’t have any notice, either. Graves and Byron bickered the entire first several minutes of this match. They cut to a break after a near fall by Ziggler. [c]

They stayed with the action on split screen during the break. They showed on replay that they tumbled through the ropes when Ziggler had Owens in a sleeper. Back in the ring Ziggler DDT’d Owens. More bickering between Graves and Byron after the break. Back and forth action. Ziggler went for a top rope move, but Owens shoved him down and went for a quick senton, but Ziggler raised his knees and then hit a Zig Zag for a believable near fall. Owens blocked a Zig Zag a minute later and went for his Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Ziggler blocked it and then hit the Zig Zag for a believable near fall. With Ziggler rallying a minute later, Zayn came out to his music. Owens superkicked a distracted Ziggler from behind for the win. “Seriously? Like that?” said Saxton. Graves said it isn’t the fault of Owens that Ziggler couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand.

WINNER: Owens in 12:00.

-The announcers hyped the six-woman tag match later.

-They put up the Top Ten List (1-10): Styles, Charlotte, Shinsuke Nakamura, Naomi, Bobby Roode, New Day, The Usos, Becky Lynch, Randy Orton, and Tye Dillinger.

(Keller’s Analysis: Does this list ever get updated?)

-They showed Jinder Mahal walking backstage on his way to the ring to talk about the top ten list. [c]

-Mahal said he made a discovery earlier in the day that shook him to his core. Jinder said Roode has a secret. Jinder said he believes in truth and transparency, so he has a Roode Awakening for everyone. (Jinder talks like a triple-spaced college paper, where you have these weird pauses between sentences to fill the required time and it just kills any momentum he might otherwise have. It just lulls you to almost nodding off.) He pointed up at the screen and revealed Roode’s own Top Ten List with Roode at no.1, then Styles, Charlotte, Nakamura, New Day, Lynch, Naomi, Usos, Dillinger, and Zack Ryder. (Yawn.)

Jinder said Roode broke the cardinal rule and voted himself number one. He said the second thing he’ll notice there’s another missing name – Jinder Mahal. He said Roode is a “Glorious Egomaniac and an Inglorious Liar.” Roode’s music played. Roode came out and said that isn’t his list. He said he has a secret on him. He said Jinder can’t make a Top Ten List. He said he wants to be U.S. Champion so badly, he’s trying to pit Randy Orton against him to the point that he’s checking over his shoulder to make sure he doesn’t get “attacked out of nowhere.” (Uh, it’s “RKO’d out of Nowhere.”) He told Jinder he knows he can’t win a fair fight. A sloppy “You can’t win!” chant sort of got started. Jinder said he needs Roode to speak the truth and admit he thinks he’s better than Orton. Roode said he never said that. Jinder said Roode is scared of Orton. Roode said he’s not scared of him, either, though. He said he’s not scared of Jinder. Roode then yelled, “Forget about Randy Orton.” He took off his jacket and said it’s about “you and me.”

Orton walked out and got in Roode’s face. They exchanged some words, but then Orton turned and punched a smiling Jinder. Roode clotheslined him over the top rope. Orton then spun Roode around to give him an RKO. Roode blocked it and gave Orton his Glorious DDT. Roode yelled down at Orton: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Jinder then re-entered the ring and as Roode’s music began to play, he gave Roode the Khallas.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was whatever word means the opposite of electrifying. It felt like a dress rehearsal before people had their morning coffee. But at least Roode got to yell at one point for no reason.)

-They cut backstage to Daniel Bryan rubbing his beard and watching a monitor. He said he had no idea this top ten list would cause so much controversy. Shane asked what he’s thinking. Bryan said Roode ought to defend his U.S. Title against Jinder at Fastlane. Shane said Orton answered the U.S. Title Open Challenge and everyone wants to see that match. Bryan said they’re not on the same page. “Shocking!” said Shane, sarcastically. Bryan said every decision he has made is met with resistance, even though Shane asked him to help run the show. Shane said he’s only resisting Bryan’s decisions which are based on emotion. He said Orton vs. Roode is the more prudent decision. He said his decision is final. Bryan said, “Whatever you want, Boss.” Then he walked away.

(Keller’s Analysis: How do we know what Bryan was watching? They showed the back of the monitor. Actually, this was a tremendous change because that’s how people watch TV. Straight on. And it was implied what he was watching, so we didn’t need that awkward angle that WWE has previously always used.)

-Charlotte made her ring entrance. [c]

(2) CHARLOTTE & BECKY LYNCH & NAOMI vs. RIOTT SQUAD (Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan)

A few minutes into the match with the babyfaces in control, they cut to a break. [c]

NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast (#WKPWP) taped tonight and available a couple hours after Smackdown ends.


When Riott and Logan yanked Morgan to the floor to save her from Naomi, Naomi dove onto all of them. Morgan, though, threw Naomi into the ringside steps to turn momentum in the match. Graves said Morgan is turning this show into “Smackdown Liv.” Becky hot-tagged in and went after Riott with some sloppy looking offense. Charlotte eventually took over and strutted. She gave Logan a boot to the face. Morgan distracted Charlotte on the ring apr0n. Charlotte went after her with a big boot, which knocked Morgan off the ring apron (it showed a lot of light). Logan clipped Charlotte from behind, taking out her knee twice. Becky jumped up and down to encourage a tag, which she got. She rallied against Riott with a flurry of offense. Riott rolled up Becky to counter the Disarm Her. Becky applied it anyway seconds later. Morgan broke it up. Chaos ensued with everyone. Lynch landed an exploder suplex on Logan. Riott hit Lynch from behind and landed a Riott Kick for the win.

WINNERS: Riott Squad in 11:00.

-Backstage Sami walked up to KO. Sami said he wanted to thank him despite how rocky things have been between them. Sami told KO he owed him one. He said he was spinning his wheels before joining him. He said he’s now where he belongs, headlining PPVs because of him. He said he wants to be KO’s guardian angel. “I’ve got your back,” he said. He said he’ll always do what’s right, and that means paying him back after all he’s done for him. KO asked if he’s serious, seeming to be touched. Sami said together they are better than any singles competitor in the Fastlane match. He said they’ll take ’em out one by one, and then when it’s just down to them, he’ll do the right thing and lay down for him in the center of the ring. KO said he doesn’t know what to say. Sami said don’t say anything, just become WWE Champion and go on to main event WrestleMania. KO seemed touched, but maybe a little conflicted.

-The announcers hyped the Styles vs. Corbin match.

-The New Day were handing out pancakes backstage. [c]

-A Black History Month segment aired.

(3) THE NEW DAY (Big E & Xavier Woods w/Kofi Kingston) vs. CHAD GABLE & SHELTON BENJAMIN

The New Day’s signature opening lines flashed on the screen in big colorful letters as they entered the ring. Graves said: “Let’s say you’ve never seen Sports Entertainment before?” He asked what people must think of New Day parading around in bright colors throwing pancakes at each other, “who do you think is the real true representative of a champion?” Byron said: “Just because it’s fun to watch the New Day and, while they succeed, on the side having pancakes and having some laughs, what’s wrong with that? That’s why it’s called sports entertainment.” Philips: “It’s been the hallmark of the New Day since they’ve been together.” (Take that, Bruce Mitchell!) They cut to a break with Shelton in control against Xavier. [c]

They aired the action on split-screen during the break. Big E tagged in, but Gable gave him a belly-to-belly for a two count. Graves called it “freaky strength.” Kofi distracted the ref as Shelton and Gable executed their finisher on Big E. The ref was late making the cover. Shelton complained to the ref. Xavier took control and hit a Shining Wizard for the win. Graves called it a miscarriage of justice.

WINNERS: The New Day in 8:00.

-As they headed toward the stage, The New Day crossed paths with the Bludgeon Brothers. [c]

-Charlotte challenged Riott to a title match via selfie video so she could get her hands on her. The screen said “FLAIR” in big blue letters before she began talking.


The Bludgeon Brothers beat up their opponents at ringside with various power moves including slamming each other onto them.

WINNERS: Bludgeon Brothers in 1:00.

-A selfie promo aired with Riott Squad. Ruby said the cracks in Charlotte’s “perfect little world” are beginning to show and it all comes crumbling down for her at Fastlane.

-The announcers were shown at ringside. They hyped Elimination Chamber and WWE Network.

-In a selfie video, Baron Corbin said people say he’s “arrogant, cocky, and smug.” The words flashed on the screen. He said he’s really “dangerous, heartless, and better than A.J. Styles.” He said that’s the “truth.” More of his words flashed on the screen as he said them.

(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t really usually associate “hate” with anything in pro wrestling, as that word is overused, but I am pretty sure that HATE is the EMOTION that I feel when THOSE WORDS pop up on the SCREEN as wrestlers say them.)

-A video aired on Shinsuke Nakamura highlighting his signature moves and then his Royal Rumble victory.

-Styles made his ring entrance. [c]

-The announcers hyped the Fastlane line-up.


Corbin went after Styles early. They showed Dolph Ziggler standing backstage watching this match on a monitor from a very weird angle. Graves said Byron would kill to have a friend as good as Sami is to KO. [c]

Back from the break, Corbin had control. Styles side-stepped a charging Corbin, though, and Corbin flew shoulder-first into the ringpost. Styles charged at Corbin with a knee to the face on the ring apron. Corbin shoved Styles hard into the announce desk, but Styles flipped, landed on his feet, launched himself over the table and back into the ring with a Phenomenal Forearm for a near fall. Great sequence and one of the reasons Styles is who he is. Corbin took control and scored some near falls. Styles came back with a Calf Crusher. Corbin rammed Styles’s head into the mat to break the hold. Both were slow to get up. Corbin yelled at Styles, “You can’t beat me!” Styles fired right back with a Phenomenal Forearm for the win.

WINNER: Styles in 8:00.

-Afterward, Sami and KO attacked Styles. Corbin then gave Sami an End of Days. When KO charged in, Corbin gave him one, too. Graves said Corbin is a force to be reckoned with at Fastlane.


NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast (#WKPWP) taped tonight and available a couple hours after Smackdown ends.

NOW READ LAST WEEK’S REPORT: KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/13: Sami and KO don’t like Shane’s decision to have Corbin vs. Ziggler for a slot in their title match


1 Comment on KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/20: Styles talks about Fastlane title defense, Charlotte & Becky & Naomi vs. Riott Squad, New Day vs. Gable & Benjamin

  1. I have no idea who scripted the dialogue for Jindhar Mahal, but it was AWFUL! Wow, you talk about painful. That was as bad as one can get in word and delivery. Yet, through it all, he was (once again) “the last man standing”. Of course, that means he won’t be winning at FastLane, which is OK by me. He still has a long way to go on the mic.

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