The WWE Royal Rumble go-home edition of SmackDown this week had an interesting match added to the card that wasn't advertised ahead of time: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles. In fact, SmackDown only had one bout advertised ahead of showtime (Bianca Belair vs. Bayley). Bryan opened up the show and gave an empassioned speech about why he wants to win the Rumble. He was interrupted by Styles, who was there from Raw. He challenged Bryan to a match later in the show.
The two started off wrestling at a pace that would make you think they'd be given ample time to work. Some slow technical wrestling in the beginning led to an interruption by Sami Zayn. With Bryan distracted, Styles was able to take advantage as they went to the first commercial break.
Zayn stayed out at ringside, protesting with signs as Michael Cole called him "Mr. Conspiracy Theory." Corey Graves stood up for Zayn, saying he was making some good points to back up his theories.
Bryan countered a Phenomenal Forearm into a Butterfly Suplex and LaBell Lock. Just as the hold was broken, Big E's theme came on and he walked out to ringside to confront Zayn. Cesaro was also on guest commentary.
Zayn screamed that he was peacefully protesting and not doing anything wrong. Big E calmly took off his jacket and IC Title belt, then attacked Zayn. After taking out Zayn, E was attacked by Cesaro. Bryan then came flying to the outside with a suicide dive to take out Zayn and Cesaro.
Bryan jumped back in the ring to continue wrestling Styles when he was jumped from behind by Zayn, ending the match in a disqualification. Big E and Cesaro then brawled into the ring and Shinsuke Nakamura ran out. He attacked Styles and Zayn but hesitated to hit Cesaro. During that hesitation, he was taken out from behind by Styles. They went to a commercial break with Big E, Bryan, and Nakamura standing tall in the ring.
As expected, this turned into a six-man tag with Daniel Bryan, Big E, and Cesaro taking on Cesaro, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn. During the match, The Miz and Jim Morrison came out to the ring (they were shown backstage earlier) and attacked Nakamura and Big E. This led to another disqualification from the official. Otis came out for the save, taking out Miz and Morrison.
This second breakdown of the match turned it into, you guessed it, another tag team match. It was four on five until Sheamus ran out late in the match to make the save for Daniel Bryan, who was being attacked by Zayn with everyone else laid out. He locked Zayn in the Clover Leaf but was taken out with a superkick from behind by Morrison. After everyone else got involved briefly, Sheamus ended up hitting the Brogue Kick on Zayn and getting the pinfall for his team.
After that, Sheamus was being assaulted by the other team until Braun Strowman ran out. They mentioned that he was suspended after Survivor Series but apparently is now back. Strowman completely cleaned house in the ring as the announcers speculated if he has been added to the Royal Rumble match. Cole screamed about how Strowman looks ripped and has to be considered a favorite if he is in the Rumble.