‘WWE SmackDown LIVE’ Preview: John Cena And AJ Styles Make Title Match At ‘Royal Rumble 2017’ Official

On the very first SmackDown LIVE of the year, John Cena and AJ Styles will make their WWE Championship Match at Royal Rumble 2017 official with an in-ring contract signing. It also appears that Renee Young will be a valet for the first time in her WWE career as Dean Ambrose challenges The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. It is expected that Becky Lynch will look into who was under the La Luchadora mask last week, and The Wyatt Family is likely to respond to the fact that American Alpha took their tag titles at the Wild Card Finals. And with only Brock Lesnar and Goldberg confirmed for the Royal Rumble Match, will any of the other superstars from SmackDown LIVE officially enter the biggest battle royal of the year?

WWE contract signings almost always end in a brawl, and the WWE Universe will be watching closely to see how the recently-returned John Cena approaches the time-honored tradition. After saying last week that he is “sick of this New Era BS” and that he was going to challenge for the title on his first day back “because I’m John Cena,” could this be the beginning of the long-rumored John Cena heel turn?

Becky Lynch’s clever idea to dress up as La Luchadora to get one extra match against Alexa Bliss came back to haunt her as the masked assailant made an appearance during Lynch’s title match last week, providing the ever-important “distraction” that ultimately allowed Bliss to get the victory. Will they find out who was under the mask? And if they do, how will it impact the SmackDown Women’s Championship and the No. 1 contender?

Who is La Luchadora? [Image by WWE]

After Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin failed to take the WWE Championship from AJ Styles last week, the two will have a singles match on SmackDown LIVE. Regardless of the outcome, both men seem like likely candidates to enter the Royal Rumble Match. Since they both have title aspirations, either or both could make the announcement tonight. Additionally, after Dean Ambrose defends Renee Young’s honor while trying to capture the WWE Intercontinental Championship from The Miz, both men also seem likely to enter the main event of Royal Rumble 2017. Will anyone from the blue brand officially enter the Royal Rumble Match this week, joining Goldberg and Brock Lesnar from Monday Night Raw?

Immediately following SmackDown LIVE will be another episode of 205 Live on the WWE Network. After defeating Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann in a non-title match last week, Neville’s claim to being the “King of the Cruiserweights” could be legit. The Cruiserweight Division is likely to make an appearance or two on Monday Night Raw, with things continuing Tuesday night on 205 Live.


Updated WWE Royal Rumble 2017 Card

  • AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena — WWE Championship Match (confirmed)
  • Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, and 28 others TBD — Royal Rumble Match (confirmed)
  • Alexa Bliss (c) vs. TBD — SmackDown Women’s Championship Match (unconfirmed)
  • Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns — WWE Universal Championship Shark Cage Match (confirmed)

As of Monday morning, three matches had been confirmed for WWE Royal Rumble 2017 and only two participants confirmed for the Royal Rumble Match. The next WWE PPV will feature stars from both WWE Raw and SmackDown LIVE. Royal Rumble 2017 will air live on Sunday, January 29, from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. As more information is confirmed, it will be updated at WWE’s official Royal Rumble preview page.

WWE SmackDown Live: AJ Styles and John Cena
AJ Style and John Cena sign their contract for Royal Rumble 2017 [Image by WWE]

Where To Watch WWE

The WWE Royal Rumble 2017 will air live on the WWE Network on Sunday, January 29, at 8/7c. The Royal Rumble Kickoff Show will begin at 7/6c.

The show 205 Live, featuring the best of WWE’s Cruiserweight Division (but technically a part of the Monday Night Raw brand), airs weekly on the WWE Network at 10/9c on Tuesday nights. immediately following SmackDown. Replays of WWE 205 Live are available to stream immediately.

WWE SmackDown LIVE airs Tuesdays on the USA Network at 8/7c. Replays of WWE SmackDown aren’t made available on the WWE Network until several weeks after the original air date. However, a replay of SmackDown LIVE is available to stream on-demand Wednesdays via Hulu. WWE Talking Smack begins at 10:45/9:45c on the WWE Network and is immediately made available to stream on-demand.

[Featured Image by WWE]