It’s the rumbling before the WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view event, and it’s coming to Lexington’s Rupp Arena.
On January 13, a WWE Smackdown house show — as opposed to a televised episode — will arrive at Rupp. The big match is the one between A.J. Styles and WWE champion Daniel Bryan.
The two men are booked to battle for the WWE Championship at the January 27 “Royal Rumble” pay-per-view event at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Since making his WWE debut in the 2016 Royal Rumble Match, Styles has brawled with Chris Jericho, The Miz, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Shinsuke Nakamura and Brock Lesnar, according to WWE.com. He has “further solidified his reputation with important victories over John Cena and Shane McMahon, all while backing up his claim that SmackDown LIVE is ‘The House that AJ Styles Built!’” the wesbite says.
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It describes Bryan as “a force to be reckoned with.” Bryan “holds the longest single-recorded stint in a Royal Rumble Match” and he’s “a near-bottomless arsenal of intricate submissions, blistering strikes and basic-but-effective maneuvers that can put opponents away.”
To earn the chance to challenge, Bryan had to survive a TV holiday episode five-way match against Mustafa Ali, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio and Samoa Joe.
WWE veterans Mysterio and Orton will also have a match at Rupp. In the increasingly popular women’s division, Asuka will battle Becky Lynch, “The Irish Lass Kicker.”
David Farrar, director of booking for Oakview Group Facilities, which partners with Rupp Arena, said that the lineup reflects that the WWE “has started integrating more females in the matches.”
Farrar watched WWE as a kid: “I was a Steve Austin guy.”
If you go
WWE: The Superstars of Smackdown Live
When: 7 p.m., Jan. 13.
Where: Rupp Arena
Tickets: Ticketmaster.com, at the Rupp box office and by phone at 1-800-745-3000