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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (6/19/18)

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Money in the Bank has come and gone, and SmackDown is STILL the House that AJ Styles Built! But that means he needs a new #1 contender. Therefore, GM Paige has decided to give The Miz, Rusev, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan & The New Day’s Big E a chance in a Gauntlet Match! Who will move on to face Styles at Extreme Rules?

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Becky Lynch VS Billie Kay w/ Peyton Royce; Becky Lynch wins.
  • SAnitY VS The Usos; no contest.
  • SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeon Brothers VS The Club; win and
  • WWE Championship #1 Contenders Gauntlet Match: Rusev wins and will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules.

PLAY BY PLAY

SmackDown GM Paige opens the show.

The Glampire recaps the explosive action and cunning victories from Money in the Bank, including the Phenomenal Last Man Standing, AJ Styles! But that’s just the beginning. The next PPV, Extreme Rules, is fast approaching already. So tonight, we must determine a #1 Contender via a FIVE MAN GAUNTLET! Two superstars start, one will be eliminated by pinfall or submission, and it doesn’t end until there’s only one superstar left! Will Big E, Rusev, The Miz, Samoa Joe or Daniel Bryan stand tall to face the WWE Champion?

 

Carmella heads to the ring!

The FABULOUS SmackDown Women’s Champion is still money as the Princess of Staten Island retains against the Empress of Tomorrow. Of course, there is controversy as an old friend of hers returned to distract Asuka at the most opportune time. She wants to be real for a second, because believe it or not, she used to have self-confidence issues. Carmella never felt special or even good enough, and that was really hard for her. But she didn’t just sit back, she wrote her own story through hard work. Carmella saw beauty in herself before anyone else did, and because of that, she’s champion. So what she’s really trying to say is, “I just want every young boy or girl out there” that doubts themselves, to say these words: #MellaIsMoney!

PSYCH! Carmella? No confidence? As if! She’s been moon-walking and trash-talking since she was in diapers. So the real lesson is: just give up! You can work twice as hard but only be half as good as her. Carmella was Ms. MITB, cashed in to become champion, and in case you missed it, she beat Charlotte Flair twice! And then she did the unthinkable: she beat Asuka. And the best part of it is… Carmella did it all by herself! Carmella again revises history, leaving James Ellsworth out of the story. But speaking of Asuka, here she comes! Wait, that’s not Asuka. That’s James Ellsworth himself!

He’s all dressed up the way he was in order to distract Asuka from the match! Carmella hugs her partner in crime. “No one was ready for Ellsworth!” Especially not Asuka. Now shut up, because Jamie L has something to say to his Princess. “When you love someone, let them go,” and whatever else it is. But now Ellsworth is back! And he’s serving “the greatest woman in history”. Carmella is better than: Charlotte; Lita; Trish Stratus; Mother Teresa; Beyonce; and Ronda Rousey! But last but certainly least, she’s better than ASUKA. Okay, THIS time it’s Asuka coming out.

The Empress of Tomorrow storms her way right down the ring, and Ellsworth shields Carmella. Asuka is raring for a fight, so Carmella’s guard dog gets ready, too. They trash talk in Japanese and English, Asuka back kicks Ellsworth! But then Carmella knocks Asuka down! Carmella picks up her title, and her lackey, and heads out. Fans boo and jeer but Asuka gets up. Carmella waves good-bye, but will she be able to avoid the angry Empress for long?

 

Becky Lynch VS Billie Kay w/ Peyton Royce!

The Lass Kicker didn’t grab the Ms. MITB contract for her own, but it’s not like the IIconics were in that match to try. Can Becky burn up Billie to get back on track in the title hunt?

Before the match, Billie wants to know where they are. Toledo? What does one do in Toledo? Oh, the zoo! Yes, that explains the smelly animals here. The IIconics have a laugh, then turn to mocking Becky. They could talk about her, or talk to her. “Becky, how did your Money in the Bank ladder match go on Sunday?” “It’s finally time to stop saying ‘I was’, it’s time to start saying ‘I am.’ As in, ‘I am a loser! I am never going to amount to anything. And I am so much better off as Charlotte Flair’s troll of a sidekick.'” Some advice: keep living in the past, because your present is abysmal, and the Future is IIconic. But Becky makes her entrance, because presently, it’s time for this match!

The bell rings, Billie still taunts Becky, so Becky takes her down! Becky throws fast hands, then grabs a leg. Billie grabs ropes but Becky drags her away for more hands. Then she picks Billie up, Becksploder! Billie slips out of the ring, but Becky wrecks her with a dropkick. Becky pursues Billie and hits European Uppercuts. They go back in the ring but Billie slips out again. Becky is on Billie with more EuroUppers, then puts Billie back in. Peyton comes over but Becky swipes at her. Billie capitalizes and puts Becky into the post! We go picture in picture while Becky is down and out.

Billie fetches Becky and brings her back up and in. She then kicks and stomps Becky at the ropes before putting her in a corner. Billie kicks and punches Becky more, but the referee backs her off. Becky hits back, but Billie tosses her out of the ring. Peyton does her best to behave, then Billie drags Becky up for an apron bump. Billie stalks Becky around the corner to bump her again. She goes for a third but Becky turns it around on her! Becky bumps Billie off the apron, then puts her in the ring, but runs into Billie’s knee. Billie keeps on Becky with an overhead throw, cover, TWO. Billie puts her in a chinlock, and Peyton likes what she sees. Becky endures, reaches for ropes, but Billie wrangles and thrashes her back down.

Becky endures as Billie rakes her face. Billie tights her grip, but Becky feeds off fan energy. Becky stands, fights back, and rolls Billie up! TWO, and Becky goes after the Disarm-her. Billie get tor opes but Becky won’t stop trying. Billie makes Becky Eat DaFeet! Cover, TWO, and the IIconics are frustrated. Becky gets to a corner, but Billie throws more hands. Billie stomps, but Becky hits back. Billie hits Becky again, then snapmares. We return to single picture as the chinlock is put back on.

Becky endures while fans rally up again. Becky stands, fights back with body shots, then scoops, but Billie powers out. Billie pushes then roaring elbows Becky down! Billie stomps and grinds Becky, then Peyton gets a cheap shot knee! Cover, TWO, and the IIconics are furious all over again. Billie puts Becky back in a chinlock. Becky has fans rallying up again. Becky stands, but Billie hops on. They go into a corner, then again, but Becky has to throw Billie off. Becky boots Billie, then hops up for a flying shoulder! Fans fire up and so does Becky. Becky rallies with lariats, then the calf kick. Becky stands, kicks, and throws Billie with a Becksploder! Cover, TWO!

This won’t stop Becky, she just fires up again. She takes aim, but Billie puts her on the apron. Becky hits Billie away, then climbs, but Peyton distracts. Peyton scurries away, and Becky still hits Billie back. Billie ends up outside, too, and Becky LEAPS! She tackles Peyton with the crossbody!

Billie gets in the ring, and then grabs Becky, but Becky counters to a roll, and Disarm-her! Billie taps, Becky wins!

Winner: Becky Lynch, by submission

The Lass Kicker gets back a win, and it was #IIconic in its own way. Becky wants to take back the SmackDown Women’s Championship, will this win allow her to say “I am the #1 contender”?

 

Jeff Hardy speaks.

Shinsuke Nakamura failed to become WWE Champion, and AJ Styles was victorious. Styles can move on, but Hardy cannot. This memory is lodged in his mind, over what Nakamura did last week. Nakamura’s knee collided with Hardy’s face, sending shock waves through his entire body and even his soul. “But his actions had an unintended consequence.” Those actions didn’t break Hardy, they only made him stronger. Hardy’s eyes were closed, but now they are open. “Shinsuke, I see you.” Will the Charismatic Enigma make Nakamura pay for that #Knee2Face?

 

The madness has come to SmackDown.

Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain. “The Chaos has arrived!” Prepare for anarchy, because SAnitY is finally in their new home.

 

Backstage interview with Daniel Bryan.

He won against Big Cass at Money in the Bank, but he moves on to an even more monumental challenge. He is just one of five men in the WWE Championship #1 Contenders Gauntlet, the winner going on to face AJ Styles at Extreme Rules. How does he feel about being the FIRST man up? Bryan won’t just survive, he’ll win. At MITB, Bryan proved size doesn’t matter, and tonight he goes up against three of the best on SmackDown: Rusev, Samoa Joe & Big E. The MIz is not one of the best. But if anyone doubts Bryan’s stamina, just look at his Greatest Royal Rumble performance. He has legs, lungs, and heart, and those three things will bring him to the WWE Championship.

Now, may he ask Renee a question? Uh, sure. “Renee, do you think I am ready to take on the biggest and baddest in WWE?” Certainly. C’mon, Renee, you know what he’s after. He asks her again, and her answer is… “Yes.” YES YES YES!

 

SAnitY VS The Usos!

Jimmy & Jey have locked up many tag teams in the #UsoPenitentiary, but they’ve yet to face a team as truly unruly as this trio. The Usos hear the fans chanting for them, and wish to say “It looks like we gotta whole new tag team here on SmackDown.” These three want to make names for themselves? Remember when the Usos did that? They ran around with face plant like a pair of Ultimate Warriors or something from Sesame Street. But they figured it out, and it takes a lot more than moves and paint. You gotta show heart, be 100, have some screws loose. SAnitY wants to do chaos? Chaos goes Uso Crazy!

SAnitY arrives and hits the ring, and then try to hit the Usos! The Usos were ready, though, and we have a brawl! However, that leaves things at 3v2, and Big Damo easily lariats Jey down. Eric and Wolfe stomp out Jimmy, then all three do the same to Jey. Big Damo squashes Jimmy in the corner, then squashes him again with the Vader Bomb! Eric made Jey watch, and then Damo makes Jimmy watch as Jey takes the SAnitY neckbreaker suplex combo from Eric & Wolfe! SAnitY’s chaos just ran roughshod over one of the best tag teams in WWE. Did the Uso Penitentiary just become the SAnitY Asylum?

 

The Club pumps themselves up.

Abs Anderson shows off that six pack. Even Big LG has some big guns to flex. But Harper & Rowan have big mean streaks and mallets. Which pair of brothers in arms will win this MITB Kickoff rematch?

 

Backstage interview with Shinsuke Nakamura.

Nakamura requested this time to explain his loss to Styles. “What is a loss?” And he’s not pretending to forget English, but he just wants to know how he lost. He is still standing, but Styles only won because that count was fast, or in Japanese. “Very, very unfair” in Nakamura’s eyes. Then what is his reaction to Hardy’s comments? Who? Jeff Hardy. No, he knows English, he just doesn’t care who Hardy is. Hardy is all made up, but if he crosses Nakamura again, he’ll pay for it. Does the King of Strong Style have more in store for both United States and WWE Champions?

 

SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeon Brothers VS The Club!

The duo of doom defeated the Good Brothers by mere moments at MITB. But the Glampire in Chief felt it fair to give Gallows & Anderson a second chance. Can the Machine Gun & Big LG get the belts this time around? Or will Harper & Rowan dismantle and destroy them once again?

SmackDown returns and Gallows is in with Rowan. Rowan whips Gallows into a corner but Gallows boots out. Gallows throws big body shots on Rowan, but Harper comes in. Gallows sends Harper out, then Anderson slingshots, but is caught! Anderson is tossed into steel steps and Rowan runs Gallows over with the heel kick! Rowan drags Gallows up and over to a corner, hoisting Gallows to the top rope. Rowan throws more hands, then climbs up. Gallows resists, but still gets brought down with a SUPERPLEX! Cover, but Anderson stops it. Harper throws Anderson back out, then Rowan joins him, to throw him at the apron!

Rowan returns, and gives Gallows the big splash! Cover, TWO! Gallows lives, and the Bludgeon Brothers seem a bit surprised. Harper tags in and he chops Gallows in a corner. He gives an uppercut, then rakes the eyes of Gallows. Gallows falls, then Harper tags in Rowan. Rowan drops an elbow, then a knee. He puts Gallows in a chinlock, then shifts to a fist vice. Fans rally up for Gallows and Gallows fights back, only for Rowan to run him over. Rowan sits Gallows up for another fist vice, but fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” for The Club. Gallows endures the painful vice, then gets up to fight back again. Rowan clubs Gallows then tags Harper. Rowan clubs Gallows, then Harper adds on his own forearms.

Harper uppercuts Gallows, then whips him in, but gallows boots Rowan down! Gallows hits Harper away, but Harper kicks low. Harper prepares a bomb, but Gallows slips out to uppercut him back. Harper staggers into a YAKUZA Kick! Anderson returns! And he gets the tag! The Machine Gun flies for a crossbody! Then things speed up, SPINEBUSTER!

Cover, TWO! Anderson keeps focus, but Rowan comes in! Rowan suplexes, but Anderson slips out to throw him out! Harper is up, and gets Anderson with a Scrapbuster! Cover, TWO!! Harper is shocked, and shakes his head. Rowan returns to the corner, and Harper tags Rowan. But Gallows trips Rowan and they fight! Rowan boots Gallows into the timekeeper’s area, but Anderson rolls Harper! TWO! So close! Anderson dodges, but Rowan tags in, Alley-oop into KILLER BOMB!! Cover, Bludgeon Brothers win!

Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers, Rowan pinning; still SmackDown Tag Team Champions

Another close call, but in the end, The Good Brothers still fall. Will Harper & Rowan ever even be slowed down in their tag team reign of terror?

Daniel Bryan heads to the ring!

The Goat crosses paths with some familiar foes from his past. Harper & Rowan look Bryan up and down, but they leave him be. Bryan is ready for his chance at glory and gold in the SmackDown Gauntlet!

WWE Championship #1 Contenders Gauntlet Match!

We know Daniel Bryan is one half of the opening match up. The other competitor will be… Awwwwwww Toledo~! Don’t you dare be sour, clap for your famous four-time champs, and feel~ the power~!

Daniel Bryan VS Big E!

Yes, the powerhouse of positive energy is here, and showers the fans in pancakes along with The New Day. Can Big E make a big move and head for a big title match? Or will Bryan remind us all why he was a WWE Champion in his own right?

The bell rings, the two circle and tie up. Bryan gets an arm, then a headlock, but Big E tosses him off. Big E and Bryan circle again, with fans chanting “New! Day Rocks!” They tie up again, and go shoulder to shoulder. Big E powers Bryan down with the wristlocks, but Bryan rolls and spins to a waistlock. Big E swivels hips and tosses Bryan again! Things speed up, and Big E runs Bryan over. They keep going, but now Bryan trips E into a leglock. Bryan shifts, to a surfboard! He gets the legs, then the arms, and starts pulling, to bring Big E up. Big E is too big, so Bryan shifts to a dragon sleeper!

Big E fights out, so Bryan kicks away! Bryan gives a shoulder breaker, then a hammerlock and takedown. Bryan rams knees into that arm, then pulls back on the other. Big E resists and stands up, to back elbow Bryan. Big E runs, but things speed up again. Bryan goes for a hip toss, which Big E denies, and Big E shovels Bryan but Bryan lands on his feet. Bryan runs into a belly2belly! Big E stalks Bryan to ropes, and positions him on the apron. Big E joins Bryan out there, and leaps for the Big Splash! Bryan is squashed on the apron while we go picture in picture.

Big E tells Bryan this is his match. Then E brings Bryan up, and carries him around, to then run all the way into the timekeeper’s barriers! Bryan writhes again, but Big E leaves him at the mercy of the count. Bryan crawls at 5, stands at 7, but collapses at 8! But he hurries back up and beats the count at 9.9! Big E can’t believe it, but he does cover, TWO. Bryan gets to a corner, but Big E is on him with a buckle bump. Big E follows Bryan across the way, and gives a big body shot. Bryan gets to another corner, and Big E hoists him up top. Big E joins him up there, but Bryan hits back. Bryan fights Big E off, and we go single picture as Bryan leaps! The headbutt misses! E covers, TWO!

Big E stands while Bryan clutches his gut. Big E stands Bryan up, gut wrench lift, into the Canadian Torture Rack! Bryan endures being bent and stretched against Big E’s shoulder. He then sits up and out, then runs to run Big E over with a leaping lariat! Big E gets to a corner, but Bryan fires up with the fans. Bryan gets himself to a corner, and Big E runs in, but into a drop toehold! E hits buckles, and Bryan kicks away on him! Bryan hoists Big E up now, then joins him, for a SUPER STEINER! But Bryan fires up again, as does Toledo. Bryan runs in, and hits the dropkick! And another! And, then runs into a BIG lariat! Gut wrench, Canadian Backbreaker! Cover, TWO!!

Bryan is down while Big E catches his breath. Big E stands and grabs a leg, to lift Bryan with a stretch muffler! He bends Bryan, letting gravity do a lot of damage to that leg. But Bryan drags Big E down, into the YES LOCK! Big E resists, powers out, but ends up in a triangle hold! Big E powers up again, to deadlift Bryan! But Bryan shifts again, to a knee smash! Then he goes after the leg, but Big E gets a ropebreak. Bryan lets go, then stands up to give European Uppercuts! Big E throws big hands, then whips Bryan corner to corner. Bryan goes up and over, then builds speed, but is put on the apron. Big E SPEARS Bryan right off the apron!!

Big E himself can barely stand after that collision. But he still gets Bryan in the ring, and stalks Bryan while fans declare “This is Awesome!” Big E lifts, but Bryan slips out, and sends Big E into a post! KNEE PLUS! Cover, Bryan ELIMINATES Big E! Bryan advances and faces…

Daniel Bryan VS Samoa Joe!

The worst possible opponent to face after all of that. The Destroyer barrels down the ramp while we go to break.

SmackDown returns, and Joe chops away on Bryan in a corner. Bryan keeps getting up but Joe just keeps chopping him back. Joe looms over Bryan, then drags him up again while fans duel. AJ Styles watches this backstage as Joe headbutts Bryan to ropes. Joe whips but Bryan kicks back and then chops back! Bryan also kicks back, then chops, then kicks, repeat. Bryan runs, but into a spinning powerslam!

Cover, TWO! Joe backs off while the referee checks on Bryan. Bryan is apparently okay to continue, so Joe drags him back up. Joe chops Bryan again, but Bryan still comes back. Joe kicks Bryan, then chops him, then jabs, then more chops and more jabs. He knees Bryan down, then lets the referee check on Bryan. Bryan is okay, so it’s back to the fight.

Joe drags Bryan back up for a headbutt, but Bryan won’t stay down. Joe suplexes but Bryan slips out and chops back! Bryan kicks and chops again, then runs again, but into bomb position! Powerbomb, high stack, cover, TWO, to Boston Crab! Bryan endures, so Joe just shifts to an STF. Bryan endures more, and drags himself around, so Joe goes to a pure crossface! Joe wrenches back but Bryan still mores, so Joe changes it to Napalm Death! Bryan gets the ropebreak, so Joe lets him go. The Samoan Submission Machine glares down at Bryan, then brings him up for another headbutt. Joe kicks Bryan, but then Bryan blocks, to dragon screw! Joe ends up in a corner, but Bryan goes out to throw that leg into the post! Flashbacks to MITB and Big Cass!

Bryan won’t let up, either, he throws Joe’s leg into the post again. Joe staggers away but Bryan is on him with a EuroUpper. Bryan runs, but into the atomic drop. Joe boots, then adds the back senton! Cover, TWO! This match continues while we go to break.

SmackDown returns, and Joe is toying with Bryan. Then Joe chops Bryan again, and again. Bryan’s chest is as red as his tights but he still chops back against Joe. They have a chop fight, and Bryan gets the edge. Bryan runs, but into the sleeper! Joe wants Coquina, but Bryan tosses him out! Bryan gets himself to the apron, takes aim, and leaps for the flying knee! He hits just enough, then puts Joe in the ring. Bryan climbs up again, leaps again, and hits the missile dropkick! Both men are down, but Bryan keeps himself moving. Fans chant “YES! YES!” to give him strength. He stands, and begins the YES Kicks!

Bryan kicks, and kicks, and kicks, and kicks, and… Joe blocks the buzzsaw! But not the enziguri! Joe goes into a corner, and Bryan fires up again. Bryan runs in, but Joe gets out. Bryan changes plans, and slides, but into a sleeper! Joe brings Bryan down, and watches the count. Joe waits for the count to climb, but Bryan uses barriers for leverage! He brings Joe down, then scrambles to the ring! The count reaches 10, and Bryan ELIMINATES Joe! Joe is in disbelief, but those are the rules. Bryan advances on again, but what’re the Bludgeon Brothers doing back in the ring!? Harper & Rowan circle Bryan like sharks smelling blood, KILLER BOMB! But why!? The match rolls on, and now…

Daniel Bryan VS The Miz!

The A-Lister takes advantage, Skull Crushing Finale! Cover, Miz ELIMINATES Bryan!! And he doesn’t even give Bryan the courtesy of exiting on his own, he tosses Bryan to the floor.

Miz has an easy win here, but that means he faces…

The Miz VS Rusev!

The Bulgarian Lion, with MC Artiste by his side, prepares to face the opportunistic Miz, but we go to one more break.

SmackDown returns and Rusev dropkicks Miz! Cover, TWO, and Miz asks for mercy. Rusev does not show it, he just stomps Miz out. Rusev drags Miz up but Miz jawbreakers him away. Miz runs, but his A-List clothesline was caught! Rusev brings Miz out, for a Fall Away Slam! Cover, TWO! Styles is still watching, and Rusev throws hands on Miz. Rusev runs, but Miz dumps him out! Miz runs, and hits a wrecking ball dropkick. Miz has English stay back, but English still cheers Rusev on. Fans chant “Rusev Day!” but Miz puts Rusev into barriers. Miz then puts Rusev in the ring, and hits the low boot. Cover, TWO!

Miz puts Rusev in a chinlock, but Rusev moves around against the hold. Fans rally for Rusev, and Rusev feeds off that to get up. Rusev stands, fights out, but Miz counters for the A-list combination! Cover, TWO! Miz stalks Rusev in a corner, then grinds his boot in. The referee backs Miz off, and Miz takes aim from the corner. Miz runs in and hits the A-List lariat, then climbs up. Miz aims, leaps and hits ax handles. Cover, TWO, but it’s right back to the chinlock. Miz rakes Rusev’s face a bit, but fans keep rallying for Rusev. Rusev stands, but Miz wrangles him back down by grabbing hair. Miz squeezes tight, but Rusev endures. Rusev reaches for ropes, but Miz uses a leg to block the ropebreak. Rusev powers through, and gets the break!

Miz lets go then backs off. Ohio still supports Miz, but they also chant for Rusev. Rusev boots Miz, and now they brawl with haymakers. They go back and forth, but Miz knees low. Miz runs, but into a roundhouse! And another! Rusev runs in, big shoulder into the corner, then running heel kick! “Rusev Day!” echoes through the crowd as Rusev prepares. Miz stands, MACHKA- No, Miz dodges the kick and goes for the full nelson. Rusev resists, and powers out! Rusev backs Miz into a corner, then runs in, but into a knee. Miz runs out, but into another roundhouse! Cover, TWO! Rusev catches his breath while Miz rolls out of the ring.

Rusev spots Miz and pursues. He puts Miz back in the ring, but Miz hotshots Rusev, then trips him up, before putting him into steel steps! Then back into the ring, cover, TWO! English is relieved, but Miz is frustrated. Miz stands up and gives IT Kicks. Fans say “NO! NO!” with every kick that Miz parodies. Miz prepares the buzzsaw, but misses! Rusev trips him, but Miz slips out of the Accolade to kick low and DDT! Cover, TWO!! Miz can’t believe it, but he isn’t done, either. He glares at Rusev as Rusev gets to a corner. Fans still rally for Rusev, but Miz mocks the Yes fingers. “No! No!” but Miz runs, MACHKA KICK! ACCOLADE!! Miz taps, Rusev wins!!

Winner: Rusev, by submission; will face the WWE Champion at Extreme Rules

For the first time in his career, Rusev will face a world champion 1v1! And speaking of, AJ Styles comes out to look at his #1 contender. The Phenomenal One and the Bulgarian Brute are set for an extreme collision course, and Styles lays down a gauntlet of his own. He and Rusev stare down while the fans are thunderous. Both men shake hands, and even English wants one of those. But then he pulls it away to mock the champ. Bad idea, because Styles clocks English with a haymaker!

Even Rusev can’t believe his pal did that to Styles. Will this feud be more respectful than Styles’ previous one?

 


 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown is back on top! Everything was in a proper order in order to escalate the show to a great high point. Carmella gets to brag, as does Ellsworth, and Asuka is denied her retribution for now. I’m honestly surprised Paige didn’t decide on an Extreme Rules rematch for them, but perhaps she is going to wait to see how the other women do first. Speaking of, Becky does great getting a win on Billie, and this can help her build a case towards challenging Carmella. Peyton herself has a chance, but she’ll probably be used to put Charlotte or even Naomi over.

I’m not as familiar with Jeff Hardy’s Willow persona, but as long as he and Nakamura have a program, I’m good with seeing it in WWE. SAnitY finally arrives, though the main roster fans didn’t seem to think much of it. Them wrecking the Usos was surprising, but it probably is the best thing given their characters. They’ll likely have their real match later on, and that could probably go either way. The Club getting a rematch was surprising, but it’s what Paige wanted. I was disappointed The Club lost, but again, it probably just isn’t time. Harper & Rowan going after Bryan was also confusing, but it gives them some serious Heel Heat. I wonder if Bryan will call on any old friends to take those titles from them…

But even with Harper & Rowan interfering to give Miz his easy win, the SmackDown Gauntlet was equal with the Raw Gauntlet, give or take. Bryan does amazing, as does Big E. That opening match-up alone was good enough for a PPV. Then Bryan shows how lungs and heart play into his fight with Samoa Joe, and it was brilliant for it to be a ring count elimination. Joe doesn’t look weak, just that he got outsmarted for a moment. Miz shares in the Heel Heat with Harper & Rowan, but then he and Rusev themselves put on a great match of their own. What a great thing for Rusev to win, he really deserves it. He’s been over ever since Rusev Day started, and now he’s #1 contender. Nice touch with English still being at least Tweener and then paying for it. This dynamic will really make the Styles-Rusev build unique.

My Score: 8.8/10


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