The final SmackDown before Extreme Rules gives us another rematch between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura ahead of their respective title matches on Sunday!
All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter
- AJ Styles VS Shinsuke Namakura; Styles wins, by disqualification.
- AJ Styles & Jeff Hardy VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev w/ Aiden English; Nakamura & Rusev win.
- Lumberjack Match: Asuka VS James Ellsworth; Asuka wins.
- Sin Cara VS Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega; Almas wins.
- 10 Man Tag: The New Day & Team Hell No VS The Bludgeon Brothers & SAnitY; The New Day & Team Hell No win.
PLAY BY PLAY
SmackDown opens with Miz TV!
The Most Must-See Talk Show in WWE starts off the night as the Hollywood A-Lister recounts how everyone is talking about the Miz & Mrs. debut! The fans can boo but he’s going to win an Emmy for it. But there is something else fans are talking about, and it’s the special reunion of tonight’s guests. Fans “YES! YES!” for the team fighting for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships this Sunday. Give a standing ovation to Kane & Daniel Bryan, Team Hell No!
Kane & Bryan make their way out to the ring, headed for Pittsburgh and the Bludgeon Brothers. But to address the elephant in the room, Miz knows Bryan is upset over their Gauntlet match encounter. Miz will be professional so long as Bryan promises the same. Fans say “NO! NO!” but Bryan wonders if Miz is really asking if he’s getting punched in the face. Fans say “YES! YES!” Kane calms Bryan down, it’s not the time to punch Miz. Bryan promises to be professional. Miz doesn’t appreciate the fans booing that, so he raises his hand. “You want to act like children, I’ll treat you like children.”
This is the level of respect Hell No deserves. They were box office record breakers and tag team champions. They’re a well-oiled machine, and Miz never thought he’d see the day. It’s like an N*Sync reunion. But are they prepared to face one of their greatest challenges? Kane says N*Sync will never reunited. But he will admit Harper & Rowan are formidable. But they’re not Team Hell No. Miz actually agrees. If there’s a team that can handle those two, it’s these two. Let’s look back at the “most united” tag team in WWE History! Footage rolls from two weeks ago, when they #HuggedItOut. And the week after, the two talked it out. Bryan always has a demon watching over him. But then the footage recaps everything Bryan says: the Tombstones, the attempted abductions, the other Tombstones, the arguments, and the beatings.
Miz “claims” that was not what he intended to show. Someone is getting fired over this. Though, with that all being brought up, let’s address it. Bryan stops Miz, and tells him to stop right there. They both see what he’s up to. Miz claims to be professional but he just stirs the pot. It won’t work, because he’s the Miz, who is terrible at everything. Fans agree with that. In fact, the only thing Miz is worse at is actually wrestling. Is that what Bryan thinks? That’s just what Bryan thinks. Because Miz is smarter. Miz doesn’t think, he knows it’ll implode because it’s always happened. Bryan came back from his injury, but Miz has wanted to be the one to end Bryan. Bryan hides behind nostalgia because he can’t hang with Miz anymore.
Kane works to keep Bryan calm. Breathe, deep in and out, to keep the energy focused on the Bludgeon Brothers. Yeah, hide behind the broken down demon. That angers Kane! But then the Bludgeon Brothers appear! Harper & Rowan head to the ring, ready with their hammers and belts. But Kane & Bryan aren’t going anywhere. Wait, now it’s SAnitY?! THey jump Kane & Bryan in the ring! They feed Kane to Harper & Rowan while they stomp away on Bryan! Harper & Rowan throw Kane into steel steps, but here come The New Day! Kofi, Xavier & Big E make the save as Kofi leaps on Rowan & Harper! Woods throws Eric Young while Big E runs Damo over! Woods is on Wolfe, but Young and the Bludgeon Brothers come back. Bryan knocks down Young but Damo runs Bryan over!
Referees finally appear but they can’t stop the chaos! Young gives Woods the wheelbarrow neckbreaker, then Harper & Rowan throw Kofi at the apron. Big E ends up in the powerslam neckbreaker from Wolfe & Damo, and only then does the carnage stop. This is far from how SmackDown was meant to open, will GM Paige have something to say about this?
AJ Styles VS Shinsuke Namakura!
It’s yet another Dream (Re)match between the Phenomenal One and King of Strong Style, but not for the title. At Extreme Rules, the WWE Champion defends the House that AJ Styles Built from the Bulgarian Lion while Nakamura looks to become United States Champion against Jeff Hardy. Who will win this main-event caliber opener to gain momentum for Extreme Rules?
But before the match can begin, Rusev & Aiden English make their presence known. “Hey champ!” Rusev doesn’t care what happens Sunday, Styles can fortify the House all he wants, Rusev is going to break it down. Fans chant “Rusev Day!” as Rusev vows to claim his first ever WWE (world) Championship, to celebrate on a day that will haunt Styles forever. Rusev Daaaaaay~! The bell rings and Nakamura goes right at Styles! Things speed up but Styles dropkicks Nakamura out of the ring! Nakamura bails out while we go picture in picture.
Styles waits for Nakamura while Rusev & English walk to ringside. Styles chops Nakamura against the barriers, then puts him back in the ring. Nakamura rolls all the way out on the other side, but Styles pursues. Nakamura knees Styles then puts him into barriers. He drags Styles up and into the ring, and Styles gets to a corner. Nakamura kicks and knees Styles in the corner, then backs off at 4. Styles stands up but Nakamura is on him with a suplex. Styles blocks, even as Nakamura tries again and again. Nakamura shifts strategies and throws in knees and stomps. He walks it off while Styles crawls to a corner. Styles kicks back then bumps Nakamura off the buckles. Styles rams in his shoulder then brings Nakamura out for a snap suplex. Cover, TWO, but Styles keeps his cool.
Styles brings Nakamura up again, for a backbreaker! Nakamura writhes while Styles catches his breath. Styles comes back to bring Nakamura up and whips him corner to corner. Nakamura hits buckles hard and falls to the mat. Styles keeps on him, driving an elbow into his face. Styles then gets room for a running knee drop. Cover, TWO! Styles grows a bit annoyed but he keeps on Nakamura with a chinbar. Nakamura endures and grabs at Styles’ face. Nakamura stands an dfights out of the hold. He has Styles in a corner and rams knees in. He backs off again, but comes back with kicks. Nakamura walks around to embrace the ehat, but Styles mule kicks Nakamura! Styles whips Nakamura into the corner, then runs in, but is put on the apron. Styles hits Nakamura away, then springboards, but Nakamura trips him up!
The champ crashes and burns, but Nakamura throws him into barriers! Nakamura puts Styles back in the ring, cover, ONE. He tries again, ONE. Nakamura grabs Styles into a modified cobra clutch, but fans rally up for Styles. Styles stands but Nakamura brings him back down. Nakamura thrashes him around, but fans still cheer for Styles. Styles gets up again and fights out. He backs Nakamura down but Nakamura gives a strike fest and ax kick! Then a gordbuster! Nakamura backs off to take aim… But Styles rolls him up! TWO, enziguri from Styles! Nakamura staggers to a corner again as Styles stands up. Styles runs into a boot! Styles runs back in but is put on the top rope, for the Top Shelf Knee!
Nakamura drags Styles up from the corner, and scoops for a slam. Cover, TWO! Rusev likes what he sees, and thinks of how he’d improve on the move. Fans duel while Nakamura stomps Styles to the ropes. Nakamura kicks and kicks, but Styles catches on, only for Nakamura to kick with the other leg. Cover, TWO! Nakamura is frustrated but in control while we go to break.
SmackDown returns as Styles chops away on Nakamura. He whips but Nakamura reverss into a knee. Nakamura swings kicks but gets the Phenomenal Blitz instead! Styles adds the sliding forearm! Nakamura gets to a corner, and Styles runs in, for a big corner clothesline. Styles lifts Nakamura but Nakamura slips off to say, “C’MON!” Styles falls for it, but the sleeper becomes the Ushigoroshi! Cover, TWO! Both men are down but Rusev questions Styles’ strength to pick the Bulgarian Brute up. Styles drags Nakamura up but Nakamura denies the Clash. Styles clubs Nakamura to try it anyway, but Nakamura’s legs grab Styles into a triangle hold! Nakamura brings Styles to the mat, but Styles powers up to lift Nakamura into position. He can’t get free so he works ot make it a cover. ONE, but Nakamura still has the hold.
Styles rolls and makes it another cover, TWO! Nakamura had to let go this time, but he keeps his eyes on Styles. Styles swings but ends up in the inverted exploder! He lands on his feet, and tells Nakamura, “C’MON!” Nakamura falls for it and is thrown outside! Styles slingshots for the forearm! English trash talks Styles about Rusev beating the crap out of him, so Styles haymakers the crap out of English! Rusev protests, but Nakamura boots Styles right in the face! Nakamura takes aim, but Styles dodges, KINSHASA for English!! Styles throws Nakamura into a post, then into the ring. Styles takes aim, but Rusev trips him up!
Winner: Styles, by disqualification
Rusev claims Styles knew the Kinshasa was going into English, so he’s making Styles pay. But then here comes Jeff Hardy! The Charismatic Enigma fights Rusev and Nakamura but numbers get the better of him. They double whip but Hardy dodges to dropkick them down! Hardy takes aim, wrecking ball dropkick wipes them out! Fans chant “DELETE! DELETE!” Here comes GM Paige! The Glampire wants the boys to calm down. With all four men in the ring all set to face off Sunday, why not have us a tag team match? Yes, and right now! Will the reigning champions thwart their challengers together tonight?
AJ Styles & Jeff Hardy VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev w/ Aiden English!
In the wise words of former SmackDown GM, Teddy Long: Holla holla! SmackDown returns to this match as Styles and Rusev circle. Styles kicks Rusev in the leg but Rusev keeps with him. Rusev catches the next kick but Styles throws haymakers. Rusev runs Styles over with a lariat, cover, ONE. The Bulgarian Brute stomps Styles now, then brings him up for big haymakers. Rusev drags Styles up for a knee while fans duel between Styles and “Rusev Day!” Rusev lifts Styles in a Bulgarian bearhug, but fans rally up for Styles. Styles fights against the hold, then leaps for a tag, but Rusev catches him. Rusev scoop slams then snap suplexes Styles. He drags Styles up again, for more bearhug! We go picture in picture as Styles endures the squeeze.
Rusev keeps his grip on Styles, and Styles begins to fade. But Styles comes back to fight with forearms again. Fans rally up, and Styles breaks free. But not for long, as Rusev gets him again. We return to single picture as fans boo and jeer. Styles endures and fights out again. Styles gets free, but Rusev knees low. Rusev suplexes but Styles slips out to jump onto Rusev for a sleeper hold! Rusev reaches but backs Styles down into buckles. Styles lets go, but he dodges Rusev’s shoulder! Rusev hits post, and now Styles crawls for his corner. Fans rally, hot tag to Hardy! The US Champ throws hands on Rusev, but Rusev whips Hardy. Hardy runs Rusev over, then atomic drop to leg splitting leg drop and dropkick. He adds a splash, cover, TWO. Hardy keeps his eyes on Nakamura while he waits for Rusev.
Rusev denies the Twist, but runs into an elbow. Whisper in the Wind! But Nakamura breaks the cover! Styles throws Nakamura out, then hits the sliding knee from the apron. MACHKA Kick takes Styles out, then Rusev thrusts at Hardy. Hardy dodges, Twist of Fate! Hardy climbs up quick, but Nakamura trips him up. Rusev is up, MACHKA KICK! Cover, Rusev & Nakamura win!
Winners: Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev pinning
It took distractions and opportunism to do it, but the challengers beat the duo of champions. Will Nakamura have tricks up his sleeve for Hardy? Will Rusev demolish the House that AJ Styles Built? Or will the champions get revenge and retain their belts at Extreme Rules?
James Ellsworth warms up backstage.
Carmella wants him to take care of Asuka tonight. Don’t worry, eh’s got it. She doesn’t seem as assured. And don’t ever wink at her, or you’ll get a beating worse than Asuka this Sunday. Ellsworth is “ready”, but is he really?
Lumberjack Match: Asuka VS James Ellsworth!
The WWE Battle of the Sexes has another go after the count-out draw from last week. With the entire SmackDown Women’s Division at ringside, will the Chinless Wonder weasel his way out of a beating from the Empress of Tomorrow? Or will he shock the world by defeating her?
Before the match, #EllsworthisExquisite wants to address everyone with his shirt off. It must be tempting, but please show some restraint around him. “None of you are ready for Asuka, but James Ellsworth is! Bring her out.” Bold last words, someone better put those on his headstone. Asuka appears as Ellsworth wanted, and this match begins.
Ellsworth and Asuka circle, but Ellsworth avoids her grapple. He also avoids the back hand, but the Lumberjacks keep him in the ring. Ellsworth wants a time-out, but there’s no time-outs in wrestling. Asuka swings a kick, and Ellsworth again narrowly avoids it. Sonya & Mandy keep him from fleeing, so Asuka kicks away and hip attacks him to the floor. Ellsworth ends up surrounded, then swarmed as they put him back in the ring. Asuka kicks him again, then fires off palm strikes from both sides. She gives body shots, then the pop-up knee. Asuka adds a sliding kick, but Ellsworth runs away from the cover. Sonya & Mandy surround him again, but he flees to the timekeepers area. Everyone grabs at Ellsworth, but then theys tart fighting each other! Ellsworth retreats, but Becky pursues! The Lass Kicker knocks him down and drags him over, with help from Naomi.
But then, the Lumberjacks swarm! Asuka has grown impatient, she LEAPS onto everyone! Carmella hands Ellsworth something. It’s pepper spray! He tries but fails to use it on Asuka, she back kicks him in the stomach. Carmella shouts at Asuka, and Asuka shouts at Carmella. Ellsworth stands back up, so Asuka kicks him into Carmella! Carmella falls, Asuka grabs Ellsworth into the armbar! Then the Asuka Lock! Ellsworth atap,s Asuka wins!
Winner: Asuka, by submission
But Carmella is on Asuka already! It fails, Asuka fires off on Carmella! She goes back to Ellsworth, who uses the pepper spray! He holds her down, for Carmella’s FABULOUS Kick! The Princess of Staten Island stands tall thanks to help from her henchman, but will she learn the truth that NO ONE is ready for Asuka?
The New Day & Hell No talk strategy.
Their opponents are all huge, so go after the knees. No, they need something permanent like setting them on fire! How? Summon Satan through a portal? Yes! This is why SAnitY got the jump on them. Hell No needs to work together. Well if Kane let Bryan punch Miz, they would’ve seen SAnitY coming. No. Yes. No… Yes… No…! Yes…! STOP!! If they don’t get ti together, they don’t stand a chance. Xavier, use that big brain of yours! Kofi, run circles around them! Daniel, become the Goat Face Killer! Kane– Kane, are you paying attention? The Big Red Machine promises that they will win, and forever has now begun. YES!! Wait was that an N*Sync lyric? It still applies. YES!
Carmella & Ellsworth encounter Paige backstage.
Did she see what Ellsworth just did? His stock is higher than WWE’s! And he’ll make an exception if she wants to kiss. Pucker up! Ew no. Back off. Paige wants Ellsworth to be high above the ring this Sunday, because it’s now a SHARK CAGE Match! Ellsworth is going to be a Chinless Pinata, will he end up watching Carmella lose from the best seat in the house?
Sin Cara VS Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega!
The former Lucha Dragon wanted this match over a month ago, but El Idolo ambushed him backstage. Sin Cara was injured for some time after that, but now he’s back. Can he get revenge on his former amigo and get him away from Vega’s influence? Or will Almas finally get the spotlight Vega believes he deserves?
The bell rings and the two circle. Almas slaps Sin Cara, then back elbows out. He puts Sin Cara against ropes to CHOP! He whips Sin Cara but Sin Cara counters the tilt-o-whirl with an armdrag! Then he headscissors Almas out of the ring. Vega panics but Sin Cara DIVES! The tope suicida sends Almas to the ramp! Sin Cara puts him back in the ring, then drags him up. Almas standing switches but Sin Cara bucks him off. Almas catches the boots to give Sin Cara a draping backbreaker and elbow DDT. Cover, TWO, and we go picture in picture as Almas stomps away on Sin Cara.
Almas brings Sin Cara over to the ropes to then slingshot wrecking ball dropkick him out! He builds speed, to Tranquilo with Vega! He stops posing to put Sin Cara back in the ring, then stomp him more. Almas brings Sin Cara up but Sin Cara fights back. Almas whips but Sin Cara hits back. Sin Cara whips but Almas tumbles to the apron. Almas catches Sin Cara into a hanging armbar! He lets go at 4, then covers. TWO, but he keeps on Sin Cara with an armlock. Sin Cara endures and gets up. Almas throws forearms then whips him corner to corner. Almas catches the boots again but Sin Cara back elbows Almas. Sin Cara dodges the splash, then throws forearms. Almas throws them back while we go single picture. Sin Cara gives chops, but Almas shoves. Sin Cara springboards for the crossbody!
They stand up, Sin Cara whips but Almas reverses, only to get another springboard crossbody! Sin Cara keeps going while fans fire up. Vega coaches Almas up, and Almas gets Sin Cara only for a spike-rana! Cover, TWO! Vega is frustrated for Almas while Sin Cara keeps the fans in it. Sin Cara brings Almas back up, an dsuplexes, but Alma sslips out. Sn cara elbow sbut runs into an elbow! Almas drags Sin Cara up, Hammerlock DDT coutnered! Cover, TWO, Sin Cara gets Almas with an uppercut! Almas runs in, but is dumped out to the floor!
Sin Cara fires up again while Vega panics. Slingshot huricanrana! Then back into the ring as Sin Cara climbs up. Frog Splash hits knees! Almas crawls over, then climbs up top, but Sin Cara trips him up! Sin Cara climbs up to join him, but Almas trips him up into Tree of Woe! WOE STOMPS! Almas keeps going, CIEN KNEES!! Cover, Almas wins!
Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas, by pinfall
El Idolo downs his former friend, and with authority. With Vega by his side, keeping him on this course, will he find his way to the top in no time?
They are here to “break the status quo.” They are here to make happiness into havoc. And they’re not here for nostalgia. Team Hell No & New Day have had their time in the light, but now it’s time for the “pure, unadulterated chaos.” Harper & Rowan enter the darkness, and agree. “Let the bludgeoning begin.” This collection of cruel and unusual allies is unified, will they conquer their Extreme Rules opponents even before Sunday?
10 Man Tag: The New Day & Team Hell No VS The Bludgeon Brothers & SAnitY!
Alliances born from chaos and convenience, only one side will gain momentum for their respective matches at Extreme Rules. Can Bryan & Kane keep it together long enough to challenge Harper & Rowan for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships? Or will doomsday come early as the champions and their chaotic comrades come out on top?
The bell rings and it’s a brawl! All ten men fight, and it’s The New Day & Hell No who hold the ring! We go to break while things settle down.
SmackDown returns and Woods has Wolfe in a snapmare. Woods tags Kofi and they hit their kick, sliding lariat and elbow drop combo! Big E tags in for the Big Splash! Cover, TWO, but Big E manages to keep Wolfe from a tag. Woods tags back in and throws in body shots. Woods brings Wolfe up but Wolfe hits back. Wolfe whips Woods, but runs into a boot. Woods covers, TWO. Woods brings Wolfe to an open corner for a buckle bump, but has to fight off Young & Damo. Wolfe gets Woods in a German Suplex! Rowan tags in without permission, then drags Woods up in a pumphandle backbreaker. He keeps going for a scoop slam and elbow drop. Tag to Harper for the slingshot senton, cover, TWO. Harper rolls Woods around gator style while we go to picture in picture.
Harper keeps Woods down with a chinlock, but fans rally up. Woods gets up and reaches for ropes, then stands up, but Harper yanks him back down. Harper grinds the chinlock in, but Woods endures. Woods sits up again, then fights out, only to get a scoop slam. We return to single picture as Big Damo tags in without asking. The Beast from Belfast drives in elbows on Woods, then wrenches his neck. Woods endures again, and fans rally up. He fights out with body shots, but Damo shoves him. Woods fights out of the enemy corner, only to run into the Wasteland slam and big back senton! Damo looms over Woods while we go to commercials.
SmackDown returns once more, and Rowan squeezes Woods’ head in a hammer fist vice. Fans rally up again, and Woods jawbreakers free. Woods gets up but gets run over by a back elbow. Rowan whips Woods into an open corner, then tag sin Harper. Harper slaps Rowan to fire him up for the corner to corner whip. Harper hits Woods, then Rowan does, to feet Woods to the Michinoku Driver! Cover, but The New Day breaks it. SAnitY throws them out, including Woods. Harper can’t find WOods, but Woods gets him with the siwng kick and the step-n tornado DDT! Fans rally while Young tags in. Hot tag to Bryan! Bryan fires off on everyone, then focuses on Young. He kicks and kicks away in a corner, “YES! YES!” Young reverss the whip but Bryan goes up and over to hit the leaping lariat!
Bryan boots Wolfe & Damo down, then dropkicks Young in a corner. He hoists Young up top, climbs up, and gives Young the SUPER STEINER! Bryan fires up more, and gives proper YES Kicks. “YES! YES!” Bryan loads up the buzzsaw, but Young dodges to roll up. TWO, into Yes Lock! Young is locked in but Wolfe breaks it. Kane grabs Wolfe, CHOKE SLAM! Rowan heel kicks Kane, but Woods missile dropkicks Rowan. Harper gives Woods a scrapbuster! Kofi gives Harper Trouble in Paradise! Big E returns and works with Kofi for the alley-oop dive! Everyone is down on the outside, but Big E sees his targets. Big Damo hits the DIVIDE on Kofi, but Big E has him. He throws Damo out, to then run and SPEAR him down! Bryan is up, fired up, and aiming at Young! Young staggers over, KNEE PLUS!! Cover, Bryan & team wins!
Winners: Team Hell No & The New Day, Bryan pinning
“YES! YES!” Bryan & Kane worked together with each other and with their pancake-serving allies. Even Kane does the “YES!” hands. But Bryan shows him the proper way of celebrating, BOOM! Wait, no fire? It works for Kane. Bryan tries again… Nope. Kane says he can do it, but Bryan wants to do it himself. Fans fire up with Bryan and… BOOM!! The fire came! Even Kane is surprised! With them this synchronized, can anything stop Team Hell No from becoming champions again?
Once again, SmackDown is Raw, but better. We get “impromptu” matches made up of unlikely teams, but at least with SmackDown, there was better delivery on most of it. Miz TV leading to a confrontation and an attack was the usual set up, but I like that Miz kept the spark of him VS Bryan alive for later on. And opening with Styles-Nakamura was clearly to lead into something else, but the resulting 2v2 tag match was pretty good. The challengers stand tall now, but you can expect at least Styles to retain over Rusev. Nakamura VS Hardy can still go either way, and it wouldn’t be so bad if Nakamura won his first main roster title to give him something for Summerslam.
The co-ed Lumberjack match went as about you could expect in WWE. Asuka fires off all the shots on Ellsworth, as he deserves, but Ellsworth only runs away because showing men hitting women would not be good for national, family-friendly television. Carmella gets good Heel Heat at the end there, but I feel like making things a Shark Cage match downgrades it a little. But at the same time, there’s no way to keep Ellsworth out of things when a normal Cage match was already given to Strowman VS Kevin on Raw. I hope Asuka wins this, because otherwise, WWE is just burying the streak NXT gave her. Almas VS Sin Cara was great, hopefully they get something more going for Summerslam’s build.
The one odd point is that Samoa Joe VS Tye Dillinger was advertised, but the only acknowledgement of it was on Twitter. WWE shared a video that had Dillinger making his way out, only for Joe to mercilessly attack and choke him out. It was meant to be from the start of the night, though that doesn’t make sense because Miz TV was advertised to open. Then it wouldn’t make sense to say it was after Miz TV because we went right into Styles VS Nakamura. It would’ve been better if WWE never advertised in the first place and ditched the blindside attack, but WWE seems to be so big that their left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. The 10 Man Tag was really good, and definitely piques interest for the tag matches on Sunday, and a long-running program for New Day VS SAnitY for the Summer.
My Score: 8/10