The SmackDown After Money in the Bank!
WWE has stripped Sami Zayn of the Intercontinental Championship! Who will win the tournament to take it up in Sami’s place?
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Elias VS Baron Corbin; Elias wins and advances to the semifinals.
- Naomi VS Dana Brooke; Brooke wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Daniel Bryan VS Drew Gulak; Bryan wins and advances to the semifinals.
- The Miz & John Morrison VS Otis Dozovic & ???; Otis & Strowman win.
PLAY BY PLAY
SmackDown opens with Miz TV!
The Hollywood A-Lister and Guru of Greatness are both already in the ring to host the Most Must-See WWE Talk Show. But before their introduction is even over, Otis heads out! Mr. Money in the Bank is pumped up, and he’s pumping those hips! He does a cartwheel on his way to the ring!? That’s incredible! Dozer joins Miz and Morrison in the ring and they take their seats. But Otis’ chair breaks, so he’ll just stand. Miz congratulates Otis on “winning” the MITB briefcase. Perhaps his most important victory ever. Yes, it is. But in life, his biggest win was winning the heart of his “beautiful peach,” Mandy Rose. How did he pull that off? Does she pity him? Or is he just that good in the sack? Otis must be packing some meat. Morrison, please. He meant in the briefcase. What’s in it? The contract! And…? Well, some Rolaids and Gas X. And? Bratwurst, just in case. Nailed it.
But Miz is still trying to get his head around this. Otis won, even though he couldn’t climb the ladder one rung. Well some things in life crack up, but not Otis. That’s why Otis is MR. MITB! Speaking of Otis’ life, let’s dive into how Otis ended up… like this. Baby Otis is on screen! How much did he weigh when he was born? 12 pounds, 4 ounces. The biggest baby to ever come outta his mother. That poor lady. But can one even imagine what a baby between Otis and Mandy would look like? Is Otis pregnant? Morrison, he’s a man. It’s 2020, anything is possible. He looks like he’s about to give birth to a roast turkey. Maybe he should do what Becky Lynch did and give up the briefcase. Good idea! No, no, no. Otis is not letting go of this. Mama wouldn’t allow this, because she’s been a fan since day one. There’s a picture of Otis and Mama Dozovic.
Otis grew up dealing with a learning disability so school just didn’t make sense to him. But his mother helped him maintain his grades so that he could play sports, especially wrestling, because all that made sense to him. Well nothing in this next pic makes sense to Miz. It’s a young Otis in wrestling gear! The quads and the biceps, baby~! Did that learning disability keep him from figuring out clothes? John boy, if you’ve got it, you flaunt it. The Miz and Morrison can’t keep this up. They cannot take Otis serious as Mr. MITB! Miz was Mr. MITB and used it to springboard into stardom! Otis is using it as his lunchbox! He’s licking it… This “clumsy, sweaty, stuttering, muttering, bearded mama’s boy buffoon is Mr. MITB, and he got the girl, too?!” Otis is sensing a bit of a problem here. Yes! Otis is the problem! The briefcase just fell into Otis’ hands! Just LOOK at Otis! He’s one step from being Universal Champion! THIS is one step away from being the face of SmackDown!! Get Tucker and have a tag match with them!
Well, Tucker can’t be here. He’s got dysentery, like on Oregon Trail. Wow. Then find a partner! ANYONE that is willing to tag in with Otis- Wait why is this staffer only NOW putting in the new chair for Otis? But whatever. Miz still wants to see if anyone at all is willing to team with real-life Shrek here. And then Miz and Morrison will teach them both what real champions are like. Otis has until the end of the show, but are there any takers?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Elias VS Baron Corbin!
With Sami Zayn ruled as unable to compete and defend his title, there must be a NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion crowned! Will the Wolf King silence the Drifter once and for all? Or will Corbin be made to #DriftAway?
The bell rings and Elias dodges the punch to throw punches. Corbin knees low and elbows Elias hard, but Elias hits back. Elias throws hands and CHOPS but Corbin puts him in a corner. The ref calls for the break, and Corbin backs up, but Elias hits first! Elias CHOPS and forearms Corbin to the corner, then kicks him back. Corbin trips Elias up to turn him for a Boston Crab, but Elias rolls through to power out. But Corbin runs Elias over on the rebound! Cover, TWO! Corbin looms over Elias and clamps on for a half nelson. Corbin drives in elbows then wraps on a chinlock. Elias arm-drags free, but Corbin elbows him back down. Corbin puts on a half nelson chinbar but Elias endures. Elias fights up and powers Corbin back, but Corbin wrangles Elias back down. Corbin leans on the hold and drives his elbows in again. Corbin wraps Elias back up in the half nelson chinbar but Elias still endures.
Elias fights his way up, fights out with elbows, and whips Corbin corner to corner. Corbin reverses but Elias goes up, only to get caught. Corbin tosses Elias up but Elias boots him away! Elias throws Corbin out, but Corbin returns! Elias dodges Corbin to clothesline Corbin out! Corbin stirs but Elias climbs up top. Elias LEAPS, and knocks Corbin down with the falling crossbody! The ref starts a ring count as Elias gets up and goes to Corbin. Elias throws forearms and puts Corbin in at 6. Corbin bails out so Elias goes out the way, to walk into a throat chop! Corbin throws Elias into barriers, then puts Elias in the ring. The Wolf King grins as he grabs Elias’ guitar! Corbin mockingly plays the guitar but Elias wrecks him with a dropkick! Elias throws Corbin into barriers, then into steel steps! Elias POSTS Corbin then throws him into the timekeeper’s area! The ring count is climbing as Elias leaves Corbin behind, but SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Elias grinds Corbin down with a kelock. Corbin fights up and spins around to knee low. Corbin throws big forearms, runs in, but Elias dodges! Elias wrenches the arm and hammers away on it. Elias bumps Corbin off buckles, wrenches the arm again, and goes up top. Time to Walk With Elias, but Corbin trips him up! Elias hits ropes then mat, then bails out of the ring. Corbin slowly pursues, his arm slowing him down. Corbin rams Elias onto the announce desk and hammers away! The ring count climbs but Corbin brings Elias into the ring at 6. Cover, TWO! Elias still lives and Corbin is frustrated. Corbin stomps Elias, shouting, “You messed with the wrong king!” Corbin puts Elias in the corner and throws hands! He ROCKS Elias then stomps him into the ropes! Corbin drags Elias up to knee low then elbow on the back again.
Corbin throws another BIG right and Elias ends up in a corner. Elias counter punches and CHOPS Corbin and then kicks low. Corbin knees low again, then whips Elias hard into the corner. Corbin runs in but has to slide out. He slides in and LARIATS Elias down! Cover, TWO! Corbin drags Elias up to reel into another clothesline! “That championship is MINE.” Corbin clobbers Elias again, and says Elias brought this upon himself. But Elias blocks the next clothesline to hit a neckbreaker! Both men are down and a standing count begins. Elias gets to a corner but Corbin gets to his feet. Elias rushes Corbin and throws body shots! The ref pulls Elias off but Elias roars and STOMPS away on Corbin! The ref pulls Elias off again, but Elias whips and clobbers Corbin back! Elias drags Corbin up into a dragon sleeper, for a spinning facebuster! Cover, TWO!!
Elias goes from the corner and hits a running knee drop! Elias goes back to the corner, and up to the top rope. He leaps, but Corbin gets under! Choke grip but Elias breaks free, only for Corbin to throat chop again! Elias dodges, Corbin slides out and in, but Elias dodges again! Only to get a SPINE BUSTER! High stack, TWO!! Corbin’s surprise didn’t finish Elias and he’s furious. Corbin puts Elias on the top rope and climbs up to join him. Elias fights back and slips under to club Corbin on the back! Elias has an Electric Chair, but Corbin slips out to shove Elias into buckles. Choke grip and CHOKE SLAM!! Cover, TWO!?! Corbin can’t believe Elias survives! But if Elias doesn’t want to quit, then Corbin will break him! Corbin throws hands on Elias, mocking him for looking to fans that aren’t here. Corbin throws haymakers on Elias, and then goes back to fetch the guitar. He SMASHES it against a post! Corbin goes back to Elias, but Elias is furious as he KNEES and cradles! ELIAS WINS!!
Winner: Elias, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
Corbin’s ego costs him again! Will this mean the Intercontinental Championship will #WalkWithElias?
Otis searches for a partner backstage.
Sheamus comes by, and Otis offers him that shot against Miz & Morrison. Wow, Otis wants to team with Sheamus?! Really!? “Not a chance, fella.” Well, that’s just one superstar of many. Will Otis find a proper substitute for Tucker before the main event?
Otis mutters to himself as Mandy Rose finds him.
How is Mr. MITB doing? Not good. Without Tucky, he has no one to team with, and no one is offering. Why doesn’t he just ask Braun Strowman? GASP. That’s genius! Otis gives Mandy a kiss before heading out. But would the WWE Universal Champion really want to help the man with an instant title match in his hands?
The Messenger has another message for SmackDown!
“They want to know who I am. I am everywhere. I see everyone. I hear everything. I have the truth, and no one is safe.” Every camera in the WWE acts as his eyes. But what secrets has he seen? The truth will be heard.
Otis finds Braun Strowman.
Otis and The Monster Among Men congratulate each other on their respective wins from MITB. But Otis brings up the open challenge Miz & Morrison gave. Would Braun want to be in that tag team main event? Wait, is Otis propositioning him to be a tag team partner? Or setting him up for a cash-in? No, just the partner part. Strowman knows how the game is played as a former MITB winner. But Otis has guts asking him, so Strowman will consider it. That’s better than an outright no. Otis is confident, but again, will Strowman really team with the man that could get the jump on him and the Universal Championship?
Naomi VS Dana Brooke!
The Glow is back and ready for some payback for the MITB Qualifiers. Especially since Ms. Flex Appeal goofed up and thought a prop was the real MITB briefcase. Will Naomi prove she should’ve been the one climbing the corporate ladder all along?
The bell rings and Dana circles with Naomi. They tie up, go around, and Dana powers Naomi back. Naomi turns things around to waistlock and O’Conner roll, TWO! Naomi keeps moving to clothesline Dana down, then dropkick her, too! Naomi runs into the corner to hit a big forearm smash, then brings Dana up for a bulldog. Dana powers out of that and rolls Naomi up, TWO! Dana ducks a kick to give a kick, and Dana fires herself up. She handsprings corner to corner to back elbow! Then whips Naomi corner to corner. Dana handsprings in but Naomi boots her down! Naomi goes up top and leaps for a crossbody! But Dana rolls it through, only for Naomi to roll it back! Cover, TWO! Naomi watches Dana closely, then wheelbarrows, but Dana sits on it! Dana wins!!
Winner: Dana Brooke, by pinfall
Dana did it again! She catches Naomi by surprise and is thrilled! But Naomi is frustrated that she got caught like that again. Will Naomi keep her cool and her glow?
SmackDown shares Raw’s big news.
Becky Lynch was very emotional as she shared the story of her journey from just a “loud-mouthed Irish woman” who didn’t know anyone in the US, to perhaps one of the most beloved superstars in WWE History! But The Man must now take a step back as she is going to become The Mom! Becky revealed to Asuka that Asuka didn’t just become Ms. MITB, she became THE Raw Women’s Champion! The baton has been passed and Becky starts a glorious new chapter of her life! When and where will The Man come around again?
Charlotte Flair returns to SmackDown!
The new Brand to Brand Invitation was accepted by none other than The Queen! Raw, NXT, and now SmackDown, Charlotte is everywhere! “So here I am, on Friday Night SmackDown, being the hardest working woman in the industry.” Now, she knows what we’re thinking. How is it possible that she’s on all three brands? The answer is simple: people want more Charlotte! So of course Fox used the Brand to Brand Invitation to get the 5’10”, blonde superior athlete and, oh yeah, she’s a Flair. She won five of her 12 title reigns here on SmackDown! There should just be a giant picture of her hanging in the arena to “inspire” everyone to be like the greatest! But here comes Bayley! Oh, and Sasha Banks. But the SmackDown Women’s Champion and The Boss go to the ring to join their fellow NXT Horsewoman.
“Charlotte Flair! Oh my God.” Bayley would say it’s nice to see her, but she’s a role model so she shouldn’t lie. But Fox is just like all the sheep, going wild for the leggy blondes. But of course being a Flair is a selling point, “WOO~!” Charlotte asks if they’re done. Nope. Bayley was sitting back there as Charlotte blabbed on like always, and Bayley thought, “When was the last time I saw Charlotte Flair?” Sasha knows when! It was when Bayley took the title from her to become two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion! Fact check: The first time Bayley beat her, Charlotte was unconscious. And the second time took a makeover and a bad- er, new haircut. Well Charlotte knows better than anyone that a champion’s gotta do what a champion’s gotta do. But Charlotte was upset that Bayley won to become the first GRANDSLAM WOMEN’S CHAMPION!
So Charlotte should just go back to NXT to give the youngsters something to look up to. Or go back to Raw to beat Liv Morgan on repeat. Because this is their show, SmackDown! Bayley is the most dominant SmackDown Women’s Champion ever! She beat everyone, including Charlotte. BOOM! Roasted! Bayley will tell Fox that this was great, but Charlotte should just leave. Oh Bayley. Some things never change. Sasha made Bayley relevant in NXT, and now she’s the only reason Bayley is still relevant here. “And my oh my…” Sasha and Charlotte were the ones that main evented Raw. They were the ones that main evented PPV’s. Sasha is a six-time champion, The Boss, the Blueprint, the gold standard. And yet, Sasha is content standing in Bayley’s corner? That Sasha is content being an afterthought? Shut up, Charlotte. An egomaniac would never understand a true friendship like this! Someone PLEASE cut Bayley’s mic so Sasha can talk.
Bayley doesn’t want to talk, she wants to fight. Champion VS Champion! Charlotte thinks about it, and is pretty sure Fox would love to have Charlotte back again. Challenge accepted. But one question before she leaves. What? Charlotte’s taken too much time already. No, it’s not for Bayley. It’s for Sasha. Charlotte wants Sasha to think long and hard on this. “Are you your own woman? Or are you just going to be Bayley’s lackey and happy being an afterthought?” Next week will answer this and more when Raw’s NXT Women’s Champion and THE SmackDown Women’s Champion collide!
Backstage interview with Braun Strowman.
Judging by him warming up, is it safe to say he has accepted Otis’ offer to face Miz & Morrison? Braun is still chewing on that, this is just how he thinks things over. Braun continues to pump, but will he reach an answer before the main event?
SmackDown hears from The Forgotten Sons.
The following represents the personal views and opinions of Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake. They do not reflect nor represent the views and opinions held by WWE. Viewer discretion is advised.
Ryker wants us to remember when we were kids that believed in something. Honor, freedom, patriotism, heroes. But now it’s all BS. But The Forogtten Sons fought for what they believed in, only to be shunned and cast aside. The country failed to welcome them with opened arms, so they will “welcome” their opponents with closed fists.
Backstage interview with The Miz & John Morrison.
Renee Young asks their reaction to Otis recruiting Braun Strowman. Look, Braun is named that, because he is brawn, not brains. But not even Braun is as dumb as to let Otis have a chance to cash-in. And even then, Braun won’t accept because he knows he can’t go against the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century. Stare off into space. Hey hey! Ho ho! Will Miz ‘n’ Morrison #GetTheseHands?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Daniel Bryan VS Drew Gulak!
Training partners and good friends now must put each other to the test! Will Bryan rebound from missing out on the MITB briefcase? Or will Gulak finally unleash a plan that can defeat even The Goat?
SmackDown returns as Gulak makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two shake hands to show there is going to be respect here. They circle and tie up with knuckle locks but Gulak spins and wrenches. Bryan rolls and rolls and bridges, to then spin and step through to a back drop! Gulak headscissors but Bryan rolls and ties up the legs. Gulak blocks and goes for a leg, but Bryan gets the ropebreak. Gulak lets up and the two reset. They tie up and Gulak pushes Bryan back, but Bryan headlocks. Bryan shifts to an arm takedown and wrenches the wrist. He steps over but Gulak rolls him up, TWO! Bryan has a short arm scissor and rolls, but Gulak avoids the Yes Lock, only to end up in a cover! TWO and now Bryan has the Yes Lock! Gulak gets the ropebreak, and Bryan lets up quick. The two grin and reset again.
Bryan and Gulak tie up, Bryan waistlocks and rolls but Gulak keeps his shoulders up. They stand, Gulak standing switches and rolls back, to the GuLOCK! Bryan endures, pops free but the body scissors are on. Gulak wants the hold again but Bryan gets a ropebreak. Gulak lets go and once again, they reset. Bryan and Gulak tie up again. Bryan wrenches and hits a shoulder breaker. He shifts to a butterfly underhook but Gulak resists the takedown. Bryan won’t let Gulak get away, but Gulak back drops to a bridge cover! TWO, and Bryan is still holding onto the butterfly. Gulak gets up but Bryan hit a butterfly suplex to an armbar! Gulak clasps hands to resist, but Bryan goes for the Yes Lock. Gulak make sit a cover, ONE, and they end up in the ropes. Bryan backs off fast and Gulak keeps his cool. They go again, tie up with knuckle locks, and Bryan shifts through.
Bryan waistlocks but Gulak standing switches. Bryan switches, Gulak switches, repeat, repeat, and Gulak back suplexes Bryan up and out hard! Gulak realizes what happened as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Gulak has Bryan in a full nelson. Bryan fights up but Gulak spins him to a back suplex! Cover, TWO, but Gulak is right back on the full nelson. Bryan endures, Gulak shifts to a headlock, but Bryan powers up and gets a leg. Bryan gives Gulak a shin breaker, but Gulak still holds onto the headlock! Gulak grinds Bryan down, but Bryan hits another shin breaker! Gulak still has the headlock, but Bryan hits another shin breaker! Bryan hits a dragon screw! And another! And another! Bryan wrenches the leg to an Ankle Lock! Gulak endures and gets to the ropes! But Bryan brings him up for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Bryan holds onto the waistlock, shifts to a full nelson, but Gulak drops down to victory roll! TWO and Bryan wants the leg. Gulak resists the takedown to scoop SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Bryan survives what was practically a driver. Gulak puts a full nelson on again as Bryan is on the mat.
Bryan endures as Gulak drags him up that way, and spins out. Gulak back suplexes again but Bryan lands on his feet. Gulak bucks the roll off but not the SNAP GERMAN! Bryan stumbles to a corner while Gulak sits up. Bryan takes aim and runs corner to corner, but Gulak avoids the knee to sunset flip! Cover, TWO! Bryan goes for the leg, Gulak steps through to POWERBOMB! And jackknife cover, TWO! Bryan sits on the cover, TWO! Gulak runs and grabs Bryan in the dragon sleeper, GuLOCK! Bryan fades, pops back and pops out to get the arm! Gulak resists the Yes Lock to Oklahoma Roll! ONE, Bryan has the leg, but Gulak pops out of the dragon screw! Bryan tries again, and goes the other way! Bryan clamps on with a HEEL HOOK! Gulak reaches, but Bryan turns him from ropes. They both roll, Gulak taps! Bryan wins!
Winner: Daniel Bryan, by submission (advances to the semifinals)
The technical geniuses put on a mat classic! Bryan moves on, and Renee Young interviews him in the ring. What would it mean for Bryan to win this title? Bryan recalls having to forfeit that title when he had to retire five years ago. Bryan has always wanted to make the WWE Intercontinental Championship THE title on SmackDown! He vows to defend that title every single week, so that it represents the absolute greatest wrestler in the WWE. And that wrestler right now is him. Will Bryan once again be champion to raise the bar on everyone around?
SmackDown confirms matches for next week!
Jeff Hardy and Sheamus will finally have it out in the ring as part of the WWE Intercontinental Championship tournament! Will the Charismatic Enigma shut up the Fella and head for gold? And the King of Strong Style has another rematch with the Phenomenal One as AJ Styles comes back to SmackDown! Is it just for the Brand to Brand Invitation? Or is Styles going to move back into the house that he built? Plus, Otis and his sweet peach will take on Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville in a Mixed Tag Match? Will Mr. MITB and Mandy finally and truly get even with the pair of sneaky snakes that tried to sabotage their love?
SmackDown hears from Sonya and Ziggler.
Everything Sonya has promised has become reality. And next week won’t be any different. Sonya and Ziggler will humiliate Mandy and Otis in their match. But Sonya started to wonder. What is Mandy actually good at? Not fighting, not winning, not being a tag partner or being a friend. Mandy’s only good at being pretty. And that will be over eventually, so where does that leave her? In a double wide trailer with a bunch of kids running around as she cooks steak for hubby Otis while he shouts, “pass me another beer.” Mandy will never be a winner like Sonya. Sonya has the skills, the talent, the charisma and the mind Mandy doesn’t! And she has so many more plans! Sonya will ruin Mandy’s life and she’s just getting started. So Mandy better go home and put on her big girl panties to try and prove she deserves to hang with Sonya and the Show-Off. “B*tch.” The Fire is becoming an inferno, is she going to burn the Rose into ashes?
The Miz & John Morrison VS Otis Dozovic & ???
The Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century couldn’t stand the idea of The Dozer being Mr. MITB. But without Tucker Knight here to back up his brother in blue collar solid, Otis turned to the Monster Among Men for help. Did Braun Strowman accept the invitation? Miz and Morrison aren’t surprised when no one shows, but then BRAUN does show! The WWE Universal Champion is teaming with the one man that has an instant title match at the drop of a hat, but will he worry about running through the A-Lister and Mayor of Slam Town instead?
The teams sort out and Braun gets Otis fired up to start against Morrison. Miz mocks the roaring from the super heavyweights as Otis and Morrison circle. Morrison gets around to a headlock but Otis powers out. Otis checks his neck, Morrison moves around, but Otis powers him to a corner, Morrison gets out and kicks back, but Otis just uses it as fuel. Otis blocks a kick, spins Morrison but gets another kick. The gyrations start up again, and he counter headbutts Morrison to run him over with shoulders! Otis whips and pops Morrison up for a flapjack! Otis hits Miz off the apron then scoops Morrison for a spinning slam! The Dozer tags Strowman in and coordinates a DOUBLE CATERPILLAR! Well, Strowman’s more like a fish, but they hit a double elbow drop! Miz and Morrison regroup outside as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns once more and Miz has Otis down with a chinlock. Miz cranks on the neck but Otis powers up and powers out. Miz boots Otis to a corner, and unleashes It Kicks! Otis can’t jiggle these off, and Miz goes corner to corner and knee! And again! And then hits the A-List Lariat! Otis staggers and Miz climbs to hit flying ax handles! Miz mocks the roaring again and Strowman glares. Miz waits for Otis to sit up, and he gives Otis more It Kicks! These Otis feeds off of, but then he gets a BUZZSAW! Cover, TWO! Miz drags Otis up in a chinlock, and Otis starts fading! Braun coaches Otis up and Otis gets a second wind. Miz hops on to be a backpack but Otis heads for Braun. Miz manages to pull Otis back and tags Morrison in first! The Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century go to double suplex, but Otis double suplexes them instead! Otis crawls, hot tag to Strowman!
The Monster Among Men corner splashes Miz then scoops and TOSSES Morrison! Miz runs into a body check, and Strowman whips corner to corner. Strowman hits a corner splash then a suplex TOSS! Strowman roars as Miz bails out, but that just means the steam train is on the tracks! Morrison runs for it, Miz gets run over! Strowman puts Miz in the ring and runs corner to corner, but Morrison saves Miz! Strowman gets POST! Morrison hits the FLYING CHUCK! Morrison fires off with fast strikes, then runs, into a tilt-o-whirl and MONSTER SLAM!! Cover, Strowman and Otis win!!
Winners: Braun Strowman & Otis Dozovic, by pinfall
The Monster and the Dozer steamrolled through The Miz & Morrison! But then here comes Mandy Rose! Mandy distracts Strowman and Otis looks poised to go. But Strowman sees him, and Otis says it was just a joke. Otis has the girl and has the briefcase, but will he have an opening to actually cash in on the champion?
A really good episode for SmackDown, with fewer matches than I expected with the WWE Intercontinental Championship tournament starting tonight. But they clearly want to stretch this out, and even said the finals will be on an episode of SmackDown because Fox wants those ratings. Each and every match in the opening round looked great immediately on paper, and in retrospect, I actually like that we’re getting some matches that count as “payoffs” for stories. Corbin VS Elias was really good, one of Corbin’s better 1v1 matches lately, but I did not expect Elias to win. Elias shuts Corbin out of what seemed like a natural lateral move to put the title on a Heel that could fit Sami’s role. Teaming Corbin with the Artist Collective seemed to indicate that, but I’m actually glad WWE didn’t go with the obvious. Bryan VS Gulak was a great match, but naturally Bryan wins again. And I am glad there’s continuity in him wanting to be Intercontinental Champion again to make up for the reign that got cut short because of his neck and concussion concerns.
The Hardy VS Sheamus match next week will be good, but I can’t figure out who wins it. I would think Face VS Heel traditions mean Bryan VS Sheamus, but I’d love to see Bryan and Jeff Hardy have a match. AJ Styles being part of this tournament is a great surprise. Brand to Brand Invitation is probably Styles’ way back to SmackDown, but I bet he’s making an official move back. Even if you don’t factor what happened with the releases and the Good Brothers being swept up in that, Styles moving back to SmackDown is a pretty good move. If his story with Taker is continuing, it would be great if Taker also went back to SmackDown to wrap up his career. SmackDown always felt more like Taker’s show than Raw did, so if Taker can get another match with Styles on SmackDown, or even a match with Fiend Bray Wyatt, those would all be the best way for Taker to finally retire. As for the Intercontinental Championship, Bryan VS Styles or Nakamura would be an incredible finals.
I heard talk that a long-term SummerSlam story involving Becky Lynch was scrapped when she discovered she was pregnant. Could it have to do with how three-fourths of the NXT Four Horsewomen were champions for all three brands? Becky on Raw, Charlotte on NXT and Bayley on SmackDown. Were they going to up the Winner Takes All to three titles, in Boston, for The Boss, Sasha Banks? That definitely would have been epic, but I don’t think they should’ve used that idea for this year anyway. That’s a WrestleMania moment and nothing less. But Charlotte and Bayley having a match next week with the possibility of Sasha turning on Bayley is going to be great, too. Dana VS Naomi was a short match, but the reason why is likely that Naomi could end up turning Heel out of frustration. Sasha tried reaching out to Tamina before, even if it was as a decoy move. But maybe Team BAD could end up reforming once Sasha gets a title back? And then Naomi and Tamina go for tag titles? Golden Team BAD would be pretty awesome.
The mixed tag match next week sounds great, and Sonya burned it up again in her promo. That match is going to be so intense and will do great things for that story. And the story with Otis and Strowman tonight was really good, too. Miz & Morrison might’ve been more frustrated that Otis wasn’t hurt by their sarcasm during Miz TV, but it does make a lot of sense for them to be upset Otis won by sheer luck. Otis and Strowman definitely made a good tag team combo, and of course they won. I liked that Otis teased a sneak attack, even if it was an in-character joke. I honestly don’t think Otis cashes in on Strowman, but I’m not sure how effective he’d be cashing in on Bray Wyatt, Fiend mode or not. As a Face, maybe Otis will try the kind of cash in where he declares a date and they have the match. And while that hasn’t succeeded at all in the past, maybe Otis will be the one that pulls it off. He’s already defied expectations to this point, why not surprise us again?
My Score: 8.3/10