Tonight, it’s SmackDown Women’s Champion VS NXT Women’s Champion!
The Brand to Brand Invitation brings both AJ Styles and Charlotte Flair back to SmackDown! Will the Phenomenal One and Queen stand tall in the ring?
- The Miz w/ John Morrison VS Braun Strowman; Strowman wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Shinsuke Nakamura VS AJ Styles; Styles wins and advances to the semifinals.
- Champion VS Champion: Bayley w/ Sasha Banks VS Charlotte Flair; Bayley wins.
- Mixed Tag: Otis Dozovic & Mandy Rose VS Dolph Ziggler & Sonya Deville; Ziggler & Deville win.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Jeff Hardy VS Sheamus; Hardy wins and advances to the semifinals.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE celebrates Memorial Day, and remembers those who gave all for our freedoms.
“What does it mean to be selfless?” To have the courage to put all else first for a greater cause. In every generation, there are those who do just that. This weekend, we honor them. “The brave men and women who fought for our freedom,” from WWI to Desert Storm. From Normandy to Afghanistan. Remember the moments and the events that defined our history. Remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice. As Ronald Reagan once said, as we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. Show gratitude to those that shaped us, guided us, and ensured our values would live forever. Show reverence and respect, and say, “Thank you” to them.
SmackDown presents The Dirt Sheet!
The Miz and John Morrison are already in the ring to say hi. Morrison’s abs are certified Influencers, and Miz refuses to acknowledge a world where this man is Mr. Money in the Bank! And that man is Otis Dozovic. “More like Mr. Honey Baked Ham.” And what was it Miz called him last week? A disgrace. Nope. An embarrassment? Nope. A clumsy, sweaty, muttering, stuttering, mama’s boy buffoon? That’s it! But Otis can’t help he’s all that and more. It’s the people around him, enabling him. Like Braun Strowman! Oof, going there already? Yes, Miz is! Braun stuck his nose into their business, which is stupid! Bruan is the Universal Champion, Otis is MR. MITB, Otis could’ve cashed in! It makes no sense. Like Becky Lynch wanting to have Seth Rollins’ baby. Morrison, c’mon! He’s just saying.
Braun has been given too much credit. He didn’t deserve to become Universal Champion. What did Braun do to deserve that match against Goldberg at WrestleMania? It could’ve been anyone! Like these two. If anything, it should’ve been one of them. “We are talking about a guy who was replaced in the Wyatt Family by puppets!” Bray Wyatt had a choice: Braun or stuffed animals. And he chose stuffed animals! Smart choice, actually. And now, for a Dirt Sheet Exclusive! They’ve discovered some rejected Firefly Fun House puppets that were still better than Braun. Shiloh the Lonely Laundry Lass. Her quest for vengeance was ignited when her brother was eaten by their natural enemy, the dryer! “Braun Strowman is such a loser~!” That he is.
Then there’s Dookie the Diaper Boy! He may not seem like much on the outside, but on the inside, he has a stench more powerful than Braun’s. Cue the fart noises. By the way, Shiloh and Dookie are big fans of the show. They’re the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century! Stare off into distance. BE JEALOUS. And last but not least, that may look like a mannequin, but that is Mandyquin Rose! Her power is that she whispers plans into Otis’ ears to trick Braun into losing the Universal Championship! “Like, not everything about Braun is a monster.” OOF, low blow. But BRAAAUN appears on stage and heads down the ramp. Oddly enough, he is smirking as he joins Miz and Morrison in the ring. His roar almost scares them off, but he leaves them be. He does throw the chairs out of the ring, though.
“What’s up, boys?” Braun says they’re kinda funny, and this show isn’t half bad. So thanks for having him on tonight. Um, they don’t think he was booked. Well he’s here so ask a question. The Miz and Morrison argue over who should ask him something, but Braun suggests they talk about MITB and his match with Bray. He wants to talk about Bray? Does Braun think Bray is through with him? Braun tricked Bray with the black sheep mask. Miz has had to deal with the darkness that is Bray Wyatt. Bray sent Miz spiraling, but he had Morrison there for him. Braun isn’t so lucky. Because Braun isn’t half the man Miz is. Miz may not be as big or as strong, but Braun isn’t as much of a man as Miz. Braun feels all big and bad after pinning Morrison in their tag match, huh? Well Braun won’t feel so badass after Miz goes after him!
Miz wants Morrison to back off on the hype game, but Braun asks if this is a challenge. It is. No it- Challenge accepted! Miz is about to #GetTheseHands! Will Miz’s body be able to cash the check Morrison’s mouth just wrote?
The Miz w/ John Morrison VS Braun Strowman!
SmackDown returns with the bell and Miz circles with Strowman. Miz dodge and JABS, but Strowman barely flinches. Strowman runs at Miz, Miz gets around then ducks the counter to throw more hands. Strowman grabs Miz and put him in a corner for big body shots! Then a CLUBBING forearm! Strowman taunts Morrison before bringing Miz up again. He bumps Miz off buckles then whips him corner to corner hard! Miz hits the mat but Morrison coaches him up. Strowman drags Miz up and whips to run Miz over! Morrison is panicking but Strowman drags Miz up. Strowman clubs Miz on the back, then kicks at Morrison to keep him back.
Strowman drags Miz up, whips him again, but Miz holds ropes. Miz baits Strowman in to dump him out! Miz knees Strowman from the apron, and Morrison LEAPS off the barrier to kick Strowman! Strowman stays up but staggers about. Miz hurries but Strowman pushes him away! Strowman runs but only gets POST! He goes back into the ring and Miz pursues. Miz springboards and ax handles! Strowman staggers but Miz springboards again, into Strowman’s hand! Strowman scoops but Miz rakes eyes! Miz boots from the corner, dodges the counter and dropkicks the legs out! Miz gives a BUZZSAW! Strowman stays up so Miz goes to DDT. Strowman blocks with a bearhug and a RAM into the corner! And a TOSS across the ring! Corner splash! Morrison gets up but gets DECKED!
Strowman suplexes and TOSSES Miz again! The Monster Among Men demands Miz get up again. Miz staggers into the scoop, and gets a MONSTER SLAM! Cover, Strowman wins!
Winner: Braun Strowman, by pinfall
The WWE Universal Champion bulldozed right through the Hollywood A-Lister, and wasn’t even bothered by the Guru of Greatness’ interference. But wait! Morrison tells Strowman that he may have won a singles match tonight, and a tag match last night. But Morrison knows there’s something he can’t do: beat them both at the same time in a Handicap Match, for the Universal Championship! Braun says if they want him, they’ve got him! Will the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century copy the Artist Collective’s strategy and take the title from Braun together?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Shinsuke Nakamura VS AJ Styles!
The King of Strong Style and the Phenomenal One battle once again! SmackDown and Raw made the trade, and now this is once again the House that AJ Styles Built! Will Styles make his homecoming even sweeter by taking a step closer to the title?
SmackDown returns as Nakamura makes his entrance. The bell rings and they tie up right away! Styles powers Nakamura back but the ref counts. Styles lets up and Nakamura kicks at him. They go again and Styles headlocks. Nakamura powers Styles to ropes now, and doesn’t honor the break in order to get a headlock of his own. Nakamura floats to facelock then waistlock, but Styles pries out to hammerlock. Nakamura elbows back and hammerlocks in return, but Styles slips out to headlock. Styles grinds Nakamura down but Nakamura powers out. Nakamura reels Styles in, but Styles dodges to throat chop! Nakamura stomps Styles’ foot! Nakamura runs, Styles hurdles, and things speed up until Styles dropkicks Nakamura down!
Styles drags Nakamura up to bump off buckles. He CHOPS Nakamura in the corner, then brings him out to whip. Nakamura holds ropes and elbows back! “C’MON!” Styles falls for the trap and gets a knee! Nakamura stalks Styles to a corner but Styles yanks him into buckles! Styles throws hands but Nakamura counter punches! Styles ROCKS Nakamura but Nakamura hits back. We have a brawl, but Styles dodges the strike fest to PELE! Styles suplexes but Nakamura sips out to BOOT! Nakamura runs into the corner and blocks the boots to turn Styles sideways! Roundhouse to DRAPING GERMAN! The Artist admires his work while SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Nakamura KICKS Styles in the chest! And again! And again! Nakamura has Styles down at the ropes and starts toying with him. Nakamura paces while Styles gets up. Styles blocks the next kick, elbows away, but Nakamura breaks free. They brawl with forearms back and forth, but Styles goes for the Phenomenal Blitz. Nakamura dodges the back hand, swings but hits the heel kick! But Styles PELES! Both men are down and the ref checks on them. Styles and Nakamura stir, but Styles rises first. Nakamura follows but walks into the LARIAT! Styles rallies and hits the back hand to LARIAT again! Styles drags Nakamura up to fireman’s carry, USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura survives and Styles can’t believe it.
Styles drags Nakamura up again, reels him in, but Nakamura powers him to a corner! But Styles counters to get the CALF CRUSHER! Nakamura endures the crank, reaches back and grabs hair, but then reaches out for the ropes. Styles cranks but Nakamura gets the ROPEBREAK! Styles lets go at 4, still frustrated. He and Nakamura stand, and he wants the leg again. But Nakamura ENZIGURI! Nakamura wants the sliding knee but misses, Styles hits a sliding forearm! Cover, TWO! Styles drags Nakamura up again, reels him in, but Nakamura fireman’s carries! LANDSLIDE MICHINOKU! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura drags Styles back up, wraps on a sleeper hold, but Styles blocks the scoop! Styles elbows free but walks into a ROUNDHOUSE! Nakamura goes up and leaps, FLYING KNEE! Nakamura aims from the corner, SLIDING KNEE! Cover, TWO!!
Nakamura grows frustrated, but he hasn’t hit that yet. He aims from the corner again, Styles gets up, “YAO~!” Nakamura runs, into a roll up! Cover, TWO, into a TRIANGLE! Nakamura has the triangle hold but Styles stays up. Nakamura pulls Styles in deep and Styles fades. Styles gets a second wind, and dead lifts, INTO THE STYLES CLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! HOW?! Both men are down but stirring. They head for opposite ends of the ring, and Styles is to his feet first. Nakamura is up, Styles hurries over, but Nakamura put Styles outside. Styles forearms back! Then springboards, into a BOOT! Nakamura runs in, but into an enziguri! Springboard, PHENOMENAL FOREARM!! Cover, Styles wins!!
Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
The House that AJ Styles Built is still standing! The Phenomenal One moves on to the next round and will face Elias! Will Styles make The Drifter #DriftAway on the road to the gold?
Sasha Banks helps Bayley warm up.
Is the SmackDown Women’s Champion feeling good? Oh yeah! Feeling ready to beat Charlotte? Yes! Then Sasha has the perfect idea. Bayley has her stop there, and says she doesn’t want her in the corner tonight. People think Bayley can’t win without her. Is this because of what Charlotte said? Sasha wasn’t going to listen to her. Bayley knows that, and she wasn’t listening to Charlotte, either. Only dumb sheep listen to Charlotte. But why give them any reason to think Charlotte’s right? Bayley knows Sasha has her back. They’ll talk more after. But is this move actually playing into The Queen’s hands? We’ll know soon enough, because the Champion VS Champion match is next!
Champion VS Champion: Bayley w/ Sasha Banks VS Charlotte Flair!
The “Role Model” dared The Queen to throw down on SmackDown, and clearly the challenge was accepted. But will Charlotte’s challenge to The Boss go unanswered?
The bell rings and Bayley stares down Charlotte from across the ring. The two circle and both smirk as they tie up. They are in a deadlock until Charlotte knees low. Charlotte bumps Bayley off buckles and says Bayley wasn’t ready then, and isn’t ready now. CHOP! Then a buckle bump! Charlotte runs in but Bayley dodges to then throw her down by her hair! Cover, ONE, but the two back off. Bayley mocks the “WOO~!” and strut while Sasha watches from backstage. Charlotte smiles as she and Bayley tie up again. Charlotte waistlocks, Bayley resists and reaches back, but Charlotte squeezes tight. Bayley stomps a foot to get the standing switch but Charlotte elbows free! Charlotte and Bayley both smirk, and Bayley trips her up! Bayley uses the ropes but the ref sees that! Charlotte gets away to a corner, and Bayley says she was “testing” the ref. Bayley goes back after Charlotte, but Charlotte trips her! Charlotte uses the ropes now, TWO!
Bayley protests but the Daughter of the Nature Boy knows how to cheat right. The two circle again, Charlotte kicks low and whips hard. Bayley reverses but Charlotte tumbles out to kick back! Bayley flops out and Charlotte brings her around. Bayley anchors Charlotte’s foot and trips her onto the apron! Charlotte clutches her head while Bayley runs. Charlotte avoids the baseball slide to clothesline Bayley down! Bayley scurries away but Charlotte pursues. Charlotte throws Bayley over the barriers! Charlotte hears the ring count, but wants commentary’s mic. “Sasha! Sasha, come out here so I can kick both you’re asses!” The Queen goes back to the ring while SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Charlotte thrashes Bayley around in a chinlock. Bayley endures as Charlotte taunts, “Levels, Bayley, levels. I’m teaching you how to be a champion!” The Queen still wants The Boss to show up but Bayley fights her way up. Charlotte throws Bayley down by her hair! Charlotte whips Bayley to a corner then CHOPS her down on the rebound! Charlotte drags Bayley to a corner and goes up the ropes. Bayley springs up to yank Charlotte down! Charlotte hobbles on one leg but Bayley runs in, to get a KNEE! Charlotte walks it off and runs at Bayley, but the boot is sent over the top! Charlotte drags Bayley out but Bayley BOOTS her into the POST! Bayley gets space to come through, daredevil dropkick misses! Charlotte DECKS Bayley with a right! Charlotte scoops but Bayley slips out to RAM Charlotte into barriers! And then into the LED! Bayley gets in and wants the count out but Charlotte is in. Bayley covers, ONE!
Bayley hammers away on Charlotte and has her at the ropes. She drags Charlotte up to coke her! The ref counts but Bayley lets up at 4. Bayley walks into an elbow! Charlotte rolls Bayley up, TWO! Bayley CLOBBERS Charlotte back down! Cover, ONE! Bayley says SmackDown is HER show now, and she wraps her in a chinlock. Charlotte endures as Bayley brags, “This is how we do on SmackDown!” Charlotte reaches back to pull hair! Bayley clubs Charlotte and keeps the chinlock. “We follow the rules here.” But Charlotte throws body shots! Bayley knees low and both take a breath. Bayley runs, but into Charlotte’s arms! FALL AWAY SLAM! Both women are down but stirring. Charlotte kips up! Bayley can’t believe it, and then she gets ROCKED! And again! Charlotte keeps hitting Bayley with big forearms! But Bayley dodges to RAM into Charlotte over and over!
Bayley rolls back, wacky waving, but into the backbreaker and buckle shot! Charlotte grins as Bayley is down in the drop zone. “That’s how Charlotte Flair does it.” Charlotte goes up again, and MOONSAULTS! But she has to bail out as Bayley moves, and still BOOTS Bayley down! Cover, TWO!! Charlotte grins, perhaps actually enjoying this. Charlotte stomps Bayley’s legs and we all know why. Bayley goes for ropes so Charlotte wraps on on the ropes. Bayley kicks and kicks and kicks at Charlotte but Charlotte stomps her back. Charlotte brings Bayley up, but Bayley HOTSHOTS! Bayley drags Charlotte back in and puts her against buckles. She backs off, to run in with a KNEE! Bayley puts Charlotte in the drop zone now, then Bayley climbs up. Bayley aims, leaps, MACHO ELBOW onto knees! Charlotte gets the legs, turns Bayley and gets the BOSTON CRAB!
Bayley endures, this move is almost a Lion Tamer! Bayley powers out to a cover, TWO! Charlotte runs in but only gets buckles! Bayley slowly crawls over just to put Charlotte in the drop zone again. Bayley goes back up, MACHO ELBOW!! Cover, TWO!! That’s still not enough! Charlotte laughs and Bayley shouts, “OKAY!” Bayley asks Charlotte if she has to prove herself again. “How many times?” Bayley CHOPS Charlotte, but Charlotte eggs her on! Bayley shouts “You’re sick!” as she CHOPS her again! And again and again and again! Bayley grabs the legs, and goes to steal the Figure Four! But Charlotte DECKS her first! Charlotte CHOPS Bayley, and CHOPS, and CHOPS! Charlotte gives them all back with interest! The ref backs Charlotte off, but Bayley BOOTS! Bayley wants the belly2belly but Charlotte reverses to an O’Conner roll! TWO and Bayley gets a roll of her own! Bayley holds the ropes!! BAYLEY WINS!!
Winner: Bayley, by pinfall
The SmackDown Women’s Champion pins the NXT Women’s Champion! Bayley beats Charlotte, and beats her at her own game! And without Sasha’s help! What will this mean as all three brands move forward?
Sasha celebrates with Bayley backstage!
Bayley did it! She beat Charlotte! Why is Sasha so happy? Did she doubt Bayley? Bayley is just kidding, she knew that Sasha knew that she knew. This is THEIR show! This is why they’re the SmackDown role models!
Mixed Tag: Otis Dozovic & Mandy Rose VS Dolph Ziggler & Sonya Deville!
The animosity between The Dozer and the Show-Off actually pales in comparison to the friends once known as Fire & Desire. And now, it has all come to a boiling point that only this match could contain it all! Will Sonya break Mandy for Ziggler to pick up the pieces? Or are Otis and Mandy strong enough together to withstand it all?
The teams sort out and it’s ladies first. Time to put hair up and square up again as these two circle. But Otis is impatient and wants after Ziggler! The men jump in now and they circle. Ziggler goes for a leg and Otis blocks to throw him off. Ziggler gets up but runs into a scoop, for the spin cycle SLAM! Otis is fired up as he goes corner to corner! BIG splash and Ziggler’s already down! Otis pumps up and Mandy cheers him on, but Ziggler runs away to the ropes. No Caterpillars yet, and Sonya tags in. Now she and Mandy have their chance. They circle, Sonya tackles Mandy to a corner and rams her shoulders in. She backs off to throw hands, and then grinds Mandy into buckles while talking trash. But Mandy comes back with a Thesz Press and fast hands!
Mandy and Sonya scrap on the mat, and Ziggler uses this distraction of sorts to go after Otis! Otis scoops Ziggler first, but Ziggler slips out to shove him into steps! Mandy hurries over to check on Otis but he tells her to worry about the match. Mandy is conflicted as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Sonya has Mandy down with body scissors. Sonya pushes Mandy around and puts on a chinlock. Mandy endures and bridges back to a cover, ONE! Mandy is free but Sonya KICKS her down! Sonya looms over Mandy and stands on her hair! Mandy pushes at Sonya while Sonya mocks her pain. Sonya gives toying kicks and now knees! Sonya puts Mandy in a corner and throws big hands! “C’mon, Mandy!” Sonya taunts Mandy but Mandy throws hands back! And rolls Sonya up! TOW, and Sonya kicks Mandy down! Sonya keeps Mandy away from the corner just as Otis returns. Sonya grinds her forearm into Mandy’s face as Mandy reaches for Otis. Otis coaches Mandy up and rallies for her, and Mandy jawbreakers free! But Sonya BOOTS Mandy back down!
Sonya taunts Mandy again and gives her a stiff kick! Sonya taunts Otis now then KICKS Mandy again! And again! Sonya taunts Otis because she knows he can’t go after her. Sonya runs, into a KNEE FROM A ROSE! Both women are down and Otis fires up! Mandy and Sonya crawl for their corners, but Sonya anchors Mandy down. Sonya has the legs but Mandy pushes her away! Hot tag to Otis! Ziggler gets in but gets run over! And popped up for a FLAPJACK! Otis runs at Ziggler for a corner splash! Otis wants another but Ziggler elbows him away! But Otis powers Ziggler back in! Another corner splash, and Ziggler ends up in the drop zone! Otis pumps up but Sonya tags in! Mandy returns to CLOBBER Sonya! Mandy rallies now and ROCKS her with a right!
Otis CLOBBERS Ziggler outside the ring, and Mandy throws Sonya to a corner. Mandy hits a corner knee, then a sliding knee! Cover, TWO!! Otis and Ziggler fight up the ramp while Mandy brings Sonya up. Mandy underhooks but Sonya slips out to KNEE back! Sonya hits the SHINING WIZARD! Cover, Sonya and Ziggler win!
Winners: Sonya Deville & Dolph Ziggler, by pinfall
Otis can’t believe it! He and Ziggler were so preoccupied, it ended without them! Otis checks on Mandy but Ziggler SUPERKICKS him!! The embarrassment and defeat keeps piling on for Otis and his sweet peach. Will they give in to what Sonya and Dolph are saying?
Jeff Hardy speaks.
“Two weeks ago, I asked the WWE Universe to join me for one more good run. I didn’t know exactly where that journey would lead me, but it’s a mystery no more.” The new path is open, and it is the WWE Intercontinental Championship. This title is near and dear to his heart. Not just because of the legends who wore it before, but because it was Jeff’s first title he won on his own. Things could be coming full circle. What better way to start this journey than defeating the bully, Sheamus? Tonight, Jeff’s path to a blaze of glory runs right through the Celtic Warrior! Will this last good run start here tonight?
WWE mourns the loss of Shad Gaspard.
The Forgotten Sons have another message.
“Just like my brothers that I served with, we’ve all had our tough times adjusting here to life back home.” They’re not afraid to admit that. If that makes you uncomfortable, good. That’s their blood on your hands! So it is only fair that your blood be on their hands. Will Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake and Jaxson Ryker make clear they will no longer be forgotten by anyone?
SmackDown makes it official!
The Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century could become the first-ever co-holders of the WWE Universal Championship! Their handicap match challenge has been accepted for Backlash! Will they both hold singles gold together? Or will they just #GetTheseHands?
The Miz argues with Morrison.
How could he do that? What is he thinking? Morrison admits he got carried away. But the bright side is, they have a title match! Renee Young comes by to interview them on this bold move. Especially considering Braun has beaten them both separately. Do they think they can really defeat him together? Yes, and here’s why! Braun’s track record in Handicaps stinks worse than Dookie the Diaper Boy. And they’re a cohesive unit that knows how to win. They will make his life a living hell! Hey hey! Renee reluctantly says, “Ho ho.” Will Miz ‘n’ Morrison be cheering themselves on all the way through Backlash?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Jeff Hardy VS Sheamus!
The Charismatic Enigma knows he has so much left in the tank, but he’ll have to survive the Celtic Warrior. Sheamus asked Hardy before, “How many false comebacks can one man have before he realizes he’s never really coming back?” It’s time we all find out if Jeff Hardy is truly back!
SmackDown returns as Sheamus makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Sheamus powers Hardy to a corner but the ref backs him off. Hardy comes out and they go again. Sheamus powers Hardy to another corner then reels him out. Hardy dodges to headlock and hit the takeover. Sheamus tries for a cover but Hardy brings it back. Sheamus digs at Hardy’s nose but Hardy drags Sheamus around. The two struggle for control and Sheamus gets out to a hammerlock. Hardy reverses to another headlock but Sheamus powers out. Hardy holds ropes but Sheamus haymakers and knees Hardy down! Sheamus stomps Hardy at the ropes but lets off at 4. Sheamus drags Hardy up to throw a European Uppercut! Sheamus whips but Hardy kicks back! Hardy runs and forearms Sheamus, but Sheamus doesn’t fall. Hardy runs again but gets run over!
Sheamus checks his chest while stalking Hardy. He drags Hardy up onto the ropes to make him smile for the camera. But Hardy hotshots back! Sheamus runs in but Hardy dumps him out! Then wrecks him with a dropkick! Sheamus hits the announce desk and Hardy aims from the apron. hardy leaps, into Sheamus’ arms! Sheamus RAMS Hardy into the post! And pops him up, to TOSS onto the announce desk!! Sheamus tells Michael Cole to try and put “that lump of crap” over again! “What about me?!” The Fella is still furious despite being in control, and SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns once more, and Sheamus thrashes Hardy around in a headlock. Sheamus says Hardy doesn’t deserve another chance, but Hardy fights his way up. Hardy throws elbows but Sheamus throws him by his hair! Sheamus runs to drop a knee! And then drops another knee, and another knee, and another knee! Sheamus digs that knee in but lets up at 4. Sheamus grins as he looms over Hardy at the ropes. He stalks Hardy to the corner while talking trash. Hardy elbows back and throws haymakers, but Sheamus kicks and KNEES back! Sheamus is calling this a slaughter as he drags Hardy back up. Sheamus clotheslines Hardy back down and stands over him again. He taunts Hardy with how living life with drinking and drugs and having no responsibilities was “so much easier.” Hardy hits back with body shots and haymakers! He backs Sheamus down, but Sheamus blocks the kick! Hardy spins to back kick Sheamus away!
Hardy gets to a corner but Sheamus runs in! Hardy elbows Sheamus away then goes up top to hit WHISPER IN THE WIND! Both men are down but Hardy gets himself to the cover! ONE!! Hardy grows frustrated but he has Sheamus on the defensive. Sheamus rolls away to ropes but Hardy pursues. Hardy drags Sheamus up but Sheamus kicks him away. Sheamus scoops and hits the IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! And then ANOTHER! Sheamus gives Hardy a THIRD! Sheamus looms over Hardy once again, and then shakes his head. He drags Hardy up to throw him out, but Hardy stays on the apron. Sheamus drags Hardy up again for Beats of the Bodhrain! He gets all ten beats, and then mockingly wipes the sweat from is brow. Sheamus smiles while Hardy flops to the apron. Sheamus is even showing off that he’s still got so much left.
Sheamus drags Hardy up to back suplex, but Hardy lands on his feet! Hardy kicks and punches but Sheamus puts him in a corner. Hardy dodges and Sheamus POSTS himself! Sheamus staggers back and Hardy CLOBBERS him! Hardy hits the atomic drop to the leg splitting leg drop! Basement dropkick added on! Cover, TWO!! Sheamus survives but Hardy has him in his sights. Kick low but no Twist as Sheamus bails out! Hardy pursues and POSTS Sheamus again! Then Hardy walks the barriers to LEAP for the lariat! The ring count climbs and Hardy hurries to get Sheamus up and in. Hardy goes to the corner and to the top rope! SWANTON BOMB onto knees!! Cover, TWO!! Hardy survives and Sheamus is shocked!
Sheamus KNEES Hardy down and covers, TWO! Sheamus clutches his shoulder while gritting his teeth. Hardy slowly rises and Sheamus calls for the end! He runs in but Hardy dodges the Brogue! Sheamus fireman’s carries but Hardy sunset flips! HARDY WINS!!
Winner: Jeff Hardy, by pinfall
The Enigma survives to render Sheamus OBSOLETE! Sheamus is furious but he still lost to Hardy! Is this Hardy’s chance to return to former glory? Or will Daniel Bryan disagree?
This was a really good SmackDown, though it does expose some pacing problems in this gap from MITB to Backlash. Strowman and the Dirt Sheet were all good stuff, but it seems a bit quick to give us a Universal Championship match already. Miz and Morrison are both great wrestlers, having been singles champions before, but it seems a bit odd to make another of these Handicap matches for a singles title. Instead of making Backlash feel like an important PPV, it is suddenly exposing that this is just transitional on the way to Extreme Rules and SummerSlam after it. For that matter, I feel like all this “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” hype for Edge VS Orton is too much, too. While Edge VS Orton will be a great match, calling it the greatest is having the reverse effect on the hype. Backlash has been a PPV getting the short end of the stick the last few years, and I feel like these two matches are just sharpening that stick.
I’m a bit surprised at the order of the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament matches, but I still really like what’s going on in that tournament. Styles isn’t here because of Brand to Brand but because of a “trade.” This is actually great since it goes with what I was hoping for in his story with Taker. Regardless of what happens with the title, Taker can face Styles and retire being part of the show he was such a big part of for years. Styles advancing over Nakamura made a lot of sense given Styles just moved back, and I’m pretty sure Styles beats Elias to head to the finals. Hardy VS Sheamus was alright but I wouldn’t have made it the main event. The nostalgia is nice and all but let nostalgia open the show and let the actual awesome match close it. Hardy VS Bryan will be good next week, but my money is still on Bryan VS Styles to really show us what the title will be about again.
I really liked how the Mixed Tag went. It was good that we actually saw even a little bit of emotion between Mandy and Otis, where she was worried about him getting hurt. It’s almost too obvious that the storytelling of their romance has been hurt by the pandemic. If things were more open, I’m sure we’d be getting segments of Otis and Mandy out on dates. But that aside, the story in regards to the ring is going well. Sonya and Ziggler win because this is far from over. I don’t think there needs to be a match for Backlash, let Otis think more on if he wants to cash in or not. But as I said previously, Extreme Rules should be where and how Mandy and Sonya settle this. Women’s Extreme Rules to get all the animosity out!
Charlotte VS Bayley was incredible, but that’s to be expected from those two. It was surprising yet also the right move for Bayley to win. There was the little bit of tension between Bayley and Sasha, and Bayley winning over a fellow champion makes me wonder where the title plans are all headed. There was also advertising that Raw would hold a contender’s Triple Threat of Charlotte, Natalya and Nia Jax, and they slipped in via commentary that Charlotte is going to have a Triple Threat title defense at TakeOver against Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai. Natty shouldn’t really be in that Triple Threat after losing to Shayna Baszler twice, but it seems Vince is dead set in NOT pushing Shayna (yet). Given what happened between Nia and Asuka on Raw this week, it’s basically a given that Nia beats Natty to then challenge for the title at Backlash. If Becky were still champion, I could see all four Four Horsewomen eventually fighting for all three titles, but I don’t think any woman should be holding multiple titles now that things have changed. It just wouldn’t be fair to any of them, or to any one show.
My Score: 8.3/10