The WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament reaches the semifinals!
SmackDown may once again be the House that AJ Styles Built, but will he be forced to Walk With Elias? And will Daniel Bryan derail Jeff Hardy’s comeback?
- SmackDown Battle Royal: Sheamus wins and will face Daniel Bryan in tonight’s main event.
- Lacey Evans VS Sonya Deville; Double Count-Out.
- Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross; Banks wins.
- Cesaro w/ Shinsuke Nakamura VS Chad Gable; Gable wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Semifinals: Daniel Bryan VS Sheamus; Bryan wins and will face AJ Styles for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship in two weeks.
PLAY BY PLAY
SmackDown opens with shocking news!
A car accident occurred just outside the Performance Center! Elias is the main victim and it was a hit and run! Medics tend to Elias and police investigate the car in question. A paper is found and it has Jeff Hardy’s name on it?! It’s a rental under his name. WWE cuts to an eye witness in Braun Strowman. What did he saw? He just got here, a car came flying in and it crashed, and then someone ran away. Elias is hopefully okay, but someone needs to find the SOB that did this to Elias. Police spot someone in the back and hurry with referees and WWE security. It’s Jeff Hardy! And he’s in just as bad of shape as Elias.
The police try to ask him questions but he says his head is spinning. Has Jeff been drinking? Jeff says he isn’t but the police say he smells like what’s in the car. Jeff can barely walk, even as Jamie Noble and Jason Jordan help. The police cuff Jeff?! They want to question him down at the station, even as the WWE staff try to reason with him. Jeff doesn’t understand, but swears he hasn’t had a drink. He sees his rental car on the curb and Elias in a stretcher. Noble keeps Jeff calm as he is helped into the police car. Just what happened here? Will we get the truth before the show is over?
The SmackDown locker room gathers backstage.
Adam Pierce gets everyone to settle down. Yes, Elias was hit by a car and Jeff Hardy was found. Elias is unable to compete tonight in the Intercontinental Championship tournament. And with Hardy’s arrest, he is also out. Sheamus sarcastically says, “What a shock!” Of course Jeff Hardy has been arrested. Is this his fifth strike? There will be no comment on that. Sheamus bad mouths Jeff but with Jeff and Elias out, that’s the news. Styles says he and Bryan are just automatically in the finals, then. Well he is entitled to that opinion. Bryan suggests there should be two substitutes for Bryan and Styles to compete, to give them a chance at the championship, too, Styles says that’s the dumbest thing Bryan has ever said, and they’ve known each other a long time. Just take the free ride to the awesome match. Well, Bryan isn’t a coward.
Sheamus steps up and agrees with Bryan. Sheamus deserves a second chance! Junkie Jeff had to be high off his rocker, how else do you explain him taking that beating and still winning? But then, Sheamus lost to someone high off his rocker so… Sheamus wants a match with Bryan, but Baron Corbin says Sheamus shouldn’t just get back in. Otherwise, that means Corbin gets his second chance and takes on Styles. Styles says this is NOT what he signed up for. All the guys making the noise lost so they should NOT be in the semifinals. But Styles is taking the free ride right to the title match. Well thanks for coming back, Mr. Team Player. Sheamus says it should be Triple Threats! Sheamus VS Corbin VS Bryan, winner takes on Styles in the finals. That still doesn’t sit right for the others.
Jey Uso repeats that Sheamus and Corbin both lost. Jimmy may be hurt but there’s still one Uce in the building. Jey wants in this one time. Ziggler steps up and says this is not how this work. Whichever Uso this is, this isn’t a tag match. This is the Intercontinental Championship. And Ziggler is a six-time champion, unless everyone’s forgotten. Chad Gable says no one has forgotten, it’s just that Ziggler is also a jackass. Burn! Pierce calms everyone down again. Bryan wants his match, Styles wants his free fried, everyone gets what they want. it will be a Battle Royal to face Bryan in the main event! And then yes, the winner of that goes against Styles in two weeks. BUT, that battle royal is next! The others leave and Bryan likes that idea. Styles says Bryan is such an idiot. What will the finals even look like now that this tournament got turned upside-down?
SmackDown Battle Royal!
SmackDown returns and the bell rings, and all hell breaks loose! Sheamus goes after Lince Dorado while Gran Metalik fights off Cesaro. Ziggler goes after Cesaro, Drew Gulak has Shinsuke Nakamura, and Baron Corbin is after Jey Uso. The NXT superstars in the crowd are loving the Lucha House Party combo on Cesaro! Sheamus has Ziggler over but Ziggler holds on. Cesaro gut wrenches Lince but Lince slides in and jawbreakers back. Corbin goes around while Lince avoids elimination again. Cesaro saves Nakamura to go after Gulak while Gable goes after Sheamus. Sheamus drags Shorty G up to climb up while Ziggler avoids elimination! Corbin and Jey still scrap in the corner but Cesaro goes after Jey. Gulak goes after Cesaro while LHP works on Nakamura.
Corbin helps Nakamura and Cesaro trophy lifts Ziggler! Cesaro tosses Ziggler but Ziggler grabs the ropes! Ziggler saves himself but Sheamus tries to do the same to Lince. Lince boots back while Nakamura goes after Metalik. Lince goes after Nakamura and Sheamus throws Gulak. Gulak holds on so Sheamus goes after Jey. Nakamura gives Lince Bad Vibrations while Cesaro resists Metalik’s attempts. Sheamus talks trash to Michael Cole but Gable is after Sheamus! Lince kicks Corbin but Corbin tosses him to a corner! Lince dodges Corbin and LHP go after the Wolf King together! Sheamus stomps Gable down while Metalik runs into a boot. Corbin puts Lince on the apron but Lince enziguris! Only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin ELIMINATES Lince!
Gulak goes after Corbin! Gulak dumps Corbin out but Corbin clamps on a choke grip. Gulak breaks free to throw hands, but Corbin hotshots Gulak away. Corbin hip tosses and ELIMINATES Gulak! The crowd boos while Corbin grins his way back into the ring. Sheamus CLUBS Metalik while Corbin clobbers Jey. Cesaro helps Corbin out and Nakamura puts Gable up top. Gable avoids the Top Shelf Knee and tries to dump Nakamura out! Jey survives as Cesaro goes after him but Corbin and Ziggler work together on Metalik. Metalik double handspring elbows them back! Metalik clotheslines Corbin in a corner then walks the ropes, and leaps into a SUPERKICK! Corbin throws Metalik out and ELIMINATES him!
Ziggler and Corbin high five but then Ziggler tries to turn on Corbin! It doesn’t work and Ziggler says he was making a joke. Corbin shakes hands, but whips Ziggler out! Corbin ELIMINATES Ziggler, but Jey SUPERKICKS and ELIMINATES Corbin!! The crowd loves the karma, and we have our final five! It’s Jey, Nakamura, Cesaro, Sheamus and Gable! We’ll see who is left after the break.
SmackDown returns and Nakamura gives Jey the Top Shelf Knee! The Bar unofficially reunites as they beat up on Gable. Gable fights back but gets mugged 2v1. The Bar Lariat returns as they clobber Gable! Cesaro then helps Nakamura stomp Jey while Sheamus drags Gable up. Gable fights back with fast hands, but Sheamus puts him up top. Sheamus clubs but Gable hits a hanging armbar! No ropebreaks means Gable can do this forever! But he lets up to boot back and hit a tornado DDT! Jey SUPERKICKS Cesaro away, then SUPERKICKS Nakamura! Gable gives Cesaro a rolling Liger Kick! Uso Hip Attack for Cesaro! Jey aims and kicks at Nakamura. Nakamura blocks, spins, ducks the dragon whip to spin and kick back! Gable fireman’s carries Nakamura but Nakamura grabs ropes. Cesaro CLUBS Gable and ROCKS him with a European Uppercut!
Cesaro long darts Gable but Gable holds the ropes! Gable shoulders back in but then into a knee! Cesaro drags Gable up but Gable headlocks and drags Cesaro over! Cesaro holds on but lands on the floor! Gable ELIMINATES Cesaro and he is furious! Gable fights Cesaro off, but Nakamura KNEES Gable down! Nakamura kicks Gable against the ropes then drags him up. Nakamura throws forearms and knees against the ropes then whips. Gable reverses but Nakamura holds ropes. Nakamura knees, spins, but into a bearhug! Gable uses an OVERHEAD belly2belly and ELIMINATES Nakamura! But Cesaro TOSSES and ELIMINATES Gable behind the refs’ back! The Artist Collective just screwed Shorty G!!
But now that leaves just Sheamus and just Jey Uso. One man moves on and the brawl is on! Jey fires off, whips but Sheamus reverses. Jey slides to a stop to ROCK Sheamus with uppercuts! Jey runs but into Sheamus’ arms! Sheamus dumps Jey out but Jey lands on the apron! Jey skins the cat enough to get clubbing Bodhrain beats! But Jey hotshots and enziguris! Jey climbs up, leaps, but Sheamus gets under. SUPERKICK! Jey clotheslines Sheamus but Sheamus stays on the apron!! Sheamus and Jey fight at the ropes and Sheamus drags Jey over. Jey hooks onto ropes but Sheamus rakes eyes! Sheamus throws hands but Jey counter punches! Jey ROCKS and CHOPS Sheamus! SUPERK- NO! Sheamus blocks and POSTS Jey! Jey stays up but the BROGUE knocks him down! Sheamus wins!
The Celtic Warrior used everything he had to in order to be the last man left! And now he has another shot in this tournament! Will Sheamus redeem himself against a rested Daniel Bryan?
Sonya Deville speaks.
“Last week, I wrecked one bleach blonde Barbie doll when I completely dominated Mandy Rose. So Lacey Evans, the same fate awaits you. So put your hair up, and square up.” But little does she know, Lacey Evans has appeared behind her! And Lacey pushes Sonya down! If the nasty wants it, get to the ring. Will the Gladiator Gal have to eat her words?
Gable protests backstage.
Cesaro and Nakamura got away with screwing Shorty G out of that battle royal, but they call him a sore loser. Losing is something Gable can handle. An opportunity being stolen is different. Well these are the big leagues, little guy. Do you really think you can be Intercontinental Champion? Cesaro did Gable a favor. So be the bigger man, and just walk away from this. Or step back into the ring with Cesaro, and we both know that’d be a big mistake. So run along, little buddy. Gable DECKS Cesaro, and accepts the challenge! Will the might mouse make Swiss cheese out of the Swiss Cyborg?
Lacey Evans VS Sonya Deville!
The Sassy Southern Belle is ready to throw down, but the Desire is on fire after trampling the Rose. Who makes a big impact in the SmackDown Women’s Division with the champion in need of a contender?
The bell rings and Lacey shakes out her natural blonde hair. Sonya rushes Lacey and gets the waistlock but Lacey gets away quick. The two circle and Sonya goes for a leg, but Lacey avoids the takedown. Lacey mocks Sonya and says she’s gonna show her what blondes can do. Lacey even gives Sonya “a chance,” by taking a starting position. Sonya hooks on but Lacey gets around. The two go back and forth, Lacey trips Sonya down! Sonya gets up in a huff and Lacey flexes as the crowd fires up. Lacey and Sonya circle again, tie up, and Lacey headlocks. Sonya powers out and runs Lacey over! Sonya isn’t impressed anymore and she puts her hair up. Time to square up! But Lacey kips up, and matches!
The two circle again, and the hands fly! Lacey kicks Sonya down! Sonya gets to a corner and Lacey dabs herself off. Lacey calls Sonya a nasty, so Sonya ROCKS Lacey! Sonya asks Lacey to speak up, before she POSTS her! Sonya wraps Lacey’s hair around the ropes before throwing haymakers! The ref counts and Sonya lets off, but she bumps Lacey off buckles. Sonya wraps Lacey’s hair on the ropes again to throw more hands! The ref reprimands but Sonya stands on Lacey’s hair. Lacey kicks Sonya away but Sonya grabs the leg to slam it! And then Sonya kicks Lacey down! Cover, ONE! Sonya stands on Lacey’s hair again, but Lacey manages to headscissor her away! Lacey kicks low then facelocks, for a fallout DDT! Gator roll to the ropes and Lacey tucks Sonya under the skirt! Lacey clubs away but lets up at 4. To then dump Sonya down inside the skirt!
Sonya flounders about to get free while Lacey catches her breath. Sonya SPEARS Lacey down but the ring count is climbing! The scrapping continues and the count reaches 10!
Sonya bounces Lacey off the announce desk! Sonya whips but Lacey reverses to send Sonya into the desk’s corner! Lacey gets back in the ring and dares Sonya to come back for more. Sonya pushes Cole away and grabs a headset. Sonya tells us that she’ll fight “blondie” on her terms. The match is a draw but this may be only the beginning!
SmackDown hears from The Forgotten Sons.
Sgt. Jaxson Ryker, Cpl. Steve Cutler and the one man that truly appreciates all they’ve done for this country in Wesley Blake were all raised to #DoUntoOthers as you would have them do unto you. Blake was “one of you,” the normal civilian. But Blake “corrected” his behavior when he joined Cutler and Ryker. Now, they will no longer turn the other cheek. Their blood was on our hands, so our hands shall be on theirs. But whose blood will it be first?
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross talk backstage.
Nikki has a surprise for the New Day, but she can’t say because it has to be a surprise for Alexa, too. But then Big E and Kofi Kingston surprise them first! SmackDown will have both pairs of tag team champions in the ring after the break!
SmackDown presents A Moment of Bliss!
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions head to the ring to co-host their show and welcome us back. Nikki is so excited for their guests tonight, and so is Alexa. Please welcome the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, the New Day! AWWWW~ people at hooome~! Clap for your EIGHT-TIME champs, and feel~ the power~! We have a Tag Team Champion Summit! Kofi high-fives the crowd through the Plexiglas as he and Big E go to the ring. Alexa welcomes them to the show and this discussion to talk about the competition. But Nikki presents her present to them, and it’s… Scottish style pancakes! She made them by hand, with her grandmother’s special recipe. Wow, that’s so sweet! But they aren’t here empty handed. Here are coffee beans, straight from Djibouti, but out of Big E’s singlet. Sip, sip! Oh, how nice… Alexa saves the coffee for later to talk about the Money in the Bank’s Fatal 4 Way they won. Are there any tag teams standing out now?
Well the Forgotten Sons made a name for themselves in that match. The New Day has their eyes peeled looking out for those guys. “You can say that again.” Well the Forgotten Sons made a name for- No, Kofi, that’s a saying. But anyway, Bliss-Cross has been mixing it up on Raw with the IIconics, but who, who who who, on SmackDown stands out to them? Nikki gets into a Big E mode, but here comes Bayley and Sasha Banks! “Well, well, well.” Bayley can see two great tag team champions in the ring, but what about the best tag team champions? Sasha doesn’t see them at all. But just wait a second here. Sasha and Bayley get in the ring and Sasha throws her jacket at Alexa. Now Sasha sees the best.
To calm things down, Nikki congratulates Bayley on beating Charlotte Flair last week. Yes, thank you. That’s the welcome Bayley loves. She IS the most dominant Women’s Champion on SmackDown. Maybe Nikki needs to tell Alexa that. No, it’s fine, Bayley. It’s just that when Bayley started talking, Alexa stopped listening. The New Day reacts strongly to that BURN! Now, we have five titles in the ring, but oh! Where’s Sasha’s? BURN! Valid question. Oh shut up! Charlotte Jr. has jokes, huh? Alexa doesn’t talk to Da Goat, Da Boss, and da leader of this division! And since Sasha is the conversation, she has some facts to share. The Boss & Bayley put those titles on the map! OOH~! If it wasn’t for them, the titles wouldn’t even exist! O M G!! And so, Alexa, if they wanted to, Banks & Bayley could take the titles back.
Then name when and where. They will! But right now, right here, Sasha is going to beat Alexa 1v1 tonight! Sasha can’t believe Bayley just did that, but too late! Alexa accepts the challenge and Bayley hurries to get Sasha the rest of her gear. But Alexa gives her back her jacket, and DROPKICKS her out! The Goddess just punked out the Boss. Is Bayley writing checks Sasha can’t cash?
Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross!
SmackDown returns and Sasha at least has sneakers on. Nikki is on commentary as Sasha takes her time lacing her shoes up. Bayley is also on commentary and tells Nikki to shut up already. Alexa rushes Sasha but Sasha sends her into buckles! Sasha kicks but Alexa blocks, rolls Sasha up, TWO! Alexa Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Cradle counter, TWO! Sasha knees low and whips Alexa. Alexa counters the hip toss to a takedown, TWO! Sasha ghost pins, TOW! Sasha blocks the kick and Bayley cheers, but Alexa blocks the knee to ROCK Sasha with a right! Alexa poses and Nikki squeals, and then Alexa hits a takedown to an arm wringer! Knee drop, Insult2Injury! Cover, TWO! Nikki rallies with the fans and Bayley grows annoyed.
Alexa runs corner to corner to slap, but Sasha blocks and sends her into buckles again! Sasha hits swinging METEORA! Cover, TWO! Sasha is shocked but Bayley says she’s da best! Sasha rains down rights and covers, TWO! Alexa gets to the ropes while Bayley threatens Cole and Nikki threatens Bayley in defense of Cole. Nikki pats Cole’s head while Sasha ROCKS Alexa! Sasha slaps Alexa and stomps her down in the corner. The ref counts, Sasha lets up at 4, but Sasha comes back to KNEE Alexa in the corner. Sasha snapmares and runs to basement METEORA! Cover, TWO! Sasha grows frustrated, especially with Nikki rallying the fans. Sasha clamps onto Alexa with double chicken wings but the rallying grows stronger.
Bayley tells Nikki to get off the desk but Nikki shouts, “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” Alexa fights her way up out of the hole but Sasha wrangles her down to an arm surfboard. Alexa still gets to her feet and knees Sasha back! Sasha blocks a knee to hit a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Sasha and Bayley are frustrated but Nikki feels excellent. Sasha throws forearms on Alexa in the corner, but lets up at 4. Sasha and Bayley tell the crowd to shut up but Nikki and the crowd boo instead. Sasha says Alexa has no chance in hell of beating her, but then Alexa ROCKS her! Alexa keeps throwing hands and then whips. Sasha goes up but gets caught and SLAMMED down! Both women are down and Nikki fires up even more. Bayley is losing her cool as Alexa and Sasha stir.
Bayley and Nikki duel but Alexa rallies! Alexa blocks and ROCKS Sasha again. Sasha blocks the next one but Alexa avoids the crossface! Alexa dropkicks Sasha, but runs into headscissors! Sasha sends Alexa into buckles then runs corner to corner, MERTOERA, and the STOCK DROP! Cover, TWO!! Alexa survives and Sasha grows frustrated, but Bayley is still confident. The crowd is on Alexa’s side and she counters Sasha to a victory roll! TWO, and Alexa ducks to tilt-o-whirl to headscissor! Alexa runs into the corner to ROCK Sasha with that right! Sasha is in the drop zone and Alexa climbs. Nikki is fired up and Bayley panics. Bayley gets on the apron and Nikki goes after her! They brawl and Bayley shoves Nikki into Alexa! Alexa goes down, to get METEORA! Slingshot sunset flip, Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by pinfall
The “role models” work together again to make sure they win! Does this ensure they can and will take those tag team titles back?
SmackDown has an update on both Elias and Jeff Hardy.
The Drifter is in stable condition, but there is still little known about Hardy’s situation while in police custody. SmackDown will give us more as the reports come in.
Cesaro w/ Shinsuke Nakamura VS Chad Gable!
The Artist Collective may not have won the battle royal, but they also made sure Shorty G wouldn’t either! The Swiss Cyborg poked fun at Gable until Gable lost his cool, and now things will be settled in the ring!
The bell rings and Gable hits Cesaro with a rolling kick right away! And then another! Gable fires off forearms and whips Cesaro, but Cesaro reverses. Gable goes up and over and sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro runs into a back elbow and Gable goes up. Gable QUEBRADA, cover, TWO! Gable has a leg and drops knees on the knee! Cesaro kicks Gable away and then dodges him to LARIAT! Cesaro runs to drop a leg, brother! Cover, TWO! Cesaro keeps his cool as he drags Gable up. He ROCKS Gable with a EuroUpper, but then dead lifts and gut wrenches. Gable blocks for just a moment before Cesaro TOSSES him! Cover, TWO!
Cesaro clamps onto Gable with a half camel clutch. The crowd rallies for Gable as he endures. Gable fights his way up, throws body shots back, but Cesaro knees low. Cesaro whips, Gable dodges and dropkicks the legs out! Gable runs corner to corner for another rolling kick, but Cesaro catches him! For a POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Gable survives and Cesaro grows frustrated. Cesaro basement EuroUppers Gable, then stalks him to the corner. Cesaro hauls Gable up and hoists him to the top rope backwards. He CLUBS Gable on the back then climbs up to join him. SUPER BACK SUPLEX, but Gable lands on his feet!! Gable has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Cesaro flails but rolls and sends Gable into ropes! Cesaro EuroUppers Gable off his feet! Cover, TWO!
Cesaro hauls Gable up and Gotch holds, but Gable back drops out! Cesaro sunset flips through, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO! Gable is up but Cesaro whips and catches the roll, but Gable sunset flips through! Gable wins!!
Winner: Chad Gable, by pinfall
Shorty G pulls off a huge upset! Will Gable finally climb that ladder to head for bigger and better opportunities?
SmackDown checks in with Otis Dozovic and Mandy Rose.
Mr. Money in the Bank and his sweet peach have been having a great time relaxing by the pool. Pop the bottles! Peach champagne for his golden peach. Tall glasses of the bubbly and cheers to some alone time as just the two of them. Oh yeah! Otis asks Mandy, “Care to test the waters, my golden ray of sunshine?” No, thanks, Mandy is getting a little tired. A little sleepy? A kiss good night then. Otis lets Mandy snooze in the sun, and she starts to dream about… Otis going into the pool? She can’t take her eyes off him. Otis tests the wind as Mandy gets hotter. Otis comes out dripping wet. “Hi, Mandy. You know how cute I always thought you were.” Otis walks over as water pours down. Isn’t this from Fast Times at Ridgemont High?
Mandy blows Otis a kiss as he tears off his shirt. She even sees herself with Otis, though she’s still on the chair. The other Mandy makes out with Otis as real Mandy squirts sunscreen everywhere. But back in reality, CANNONBALL!! Otis splashes down big time, and it gets on Mandy. She wakes up and he apologizes to his “precious sea gem.” It’s okay, even though she was having an amazing dream. Mandy does join Otis in the pool for some real kissing. Oh yeah~!
SmackDown hears from Kurt Angle!
The Olympic gold medalist and WWE Hall of Famer is back and remembers how he used to run SmackDown. He and other legends, like Taker, Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Edge. Speaking of, the Greatest WRestling Match Ever between Orton and Edge will be amazing! But that’s all the past, this is the future. Angle introduces a superstar who is now joining the SmackDown roster. This is a man who Angle has gotten to know very well over the last few months, and even officiated the Fight Pit Match, this man’s last match on NXT. Tonight, Angle gladly announces SmackDown will be getting… THE ORIGINAL BRO, Matt Riddle! The former NXT Tag Team Champion and all around chill badass is leaving the black ‘n’ yellow to go true blue! Will this become Friday Night Bro-Down?
Backstage interview with Sheamus.
All the talk of Jeff Hardy, and what happens? Jeff isn’t even gone five minutes, and he’s being replaced by Matt Riddle. But that’s okay. While those guys get the hype, Sheamus gets the results. That’s why Sheamus won the battle royal, and will get to Brogue kick Bryan again. Sheamus has yet to have the Intercontinental Championship, and he won’t let the rats get in his way. Sheamus will be the ULTIMATE Grand Slam Champion! He will leave bodies in his wake, because there’s no room for the weak. But Bryan walks over and Sheamus dares him to say something. Or does cat got his tongue? Bryan shin kicks Sheamus instead! Sheamus hobbles as he vows to make Bryan pay for that! Their main event match happens after the break!
SmackDown has big news for next week’s episode!
Not only is Matt Riddle making his SmackDown debut, but The Miz & John Morrison have a “warning” for Braun Strowman ahead of their WWE Universal Championship Handicap match at Backlash! What will the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century have to say to the Monster Among Men before their unconventional title match? And speaking of title matches, after tonight’s victory for The Boss, Sasha and Bayley are getting their title match against Bliss-Cross! Will we see the rise of #BayleyTwoBelts next week?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Semifinals: Daniel Bryan VS Sheamus!
The Goat defeated his coach and friend, Drew Gulak, to get here. The Celtic Warrior lost to Jeff Hardy but misfortune took the Charismatic Enigma and Drifter out of the running. Will Sheamus luck out and get back in the title scene?
The bell rings and Sheamus circles with Bryan. They tie up, Sheamus headlocks and throws Bryan down. Cover, ONE, but Sheamus wrangles Bryan again. Bryan fights up, brings Sheamus down to a knee and pops out back to get a hammerlock. Bryan grabs the opposite arm and wrenches the wrist. Sheamus sits up but Bryan chinlocks. Sheamus powers Bryan to a corner and arm-drags him away hard. Sheamus toys with Bryan already as he kicks at him. Bryan gets up as Sheamus reminds him of that WrestleMania defeat. Bryan gets the arm, Sheamus reverses the hammerlock and chinbar, but Bryan endures as Sheamus grinds him down. Sheamus taunts Bryan but Bryan puts him in a corner. Bryan throws fast hands and kicks! And uppercuts! Sheamus hakes it off but Bryan throws more! Sheamus comes back with a LARIAT!
Sheamus stomps Bryan and drags him up for EuroUppers of his own. Sheamus CLUBS Bryan, then hooks Bryan’s face. The ref counts and Sheamus lets up to knock Bryan down. Sheamus clamps onto Bryan with a chinbar and knees him in the corner. Sheamus throws more uppercuts then whips, but Bryan goes up and over. Bryan keeps moving, dodges and flying clotheslines! Sheamus is up fast but Bryan dumps him out. Bryan builds speed to DIVE! Direct hit sends Sheamus into barriers! Bryan is back in control as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Bryan gives Sheamus shoulder breakers! Bryan wrenches again and wants the takedown, but Sheamus whips Bryan away. Sheamus scoops but Bryan slips out to waistlock. Sheamus backs Bryan down into a corner and throws elbows over and over and over and over! Sheamus gets Bryan down and gives even more elbows into Bryan’s face! Sheamus drops knees, too, and shouts, “Are you not entertained?!” The crowd boos, meaning they aren’t. Sheamus just smiles as he brings Bryan back up. Sheamus KNEES Bryan out of the ring! Sheamus fetches Bryan and throws him into barriers! He taunts Cole into starting up the Yes chants. The crowd chants “No! No!” but Bryan gets to the ring. Sheamus climbs up top and leaps to clothesline Bryan down! Cover, TWO!
Sheamus is frustrated with Bryan but he takes credit for the Yes Movement! Those 18 seconds at WrestleMania started it all. Bryan throws body shots and EuroUppers! Bryan kicks and uppercuts, but Sheamus whips. Bryan boots him away! He leaps but into the IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Sheamus has the legs for the Cloverleaf! Sheamus sits deep on the hold but Bryan crawls for ropes! The crowd rallies as Bryan gets the ropebreak! Sheamus lets go in frustration, but admits Bryan was always squirrelly. Sheamus wants the Bodhrain but Bryan fires off forearms! Bryan hotshots Sheamus away then climbs up. But Sheamus kicks the legs out! Sheamus climbs up and clubs Bryan, then brings Bryan up to the very top. Bryan resists, fights Sheamus back, and headbutts him down! Sheamus gets up but Bryan leaps to missile dropkick him down!
Both men are down and the crowd rallies. Bryan gets up and gives Yes Kicks over and over! He kicks and kicks but Sheamus ducks the Buzzsaw! Sheamus wants another backbreaker but Bryan crucifix pins! Cover, TWO! Bryan throws elbows but Sheamus power sup, to the WHITE NOISE! Cover, TWO! Bryan survives Sheamus’ take on the Air Raid, but Sheamus won’t stop there. Sheamus drags Bryan up for stiff body shots and EuroUppers. The crowd rallies as Sheamus whips Bryan out then in. Bryan drop toeholds and sends Sheamus into buckles! And he kicks the rope to jam Sheamus! Bryan hits a corner to corner dropkick! Bryan goes again, but Sheamus CLOBBERS him! Sheamus fires up and aims from the corner. Wait, is that Jeff Hardy!? He’s free from county jail?! SHOTGUN KNEE from Bryan! Cover, Bryan wins!!
Winner: Daniel Bryan, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
And now Hardy is after Sheamus! Hardy chases Sheamus around the ring but Sheamus gets away! Sheamus runs away from Hardy, but just what is going on here?
What a wild SmackDown tonight! Because the tournament as it was meant to go was what the WWE advertised, everything tonight was a surprise and to great effect. Clearly there is a frame job of Jeff Hardy as the one who hit Elias after having a relapse into his alcoholism. The battle royal was great, and I was surprised Jey Uso got to be one of the last two. While the Usos are basically never breaking up as a tag team, using Jey while Jimmy is injured is actually a good move. Sheamus wins the battle royal but loses his match with Bryan because Hardy returns from being “arrested.” Hardy assumes Sheamus did him in but I think a better route would to give us a twist culprit. It’s also of note that Elias was taken out, and Styles chose to take the easy route and just go into the finals automatically. How do we know it wasn’t Styles who ran Elias over and framed Hardy? Two birds with one car, because then he can have another match with Bryan, seeking payback for both their world title feud and their MITB interactions.
Cesaro VS Gable was a really good match to come out of the battle royal story. I can’t be sure how far that story goes, but maybe Gable gets a tag team partner to help him against Cesaro and Nakamura. Just don’t have Corbin pal around with them again, because we had Corbin VS Gable already when this Shorty G stuff started. We got great developments in the Women’s Tag Team Championship story. The Moment of Bliss segment was a lot of fun with the New Day reacting to the burns from Alexa to Bayley and Sasha. Sasha VS Alexa was a good match, but the best part was Bayley and Nikki on commentary. There was a part where Michael Cole came so close to laughing, you could tell. Next week’s tag title match will be incredible, I’m sure of it. And it seems all but official that The Forgotten Sons are next for The New Day. I appreciate Blake’s promo was about him not being a soldier but a supporter, but this feud would be better if Xavier Woods was back so that it’d be all six of them involved.
Sonya VS Lacey was a really good match, and a count-out finish was good because we can get more of these two. I can’t be sure where either goes after a feud, because Bayley and Sonya are Heels and WWE doesn’t do that kind of title story. Or even non-title stories, really. Matt Riddle coming to SmackDown is great for SmackDown! Having Kurt Angle announcing Matt Riddle coming to SmackDown spoils the fun but is good for ratings. But surprises don’t happen anymore when people leak and spoil things. Yes, fans are needed to give genuine reactions to a debut, but I would’ve been genuinely surprised hearing “Bro…” at any point on SmackDown next week.
And then, there’s the little skit with Mandy Rose and Otis. I loved that they reversed the pool dream sequence from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, it was hilarious. Even though Mandy lost to Sonya, she is just fine because she has her Otis. And this kind of investment into Otis surely means that somehow in the next year, Otis is going to find a way to cash in and take the Universal Championship. The question will be about who he takes it off of, and I’m not picturing Miz & Morrison in that. Strowman, Bray Wyatt, but probably not Miz or Morrison. For one, the SmackDown hacker still needs to pick their targeted duo and start that story, and it could very well be Miz and Morrison after their stumblings as tag champions.
My Score: 8.4/10