SmackDown heads for SummerSlam inside the Thunderdome!
Before WWE’s Biggest Party of the Summer, SmackDown enters the THUNDERDOME! And with BOTH the WWE Intercontinental and SmackDown Tag Team Championships on the line!
- Big E VS Sheamus; Big E wins.
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Lucha House Party; Cesaro & Nakamura win and retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
- Beat the Clock Challenge: Naomi VS Sasha Banks w/ Bayley; wins in 3 minutes, 39 seconds.
- Beat the Clock Challenge: Naomi VS Bayley w/ Sasha Banks; Naomi wins and Bayley VS Asuka goes first at SummerSlam.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: AJ Styles VS Jeff Hardy; Hardy wins and becomes the new WWE Intercontinental Champion.
PLAY BY PLAY
Vince McMahon returns to SmackDown!
The Chairman welcomes us to the show and to ThunderDome! Are you among the faces in the virtual crowd? “No one brings the thunder like the WWE!” But wait! Lights are going down! This isn’t Retribution. This is THE FIEND!! Bray Wyatt’s darkest side is heading to the ring! The Fiend laughs as he steps in to join Vince. Vince and Fiend stand under the red lights as the crowd is thunderous. Fiend won’t let Vince exit, either. But wait! Here comes BRAUN!! The Monster walks down the ramp and has The Fiend’s attention. Braun joins Fiend in the ring, and Vince has since exited. Braun puts the belt down as he stares The Fiend right in the eyes. “I told you.”
The lights flicker but stay on. Retribution is here! They’ve flanked the ring in an instant! But these troublemakers may have just made the biggest mistake of their lives. Fiend and Braun, Fiend waves bye, and the lights go down. When they come up, Fiend is gone! Braun feels a bit betrayed, and now he’s all alone 15v! They go after Braun with hammering fists, clubbing him down to his knees! They have Braun on the mat! Here comes the SmackDown roster, Big E leading the charge! They still get swarmed, so another wave comes in, led by Baron Corbin! Now things are a bit more even! Retribution is purged from the ring one by one, they scatter and retreat! The Miz is last to get out here, though perhaps no one else noticed.
Braun gets up from the cowardly gang attack, and he CLOBBERS Drew Gulak! And then he tosses Jey Uso out of the ring! The Monster said he’s the most evil SOB in the world, and now he’s the angriest! Will he get back at The Fiend for leaving him high and dry? Or will the Retribution be the ones to feel that wrath?
SmackDown returns but things are still tense.
Retribution may have fled but a good number of WWE superstars are still here to keep an eye on things. Big E and Sheamus are both in the ring and they start shoving each other! This of course has to do with last week, Sheamus hitting Big E with a Brogue over supposedly riling Retribution up. But with them both here, their match will happen now! Will Big E give Sheamus as good as he got?
Big E VS Sheamus!
The bell rings and they tie up fast! Big E and Sheamus go to a corner, Sheamus has control but lets up at the ref’s count. They tie up again and go around more, Big E gets Sheamus in the corner now. The ref counts, Big E gets away from Sheamus’ grip to tie up again. Sheamus headlocks, Big E powers out to headlock in return. Big E grinds to the rhythm, “New! Day Rocks!” Sheamus powers out and they ram shoulders, but neither falls. Sheamus knees low, clubs Big E down, then mocks him for being all alone. Sheamus runs but Big E clotheslines him out! Big E goes out to RAM Sheamus into the steel steps with a shoulder! The virtual fans in the “front row” get a closer look as Big E throws Sheamus back in.
Big E has Sheamus on the apron and clubs away on him! The ref counts, Big E gets back in at 5 of 10, but then aims from the apron for the SPLASH! Sheamus goes in, clutching his chest. Big E stalks Sheamus to a corner, Baron Corbin says something to Heavy Machinery, but Sheamus hotshots Big E! And then again! Big E staggers, Sheamus climbs up top and leaps for a flying clothesline! Sheamus clutches his ribs instead of covering, and Sheamus stands on Big E at the ropes! The ref counts, Sheamus stops at 4 but drags Big E up. Sheamus gives Big E some beats of the Bodhrain! And talking trash at the same time! Sheamus stops to let Big E flop down as the ref reprimands.
Sheamus drags Big E up to a headlock but Big E throws body shots. Big E runs but into Sheamus’ IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! The lights flicker again and that’s never a good sign. Is Retribution coming back for more? We’ll see after SmackDown returns from break!
SmackDown returns and Sheamus has Big E in a headlock. Big E fights up as the other superstars rally. Big E elbows free and OVERHEAD SUPLEXES Sheamus! And again! And then dodges for the side belly2belly! Big E has Sheamus where he wants him as he swivels those hips! Big E runs and hits the BIG SPLASH! Big E claps and watches Sheamus stand. Scoop but Sheamus slips out to boot! Sheamus runs but into a pop-up! Sheamus slips off to KNEE Big E down! Cover, TWO!! Sheamus grows frustrated and he drags Big E up to punch him down. And again! Sheamus punches but Big E counter punches! Big E hits back but Sheamus kicks low to fireman’s carry! Big E slips out, baits Sheamus in for the Urenage-E! Cover, TWO!!
The virtual crowd rallies while Corbin barks more orders. Sheamus is on the apron, Big E runs but into another KNEE! Sheamus drags Big E back up for more beats of the Bodhrain! Big E blocks and drags Sheamus up and over! Sheamus holds the ropes to avoid the slam, and then he dodges to POST Big E! Scoop for WHITE NOISE! Sheamus doesn’t cover, and Corbin sucker punches Matt Riddle! The Wolf King can’t let his grudge go even for one night, and he tells Chad Gable to do his part. Sheamus aims at Big E, but Riddle brawls back with Corbin! The other superstars try to stop that and this distracts Sheamus. Big E rolls Sheamus up, BIG E WINS!
Winner: Big E, by pinfall
What a sudden turn around! Heavy Machinery celebrates with Big E while Corbin is angry with Riddle and Gable and Sheamus is just upset. Will the Celtic Warrior want a rematch with Big E or another fight with Corbin?
SmackDown finds Jeff Hardy in the Trainer’s Room!?
The Charismatic Enigma is supposed to challenge AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship tonight, but his knee is hurt! Someone got him from behind and went after his leg. Hardy doesn’t want to cancel the main event, he just wants a brace or ice to help his leg. Will Hardy be able to make it to that match with the Phenomenal One tonight?
Lucha House Party heads for gorilla.
The returning Kalisto pumps up Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado with a pep talk, but they get blindsided by Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura! The Swiss Cyborg and King of Strong Style ask what’s the matter. Their match is up next, will the King of the Ropes and the Golden Lynx be able to get back at the champs by taking their belts?
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Lucha House Party!
As we just saw before the break, the Artist Collective felt the need to hit LHP first, still upset over the little prank they pulled last week. But will it the champions be even more upset after Dorado and Metalik score another upset victory?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and it’s time to get #LuchaLit!
The teams sort out and we begin with Metalik and Nakamura to continue where they left off. Metalik side steps Nakamura to huricanrana, but then he runs into a kitchen sink knee! Nakamura KICKS then CLUBS Metalik before bumping him off Cesaro’s boot. Tag to Cesaro, he runs to basement running elbow! Cover, TWO, but Cesaro wraps on a chinlock. Cesaro whips, Metalik tilt-o-whirls a couple times to headscissor Cesaro away! Cesaro flounders up to whip Metalik away from Dorado, but Metalik walks the ropes to springboard! The huricanrana is blocked to a SIT OUT POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!
Cesaro is frustrated as he has to drag Metalik back up. The Miz and John Morrison are talking backstage as they watch this match. Morrison asks if Miz thinks Lucha House Party will “libre” those titles from Cesaro and Shinsuke. By the way, “libre” means “liberate” or “free” in Spanish. Miz knew that. Miz wants Morrison to take this more seriously. This is a high stakes match, and what they should talk about is the “daredevil luchas” making a “luncha” out of Shinsuke and the Swiss Cheese. Don’t say “luncha” too loud or Otis will wanna eatcha. But yes, seriously, Shinsuke Nakamura is silent but deadly. That’s why he is the Fartist Known as Shinsuke Nakamura! Good one! High five! “Miz ‘n’ Morrison! Hey hey! Ho ho!”
Meanwhile, in the match, Cesaro fireman’s carries Metalik, tags Nakamura, then drops Metalik onto the top rope. Nakamura hits the Top Shelf Knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura cravats Metalik and grinds Metalik down to a snapmare. Cover, TWO! Tag to Cesaro and he scoop slams to then drop a leg on Metalik! Cover, TWO! Cesaro keeps on Metalik and tags Nakamura back in. They double whip Metalik, to double BOOT him down! Nakamura sucker punches Dorado and then tags Cesaro back in. They mug Metalik, Cesaro suplexes to hang Metalik out to dry! The ref reprimands but Cesaro hops up. Metalik CHOPS first, then climbs up the ropes. Cesaro hits back with European Uppercuts but Metalik hits back with haymakers!
Metalik brings Cesaro up, for a SUPER STEINER! Kalisto rallies Metalik with all he’s got! Cesaro and Metalik tag in Nakamura and Dorado! Dorado boots Nakamura, leaps and crossbodies! Dorado bounces off, dropkicks Cesaro, then dodges Nakamura to fire off fast hands! ENZIGURI! Dorado whips corner to corner, Nakamura reverses but Dorado goes up and over and handsprings away. Dorado ducks a kick to SUPERKICK! Dorado moonsaults off the bottom rope! Then the second rope MOONSAULT! And then the top rope, for another MOONSAULT! Cover, but Cesaro breaks it! Cesaro drags Dorado right up to a powerbomb but Dorado counters with a huricanrana! Metalik FLIES for a double-edged FLYING Rana!
Nakamura gives Dorado an INVERTED EXPLODER! Nakamura goes out to stomp away on Metalik for good measure before aiming at Dorado. “YAO~!” But Dorado counters the Kinshasa to a roll up, TWO! GOLDEN REWIND!! Nakamura staggers, Cesaro tags in, Cesaro slingshot sunset flips to SWING Dorado! But Dorado sits up to sunset flip through, ONE!! Dorado runs, into a pop-up but Dorado huricanranas through it! But Cesaro manages to sunset flip through that, covers, Cesaro and Nakamura win!!
Winners: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura, by pinfall (still SmackDown Tag Team Champions)
That was fast and furious by the end of it, and in the end, Cesaro and Nakamura still come away with the championships! Kalisto is even more frustrated than Dorado as he asks, “Que es eso? Is that it?!” Dorado pushes Kalisto but Metalik hurries in to keep the peace. Dorado shoves Kalisto and dares him to get up, and Kalisto is definitely fired up. Metalik tries desperately to keep his friends from fighting any harder, but is the party almost over for Lucha House Party?
The trainer continues to work on Jeff Hardy’s leg.
Hardy still has time before the main event, but is it even possible to get his leg feeling alright?
The SmackDown crew spotted something during the Retribution melee.
Hardy wasn’t attacked by a member of the anarchist thugs, it was AJ STYLES!! Styles took the opportunity to stomp Hardy on the back of his leg as insurance for tonight! The Phenomenal One admires his handiwork but now Kayla Braxton comes by to ask about that. The footage clearly shows- Shows what? That Styles was showing some urgency going after Retribution. If Hardy was showing that same urgency, “he wouldn’t have been in the way.” But now it seems that “unfortunately,” Hardy can’t compete. That’s a shame, really. But it reminds Styles of Hardy’s career. Everyone Hardy has gone, he’s wasted his opportunities. Hardy said he was standing on his own two feet, but clearly not now. The Jeff Hardy Story in a Nutshell, by AJ Styles.
Styles heads out but bumps into two fellow champions in the Golden Role Models! The belts are all looking good. But almost as good as his. But they’ll still belt clink him. Sasha and Bayley are still feeling great with everything SummerSlam has in store, and they’re headed to gorilla.
Backstage interview with Mandy Rose.
Kayla just wants to know how she’s doing. Mandy isn’t sure. It’s been such a rough week, to say the least. SummerSlam is Sunday, and Mandy isn’t sure what’s going through Sonya Deville’s mind, just only how Mandy feels. And despite all the ugliness she’s seen, Mandy needs to believe there is still good in the world, because that is the world she wants to live in. So Mandy wants to speak directly to Sonya now.
“Sonya. We’ve been through a lot. And I don’t know if you know this, but so much of the good and beautiful, we’ve been through it together when we were best friends.” Today, Mandy chooses to believe that the Sonya she knows, the one she was inseparable with for the past five YEARS, is still in there. So while Mandy doesn’t know how Sonya is feeling right now, with this “vicious” Hair VS Hair match coming up, but the way Mandy feels is that they just put this all behind them and get back to where they were. Mandy chooses to see the good in Sonya. Will Sonya choose to do the same?
The Golden Role Models head to the ring!
Bayley and Sasha show off all their belts, and even have pyro for their entrance! Corey Graves is in the ring already as Bayley and Sasha grab mics for themselves. Graves welcomes #BayleyDosStraps and #TwoBeltzBanks to the show, and blatantly asks if they’re splitting up. Uh, no! Well alright then. Now, two days from SummerSlam, where Bayley and Sasha each defend their SmackDown and Raw Women’s Championships in separate matches against the same opponent, Asuka. Asuka could leave SummerSlam a dual champion in her own right, but Bayley says that won’t happen. That’s because there are only two women in all of WWE capable of being dual champions, and you’re looking at them!
So does that imply Asuka is incapable when she’s defeated each of them in the past? It took them both to stop Asuka the last time. Hold up, Corey Graves! “If that even is your real name.” Did you not hear them on Raw? They’re good enough and will destroy Asuka. Don’t stir the pot! He’s not, he’s just trying to understand the logic behind their moves. Logic? They’re the most logical duo in this company! Everything they do is for a reason. That’s why ding-dong, hello! They have ALL the belts! Graves did watch Raw, and points out Bayley phrased going first as the “heavy lifting.” Doesn’t that seem illogical? Asuka has Bayley’s number having beaten Bayley twice, and she also wants revenge for Kairi Sane.
Bayley says that what she said was a suggestion. Sasha is just as capable of beating Asuka first, if she wants to. Just a suggestion? Sasha is asking if Bayley is volunteering her again. Is there a disagreement here? No! No disagreement! They’re on the same page, there’s no one can beat them both in one night! Not even Asuka! There is not one woman in the WWE locker room that can touch them! But Naomi heads to the ring now! “Hello, ding-dongs~!” Naomi thinks she can help them handle this situation. How about Naomi faces both of them tonight! Sasha laughs at the idea that Naomi wants to face them both. But challenge accepted! Cool, so who wants it first?
Wait, what? What part of Naomi’s death wish settles SummerSlam’s issues? Graves says it could be a Beat the Clock Challenge. Just a suggestion. Naomi likes that idea, too. But again, which one of them wants to go first? Sasha and Bayley talk it over, but Naomi dropkicks them both! The Glow wants the Golden Role Models to step up, but who steps up first?
Beat the Clock Challenge: Naomi VS Sasha Banks w/ Bayley!
SmackDown returns and it’s The Boss who wants to #FeelTheGlow first! Will Sasha win fast to prove she doesn’t need Bayley to soften anyone up for her?
The bell rings and they circle. Sasha trips Naomi, rains down right hands then covers, ONE! Sasha drags Naomi up and talks trash but Naomi pushes her back. Naomi headlocks, uses the ropes to springboard sunset flip and matchbook cover, TWO! Sasha comes back but Naomi full nelsons for the Bubba Bomb! Body scissor cover, TWO! Another, TWO! Naomi rolls and rolls and rolls Sasha to another cover, TWO! Naomi lets Sasha go to SLAP her! Bayley protests and says not to disrespect her best friend. Naomi dodges Sasha and slides, to then handstand and huricanrana Sasha out hard! We’re past a minute as Sasha staggers up for Naomi’s PLANCHA!
Naomi glares at Bayley and Bayley says she isn’t doing anything. Naomi brings Sasha up, puts her in, then kicks at Bayley from the apron. Sasha grabs Naomi’s hair to drag her through the ropes! Sasha clubs away then kicks Naomi in the face! Sasha slingshots in for the STOCK DROP! Cover, TWO!! Sasha tries again, TWO! The timer hits two minutes while Sasha grows panicked. Sasha wraps Naomi up in a chinlock and grinds Naomi down. Naomi fights up, throws body shots but Sasha pushes her away. Naomi comes back with a running jawbreaker! Sasha is in the corner, Naomi runs in but Sasha puts her on the apron. Naomi ROUNDHOUSES back!
Sasha staggers, Naomi climbs and leaps, crossbody! But Sasha rolls through to take the cover! TWO and Naomi drags Sasha up for a suplex! Naomi hangs Sasha out to dry and kicks her back! Then springboards to ENZIGURI! Down goes Sasha and Naomi covers, TWO! We’re past 3 minutes now but that’s just fine to Bayley it seems. Naomi drags Sasha to a corner, climbs up but Sasha rolls Naomi, TWO! Sasha dodges and waistlocks but Naomi counters the O’Conner roll to a wheelbarrow lift! Sasha slips out to get the arm for a takedown, BANK STATEMENT! Naomi endures, Sasha cranks back, but Naomi taps!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission, at 3:39
Bayley gets in and KNEES Naomi down! She wants her match now, to even Sasha’s surprise. The ref checks on Naomi as Bayley grows further impatient. The crowd boos but Naomi says she’s okay to go. The bell rings and Bayley fires off!
Beat the Clock Challenge: Naomi VS Bayley w/ Sasha Banks!
Bayley stomps away then hammers away with fists! She clubs Naomi down, covers, TWO! Bayley rains down more fast hands then drags Naomi up. Snap suplex! Cover, TWO! Naomi clutches her back but Bayley stomps her down. Bayley kicks Naomi to a corner as we drop under 3 minutes. Bayley whips Naomi corner to corner hard, then brings Naomi up for a snapmare. Cover, TWO! Bayley runs to sliding lariat! Cover, TWO!! Bayley grows frustrated as she glares at the clock. Bayley pushes Naomi to ropes but Naomi fights back with body shots! Naomi brings Bayley to a corner for a bulldog!
Naomi kicks Bayley then runs corner to corner, only for Bayley to CLOBBER Naomi! Cover, TWO! Sasha clutches her title, and as we drop under 2 minutes, it’s hard to tell if she’s happy or upset right now. Bayley gets up, runs and goes to knee but Naomi deflects! REAR VIEW!! Naomi WINS!!
Winner: Naomi, by pinfall, 1:44 to spare
The Glow just beat the SmackDown Women’s Champion! Of course, that only matters if Bayley stays champion! Because now she MUST go first against Asuka at SummerSlam! Will Bayley’s “heavy lifting” cost her her title but insure Sasha keeps hers? And Sasha even sneaks in a smirk as she “comforts” Bayley. At least, until Asuka appears! Asuka laughs at the Golden Role Models and lets them know The Empress is here! Oh, Sasha, Bayley, what happened? At SummerSlam, Asuka will be the Empress of EVERY TITLE!! Because no one is ready for Asuka!! Sasha runs at Asuka but gets a ROUNDHOUSE for it! And then Asuka goes to SLIDING WIZARD Bayley!
Bayley gets to ropes but Asuka stomps her out of the ring! Bayley scrambles around, manages to grab the SmackDown Women’s Championship and her WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship belt, but totally abandons Sasha and her stuff! Will the Empress not only win both belts but break up the best friends once and for all?
Jeff Hardy has his leg brace.
He tests the leg and seems to do alright. But it’s really more about pain tolerance. Hardy says Styles is going to lose to a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest, and that one legged man will become Intercontinental Champion once again!
Backstage interview with Sonya Deville.
Kayla asks if Sonya has her response to Mandy’s message. Sonya does, but she won’t bother saying it here. What she has to say, she’ll say in front of the entire world. But Dana Brooke comes by to say that she feels awful about what happened to Sonya this week. If there’s anything Sonya needs- Sonya says it’s nothing she can’t handle. And then she SLAPS Dana?! Sonya says Dana was the disrespectful one!? Sonya heads off to gorilla, what will her response to Mandy be?
SmackDown returns as Sonya Deville heads to the ring.
She cuts the music short so she can speak. She heard what Mandy said, and she gets it. Mandy is second guessing her own challenge, which correct Sonya if she’s wrong, is exactly what Sonya knew she’d do. But what Sonya doesn’t get is, “What do you want, Mandy?” What is it that Mandy wants? Mandy is going to face Sonya one way or another! It WILL be them at SummerSlam!
But since clearly, Mandy is bothered by how Sonya cut her hair, and clearly everyone here knows Sonya doesn’t “give a damn” if she’s bald or not, why don’t they just up the ante?! They should raise the stakes! It will be Sonya and Mandy, NO DISQUALIFICATIONS, and LOSER LEAVES WWE!! Because what Sonya realized, hair or no hair, she’s just sick of looking at Mandy’s face. So wipe the tears “and bring your A-Game, bi*ch!” Sonya is not letting go of her fire, but will she be forced to let go of her WWE contract?
SmackDown presents The Firefly Fun House!
A video package recaps the developments between him, Braun and Alexa Bliss. The Fiend threatened the well-being of Alexa to provoke Braun, but Braun claims she doesn’t matter to him anymore. Alexa claims that is not the Braun she knows, because they’ve been friends for years. Bruan claims that’s not true. She treated him as a bearded clown. Everyone that comes in contact with The Fiend changes, and that includes her. Alexa tried literally slapping some sense into him, but he picked her up and THREW her! Is The Monster really no longer charmed by The Goddess?
Nikki Cross speaks.
“Me and Alexa have been friends for quite awhile now.” And when they spoke last Tuesday, she just seemed a little… Off. Nikki isn’t sure what it is, but Alexa is definitely different. She talks like Alexa, acts like Alexa, but the Alexa Nikki knows is warm, caring and funny. But the Alexa Nikki sees now is not that, and it scares Nikki. Because Nikki just has this feeling that “something terrible is about to happen.” Did Braun have it right when he said The Fiend changed Alexa?
WWE Intercontinental Championship: AJ Styles VS Jeff Hardy!
The Phenomenal One took a phenomenal cheap shot on his challenger earlier tonight in an attempt to avoid this dream match. But Hardy isn’t out of the running yet, and Daniel Bryan points out that Styles is only willing to face the best when they’re at their worst. So hopefully tonight inside the ThunderDome, Hardy gives us all a champion we deserve. Will that hope come true? We find out after SmackDown returns from break.
SmackDown returns as Hardy makes his entrance. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this showdown of icons begins!
Hardy hobbles as he and Styles circle. They approach, Styles gets the leg but Hardy clubs and elbows him to ropes! The ref backs Hardy off but Hardy comes back to kick and whip Styles to ropes. He back drops Styles high and hard! Hardy brings Styles up to club him more but Styles powers Hardy into a corner. Styles runs but into boots! Hardy goes up but Styles clips the leg! Hardy tumbles down hard but Styles stomps the leg! Styles rips the pants leg open to show the knee brace! Styles stomps right on the brace, even as Hardy goes to a corner. Styles won’t let up as he drags Hardy up and whips. Hardy can’t even run to the other side! Hardy tumbles down and Styles laughs.
Styles says Hardy should’ve known better than to get in the ring. Styles stomps the leg and then stands on it! The ref counts as Hardy is in the corner, so Styles lets off. Hardy hits back but falls over again. Styles stomps the bad leg again but Hardy throws body shots. Styles rocks him with a right, then brings Hardy around, only for Hardy to jawbreaker! Styles leans on the ropes while Hardy gets away. Styles runs but is put on the apron, and takes a spill! Hardy swings but Styles blocks the dropkick to SLAM the bad leg on the apron edge! Hardy is down and in pain as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again as Styles goes after Hardy’s leg with a modified leg lock. Styles leans on the knee but Hardy turns around to kick him back! Hardy hobbles up, kicks with the good leg, but Styles blocks it. Hardy pivots to still mule kick Styles down! Styles walks into an atomic drop, then Hardy drops the leg splitting leg drop! And basement dropkick! Hardy splashes down, covers, TWO! Hardy keeps going as he reels Styles in. Hardy gets Styles up for a GOURD BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Both men are down, exhausted, but fans rally up. Hardy gets to ropes, waits for Styles to stand, then kicks low. No Twist of Fate, though as Styles slips out to PELE! Both men are down again and the ref starts a standing count.
Styles stirs first but Hardy follows. The standing count reaches 5 as Hardy hobbles and Styles staggers. Styles goes after Hardy but Hardy elbows him away! Hardy goes up but his bad leg gives out, no Whisper in the Wind! Hardy hits the mat hard, but somehow he’s okay to continue. Styles aims from the apron, springboards, but into a BIG body shot! Hardy saves himself and both men go to opposite corners. Hardy runs but Styles avoids the swinging dropkick. Styles gets the leg, rolls Hardy to the CALF CRUSHER!! Hardy endures, crawls, and gets the ropebreak! Styles lets go fast and stalks behind Hardy.
Styles grabs the leg, Hardy fights back with clubbing forearms and gets free, but Styles kicks the leg out! Styles reels Hardy in, lifts but Hardy kicks his legs. The knee brace smacks Styles in the face!! Hardy adds on with the TWIST OF FATE! Hardy hurries to the corner! He climbs up slowly but reaches the top rope, for the SWANTON BOMB!! Cover, Hardy wins!!
Winner: Jeff Hardy, by pinfall (NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion)
Styles’ attack on Hardy earlier comes back to haunt him! The knee brace gives Hardy the edge, and Kayla is in the ring to congratulate the new champion. After everything Hardy has been through, what does it mean for him to be champion once again? “If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be Intercontinental Champion again, I would think you were crazy.” Back then, he was in a dark place, and couldn’t find a way out. But life is always a challenge, and he stands here with a bad knee but with a lot of hope that things will get better. He couldn’t do this without the WWE Universe! He thanks us as the music plays him off, will Hardy be able to properly thank us by continuing to rise back up?
SmackDown checks in on the Firefly Fun House.
Huskis the Pig Boy wears a “Get These Hooves” shirt while Ramblin’ Rabbit cosplays as Alexa Bliss. A new episode premieres, after the break!
AJ Styles is FURIOUS!
He complains to Joseph Park about what happened. Kayla comes by to ask that maybe he was overconfident tonight. OVERCONFIDENT!? This is on Park and his PISS saying that Styles was mathematically guaranteed to beat Hardy tonight! Styles did until Hardy cheated with that knee brace! Look at the mark on Styles’ face! It’s actually not that big… This is the only reason Hardy is champion! “This is bullcrap!” Styles continues to berate Park over the numbers, but will Styles have no choice but to earn his way to a rematch?
Talking Smack returns!!
Available on even the FREE version of the WWE Network as of tomorrow morning, the hit post-show returns as hosted by Kayla and The Miz, with word from Big E, the Golden Role Models and the NEW Intercontinental Champion! Sign up now and be there for the historic “rebirth!”
SmackDown presents a new episode of Firefly Fun House!
The Wall of Braun is still standing as Bray says, “YOWIE WOWIE! What a night! I mean, WWE ThunderDome, am I right?” But y’know, come closer so he can tell you a secret. “I love you.” Aww~! Yay~! But don’t be fooled, Fireflies. Love can actually be a terrible thing. It’s just a way to trick someone into an emotional, physical or even financial burden. Love can bring an angel crashing down with broken wings. Too much love turns even a field of sunflowers into a “grotesque wasteland.” Hold on, Bray’s getting a call. He puts on the Hurt glove to answer the voices in his head. Someone wants him to something right now.
Okay, take Braun and Alexa for example! Let’s revisit our modern Shakespearean tragedy! Firefly Theater Presents: Braun & Alexa. As played by Huskis and Ramblin’ Rabbit. Dramatic music plays as Ramblin’ Lexi “demands answers” from Huskis Strowman. His answer is that she never cared about him, and now he has become the most evil Son of a Pig on the planet. That’s not the real him, dude! There’s something special between them, she can feel it! Really? Really! Aww~! But just as the two are about to go in for the big kiss scene, Bray shouts “CUT!” What the freakin’ hecc was this?! That’s not how it happened! Oh, sorry. Huskis is just a method actor and Ramblin’ got lost in the moment. Oh? Look at Bray. “Get lost.”
After the puppets disappear, Bray continues. Love leads to pain and suffering. The best you can do is be like “him.” “A being that is built on rage and fueled by anger.” And “he” cannot wait to get his hands on Braun. In fact… Bray smells something in the air. “What took you so long?” Braun attacks!! Braun drags Bray up to CLUB him down! And then again and again and again!! “I’m not finished with you!!” Braun drags Bray off stage, but where to?!
SmackDown returns and tries to keep up with the chaos!
Braun and Bray are apparently brawling somewhere in the Amway Center, and cameras finally find them! Bray hits back and rams Braun into a door! Braun clubs Bray back then ROCKS him with an uppercut! Braun knees low, clubs Bray again, then brings him up. “You think you can get in my head and manipulate me?! You’re wrong, Bray!” Braun has Bray by the throat near a loading dock, and CHOKE SLAMS HIM!! The referees shout for Braun to stop here and he storms off. Security find Bray and an ambulance has arrived already.
Bray isn’t moving as the medics get a stretcher for him. They finally get the stretcher over to Bray and carefully load Bray onto it. They strap Bray in and get him up into the ambulance. The doors close and the ambulance hurries out. Adam Pearce breathes a sigh of relief, but then the ambulance stops? Why?! It backs up!? What’s going on with this ambulance!? It stops, the lights inside turn red!! Everyone gathered sees the doors open, THE FIEND is there!! Bray transformed and “it’s him.” The Fiend laughs at his own pain. Will he be laughing at Braun’s pain this Sunday?
Another crazy episode for a go-home. First of all, the ThunderDome looks amazing but sounds kinda awkward. The piped in crowd noise is more obvious than when the WWE was in the Performance Center, but I suppose it beats not hearing the viewers on the LED screens, whatever it is they might’ve been saying. But again, my experience with awful 205 Live crowds in the past has helped me to tune most of that out. Except during that interview by Corey Graves with the Golden Role Models. That segment felt awkward, and tried to point out Bayley’s passive aggressive comment from Raw in a clumsy attempt to get the duo’s dysfunction up again.
The Beat the Clock Challenge of Sasha, Bayley and Naomi was good, but literally fast. Even with Bayley’s help, why did Sasha win so quickly? Naomi is a former champion, can’t she put up a fight that’s more than 5 minutes? Though I do like that Bayley lost hers to further drive the point home that she might be in the worst position against Asuka. Asuka shows up to get the better of the Role Models, and this part might’ve done the best to drive the dysfunction back up. Depending on how WWE writes it, they might actually make it win or lose at SummerSlam, Payback is where the two turn on each other because they lose the Women’s Tag Team Championships. Asuka becoming Raw Women’s Champion can have her and Shayna Baszler feud on the way to Survivor Series, Sasha and Bayley feud over the SmackDown title.
Vince and Retribution got their parts out of the way quickly. The Fiend stepping on Vince’s intro was a good touch, and Braun confronting Fiend was an obvious move. Retribution beating Braun down seemed a bit lame to me, he should’ve smashed at least five of them first. But I suppose it was a way to tie the other stories together, such as Styles getting that cheap shot on Hardy’s leg. I still like that Miz is always showing up late to these Retribution things. Is he the mastermind? Or is he just afraid of them? Starting to hope for the former, even though it wasn’t like him leading The Miztourage was that amazing of a story arc.
Big E and Sheamus have their match right from there made a lot of sense, and I do have to give some credit to Corbin being responsible for Sheamus’ loss. I still say we need a huge match of the top midcarders: Big E, Sheamus, Corbin, Riddle, and hell, throw Chad Gable in there so he can settle his part of the story with Riddle, Corbin and the King’s Ransom. We got great title matches tonight, but it just felt right for Cesaro and Nakamura to retain. LHP looks like it’s starting to crack, which makes a lot of sense to someone following them even on 205 Live. They’ve all been working so hard for years, Kalisto has been the only champion, but him getting upset with Dorado seems unfair. I can’t be sure how a break-up would go, either. Who would be Heel? Would it even work out for them?
I do appreciate that WWE lightly touched on the real life horror Mandy and Sonya went through, and I found it interesting that Sonya basically doubles down on how she’s been. Mandy did what I was hoping and asked they try to be friends again, Sonya wants a Loser Leaves match, but I can’t see either of them leaving the WWE. Now, a No Disqualifications match technically has count-outs. Will WWE use a double count-out draw to prevent either superstar from having to leave? Nikki Cross had a great promo to add her perspective to things, and I really wonder if the overall Braun-Bray-Bliss story reaches a point where Nikki will need to get involved in the ring.
Firefly Fun House was again hilarious in its own special way, and I like that Braun is the second person to infiltrate that strange other dimension just like Rollins did. The brawl was alright, and the editing of the choke slam was good. Definitely similar to how NXT just did Rhea Ripley powerbombing Mercedes Martinez to the outside. I really liked that Braun brought back “I’m not finished with you!” a la his days feuding with Roman Reigns. I was hoping he’d use it again when he went after the ambulance to also hearken back to those days. But instead, we get Bray transforming into The Fiend inside the ambulance so that… The Fiend can close the show, it seems. We all figured Bray “transformed” into The Fiend, but this drives it home for those just not paying attention. Not really sure what it does for the math, I still feel like SummerSlam’s Universal Championship match could go either way.
My Score: 8.3/10