WWE SmackDown aired from the Performance Center in Orlando. It was the final episode of SmackDown before WWE Extreme Rules: Horror Show this Sunday. AJ Styles defended the Intercontinental Championship against Matt Riddle tonight. Sheamus attacked Jeff Hardy during a backstage interview and claimed that he was going to “cleanse Hardy of his demons next week on SmackDown”.
SmackDown Results: (7/17)
- Cesaro def. Big E
- Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Asuka & Nikki Cross
- Braun Strowman def. John Morrison
- Lacey Evans def. Naomi
- AJ Styles def. Matt Riddle to retain the Intercontinental Championship
Here are 4 takeaways from this week’s show:
New Day Will Defend SmackDown Tag Titles In A Tables Match At Extreme Rules
Big E battled Cesaro in the first match of the night as Shinsuke Nakamura and Kofi Kingston were ringside. The winner of the match will get to pick the stipulation for the Tag Team Championship match at Extreme Rules.
Match Recap: Cesaro controlled the action early and leveled Big E with a Clothesline for a two count. Cesaro applied a Headlock in the middle of the ring but Big E battled to his feet after Kofi fired him up. Big E got in a couple punches but Cesaro sent him back to the canvas with a Body Slam.
Cesaro made his way to the top rope and leaped but Big E caught him. Big E hit three Belly to Belly Suplexes in a row and followed it up with a Splash. Big E brought Cesaro to the ring apron and hit another Splash as SmackDown went to a commercial break. When SmackDown returned, Cesaro trapped Big E in the Swing before locking in a Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Big E broke free but Shinsuke Nakamura hit him with a cheap shot while the referee was distracted. Cesaro capitalized and hit the Neutralizer for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Cesaro and Nakamura grabbed a table from under the ring. Kofi flipped onto them and set the table up. Kofi put Cesaro on top of the table and made his way to the top rope but Nakamura got Cesaro out of the way. Nakamura and Cesaro then announced it will be a Tables Match at Extreme Rules.
Sasha Banks & Bayley Picked Up Another Win
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross came to the ring for an episode of A Moment of Bliss. They noted that it was the fifth year anniversary of the women’s evolution in WWE. Alexa predicted the LA Lakers will win the NBA Championship, Matt Riddle will win tonight, and that Braun Strowman will walk out of Extreme Rules still the Universal Champion. Nikki Cross went on a rant about how she is going to embarrass Bayley at Extreme Rules before the Women’s Tag Team Champions interrupted.
Bayley and Sasha scolded Bliss and Cross for not mentioning how they are the foundation of the women’s evolution and boasted about being the first ever Women’s Tag Team Champions. Bayley vowed to defeat Nikki Cross at Extreme Rules and said Sasha Banks will defeat Asuka to become the new RAW Women’s Champion at the PPV as well.
Alexa Bliss revealed that Asuka was the mystery guest on the show and a brawl broke out during her entrance. This led to a tag match between Asuka & Nikki Cross vs. Bayley & Banks.
Match Recap: Nikki and Bayley started off the match and Cross sent the SmackDown Women’s Champion to the corner. Bayley battled back and bounced Nikki’s face off the top turnbuckle. Sasha tagged in and planted Cross with a Suplex for a two count. Banks and Bayley spent the following several minutes taking turns beating Cross down as Asuka pleaded for a tag.
Asuka finally got the tag and connected with a Clothesline that knocked both Sasha and Bayley to the canvas. Asuka sent Bayley flying out of the ring with a Hip Attack and then trapped Sasha in the ring apron. Nikki tagged in and trapped Bayley in the ring apron as well and beat her down. Asuka hit a sliding knee to Bayley’s face and Nikki followed it up with a Crossbody. Asuka and Nikki then danced on the announce table as SmackDown went to a break.
Sasha drove Asuka to the corner and slammed her into the turnbuckle when SmackDown returned. Nikk tagged in and hit Sasha with a Bulldog for a two count. Cross climbed to the top rope and went for a Crossbody but Banks got out of the way. Sasha hit Nikki with a Dropkick and went for the cover but Cross kicked out at the last moment.
Bayley tagged in and made her way to the top rope but Nikki caught her with a right hand. Bayley hopped down and launched Nikki out of the ring. Nikki hit an awesome Tornado DDT outside the ring and rolled Bayley back inside. Nikki went for the cover but Sasha broke it up at two. Asuka went for a Hip Attack but Banks got out of the way and knocked her out of the ring. Bayley was about to reach for a tag but Banks got distracted by Asuka. Nikki went for another Tornado DDT but Bayley countered into a roll-up. Bayley used her feet on the ropes but the referee didn’t catch it and Nikki couldn’t kick out.
Braun Strowman Vowed To End Bray Wyatt At Extreme Rules
Bray Wyatt cut a promo from the swamp to hype the Universal Championship match at the PPV. Wyatt claimed that Strowman didn’t embrace the monster that he was destined to be so now he must destroy the monster that Braun has become.
Strowman then came down to the entrance ramp and said he has to go home to the swamp to face his fears against Bray Wyatt. Braun stated that he doesn’t want Wyatt to turn into The Fiend and he needs to go to the swamp and end Bray before he ends him. Strowman then marched to the ring for a match against John Morrison.
Match Recap: Strowman launched Morrison to the corner and followed it up with a massive Clothesline. Strowman stomped on Morrison’s ribs several times as the audience cheered. Strowman then planted Morrison with the Running Powerslam for the pinfall victory. After the match, Strowman’s voice got real deep and he said that he hoped Bray was watching because he is coming home.
Opinion: I enjoyed Wyatt’s vignette and Strowman’s promo that followed. I think this match has the potential to be fun this Sunday at Extreme Rules. I’m just hoping it doesn’t turn out as terrible as the House of Horrors match between Wyatt and Orton a few years back.
AJ Styles Retained The Intercontinental Championship
AJ Styles defended the Intercontinental Championship against Matt Riddle in the main event of this week’s SmackDown.
Match Recap: Styles thought he had the match won early and threw a tantrum by slamming on the announce table outside the ring. Riddle followed him out there and mocked AJ. Styles got pissed off and wound up running into a boot to the face from Riddle as SmackDown went to a commercial break.
When SmackDown returned, Riddle was in control and hit AJ with a knee to the ribs. Matt continued to beat Styles down but AJ was able to reach for the ropes and the referee separated them. Styles sent Riddle to the corner and stomped him to the mat. Styles connected with a Dragon Screw and went to work on Riddle’s left knee.
Matt battled back with a forearm to the face and followed it up with the Broton. Riddle lifted up AJ in the Fireman’s Carry and hit him with the Bro to Sleep. Riddle followed it up with a running knee and went for the cover but AJ kicked out at the last moment as SmackDown went to a commercial break.
AJ was back in control when SmackDown returned and was still targeting Riddle’s left knee. Riddle hit a German Suplex out of nowhere and then delivered some body jabs to AJ in the corner. Styles decked Matt with a Superkick to the face and set up for the Styles Clash but Matt blocked it.
Riddle hit the Ripcord Knee (Final Flash) and made his way to the top rope. Matt went for the Floating Bro but Styles got out of the way and Riddle crashed to the canvas. Styles planted Matt with a Brainbuster and went for the cover but Matt kicked out at the last second. AJ connected with a Michinoku Driver for another near fall.
Styles locked in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring but Riddle countered into a submission of his own. AJ escaped into a roll-up for the pinfall victory. AJ Styles is still the Intercontinental Champion. After the match, Styles shook Riddle’s hand but King Corbin attacked Matt from behind. AJ exited the ring and Corbin planted Riddle with the End of Days to close the show.
Opinion: Riddle and Styles put on a very good match tonight and Matt looked like he belonged. A feud against Baron Corbin does nothing for me and hopefully Riddle just walks through him. Overall, this week’s episode of SmackDown was a decent show that did very little to create excitement for Extreme Rules: The Horror Show this Sunday night.