WWE SmackDown aired from the Performance Center in Orlando. AJ Styles defended his Intercontinental Championship against Drew Gulak tonight on the show. It was announced that New Day will defend the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Nakamura & Cesaro next week.
SmackDown Results (7/3)
- Matt Riddle def. John Morrison
- AJ Styles def. Drew Gulak to retain the Intercontinental Championship
- Bayley def. Alexa Bliss via DQ
- Shinsuke Nakamura def. Kofi Kingston
Here are 4 takeaways from this week’s show:
Matt Riddle Defeated John Morrison In A Great Match
Michael Cole interviewed Matt Riddle to open up this week’s SmackDown. Riddle stated that to be on SmackDown is a “lovechild of a lot of work and a lot of dreams, bro”. Matt said that he likes AJ Styles and respects him but after beating him he is pretty sure Styles doesn’t like him. Cole brought up Riddle wrestling in his bare feet and Matt said it was a long story. Riddle stated that his family took him on vacation in Wisconsin and he got frostbite on his feet.
Matt added that the doctors almost amputated his toes and because of that he never wears shoes. King Corbin interrupted and told Matt that nobody is happy that he is here. Corbin vowed to make Riddle pay for second he is out here. Riddle said “you do you, bro” and challenged Corbin to a match. King Corbin declined and said that Riddle is wrestling John Morrison tonight. King Corbin joined commentary for the match.
Match Recap: Morrison controlled the action early and connected with a springboard Corkscrew Crossbody for a near fall. The crowd got behind Riddle as Morrison applied a Headlock. John hit Riddle with two knees to the face and went for the cover but Matt kicked out at two. Morrison poked Riddle in the eye but Matt battled back with a Fisherman’s Suplex. Morrison and Riddle hit a headbutt at the same time both superstars fell to the floor. Riddle launched his flip flop in Corbin’s face as SmackDown went to a commercial break.
When SmackDown returned, Matt hit the Bro to Sleep and followed it up with a German Suplex for a near fall. Riddle climbed to the top rope and went for the Floating Bro but John got his knees up. Riddle locked in the Bromission but Morrison escaped. Riddle and Morrison battled on the second turnbuckle and John slammed Matt to the canvas. John followed it up with a Standing Spanish Fly for another two count. Riddle hit the Ripcord Knee and followed it up with a Powerbomb for a near fall. Matt then rolled up Morrison for the victory.
After the match, AJ Styles attacked Riddle while he was posing on the entrance ramp. Drew Gulak quickly made the save before the brawl was broken up by WWE officials.
Opinion: I’m not sure Matt Riddle’s feet needed a backstory but I guess this satisfied those who wanted to know why he wasn’t wearing shoes. Riddle and Morrison put on a excellent match tonight and I’m positive it will be much better than the eventual bout between Riddle and Corbin.
AJ Styles Retained The Intercontinental Championship
AJ Styles defended his Intercontinental Championship against Drew Gulak tonight.
Match Recap: AJ dominated early and beat Gulak down in the corner of the ring. The crowd got behind Gulak and started banging on the plexiglass. Daniel Bryan joined commentary through Zoom and essentially stated that Gulak was looking good in the match. Corey Graves asked Bryan if Styles had any holes in his game and Bryan said that he didn’t think so.
Styles focused his attack on Gulak’s knee before Drew locked in a submission hold. AJ escaped out of the ring and banged on the plexiglass out of frustration. Gulak leveled Styles with a Dropkick through the ropes as SmackDown went to a commercial break. When SmackDown returned, Styles was back in control as Bryan stated that Drew was more technically sound than him and he wants to learn from him.
AJ controlled the next several minutes as Bryan said that he wasn’t losing hope for Gulak in the match. Gulak battled back with three Dropkicks in a row and a Body Slam for a near fall. AJ battled back with a Powerbomb and followed it up with a Styles Clash. Styles didn’t go for the cover and made his way to the apron. AJ connected with the Phenomenal Forearm for the pinfall victory. AJ Styles is still the Intercontinental Champion.
Opinion: Styles and Gulak put on a solid match tonight. Bryan’s pre-recorded Zoom call segments were useless and hopefully they don’t try that again. It was obvious that he wasn’t actually watching the match at that moment and it didn’t work at all.
Cross & Bliss Interrupted Bayley & Banks
Women’s Tag Team Champions Bayley and Sasha Banks came down to the ring and boasted about being on all three shows. Bayley claimed that The Undertaker called her and said that he is embarrassed about all the tributes he has been getting when she is clearly the best champion WWE history. Bayley stated that The Undertaker told her that he cannot wait for them both to win at Extreme Rules to hold all the gold in WWE. She claimed that The Undertaker wanted WWE to have a tribute for them and they agreed.
Sasha Banks claimed that Bayley was better than Trish Stratus, John Cena, and Lita during the tribute to themselves. Banks started to chant a “thank you Bayley!” chant before Bayley started a “thank you Sasha!” chant. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross interrupted and said that they didn’t want to be left out so they prepared a list of their own accomplishments. Bliss said that Nikki was 325th in line to the thrown of England and Nikki stated that Bliss was the first woman to drive across Antarctica in a go kart.
Alexa and Cross got into the ring and told Banks & Bayley that they sounded ridiculous. Cross told Bayley that she got here because of her heart and that she puts everything she has into this she can take the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Bayley laughed and Bliss slapped her in the face. Sasha Banks then announced a match between Bliss and Bayley.
Match Recap: Alexa controlled the match early and slapped Bayley in the corner of the ring. Alexa connected with Double Knees to Bayley’s ribs for a two count. The SmackDown Women’s Champion battled back and sent Alexa to the ring apron. Bliss tripped Bayley up and got distracted by Banks. Baley capitalized and stomped on Alexa’s hand several times and Banks mocked Bliss’ pose. Bayley hit Bliss with an elbow in the corner of the ring and continued to go after Alexa’s hand.
Bliss battled back with a punch but grabbed her hand in agony. Bayley brought Alexa to the apron and slammed her hand once again. Bayley connected with a Bulldog and went for the cover but Bliss kicked out at two. Banks hit Alexa with a cheap shot. Nikki got pissed off and leveled Banks with a Clothesline. Cross then attacked Bayley in front of the official and the match ended in a DQ. Banks and Bayley then retreated out of the ring.
Opinion: Bayley’s Undertaker impression was hilariously terrible and I thought their tribute to themselves was very entertaining. I think Bayley and Banks have become the best thing going in WWE right now. I can tell you that right now I’m more invested in Banks versus Asuka, and Bayley versus Cross at Extreme Rules than I am Ziggler versus McIntyre for the WWE Championship. I enjoyed how Sasha Banks finally put Bayley in a match that she wanted no part of after Bayley had done that to her for weeks.
Sheamus Dared Jeff Hardy To Take A Drink
Sheamus held a toast for Jeff Hardy at the conclusion of this week’s SmackDown. Jeff Hardy came down to the ring first and demanded that Sheamus join him. Sheamus showed up on the screen from the bar in his house and told Jeff it must have felt great to honor The Undertaker last week on SmackDown.
Sheamus claimed that Hardy is looking for a quick fix and that Jeff has a problem facing reality. Sheamus boasted about beating Jeff at Backlash and said that it was pathetic that Hardy thinks everything is right again after he beat King Corbin. He added that the solution to Jeff’s problems was in one of the bottles and joked about Hardy’s addiction issues.
Jeff Hardy wondered if Sheamus really thought it was funny to joke about all the pain he has caused his family with his alcohol addiction. Sheamus’ personal bartender entered the ring and Sheamus told Jeff to take a drink. Hardy grabbed the glass of champagne and brought it to his lips. Jeff then poured the drink on the bartender’s head and broke the glass over his face. Hardy climbed to the top rope and hit the bartender with a Swanton Bomb to close the show.
Opinion: I thought this was going to be a much better segment since it closed the show, but this fell flat for me. This storyline started off with an interesting hit & run angle and has devolved into piss throwing and now Sheamus daring Jeff to take a drink. Overall, I still really enjoyed this week’s show. Every match delivered tonight and that makes it even more puzzling why this was the final segment of the show.