This week’s SmackDown focused much more on in-ring action. The main event saw AJ Styles defending his Intercontinental Championship against Matt Riddle, but there were four other matches that saw the likes of Braun Strowman face John Morrison, and Cesaro face Big E. Extreme Rules is only a few days away, and tonight was all about the Horror Show. It’s time to look at all the action that unfolded before Sunday’s PPV.

Quick Results

Cesaro def. Big E via pinfall

Bayley & Sasha Banks def. Asuka & Nikki Cross via pinfall

Braun Strowman def. John Morrison via pinfall

Lacey Evans def. Naomi via pinfall

AJ Styles def. Matt Riddle via pinfall

We Want Tables

This week’s SmackDown kicked off with various Superstars talking trash about one another backstage, which led to The New Day mocking Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. Big E said they call Cesaro the Swiss Superman and he knows why. “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, and my fist is Lois Lane,” said Big E, followed by his “don’t you dare be sour” introduction. The New Day headed to the ring as Big E was set to face Cesaro.

Big E W/ Kofi Kingston vs Cesaro W/ Shinsuke Nakamura

Cesaro and Big E showed off their power, as both men managed to land some big moves. Cesaro powerslammed Big E. Big E hit a couple of belly to belly suplexes, followed by a big splash on the apron. Both men were so evenly matched. Cesaro hit a flying elbow, then Big E followed up with a stretch submission. After his signature spin, Cesaro locked in a Boston crab, transitioning into a crossface. Big E managed to lift Cesaro into a slam, but after the ref wasn’t looking, Nakamura kicked Big E. Cesaro delivered the Neutraliser and got the victory.

After the match, Cesaro and Nakamura went to grab the table, but Kofi flew over the ropes and knocked them down. The New Day were looking for a little payback as Cesaro was laid out across the table, but Nakamura pulled him off and they escaped backstage. A little later on, Nakamura and Cesaro decided on the stipulation for their match with The New Day at Extreme Rules, and that they would face them in a Tables match.

Predicting The Future

A Moment of Bliss returned to Friday Night Smackdown. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross started off by clapping for the fifth anniversary of the Women’s Evolution. Bliss made a few predictions about the future. Firstly, she said the LA Lakers would win the NBA Championship, then Matt Riddle would defeat AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship later on. Blisstradamus also said Braun Strowman would defeat Bray Wyatt in the Swamp Fight, then went on to talk about her mystery guest, but Bayley and Sasha Banks interrupted them.

The Tag Team Champions talked about how they paved the cement for the Women’s Evolution. Bayley made some of their own predictions by saying her and Banks would come out of Extreme Rules as Raw and Smackdown Champions. Bliss then said that’s “cute and all,” but Bayley and Banks never let her say who her mystery guest was. Asuka came to the ring, and a brawl ensued. Bliss said they needed a referee so that Cross and Asuka could take on Bayley and Banks.

Asuka & Nikki Cross vs Bayley & Sasha Banks

Cross was like an animal as she went after Bayley, but some great teamwork led to Banks being tagged in. Cross struggled to get a tag as Bayley and Banks wore Cross down with some great double teamwork. Cross finally got the tag, and Asuka came in like a wrecking ball. She cleared Bayley out of the ring. Banks got caught in between the ring and the apron and got attacked by Asuka and Cross. Bayley then got trapped and got beaten up as well.

During the commercial break, Banks managed to regain some momentum against Asuka, driving both knees into Asuka in the corner. Bayley and Banks worked on Asuka, proving why they are such a good team. Asuka caught a second wind and hit a big knee to Bayley, then tagged in Cross. Cross delivered a flurry of strikes to Banks. She hit a big splash and a bulldog, but could only manage a two count. She missed a cross body, which allowed Banks to hit a basement dropkick. Bayley tagged in and threw Cross outside the ring.

Cross delivered a tornado DDT off the announcer table, then tried to pin her in the ring. Asuka took out Banks, and as Cross tried to put Bayley away with a tornado DDT off the turnbuckle, Bayley countered with a pin, using the ropes as leverage, and managed to pick up the victory. Later on in the night, Kayla Braxton interviewed Bayley and Banks, and they talked about how it was science and fate that they would walk out of Extreme Rules as champions. Cross was watching on as Bayley and Banks were mocking her.

She then went on to talk about how her confidence was knocked after two back-to-back losses. Cross had family back home in Scotland that have had to see her lose, and that she doesn’t see how she can win at Extreme Rules. Bliss tried to build her up by telling her she could win. In the background, Bayley and Banks’ irritating laughter could be heard, which led to Cross running at them and initiating a huge brawl backstage.

The Swamp Monster

The Firefly Funhouse featured Bray Wyatt overlooking his swamp. He talked about Strowman being “a lost sheep looking for a home,” and how he “gave him a purpose,” “how he created a monster.” Wyatt said the swamp was a place where the devil comes to dance, and once you enter you can never truly leave. He said Wyatt didn’t embrace the opportunities he provided for him, and that Strowman should come home. It ended with Wyatt blowing out the lantern, telling him to run. Bray Wyatt is incredible at what he does, and I can’t wait to see the Swamp Match at Extreme Rules.

Braun Strowman vs John Morrison

Strowman came out for his match with John Morrison, but before things got underway, he said he needed to defeat Bray Wyatt because he didn’t want to see The Fiend as it encapsulated everything evil Strowman knows. It was an impassioned speech, and yet another glimmer of the improvements Strowman has made on the mic. The match itself saw Strowman run riot on Morrison. He used his huge forearms to beat the chest of Morrison, then chokeslammed him with such force. After a running powerslam, Strowman picked up the victory.

It was an annihilation. Strowman picked up the microphone and said he hoped Wyatt was watching, and that he was “coming home.” Kudos to Strowman and Wyatt for building this Swamp Fight into something truly special. After Strowman walked to the back, The Miz called for medical attention as Morrison struggled to move. After all the joking around backstage – all the colours and bravado – The Miz carried his best friend to the back.

Second Time Lucky?

Throughout the night, various Superstars were asked about who they thought would be coming out of the main event as the Intercontinental Champion. Daniel Bryan appeared from home to give his opinion. At the start of the show, Styles said Smackdown was still the house that AJ Styles built, and Riddle said after he won tonight he would be the bro that runs the show. The time for talking was over, and these two were finally going to go at each other.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Matt Riddle vs AJ Styles (C)

It was a month ago when Matt Riddle defeated AJ Styles in a shock upset. Earlier tonight, Corbin called Matt Riddle a boy, and I hoped he wouldn’t come out tonight and cost him a loss. Thankfully he didn’t, but we would see the king again before the night was over. The match itself was fantastic, with both men giving it everything. Riddle started strong with a couple of gutwrench suplexes and a knee to Styles’ face as he stood on the apron. Outside the ring, Riddle took Styles out after he vented some frustration by the announcer table. Back in the ring, Riddle kept the momentum going, hitting a fisherman suplex but only managing a two count. Styles got back into it, planting Riddle face-first into the mat. He followed with a dragon screw and a barrage of kicks, he then tried to wear him down with a sleeper hold.

Riddle’s resilience was on full show. He hit a Broton, running knee, and Bro To Sleep, but could only get a two count. Styles managed to explode with a running clothesline, but Riddle continued to block any kind of momentum for Styles, dropping him with a German suplex. Styles hit a superkick to Riddle, hoping to follow up with some offence. Riddle hit a Final Flash, but Styles blocked a Floating Bro. Styles hit a huge brainbuster, but couldn’t pick up the win.

After Styles attempted a Phenomenal Forearm, Riddle caught him and went for the Bro Derick, but was unsuccessful. Styles locked in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring, but Riddle countered with the Bromission. Styles managed to counter with a roll-up and pick up a win from out of nowhere. This was such a good match, and I’m glad AJ Styles won. It’s his duty to build the legacy of the Intercontinental Championship up once again, and he did so in tremendous fashion. After the match, AJ Styles and Matt Riddle shook hands, but King Corbin came out of nowhere and attacked him. Of course, he was going to show up. What a jackass.

The Highs & Lows From The Rest Of The Show


Following on from last week’s abomination in entertainment, Lacey Evans faced Naomi in a pretty decent match. It didn’t last long at all but ended with a mean right hand courtesy of Evans’ Woman’s Right after she wrapped Naomi’s hair up in the ropes.


Thank the gods we only had a short segment featuring Jeff Hardy and Sheamus. Hardy was being interviewed backstage where he talked about addiction and Sheamus. He was then asked about who he thought would win between AJ Styles and Matt Riddle when Sheamus booted him out of nowhere. Sheamus then sat beside him and said something uninteresting about their match at Extreme Rules.

Final Thoughts

This was a much better show than last week’s. Riddle and Styles put on a brilliant show. Although I enjoy watching Riddle in the ring, Styles needed to win to bring prestige back to the Intercontinental Championship. Corbin attacking after the bell was expected, and I hope he gets destroyed by Riddle. I really despise King Corbin, but nobody can deny he’s a great heel.

I have a feeling that Nikki Cross might actually take the belt from Bayley at Extreme Rules. In a twist to proceedings, I think Sasha Banks might defeat Asuka, and Bayley would be the one to turn on her friend, challenging her for the RAW Women’s Championship. It’s a wild theory, but it could very well happen. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura have become a formidable force over the last few weeks, and I think they’re going to defeat The New Day for the titles.

Thankfully, little time was spent on the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus feud. Instead, we got plenty of in-ring action. Strowman and Wyatt continued to build their rivalry, and their Swamp Match at Extreme Rules could be one of the coolest cinematic matches so far.

All images and videos courtesy of WWE

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