This week’s SmackDown would finally see the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus rivalry come to an end as they faced off in a bar fight. Nikki Cross had some unfinished business with Bayley, AJ Styles would find out who his next opponent would be for the Intercontinental Championship, Naomi was the special guest on Miz TV, and Matt Riddle had some words for King Corbin.
Nikki Cross def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall
Matt Riddle def. Tony Nese via pinfall
Gran Metalik def. Lince Dorado, Drew Gulak and Shorty G via pinfall
Jeff Hardy def. Sheamus via pinfall
The Definition Of Greatness
Sasha Banks and Bayley kicked off SmackDown with huge grins on their faces and plenty to say. They talked about what greatness means in the dictionary, and that they are the new definition. The women’s evolution is over, and this is the era of Sasha and Bayley. Nikki Cross came out with Alexa Bliss, and she was furious. She wanted a rematch tonight for the championship, and Bayley said she could have one next week if she beat her best friend Alexa Bliss tonight. On the top of the ramp, Cross pushed her friend to the ground and said, “We have to do this,” before running to the ring.
Alexa Bliss vs Nikki Cross
Banks and Bayley joined commentary as Bliss and Cross went at it in the ring. Cross tried to pin Bliss early on but wasn’t getting anywhere. Cross was fired up, and after neither could land a DDT, she delivered some clotheslines to Bliss and hit a bulldog, but could only manage a two count. Bliss hit a basement dropkick and went after her outside, but got caught in between the apron and the ring. Cross tried to attack her but she got out, and as Banks and Bayley goaded them both on, Cross and Bliss attacked the champs and knocked them over.
Bliss took control and went for the injured ribs of Cross. She threw her into the barricades, then continued to drop her knees into Cross’ ribs in the ring. Bliss was doing some serious damage to Cross as she locked in an arm lock and drove her elbow into Cross’ injury, but she fought back, driving Bliss’ head into the turnbuckle. Both women were refusing to quit. After Cross missed a crossbody, the ref went to check on her, and whilst Bliss came over to check on Cross she rolled up her best friend and stole the victory.
This was a great match, with Cross earning her rematch against Bayley next week. Neither woman went easy on the other, and it provided a really good opener for the evening. Following the match, Bliss said she was happy for Cross and that she earned her victory. It was time for Cross to focus on beating Bayley next week. All seems to be good between Bliss and Cross…for now.
Naomi Deserves Better
The Miz and John Morrison were looking at their laptop backstage. Miz mentioned that he was now caught up with Naomi before Morrison tried to come up with a hashtag for his misfortune last week. In the ring, it was time for Miz TV. They welcomed Naomi to the ring and started dancing. The Miz talked about how Naomi trended on Twitter after her loss to Lacey Evans last week, and also after Royal Rumble when she returned. They said it must make her sick that she has lost despite trending, rating it five stars on the sick Seth Rollins scale. Naomi talked about how supportive her fans are what they mean to her.
The Miz and John Morrison said they weren’t expecting it to get so confrontational. They announced a surprise, as Lacey Evans came to the ring. Evans said Naomi had been here for ten years and didn’t have much to show for it, calling her “washed up.” Naomi then attacked her, smudging her lipstick and causing her to rage. The best thing about the whole interaction was The Miz and Morrison’s dancing. I like how WWE are paying attention to their fans in retaliation to the ‘Naomi deserves better’ hashtag, but whether it will give her any kind of momentum is yet to be seen. I don’t want to see another match between Evans and Naomi, but alas, it was made for next week.
What’s Next For The Fighting Champion?
Fatal Four Way Number One Contender Match For The Intercontinental Championship: Gran Metalik vs Lince Dorado vs Drew Gulak vs Shorty G
As usual, The Lucha House Party were kings of the sky and the ropes, taking out Shorty G and Drew Gulak. Shorty G took a page out of their book, however, as he launched himself off the top turnbuckle and landed on all three of his opponents outside. Styles was on commentary and provided some funny moments as the action was explosive inside the ring. Dorado almost picked up the win after a crossbody on Gulak, and after a stunner, Metalik broke up the pin. Shorty G was really impressive in this match. He almost made Gulak tap out with an ankle lock, but Dorado hit a huge splash to break it up.
After Shorty G launched Dorado out the ring, Metalik came out of nowhere and dropped his signature elbow off the ropes to pin Shorty G for an opportunity for the Intercontinental Championship. AJ came into the ring and slapped his new opponent, but ended up getting taken out as Metalik held the belt. Is it a sign of things to come? Probably not, but it was a decent match-up nonetheless.
The Bar Fight
Throughout the night, we saw JBL talk about how he knows a lot about bar fights after having a fair few with Ron Simmons in some pretty pointless videos. Before the bar fight, we got a reminder of Jeff Hardy and Sheamus’ fierce feud over the last few months. Every awkward moment, every uncomfortable watch, and every distasteful segment had been leading to this. Regardless of the outcome, I hope this is the end of it.
Sheamus walked into the bar and ordered a whisky as he waited for Jeff Hardy. Hardy walked in and sat down at the bar. He said his brother had to delete his WWE career, and tonight he would recover his. He said he hoped Sheamus was ready for anything. Sheamus called him weak and pathetic. After a nod to The Bar tag team, Hardy said he was connected to everything. The obligatory “pathetic junkie” jibe was said by Sheamus, and then all hell broke loose. Sheamus dragged Hardy across the bar and beat his chest before throwing him to the floor.
As Sheamus asked Jeeves for a shot of the good stuff, Hardy jumped through the air and knocked Sheamus over. They fought towards the back of the pub. Sheamus hit Hardy with a keg before throwing him into the walls. They took it to the restroom, where Sheamus shoved his head into the urinal as he said he was “cleansing his demons.” Hardy threw Sheamus into one of the cubicles before walking back to the bar area. Sheamus came out looking for him, and as he walked towards the bar, Hardy came from behind with a ladder and attacked him.
Sheamus got the advantage and slammed him into the wall. He went to hit him with an electric guitar, but Hardy ducked, however, he got thrown into a drum kit for his troubles. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, but Hardy held up part of the drum kit in the way. Hardy lost it, and brutally attacked Sheamus before setting up the ladder and pulling him next to it. Hardy climbed the ladder, but Jeeves attacked him, only to get powerslammed through a table. Sheamus hit him from behind with a wooden chair and placed his hat over Hardy’s face. Sheamus grabbed a pint of Guinness from behind the bar and toasted Hardy. He called for the referee to get ready, but as he took the hat off Hardy’s face, he had white makeup and contact lenses on. Brother Nero, baby.
Hardy stood up and attacked Sheamus, smashing a bottle over his head. He climbed the ladder and hit a Swanton Bomb before pinning Sheamus. Hardy closed his eyes, and when he reopened them, the contact lenses were gone. Despite all the insensitivity over the last few months, this was a great match. I’m just hoping we can see both men move on to bigger and better things.
The Highs & Lows From The Rest Of The Show
Firefly Funhouse started off with a recap of the Swamp Match between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman at Extreme Rules. He then said people were worried about Strowman being lost in the swamp, but it was 100% organic. He then turned to the Wyatt Family lantern that stood on the table next to him and said he’d had his chance. Things took a sinister turn as Wyatt said, “it’s his turn now. He has been unleashed,” before things returned to normal and he waved goodbye. It was a short but sweet return to the Funhouse, but it did what it needed to do. The third and final showdown between Wyatt and Strowman is looking to take place at SummerSlam, and The Fiend is being unleashed.
Kofi Kingston and Big E were backstage. Kofi said he was going to be out of action for at least six weeks, and that it was time for Big E to step up. Kofi highlighted how great Big E has been over the last few years, and that he has always been supportive, saying he’d earned his time in the spotlight. Xavier Woods and Kofi were giving him their blessing, and it was time for Big E to shine. Hell yes! I’m excited to see what he can do in singles competition. He has deserved it, and I really hope he has a great run on his own.
We got a little recap of Otis and Mandy Rose’s relationship before it was announced they would be back on SmackDown next week as “the love story continues.” I have missed these two a lot, and I can’t wait to see them back on the blue brand.
Kayla Braxton interviewed the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. Nakamura and Cesaro were mocking The New Day, with Nakamura laughing at how he made Kofi go “splat” through a table at Extreme Rules. Cesaro said he would’ve liked to put Big E through a table. Nakamura ended by saying he would make everyone on SmackDown go “splat.” I’m a huge fan of Nakamura. I love his unorthodox style in the ring and his quirkiness on the mic. I’d love to see these two keep hold of their titles for a long time.
Tony Nese came to SmackDown and faced Matt Riddle in a short match that saw Riddle win with the Bro Derick. Riddle grabbed the mic afterwards and called out King Corbin. Corbin came out and said Riddle had that “new car smell,” and called him a “frat boy with no shoes who had just rolled out of bed.” Corbin said he’s putting out a king’s ransom to anyone who can prove that Riddle shouldn’t be on the show, and as Riddle responded, Nese tried to attack him but got caught with a kick to the head. It felt like Nese was completely overlooked once again, and this rivalry between Riddle and Corbin is weak. After a great debut, Corbin just isn’t good enough in the ring to give these two a great match.
After some poor weeks recently, I enjoyed this week’s SmackDown. The bar fight was really good, but I hope that the focus on Hardy’s alcoholism and drug problems is over. Other than Tony Nese being squashed, we saw some good matches. The Fatal Four-Way was enjoyable, especially with the surprise victory, and Alexa Bliss vs Nikki Cross was a great way to kick off the show.
The Fiend is 100% being set up to face Braun Strowman at SummerSlam, and I am up for that. I’m also really excited to see what happens over the next few weeks with Big E. I thought he may have been in the Fatal Four-Way, but it wasn’t to be. Now that the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus feud might be simmering down, I’d love to see him face off against Sheamus, but Cesaro and Nakamura seem to have other plans for him.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE