The Road to SummerSlam is a slow one for Friday Night SmackDown, but it could change tonight. Wherever The Biggest Party of the Summer will take place, on a beach, a boat or in Vince McMahon’s garden, the Blue Brand will be there to steal the show. Two title matches are announced for tonight. Last week, Gran Metalik became the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship and will try to grab the coveted belt to AJ Styles. Bayley and Nikki Cross will face off in a rematch of The Horror Show at Extreme Rules for the SmackDown’s Women’s Championship. Naomi will look to send her own message in a match against Lacey Evans. And for those who can’t get enough of love stories, Otis and Mandy will be back. Welcome to the Love Boat…

The Episode

  • It opened up with a video package where John Morrison and The Miz sent a warning to Big E and laughed at the idea of a singles run for him. Lacey Evans and Naomi traded promos. Gran Metalik and WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles also had words.
  • In a new Firefly Fun House episode, Bray Wyatt appeared and said he’s sorry he was late as he was out looking for WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman, who must be out in the bottom of the swamp unless the gators got him. Wyatt joked that part of Strowman’s spirit will always be there. We saw a few flashes from the Wyatt Swamp Fight. Wyatt made it clear that he never wanted to hurt Strowman. Now, “He” wants Strowman and something Strowman has. Until “He” gets what he wants, none of you is safe. The Fiend appeared. Wyatt looked straight ahead and said, “Let me in!” He snapped back out of it and waved goodbye.
  • AJ Styles defeated Gran Metalik w/ Lince Dorado to retain the Intercontinental Championship. Phenomenal match but Styles attacked Dorado after the match.

  • King Corbin came to bother Shorty G who was watching the match backstage. Corbin said he could’ve been out there competing. Shorty G asked him if they were supposed to be friends. Corbin said they’ve always been friends. Corbin went on about how G has been overlooked and then “barefoot idiots” came in and got all the opportunities. G saw what was happening, that Corbin just wanted him to take out Matt Riddle. Corbin dismissed this idea, he just wanted G to see how he’s being done wrong in WWE. But Corbin did say that the King’s Ransom is still on the table and asked G if he wants to be the one that takes Riddle out. Corbin walked off.
  • Highlights of last week’s Bar Fight between Sheamus and Jeff Hardy. We saw Hardy being congratulated backstage.
  • Jeff took the mic and said he hasn’t felt this good in a long time. These past months with Sheamus have been tough as he has been a constant reminder of how dangerous his demons can be. Jeff said sobriety will be a never-ending challenge and he has to face every day. Beating Sheamus in the Bar Fight was a reminder he’s on the right path. Jeff said he’s an alcoholic but he’s so much more than that, he’s a loving father, husband, and he’s a WWE Superstar. He gets to perform in the ring for the fans and he loves that. Jeff added he never wants to let anyone down again. The struggle is real and he will fight it every day but he’s grateful to be here. King Corbin cut him off and said he is tired of hearing Jeff talk about his sobriety. Corbin said Jeff is The Charismatic Enigma, what’s up with all the crying and whining about recovery? He mentioned his problems with Matt Riddle and his match tonight against Drew Gulak. Corbin felt like he’s losing his mind like his kingdom is turning into an insane asylum. Jeff said maybe the real problem is Corbin. Corbin went on running Jeff down but Gulak suddenly attacked Corbin from behind on the stage.
  • King Corbin defeated Drew Gulak. Matt Riddle appeared on the stage during the match and failed to distract Corbin. Riddle attacked after the match but Shorty G came to cash in the King’s Ransom.
  • Big E defeated The Miz w/ John Morrison’s abs with the Stretch Muffler submission. Morrison interfered and the referee ejected him from ringside. Miz pleaded with the referee and Big E seized the opportunity.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro were celebrating backstage when The Lucha House Party appeared. Nakamura asked if they like to party too, and they do. Cesaro reminded them that this is a party for champions only. They taunted Metalik for blowing his title shot from WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles earlier. They dismissed Lucha House Party and kept taunting them as they left.
  • Backstage, Sheamus said his first mistake in the Bar Fight was putting Jeff Hardy in a bar, basically giving him a home-field advantage. Even though not a drop of booze touched Jeff’s lips, he was powered by alcohol. Sheamus was basically in a Handicap Match against Jeff and his lifelong friend, alcohol. But Sheamus was not here to make excuses and complain, what’s done is done. Sheamus said it’s just a matter of time before Jeff slips up. He will just watch as nature takes its course as Jeff is not his problem anymore. Bad news for the SmackDown locker room because now he, Sheamus, is their problem.
  • Naomi defeated Lacey Evans.
  • Backstage, Mandy told Otis she booked a table in his favourite restaurant. She promised some peach as afters. They didn’t notice Sonya Deville was listening.
  • Sonya attacked Mandy backstage. She broke her nose and cut her hair. She was about to shave Mandy’s head when the referees stopped her. Otis and Tucker came to check her. Miz and Morrison commented about the situation.
  • Bayley Two-Straps w/ Two-Belts Banks defeated Nikki Cross w/ Alexa Bliss to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship in an excellent match, with zero interferences. Nikki was disappointed and asked Alexa to leave her alone. She shoved her to the mat, went backstage, and the lights went out. They went on to reveal The Fiend behind Alexa. He circled around her, showed her his hand until he applied the Mandible Claw. Back to black as the show went off-air.

Highs and Lows 

Up, Up

Styles against other competitors than the top ones is something that deserves to be seen. Styles is able to deliver a PPV-quality match every week. Gran Metalik clearly had no chance to win this match but that doesn’t mean he didn’t deliver and put the Champion in danger. I don’t see anything phenomenal in Styles’ attack on Dorado, except a true lack of contenders for the title.

Big E was just impressive against The Miz. Because The New Day faction has been on for six years now, some may have forgotten Big E is an impressive singles competitor. He is the second NXT Champion in the history of the title when he defeated Seth Rollins in 2013. He is also a former Intercontinental Champion. If there’s one man that could make The New Day come to an end, that could be him. Cole and Graves were that surprised by the submission move he used as a finisher they couldn’t even describe it. The Stretch Muffler is not as known as the Figure-Four but it perfectly fits Big E’s strength and repertoire.

Sonya Deville turned psycho and I liked that. This was more than a backstage brawl, Sonya was decided to take away from Mandy her beauty when cutting her hair and breaking her nose. That was vicious and it could lead to a hair vs hair match maybe at SummerSlam, or before.

After last week’s confrontation between Alexa and Nikki, I was expecting the aftermaths of the title match to be a reason for the team to explode. Yes, Nikki was bitter, pushed Alexa to the mat and rushed backstage. Does that mean their friendship is over? Currently, Alexa and Nikki are the only serious contenders for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. A Triple Threat match against Bayley could be something very good to watch…

Down, Down

As Sheamus was finally letting Jeff Hardy to his inner demons, Corbin and Shorty G took over. Corbin’s speech on the twelve steps was terrible. Only people who are alcoholics and know what this struggle represents can understand how hard it is to hear the 12-step process be mocked. It’s way more than collecting coins… Well, all of this was made to introduce the new King’s Buffoon, Shorty G. If that happened at the expense of Hardy and Gulak, they could be teaming up in a near future, which could be something nice to watch.

Who will Sheamus’ next target? Matt Riddle? Some plexiglass? If I say I don’t give a damn, are you going to blame me for that?

This episode was pretty “hairy.” Lacey Evans seems to really hate Naomi’s tresses. Maybe she’s jealous of the #NaomiDeservesBetter. In fact, I don’t know and I wished not to have to witness that. Like for Styles, the women’s division seriously lacks contenders and I’m afraid Bayley’s reign is meant to last (at least, she and Sasha were silent this week…).

Overall

The episode was pretty interesting because we move forward, SummerSlam wise, and also there was a level of intensity in the promos that was at the same time unusual and pleasant. The show was stacked with action all over the place. Of course, The Fiend’s attack on Alexa Bliss lets think there will be a third match between Strowman and him, this time for the title, but also Bliss seems to be Strowman’s weakest point. The segment was scary, in fact, it was perfect.

All pics and videos courtesy of WWE