Andrade “Cien” Almas gets an actual match! There’s trouble for Rusev Day! And Randy Orton’s heel turn is complete.
Jeff Hardy Makes Promises
Jeff Hardy kicked off this week’s show with the shortest opening promo in wrestling history. Seriously he was only out there for like 4 minutes – it was great! He made references to Delete, Broken and Obsolete, and promised he would win back his United States Championship match in the main event tonight. Shinsuke Nakamura cut a quick promo backstage calling Jeff a sad clown and ended with his new awesome catch phrase: God bless America. Nakamura is very, very good.
AJ Styles def. Andrade “Cien” Almas
After months and months of either not being on the show – or being on the show but doing nothing at all – Andrade “Cien” Almas had his first big match on Smackdown Live against the WWE Champion AJ Styles. This was fantastic. It put Almas over as an equal to Styles and worthy of being in the main event – and Styles locking in the Calf Crusher from outta nowhere put over the idea that on a different day this could have been an Almas win. Considering that Almas got zero reaction when he came out, but the crowd popped for his nearfalls says a lot of how good this segment was – and how great AJ is as a babyface. Big fan of all of this.
Trouble For Rusev Day
Backstage Aiden English wanted to apologise to Rusev, but Lana questioned whether he was the best thing for the Bulgarian Brute. English said that he’s always had Rusev’s back, and he just wants a second chance. Trouble is brewing for this team.
Becky Lynch def. Mandy Rose
Becky Lynch tapped out Mandy Rose in a short match and then cut a promo saying she wants to be the next contender for Carmella. Paige was backstage and booked a match between Lynch and Mella for next week, where if Becky wins she will get a Smackdown Women’s Championship shot at Summerslam. It says a lot about WWE’s booking of Asuka when her name was barely mentioned on this show.
Samoa Joe def. Tye Dillinger
A wild R-Truth appeared! And he did some comedy with Tye Dillinger, who then lost to Samoa Joe in a short match.
The Miz Holds A Funeral For Team Hell No
The Miz came out next to hold a funeral for Team Hell No but made sure to mention his upcoming reality TV show and that he was the MVP at a celebrity softball game. Miz is great. He then cut a promo on Bryan by telling him that his run since coming back from injury has been a complete bust. I mean, he’s not wrong. Daniel’s music then hit, and he attacked Miz from behind. The A-Lister ran away, but Bryan laid out one of the coffin bearers with the running knee to send a message. This was a good and solid opening chapter in the build to these two having a match at Summerslam.
Eric Young def. Kofi Kingston
Eric Young defeating Kofi Kingston in a match that was the total opposite of Styles vs. Almas. While Almas was put over in defeat, Young was barely put over in victory. Kofi dominated most of the match, and only really lost because of SAnitY interference.
AJ Styles’ Summerslam Match Revealed Next Week
It was announced that next week Paige will reveal who Styles is facing at Summerslam for his WWE Championship…
Jeff Hardy def. Shinsuke Nakamura (via DQ)
…And in the main event Jeff Hardy took on Shinsuke Nakamura to regain his United States Championship. There have been a lot of reports as of late that Hardy is working injured – which the commentators brought up a lot during this match – and aside from a few slow comeback moments Hardy still hit all of his trademark spots in a decent match. There was some good back and forth action, and Hardy had the match won after a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb but Randy Orton hit an interference spot from outta nowhere!
Orton then completed his heel turn by beating the wholly hell out of Hardy around the ringside area. Nakamura looked on terrified as Orton told Hardy that he’ll find out why he’s attacking him soon – and then he stuck his finger in Jeff’s flesh hole and started to pull. That was… oh no…. Orton asked where Nakamura was as he dropped Jeff off the table with a DDT. This is the most interesting Orton has been since a Viper in the Family, and this three-way feud has quickly become one of the best things in WWE at the moment.
After a disappointing Extreme Rules PPV, this was an excellent edition of Smackdown Live. The in-ring action was mostly great, but importantly it set up all our key feuds leading into Summerslam aside from AJ’s title match – but they did a good job of setting up a couple of contenders like Almas and Samoa Joe. This week’s Smackdown Live is a high SmackTastic.