AJ Styles Held an Intercontinental Championship Coronation; Matt Riddle def. Styles (Non-Title)
For whatever it's worth, Dolph Ziggler not appearing at ringside here (despite wrestling in the main event of SmackDown a week ago) gives credence to the recent report that he's Raw bound. Nonetheless, this was a solid segment with Styles preaching about how title shots should be earned, not given, and Daniel Bryan pointing out all the competition that's available for him on the blue brand. That bought out the debuting Riddle, who I didn't expect to see in this spot. Obviously, Riddle is in the midst of allegations at the moment that he has yet to be officially cleared of and this was taped beforehand, so whatever momentum he gained here could mean nothing if he's found guilty. This match, however, was great and was the perfect way to establish Riddle as a top talent on the show from the get-go. Riddle vs. Styles for the title would seem to be inevitable, though I would wait until a bigger stage like SummerSlam to deliver on that.
Renee Young Hosted a Sit-Down Interview with Jeff Hardy
Some people may be of the mindset that this feud jumped the shark last week with that ridiculous urine test segment (which is absolutely arguable), but I think it still has some legs as I enjoyed their Backlash bout and believe a rubber match at Extreme Rules is the right way to go. He didn't seem to say anything new, but Hardy was very good here and came across as genuine. Sheamus mentioned later in the show that he'll be holding a "toast" in Hardy's honor next week on SmackDown.
Shorty G def. Mojo Rawley
I'm all for this newfound push for Shorty G, but in order for anyone to take him seriously again, WWE needs to give him his Chad Gable name back. There's no reason for them not to, as this Shorty G crap clearly isn't working. This match obviously wasn't anything worth writing home about given who his opponent was, but it served its purpose and gave Gable another win (even if it doesn't mean much).
The Miz and John Morrison Hosted Miz TV with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
It looks like Miz and Morrison are back to hosting talk show segments coming off their decisive loss to Braun Strowman at Backlash. Ugh. On the bright side, this was used to further the feud between Rose and Deville and was actually excellent. In my opinion, Rose vs. Deville is the best non-title women's feud WWE has done in quite some time. Deville has been awesome throughout, but this was some of the best mic work I've heard from Rose yet. Hopefully WWE holds off on having them go one-on-one again until Extreme Rules next month, but I realize that's a month away.
SmackDown tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) def. The Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) (Non-Title)
Although they own a victory over Miz and Morrison from last month, Lucha House Party still lack credibility because they've been positioned as losers for so long on the main roster. That said, this was a fun match because these two teams, to my knowledge, have never faced off before. It was likely designed to give New Day a rebound win following their loss to Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro last week, who attacked them afterward. I assume they'll meet in a rematch for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on an upcoming episode of SmackDown.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Sasha Banks def. Nikki Cross
This marked the fourth straight appearance of Banks and Bayley this week, as they already appeared at Backlash as well as on Raw and NXT. Their stuff has been entertaining, but I fear WWE is running the risk of overexposing them by featuring them too much (even though they are able to appear everywhere because they're floating champions). That said, this was a perfectly fine match where the focus was on how Bayley volunteered Banks for it without consulting her first. I continue to hope that WWE is aiming to have Bayley vs. Banks happen at SummerSlam and no sooner or later than that.
Braun Strowman Interrupted Bray Wyatt on The Firefly Fun House
I was hesitant about WWE closing out the show with an episode of Firefly Fun House, but I suppose it made sense because this marked Wyatt's return to TV after a month away. Neither him nor Strowman said anything of note, but Wyatt bringing back his old Eater of Worlds persona was intriguing. It looks like he'll be facing Strowman with that character, presumably at Extreme Rules, because The Fiend faces Strowman at SummerSlam. The issue is, how will Wyatt be protected at Extreme Rules to justify a third match at SummerSlam? A draw in a Last Man Standing matchup is possible, but that feels overdone. Time will tell.
The show started off hot with Styles vs. Riddle, and while that was the highlight of the night, the rest of this edition of SmackDown was very enjoyable on the whole. I'm interested to see how the stuff with Strowman and Wyatt will play out, Styles has a fun run as Intercontinental Champion ahead of him, Rose and Deville continue to impress, and everything else worked as well. Hopefully the blue brand can keep it up going forward.
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