Sheamus Won a Battle Royal to Advance to the Semifinals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament
It was revealed at the start of the show that Elias was struck by a car that was believed to belong to Jeff Hardy, who was found banged up in the bushes. It was a controversial angle for sure given Hardy's past issues with alcoholism (and how WWE has turned a blind eye to them whenever he's had run-ins with the law), and while I agree that it didn't need to happen, it at least made for an interesting opening to the show that held my attention. It was then announced by Adam Pearce (who apparently is SmackDown's new authority figure?) that this Battle Royal would determine AJ Styles' opponent in the finals (Styles wanted a bye while Bryan preferred to compete for it). I didn't expect Jey Uso to be used at all while his brother Jimmy was out injured, but not only did he participate in this thing, he lasted until the very end before being eliminated by Sheamus. It was cool to see him as well as Shorty G have such strong showings. It was a slightly-above-average Battle Royal on the whole.
Lacey Evans vs. Sonya Deville Ended in a Double Count-Out
I've been absolutely loving Deville's heel work over the past month or so and thought she had another excellent performance here. In fact, Evans also did exceptionally well and the two of them had a great match in the time they were allotted. I honestly had no idea what to expect from this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The double count-out finish keeps their feud alive and leaves the door open for a rematch sometime soon.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks Crashed Moment of Bliss with WWE Women's Tag TEam Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross and SmackDown tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E); Banks def. Bliss
I was mildly interested to see what New Day would say and if their next program would be revealed, and although they named The Forgotten Sons as as potential challengers, they never surfaced. The segment solely existed to set up Bliss vs. Banks, so New Day didn't serve much of a purpose here. The match itself wasn't anything of note and I personally didn't care for the over-the-top antics from Bayley and Cross at ringside, but Banks' victory was apparently enough to earn her and Bayley an opportunity at the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship on next week's show.
Shorty G def. Cesaro
It's nice to see Chad Gable back on TV after a few months away. This is the most relevant he's felt since almost winning King of the Ring back in the fall. Now all he has to do is drop the dumb Shorty G name. This match came to be after Gable eliminated Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura from the Battle Royal earlier in the evening and I like the idea of Gable feuding with them to give everyone involved something to do. They weren't given a ton of time here, but they maximized their minutes and had a really fun outing.
Daniel Bryan def. Sheamus in an Intercontinental Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
I'd be content if I never saw Sheamus vs. Bryan again because of how many matches they've had against each other over the last year, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't entertained by this. The truth is, they have terrific chemistry together and this was another hard-hitting, highly physical affair from them. Hardy coming down to ringside to distract Sheamus gave Sheamus an out for losing and ensures that it will be Bryan vs. Styles in the finals of the tournament. By the way, it wasn't revealed until after the show on WWE.com that Hardy passed all the required sobriety tests and was cleared of all charges of public intoxication and everything else. They probably should have either made mention of that or at least told viewers to head over to WWE.com for further updates so they didn't think he, you know, escaped from prison.
In addition to everything above, there was also a segment filmed with Otis and Mandy Rose by the pool (which I found funny) and the announcement that Matt Riddle is coming to SmackDown. He's a tremendous talent, but I really fear for him on this show. Here's hoping they utilize him properly. Then again, the blue brand has now had solid shows for back-to-back weeks, so maybe this means they're finally figuring out how to make matters more exciting on Friday nights. The stuff with the Intercontinental Championship Tournament was well done, Gable vs. Cesaro was a blast, Deville vs. Evans exceeded my expectations, and even Bliss vs. Banks served a purpose.
All #AskGSM Cruiserweight Classic Halftime Heat Hidden Gems Lists/Rankings Mae Young Classic Mixed Match Challenge News Opinion Previews Retro Reviews Reviews RJ's Two Cents Satire SummerSlam Recall Tribute To The Troops Worlds Collide WrestleMania Recall WWE Starrcade