This week’s episode of SmackDown was the second season premiere of the show following a successful first year on FOX. It was a show that presented a stacked card including the return of Daniel Bryan and the first time the Universal Championship had been defended on an episode of SmackDown on FOX.
COO Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon kicked off the show with the new SmackDown roster watching on from the ramp. The introductions were cut short by a brawl which was settled when Lars Sullivan headed to the ring and brushed aside The Street Profits, Kalisto, Apollo Crews, and Shorty G.
Jeff Hardy then headed to the ring and kickstarted his match against The Freak.
Lars Sullivan def. Jeff Hardy
Lars Sullivan’s return to in-ring competition was a successful one since he was able to destroy Jeff Hardy with a Freak Accident. The former World Champion put up a good fight but The Freak kicked out of the Twist of Fate before securing the victory.
The New Day Cuts Farewell Promo, def. Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Sheamus
The New Day was afforded the opportunity to say goodbye this week on SmackDown in a six-man Tag Team action where all three men became emotional. This was the first time that The New Day had teamed together in more than a year following injuries but the chemistry was still evident.
Ahead of the match, their opponents had declared that they would be the ones who ended The New Day, and mid-way through they seemed to be living up to that promise. The New Day celebrated their final match with a win following The Midnight Hour on the new Raw recruit Sheamus.
After the match, the three men embraced in the ring before departing and going their separate ways.
Daniel Bryan Returns
Daniel Bryan made his return to WWE and was part of The ThunderDome for the first time. Seth Rollins interrupted after Bryan failed to mention his name as one of the brand’s most important acquisitions. Rollins looked to recruit the former World Champion but Bryan called Rollins’ pitch dumb which led to him being attacked. Rollins then retreated when Bryan hit the Yes Kicks.
Rey Mysterio and Dominik made their way to the ring and Bryan walked out on Rollins. Murphy arrived and looked to even the odds before taking down his former Messiah. Murphy then held out his hand to the Mysterios who refused and walked away.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits def. Dolph Zigger and Robert Roode via DQ
The Street Profits were able to brush aside both Roode and Ziggler with Ford taking out both men with a fantastic crossbody. The Profits retained their titles after a disqualification when their opponents put their hands on the referee.
Banks and Bayley Contract Signing
Sasha Banks and Bayley signed their contract ahead of Hell in a Cell with Adam Pearce presiding over the segment. Bayley tried to claim that she became the longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion all by herself. The two women looked as though they were going to get physical before Bayley retreated. Bayley didn’t actually sign the contract before leaving the ring.
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns def. Braun Strowman
Strowman and Reigns have had an intense feud in the past but collided in the first-ever Universal Championship match on FOX which was heavily dominated by the Champion.
Strowman hit a chokeslam and went for the cover but Reigns delivered a low blow as he kicked out. Reigns then delivered a spear and locked in a guillotine submission for the victory.
After the match, Jey Uso made his way out onto the ramp and Reigns delivered a spear to Strowman while Uso watched on. Reigns then picked up a chair and assaulted The Monster Among Men several times while telling Uso that if he can do this to Strowman then imagine what he can do to him.
Reigns then tried to convince Uso to use the chair, but he refused before punching him in the face and attacking him with the chair, but Reigns grounded his cousin to end the show.