Smackdown opens with us being told by Paige that the next big order of business is to find a new contender for AJ Styles’ championship and that will be decided by a gauntlet match between The Miz, Big E, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, and Rusev.
In-Ring Segment: Carmella, Ellsworth, and Asuka
Briefly, Carmella starts talking like a face and it seems like she is going to give an inspirational speech but it is all a set up to trash talk and tell everyone how good she is. James Ellsworth comes out dressed like Asuka and says he is here to serve “the greatest woman on earth”. The real Asuka joins them and kicks Ellsworth. Carmella uses this to kick Asuka in the head.
Verdict: Asuka is literally being wasted here. If this continues she will end up being like Bayley. The whole Ellsworth gimmick is okay for one match but not every time. Carmella just isn’t championship material, as a heel is someone who should be hated. She is plain irritating and people do not care about her.
Becky Lynch vs Billie Kay (with Peyton Royce)
Before the match The IIconics trash the crowd by calling them animals. Then they berate Becky Lynch for being a has-been and nothing more than Charlotte Flair’s lackey. The match begins with Lynch getting in all the offense. Kay rolls out and that allows Royce to run interference. Kay gets some moves in. It only lasts a short while as Lynch goes all out on Kay and makes her tap out to the DisArmHer.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Verdict: A good decent match. Becky deserved the win. The IIconics are great at being heels.
Daniel Bryan informs us that he is going to start the gauntlet match and makes fun of The Miz.
The Usos vs SAnitY
Before the match, Usos inform their opponents that they are going to be put in the Uso penitentiary. SAnity arrives and just beat down on the Usos for a no contest.
Verdict: Fresh tag feud. Should be awesome.
Backstage segment: Shinsuke Nakamura
Renee tries to get her thoughts on the championship match at MITB. He tells her that the only reason he lost was that the referee counted fast and did not count in Japanese. Then he goes on to diss Jeff Hardy who seems to be his next feud.
Verdict: Nakamura can be funny and he showed that here. He and Jeff certainly can put up some great matches.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers vs Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
The match begins in somewhat similar fashion as in MITB. Gallows tries to get in some offense. That doesn’t last long as Rowen and Harper soon gain the upper hand. They almost win but Anderson breaks the fall. The Bludgeon brothers beat down both of the Good Brothers. Anderson briefly manages to get in control and even manages a two count but it is all downhill for them and the match ends the same way as in MITB with Harper and Rowen hit a sit out powerbomb for the win.
Winners and STILL Tag Team Champions, The Bludgeon Brothers
Verdict: Good hard hitting match. Just getting a bit one-sided here and that is not how a feud is supposed to work. There is also no heel-face dynamic here and the match seemed pointless.
An intriguing moment follows as Daniel Bryan walks down to the ring and The Bludgeon Brothers stare him down
Number One Contender’s Gauntlet Match
(Daniel Bryan vs Rusev vs The Miz vs Big E. vs Samoa Joe)
Big E is the second entrant. Some nice back and forth takes place. There are a couple of two counts before Big E takes a Busaiku kick and stays down for the three count and get eliminated
Big E eliminated
Samoa Joe is next in line. He uses his hard-hitting style to subdue Daniel Bryan. A few submission hold reversal takes place. The action spills outside the ring. Joe puts him in the Coquina clutch while the referee begins counting them out. Somehow Bryan manages to escape and make it back into the ring and Joe gets counted out.
Samoa Joe eliminated
The Bludgeon Brothers return and powerbomb Bryan. Miz is the next entrant. He hits the SCF to eliminate Daniel Bryan.
Daniel Bryan eliminated
Rusev and The Miz are the final entrants. Miz is the early hitter in the match with some nice moves. Rusev misses a Machka kick while The Miz misses an SCF. Miz actually uses the Yes lock which Rusev breaks and tries the Accolade but Miz slides from under Rusev. Some back and forth takes place. The match comes to an abrupt end when Rusev connects with the Machka kick and makes Miz tap out to The Accolade.
Winner and Number One Contender for the WWE Championship, Rusev
AJ Styles joins Rusev and lays down the belt and the two shake hands. Aiden tries a cheap spot and gets decked by AJ Styles.
Verdict: One of the best main events of Smackdown in a long time. Finally, Rusev is in the title picture which is a great thing. We also feel like the return of a superstar is in the pipeline. Probably Dean Ambrose. Bryan is alone against the Bludgeon Brothers and needs someone to watch his back. Overall a great end to the show. Rusev v/s Styles is fresh and exciting.
Overall Verdict: Awesome show. Much better than RAW last night. Good storytelling and seeds laid for great feuds and matchups.