AJ starts the show by calling out Nakamura, but we get Aiden English and Rusev instead, and it turns into an AJ vs. Rusev match. Rusev almost taps right away to the Calf Crusher before English makes the save for a DQ, beginning a beatdown of Styles, until Daniel Bryan comes out to help. This reeks of giving the appearance of Vince trying to kill Rusev day, which I don’t think is actually the case at all. Backstage Paige does a terrible Teddy Long impression and makes a main event match of Rusev and Aiden vs. DB and AJ.
SHELTON BENJAMIN DEMANDS BIG COMPETITION
Disappointingly, Randy Orton responds… at first. Then comes the real response in new United States Champion Jeff Hardy, moving the SmackDown as I predicted. They have a really good match that harkens back to 10-15 years ago. Both guys still look terrific in the ring. A Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb ultimately give Jeff the win.
The Miz cuts a promo from home in LA and says next week SmackDown will be AWESOME. It’s also announced that Absolution is coming to SmackDown (again, as I predicted).
LUKE HARPER W/ERICK ROWAN VS. JEY USO W/JIMMY USO
A quick squash for Harper after Jey gets involved with Jimmy and Rowan on the outside. The Usos take a beating after the match. The Bludgeon Brothers pick up their hammers until Naomi comes down and begs them to leave them alone. They oblige. Interesting.
SAMOA JOE is on SmackDown! I flipped back from commercial and saw Joe’s face and flipped away again because I thought they were doing a Raw promo. I’m happy to gloat about getting my previous predictions correct, but I’ll admit this one blindsided me. I expected a lengthy Raw feud between him and Roman.
SAMOA JOE VS. SIN CARA
Joe destroys Sin Cara, then runs down the SmackDown roster before once again cutting a promo on Reigns. He says he will bring the Intercontinental and Universal championships to SmackDown.
PROMO: Sanity is coming to SmackDown! Problem, it looks like it’s sans Nikki Cross.
Backstage: Big Cass returns! He insults Daniel Bryan’s height and says YOU’RE what all the fuss is about?! Heel Cass.
Carmella brags about beating Charlotte all by herself, and says her win is the biggest moment in women’s history. She plays a video tribute to herself. She says she will miss her briefcase “Frankie”, but says she will replace it with the women’s title, “Cleopatra”. Charlotte interrupts. She congratulates Carmella for taking advantage of an opportunity, and says “game respects game.” Another interruption by the bitch squad, the Iconics. I can’t watch this. Becky comes out to help Charlotte and we get a match
CHARLOTTE FLAIR W/BECKY LYNCH VS. BILLY KAY W/PEYTON ROYCE
I’ll give these tampons one thing, they can wrestle. The match was really good. Mostly controlled by Billie Kay, who has a pretty impressive offense. Charlotte pulls out the win with a Figure Eight. Carmella attacks after the match and the three of them beat down Charlotte and Becky until the new member of SmackDown’s women’s division shows up: ASUKA! She lays waste to the heels and stands tall with Becky and Charlotte.
Gallows and Anderson have moved to SmackDown. Alliance with Shinsuke?
The Bar is coming as well. I’m liking what’s happening with the SmackDown tag team division. Weird backstage segment with New Day, R Truth, and Tye Dillinger that I won’t even begin to try to figure out.
Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega are movin’ on up. I look for him to be put into US Title contention very soon.
DANIEL BRYAN & AJ STYLES VS. RUSEV & AIDEN ENGLISH
A split crowd for this match. It goes without saying, but Rusev Day is massively over. As DB is taking care of business against Rusev, Shinsuke arrives out of nowhere and once again hits AJ with a low blow. Bryan turns around to a big boot to the face from Big Cass, ending the match in DQ. Cass stands tall over DB as his new music plays. Renee tries to ask Shinsuke why he continues to attack AJ, and he once again responds he doesn’t speak English. That was funny last week, and now they’re probably going to run it into the ground.
I had predicted Jeff Hardy, Asuka, Absolution, Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor, The Revival and Apollo Crews coming to SmackDown. A little less than 50% correct. Samoa Joe is the biggest surprise to me. We’ll get a lot of fresh feuds throughout the year and I look forward to it. What feuds do you want to see with the revamped rosters?