Well that was a way to kick off SmackDown!
A car crash, Elias put in an ambulance, and an open bottle and papers to said car registered to an “inebriated” Jeff Hardy.
I was missing commentary from Dan Abrams, Tom Morris, and Sticks!
After Hardy was arrested, most of the SmackDown men’s locker room were told that both men would not be competing in the Intercontinental title tournament. If you thought Sheamus and Corbin conspired to take them out, you wouldn’t be alone.
So instead of their ideas of Corbin vs. Styles and Sheamus vs. Bryan, we got ourselves a battle royal!
So of course Corbin eliminated a bunch of dudes and I felt queasy but thankfully he was eliminated by Jey Uso. We had a little reunion of The Bar! But the star of this whole thing was Chad Gable. Yes, Chad Gable. His name. He eliminated Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro in particular was livid. So livid, he ducked back in and eliminated Gable without the refs seeing. The final two were Sheamus and Jey Uso.
I was pretty into all of this until the end. It was clear that Jey was helping Sheamus get him over the top rope by guiding his leg over it, instead of wrapping that leg around the top rope to prevent it. So Sheamus wins with the Brogue Kick and faced Bryan later.
We’ll address my full opinions on the opening segment in a bit.
Guys and gals, I corpsed through this whole segment.
Mandy and Otis were poolside, enjoying champagne and fruit. Otis decided to go for a swim.
Okay so Otis is the perfect person for comedy segments. This makes it official. Think Baywatch meets Shrek. It ended up being Mandy’s dream and Otis did a cannonball into the pool.
If they ever remade Animal House, which let’s be honest would likely never happen, nor should it, Otis would become a Hollywood star.
The segment ended with a very passionate kiss. Very passionate. These two rock.
Daniel Bryan def. Sheamus - Sheamus hit some nasty elbows to Bryan. Sheamus at one point asked Cole to help him do a Yes! Chant and I’m glad that little side feud is still going on. I love the history between the two. Remember this started with an 18 second match at WrestleMania 28. The very last time they crossed paths, Sheamus just turned heel and it became one of Bryan’s last matches before his retirement. Jeff Hardy showed up and distracted Sheamus, and Bryan took advantage. Hardy beat up Sheamus and the show ended.
It’s not often a heel loses via distraction so this was a nice surprise. I had figured it was going to be AJ vs. Bryan in the finals, though I didn’t think this was how we were going to get there. Bryan was valiant for wanting to earn a shot fair and square, while AJ hit the bricks and took a freebie. That match will be fun!
A Moment of Bliss - The New Day are back! Nikki gifted them handmade pancakes, and E gave Alexa coffee beans. tFs were mentioned and then the (SmackDown) best friends interrupted. Alexa asked Sasha where her title was since there was a ring full of champs. Bayley called Sasha the leader of the women’s division, and then booked a surprise match between her friend and Alexa. Sasha was NOT happy! But props to her for wearing an armband in memoriam to Hana Kimura.
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss - If you couldn’t tell, these two don’t like each other very much! I wished this could have been longer, but a bulk of this match’s attention was not in the ring. Bayley and Nikki were on commentary and had me, Graves, and especially Cole corpsing. Nikki patted Cole on the head! Bayley went to the ring apron to interfere but Nikki tried to stop it. It ended up working in Sasha’s favor anyway and she got the win.
All of this was great, with exception to New Day. There was no reason for them to be involved in this, except to get TV time. Anyone wanna see Bayley and Sasha going after the women’s tag titles again? That’d be a fun way to get to the break up.
Chad Gable def. Cesaro - Hose me down! Gable and Cesaro are pure wrestlers. Gable can sell like the very best and it was on display here. The ell of the uppercut was great, and Cesaro has his best matches with an agile smaller guy. You can give me a whole program with these two to Backlash. Seek this one out.
Sonya Deville and Lacey Evans ended in count out - Sonya grappled with Lacey in this one and it was glorious. Lacey got Sonya trapped in the ring skirt and both women brawled on the outside, which led to the count out. I’m glad that they went away from the Sonya and Mandy stuff because it’s time for those players to branch out and go on their own. We can revisit it down the line. Hopefully next time in front of a crowd. I would have liked for this to have gotten more time.
Matt Riddle is coming to SmackDown! - Matt Riddle is a wrestling treasure. Kurt Angle gave him the rub and introduced him before a video package aired. Fun fact - Matt Riddle was the very first wrestler I went up to on my very first wrestling event, Progress NYC, and he was so damn cool. I got two shots with him, one before the show, and one after he won the Progress Atlas title and let me hold it around my shoulder for the picture unprompted. I love him and he deserves the best.
The following announcement has been paid for by tFs - This was by far the worst installment of these repetitive read off a cue card promos. This happened, and now that they’ve cycled through all three members, let’s get some action boys!
My two biggest points for the night are revolving around the hacker angle and the opening segment. For the hacker, the field is narrowing down as to who this person is. Gable was one of the people it could have been, but with his resurgence on this show, it’s less likely it’ll be him. My money is still on Ali, though I would absolutely love for it to be Xavier Woods.
Let’s address that opening angle. Personally I was not bothered by it, but I can understand why some may have been uncomfortable watching WWE use Jeff’s history, a history they just went into length with by having comeback vignettes, to use a drunk driving scenario. There were other ways to accomplish getting Jeff out of the IC tournament, like having Sheamus try to kill him a la Rowan to Roman Reigns last year. If you’re recovering from addiction, I’m so proud of you and I empathize so much as I’ve had it run in my family.
SmackDown was a hoot and I’m most excited for the IC title match next week!
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?