Featuring a visit to the Firefly Funhouse, and an action-packed six-man main event, this August 28th edition of SmackDown is the last one before Payback this Sunday.
We start off the show with a re-cap of the main event of SummerSlam, y’know, the one that sucked? That one. Adam Pearce sends out the beefy guards to do their jobs, and Vince McMahon gives him a special job: go get signatures from Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, and The Fiend, signing them all up for a Triple Threat No Holds Barred match at Payback. Poor guy.
Jeff Hardy comes out to address the WWE Universe, saying he’s ready to defend his title. AJ Styles comes out instantly, calling Hardy a liar and a cheat. He calls Hardy out for using the leg brace to win last Friday. Also, he’s calling some sort of conspiracy, since the doctor who gave Hardy the leg brace isn’t clearing Styles to compete tonight. Hardy takes a “too bad so sad” approach to this, saying it sucks that Styles can’t capitalize on the open challenge Hardy is issuing. This enrages Styles, and he yells at Hardy until Hardy takes him out.
Shinsuke Nakamura VS Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy for the Intercontinental Championship
With AJ Styles on commentary, Shinsuke Nakamura accepts the open challenge of Jeff Hardy. Hardy starts out in control, but Nakamura fights back with a kick. Hardy regains control with a hip toss, an inverted atomic drop and an elbow drop for 2. With Hardy still favoring his knee, Hardy sends Nakamura to the ropes, but Nakamura dropkicks his knee hard. From then on, Nakamura focuses on the injured leg of Hardy.
Nakamura hits some hard kicks, but Hardy catches on and delivers his own kick. He attempts to suplex Nakamura over the ropes to the outside, but instead is thrown back in by Nakamura. He clotheslines the King of Strong Style to the outside and delivers a wrecking ball dropkick that sends the challenger into the table. He throws Nakamura over the table and into Styles for good measure as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Nakamura has Hardy in a kneebar. Hardy kicks Nakamura repeatedly to free himself. He then delivers his inverted atomic leg-drop combo, and he then delivers a dropkick and a splash for 2. Nakamura hits the champ with a flurry of strikes and then stacks him up on the top rope. This backfires, as Hardy fights out of whatever Nakamura was planning and hits Whisper in the Wind.
Nakamura delivers his sliding German suplex and a jumping knee for 2. Nakamura looks for the Kinshasa, but Hardy counters it into a Twist of Fate attempt, which is reversed into a sleeper hold. Hardy fights out of it and hits Nakamura with the brace on his knee. He then delivers the Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb for the victory.
Winner via pinfall and still Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: 3.5/5
After the match, Sami Zayn makes his entrance, holding another Intercontinental Championship, telling Hardy that he is the real champ. He hits the “other” champ with a Helluva Kick.
Backstage, Sami says that he has returned to right a wrong. He says he is a true Intercontinental Champion, and speaks some French to prove it. If anyone is wondering, it translates to “I’m the real champion, you understand? Thank you.”
We enter the Firefly Funhouse with a very happy Bray Wyatt. Bray feels like something is missing, and brings out his title. The doorbell rings, and in comes “Postman” Pearce, all dressed up in a postman costume. Bray gladly signs the paper and the postman leaves in a hurry.
Matt Riddle comes out to mock King Corbin. He says the King is scared, and calls him out for a match. King Corbin enters and distracts Riddle, allowing Shorty G to sucker punch him from behind. The King accepts Riddle’s challenge on behalf of Shorty G.
Matt Riddle VS Shorty G
Riddle starts out strong with some hard kicks, but Shorty counters with a dragon screw and then begins his mat wrestling clinic. Riddle shows his skill with a gutwrench suplex, but Shorty gives him a picture-perfect tiger suplex. Shorty goes for Chaos Theory, but Riddle lands on his feet and delivers the Final Flash. He then hits the Bro-Derek for the win. After the match, Corbin tries to do some damage to Riddle, but escapes the ring when Riddle fights back.
Winner via pinfall: Matt Riddle
Match Rating: 3/5
Backstage, Adam Pearce looks for Roman Reigns’ signature, but the Big Dog either isn’t in his dressing room or just won’t come out. Also, it seems that King Corbin has accepted Riddle’s challenge, and they will face off at Payback.
The Women’s Tag Champions comes out one title lighter after SummerSlam. Bayley apologizes to Sasha Banks in the worst way possible, saying she shouldn’t have let Sasha challenge Asuka in the first place as she can never successfully defend the Raw Women’s title. She backtracks and says that that’s all behind them, and that it’s time to focus on the tag match. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax appear on the screen, mocking the champs. Banks gets fired up, telling them off and standing with her co-champ for what might be the last time.
Backstage, Drew Gulak is angrily looking for Braun Strowman, wanting payback for Braun hitting him last week. When he finds him, he hits him with a chair. It doesn’t faze the Monster at all, and Gulak tosses the chair to Adam Pearce and runs. Pearce asks for Braun’s signature, but he only agrees to give it if he can get Gulak in a match. Pearce is more than happy to set it up.
In the Champions Lounge, Cesaro and Nakamura are in the middle of a conversation when Sami barges in. He sort of half-apologizes for leaving for four months and then tries to join the tag champs, but they politely and awkwardly tell him to leave. Sami does that thing when you pretend to have something to do anyway and it’s honestly a little sad.
Braun Strowman VS Drew Gulak
Strowman comes out in normal clothes. He starts the match by tossing Gulak across the ring with a biel, and then squashing him with an avalanche in the corner. He drops Gulak with a clothesline and then delivers a senton. He deadlifts the much smaller man and slams him with a chokeslam. He drags Gulak up by his beard and puts him out of his misery with a powerslam for the win.
On the way out, Strowman signs the Payback contract. Don’t know why this match even happened, it’s not like anyone is seeing Braun as a favorite in the Payback match after this squash. He beat up a poor dude half his size, big deal.
Winner via pinfall: Braun Strowman
Match Rating: 1/5
Backstage, Kalisto tells Lince Dorado to watch how it’s done in Kalisto’s match against Cesaro. After he leaves, the Smackdown Tag Champs blindside the Lucha House Party.
Cesaro VS Kalisto
Cesaro drives Kalisto with a slam right out of the gate, but Kalisto fights back with a headscissors. Kalisto jumps out of the ring and hits the tag champ with a hurricanrana. Kalisto goes for a crossbody, but Cesaro hits him with a backbreaker for 1.
Cesaro hits a towering back body drop. Kalisto looks to roll up Cesaro but only gets two, and Cesaro gets his own 2 count with a kick and an elbow drop. Cesaro hits a massive European uppercut, but Kalisto fights back with a dropkick and a crazy powerbomb reversal into a DDT. Kalisto hits a spike hurricanrana for 2, and begins to get frustrated.
He looks for Salida del Sol, but Cesaro gets out of it. Nakamura distracts Kalisto, and the rest of Lucha House Party comes out to stop him, but it’s too late. Cesaro rolls up Kalisto for the win. Kalisto and Dorado continue arguing after the match, but Kalisto hugs both his partners and leaves, which definitely fixes everything.
Winner via pinfall: Cesaro
Match Rating: 3/5
Adam Pearce comes to Vince and laments not being able to get Roman’s signature. Vince advises him to break the door down to get the contract signed.
Backstage, Nikki Cross and Tamina have a chat. Cross has a mug that Nikki Cross gave her a year ago. Tamina asks how Alexa Bliss is doing, but before Cross can answer, Bliss comes along, wearing her old pigtails. She says she’s never been better, and Cross notices her new hairstyle choice: a braid that resembles The Fiend’s hair. Bliss says she’s looking for something new. Cross tells her it reminds her of The Fiend, and this enrages Bliss, who smashes the mug. I really like where this is going, I’m very excited to see what a crazy Bliss would look like.
Sheamus interrupts The Miz and John Morrison talking about some very deep stuff to ask them what the plan is for their match. Morrison says they should keep Big E, Tucker and Otis out of the ring. Sheamus just tells them to follow his lead. As they head off to the ring, Morrison wonders what it would be like if they could actually pull that off. Man, he’s so funny. He’s got to be legitimately the most comically talented wrestler in recent memory.
Backstage, Adam Pearce finally gets Roman Reigns to look over the contract. The piped-in cheers they give Reigns when they know full well he’d be booed by a live crowd makes me cringe.
Big E and Heavy Machinery VS The Miz, John Morrison, and Sheamus
John Morrison starts out against Otis. Morrison attempts to use his speed to get around Otis, but the massive man is just too much (say that five times at whatever speed makes you comfortable but still gives you a moderate challenge). The three big men triple team poor Morrison and crush him in the corner. Tucker, now the legal man, attempts to pin Morrison, but Sheamus breaks it up. Tucker surprises Morrison with a crossbody for 2, and Sheamus interferes, allowing The Miz to be tagged in.
He beats Tucker down with kicks and mocks his other opponents, and tags Morrison back in for another double team for 2. Tucker knocks everyone down and attempts to make a pin, but Morrison sends him outside, He hits Sheamus with a dropkick and The Miz with a superkick, and flattens Morrison with a clothesline. He goes for the pin, but Sheamus distracts him by ringing the bell for some reason? I don’t get why as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Morrison is pinning Tucker for 2. The Miz is tagged in and he and his partner execute another double team move for 2. Sheamus is looking to be tagged in as he hasn’t yet, but The Miz tags in Morrison again.
Morrison locks Tucker in a submission, and tags his friend Miz in again. Sheamus is getting frustrated as Morrison is tagged in once more for a double team move. The pin is broken up by Big E and Otis, and Sheamus tries to tag himself in but the official is too busy with Big E and Otis to see it.
Sheamus is irate now, and he gets blasted off the ring by Tucker for his troubles. Tucker slams Morrison hard, and Sheamus has had enough and leaves Miz and Morrison alone in the match. Tucker tags in Big E and Morrison tags in the Miz, and Big E tosses The Miz with his belly to belly suplexes. He drops his Big Splash on The Miz and looks for the Big Ending, but The Miz scurries out of the ring and hangs up Big E on the rope.
He looks to clothesline Big E in the corner, but instead Big E drops him with a uranage. The pin is broken up by Morrison, who sends Big E to the outside. Otis comes in and slams Morrison next to The Miz. He attempts a double Caterpillar, but The Miz moves out of the way, and he only gets Morrison. The Miz hits Otis with the Skull Crushing Finale, and Big E comes in from behind The Miz and hits him with the Big Ending for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Big E and Heavy Machinery
Match Rating: 4/5
Backstage, Roman Reigns finally signs the stupid contract, and reveals (maybe?) his new manager: Paul Heyman. Hey, he might as well be a heel, since most people boo him anyway.
SmackDown August 28
Not a bad episode, the return of Sami Zayn and Paul Heyman was fun to see. It’s just not as good as it has been recently, the whole contract signing bit got annoying quickly. Plus seeing Reigns get injected straight into the title picture for no reason always makes me mad.