For the first time on Smackdown Live, the new “Wild Card Rule” was in effect, and the first wild card was played right at the start of the night.
Former WWE Champion and challenger to Seth Rollins’ Universal Champion, AJ Styles, returned to his house for the first time since the Superstar Shake-up. Quickly Sami Zayn came out to the ring and asked Styles why he was on Smackdown. Styles basically said because he could be and then told Zayn to take a shower, in reference to what happened to Zayn last night thanks to Braun Strowman.
Kofi Kingston would then make his way to the ring next and said he will defend his WWE Championship against either Zayn or Styles tonight. Zayn tried to talk Kofi out of it by insulting the fans, but Kofi would wind up defending his title in the main event for the second night in a row.
This came as no surprise but, after the break, commentator Tom Phillips said Shane McMahon announced that Kofi will defend his title against BOTH Zayn and Styles in the Main Event.
Below is the rest of what happened on Smackdown Live in order from my favorite to least favorite. At the bottom is my rating for the show.
1. Kofi Kingston defeats AJ Styles and Sami Zayn:
Up until the last five minutes of the show, I had the Tag Team Titles as my favorite thing from this show, but the main event delivered big time. This match had several CRAZY near falls, big spots interferences and in the end, the babyface, Kingston held on to his title.
This match started off slowly, but then after a break, it really picked up. Earlier on, Kevin Owens announced that today is his birthday and he does not want to spend his birthday in Kentucky, so he is going home.
However, KO came rushing down the ramp and blindsided Xavier Woods with an attack from out of nowhere. This allowed Owens’ best friend, Zayn to land not one, not two, but three blue thunder bombs on Kingston. Kingston kicked out at the last possible millisecond each time, much to the chagrin of Owens’ who was watching from the top of the ramp.
Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise to retain the title.
The only thing I did not like, and I am being extremely nitpicky, was that Styles did not factor into the finish. Styles was laying outside of the ring for several minutes after being hit with the Trouble in Paradise. Kingston survived three blue thunder bombs and then hit Zayn with one Trouble in Paradise to pick up the win. I would have liked to have seen Styles involved somehow in the finish.
But overall this was a terrific main event. One of the best fans has seen several weeks.
I probably should not say this because I may give the WWE an idea, but the other best part about the main event was that it confirmed, at least for now, Barron Corbin is not a factor in the new wild card rule!!
2. New Tag Team Champions:
Last week, Matt and Jeff Hardy announced they would be relinquishing the tag team titles because of Jeff’s severe injury at the hands of Lars Sullivan. So Shane McMahon came out to the ring to announce who would become the brand new Smackdown tag team champions.
McMahon announced the new tag team champions on Smackdown Live would be, “The New” Daniel Bryan and Eric Rowan.
The Uso’s, who I guess are a wild card selection, came out to the ring and said Bryan and Rowan should have to EARN the titles like The New Day, The Bar, themselves and even Shane did. McMahon agreed and set up a match between the Usos and Bryan/Rowan for RIGHT NOW!
As I said above, up until the main event, this was the favorite to be my favorite part of the show. I loved everything about this segment. The promo was excellent, the in-ring work was fantastic, and the right team won the match.
The Smackdown tag team division was in serious jeopardy 24 hours ago. The Hardy Boyz had to walk away and the only semi-credible team left was Rusev & Shinsuke. This match kept the belts prestigious, kept Bryan strong, gave him something to do and showed everyone why, despite the loss, The Usos are still the best tag team in the WWE.
For those that watched RAW, and by the ratings, it is not many of you, the Usos were quickly turning into a comedic heel tag team. This match brought them out of that role to show their elite tag team skills, and this gave them something to chase.
3. Shane’s Money In The Bank Announcement:
I grant you, this is much higher than it should be. But I have it ranked third because of potential. I love to fantasy book, and this segment gives me a chance to fantasy book the WWE for the next two weeks.
Before being attacked by The Miz (another wild card selection), Shane was in the ring to make a significant announcement about the Money in the Bank ladder match.
The one thing McMahon said and he put extra emphasis on it was, “ANY SUPERSTAR who climbs the ladder and gets the briefcase is almost guaranteed a championship.”
I could very well be reading way too much into this and end up disappointed, but McMahon said any superstar, which makes me think someone (Shane, Sasha Banks, Lars Sullivan, someone else) not in the match could be winning the Money in the Bank briefcase.
While this would undoubtedly venture away from the standard Money in the Bank match rules, it could be the swerve that helps WWE get their ratings out of the tank.
4. Ali vs. Andrade:
It is a shame nearly this entire match had an ad-break in it because this would have been a fantastic match to see in its entirety. Once the match was on full-screen and the break was finished, Randy Orton appeared from out of nowhere and hit two stunning RKOs. The first one was pop-up RKO on Ali, then Orton caught Andrade flying out of the air and hit him with one of his more devastating RKO’s of recent memory.
I wish the match was given more time, because it would have been a great match. However, it made Orton look strong, and the RKO look devastating which was probably the idea.
5. Fire and Desire vs. Mella and Ember Moon:
Personally, I am a big fan of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, so I wish I did not have to put this second-to-last, but I sadly I must. This was a fine match featuring three of the four women’s Money in the Bank participants. After a few minutes, Rose pinned Moon to get the victory. Perhaps this will give Rose some momentum going into the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
After the match, Paige came out to say, she upgraded from Absolution (the tag team she used to manage, featuring Rose and Deville) and announced her new team of Asuka and Kairi Sane will face Rose and Deville next week.
6. Lars Sullivan continues to haunt R-Truth:
Yet another player in this “Wildcard Rule” showed up on this night, as ‘The Freak’ Lars Sullivan made an appearance, beating up both Matt Hardy & R-Truth.
Sullivan has all the potential in the world, and WWE is booking him like Braun Strowman 2.0. This feud with Truth seems to be just a stepping stone to bigger & better things for Lars, but how many weeks in a row will we see him beat the living daylights out of men that are nowhere near his size?
Overall I really enjoyed this show. One of the best WWE shows in several weeks. The main event was fantastic, there are new tag team champions, I have a chance to fantasy book for the next week, and the KO vs. Kofi Kingston feud added another layer.
Very good show, I give it a 4 out of 5.