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As WWE prepares for Clash of Champions on September 27, the men and women of SmackDown returned to the Thunderdome for this week’s episode.
After last week saw Bayley tun on Sasha Banks following their rematch with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, The Role Model promised to address her betrayal on Friday.
WWE also booked an Intercontinental Championship match between AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy, but whenever the IC title is involved, Sami Zayn is never far away.
Bray Wyatt also promised to unveil his newest addition to the Firefly Fun House this week. Did Alexa Bliss cross over to the dark side and join The Fiend?
Let’s take a look at everything that happened on this week’s episode of SmackDown.
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WWE only advertised a few segments ahead of this week’s show:
- Wyatt unveils the latest addition to The Firefly Fun House.
- Hardy vs. Styles for the IC title.
- Bayley addresses why she turned on Banks.
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WWE opened the show with a graphic paying tribute to the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001, before going live in The Thunderdome with Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman heading to the ring.
Heyman did his usual thing to promote his client before he asked Jey Uso to come to the ring. Uce came out looking more fired up than he has in a long time.
Uso said Heyman has a long history with his family and he has love for him. He thanked Paul E. for setting up his opportunity in the Fatal 4-Way last week but Heyman said it was actually Reigns’ idea to have Uso replace Big E.
Reigns said he and his whole family are proud of Uso because he earned this opportunity to main event a PPV. The Big Dog then shifted gears and said he would whoop Jey at Clash of Champions because it is not his time to win the universal title.
Baron Corbin came out to complain about Reigns using nepotism to give his cousin a title shot and called it an abuse of power. This led to Sheamus coming out to agree with The King. Uso suggested a tag match before he took out both men by himself while Reigns just stood there and watched.
Reigns is so much more interesting with this new change in attitude. This segment was great because he both complimented and insulted his cousin in the same breath like he has been a heel doing this kind of thing for years.
It would have been better if this was just about Uso and Reigns but WWE needed to set up a tag match for later in the show, so it was somewhat necessary to include Corbin and Sheamus in some capacity.
Heyman, surprisingly, did not carry the load on the mic. The real power in this segment came from Reigns and Uso’s interaction.
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Before the announcer could introduce the competitors, Sami Zayn came out to rant about how he is the real IC champion and called Hardy a sham champion. Adam Pearce came out to remove Zayn from the situation and while the champion was distracted, Styles attacked him from behind.
As soon as the bell rang, Hardy ducked him in the corner and hit the Twist of Fate. He climbed up for a Swanton Bomb but the challenger avoided the impact right before the show went to a commercial.
When we returned from the break, we saw both men crash into the barricade when The Charismatic Enigma jumped at Styles from the ring steps. The Phenomenal One countered a few of his signature moves and began focusing on Hardy’s left leg.
Zayn came out of nowhere and attacked Styles as he prepared to hit The Phenomenal Forearm, causing a disqualification in the process. He also took out Hardy with a Helluva Kick before saying there was only one true champion. Hardy collapsed on his way up the ramp and it was said to be dehydration after the break.
We later saw Hardy in the trainer’s room when Zayn came in to taunt him. Hardy tackled him and they brawled as we went to a break.
Hardy and Styles have great chemistry that has been developed over several years since they first worked together in TNA, so it came as no surprise when they had a good back and forth match.
The interference by Zayn was predictable but it was almost necessary. This protected Styles from taking a loss without having Hardy lose, but WWE didn’t need to telegraph the interference by having Zayn come out before the match.
Had he interfered out of nowhere, it would have been much more surprising. This sets up a good feud for Clash of Champion with all three men but the execution of the segment left a little to be desired.
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Cesaro and Gran Metalik kicked things off for their teams with a fast-paced exchange of takedowns before Kalisto tagged in for a big splash to get a near fall.
The Swiss Cyborg cornered him so he and Nakamura could cut the ring in half with quick tags and double team moves. For some reason, footage of The Street Profit having a party in Cesaro and Nakamura’s backstage area was shown on the big screen.
The SmackDown tag champs were distracted long enough for Kalisto to roll Cesaro up for the win.
It’s hard to give a match with four Superstars like Kalisto, Nakamura, Cesaro and Metalik a mediocre grade but the way this match was booked did not leave any other options.
The distraction from The Street Profits should not be enough to make two accomplished champions forget they are in the middle of a fight. This is a trope WWE keeps using and it needs to stop.
The action leading up to the ending was good but there wasn’t enough of it to justify getting a higher grade. Their eventual rematch should be much better.
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Bayley came out after the break to talk about why she betrayed Banks last week. Her entrance was accompanied by a generous portion of pyrotechnics.
The Role Model said she turned on Banks because she knew The Boss was just waiting for her opportunity to do the same thing to her. She said she never cared about Banks and just used her to get what she wanted.
She claimed The Boss was useless after they lost the tag titles before taking her chair and leaving the ring. Nikki Cross tried to make her entrance for the next match but Bayley hit her with a chair as the show cut to a break.
This promo made perfect sense. Bayley being the one to turn on Banks could be seen coming from a mile away but the explanation sold it as an inevitability.
Bayley has been so good in this role and she keeps getting better over time. She has grown into being a heel to the point where it feels like this always should have been her gimmick.
The only problem was it was too short. Bayley had our attention and could have talked for another five minutes without anyone getting bored. It’s rare when a promo leaves you hoping it didn’t end.
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