In continuation of building the last leg of this Sunday’s Hell in a Cell, it was Smackdown Live’s turn to hopefully create better anticipation for the show than Raw did the previous night, and making the PPV worth watching.
If ask me, I feel this pre-Hell in a Cell episode of Smackdown live was way better than Raw’s in terms of making the marquee matches for Sunday matter, from the video packages, to the angles in the night’s matches.
Yes, there were some wacky moments in between, but overall, I think Smackdown Live did a really good job in it’s presentation of building up their side of Hell in a Cell.
Well enough with the small talk, let’s review the whole show shall we?
*Jeff Hardy cleanses a demon, strikes back a Viper*
Smackdown Live began with Jeff Hardy coming out to the ring, cutting a promo about his Hell in Cell match Sunday against Randy Orton.
The Charismatic Enigma spoke about vanquishing his demons (Shinsuke Nakamura) while expressing how he is ready to go to war, or as he put it hell, with Orton.
Moments later, Shinsuke Nakamura made his way to the ring as he and Hardy went one on one.
The match itself was filled with intensity, and showed just how aggressive and capable Hardy is of exacting punishment on his opponents.
In the bout’s closing sequence, as Hardy hit his signature Twist of Fate on Nakamura and prepared to deliver his Swanton Bomb finisher, the dastardly Orton appeared from outta nowhere, crotching Hardy on the top rope causing a disqualification.
Orton continued the assault by repeatedly bashing Hardy’s head against the steel steps.
The Viper then blasted the fearless one with multiple chair shots after rolling him back inside the ring.
Then in one seemingly final blow, Orton brought a defenseless Hardy to his feet setting him up for what looked to be an RKO, but all of sudden Hardy got his second wind, and fought back against Orton.
After nailing Orton with some chair shots of his own, Hardy once again went up to the top rope this time landing the Swanton Bomb on Orton as he stood tall at the end.
I absolutely loved this angle and very much looking forward to this match Sunday, I always believed that when Hardy was US Champion, he should’ve feuded with Orton more so than Nakamura. Their chemistry feels a bit more natural together and their characters are a better fit as well.
Taking nothing away from Shinsuke, who’s a top star regardless, and could work with anybody and make them look good, I just felt Hardy was not the proper fit for him performance-wise, as well as storytelling.
But judging off this angle alone, their match could potentially be show stealer if WWE Creative maintains this momentum they have, and books the match based off it.
*Samoa Joe’s tale of AJ’s unhappy ending/AJ reminds Joe his house can’t be bought*
In one of the more noteworthy segments of night, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles cut a couple of creative go-home promos that summed their heated feud to this point.
Joe started off in a bedtime story-like format, talking about how AJ’s dominance on Smackdown Live since his reign as WWE Champion.
As the promo went on, Joe then proceeded to once again insult Styles family.
Joe then ended the promo stating how he would emerge as the new WWE champion, and how he would make AJ Styles go “Night Night” while showing an eerie portrait of him, Styles wife and daughter with the WWE title as he said “The End” while giving a cold sinister stare into the camera as the segment went to commercial.
Later on in the show, it was Styles turn to give his last words to his sadistic adversary.
Styles promo saw him sitting in an empty Smackdown Live arena, where he talked about Samoa Joe bringing his family into their fued, and how he knows one of his biggest weaknesses is his temper when insulting his family.
Styles continued by saying that though Joe might’ve had the upper hand on him mentally, he vows to show how phenomenal he his once they step inside the ring this Sunday at Hell in a Cell.
He also said that while he knows Samoa Joe’s family after 20 years of friendship, he’d never insult them because of the integrity he has, which he considers a strength.
The promo concluded with the WWE Champion claiming Joe’s strength is “running his mouth” and being as he described him, “a piece of garbage.”
Lastly Styles reminded Joe in a tense deliberate tone, this Smackdown Live is the house he built and how it is not neither for rent, nor sale.
This was my favorite segment of the night, hands down, 1.the creativity of both promos. the bedtime story gimmick with Joe added I really good touch and really solidified his maniacal, assassin-ness nature.
2. It really made both Joe and Styles look different and really told the story of two different characters.
AJ was excellent in his presentation, I personally loved him sitting alone in the empty arena at ringside telling his story, and coming off as someone who not take another man tormenting his family lying down, the profanity tease and the ending line of his house is not for rent nor for sale sold me completely, and has raised my enthusiasm for what should a bad ass match with an even better payoff. 2 thumbs up WWE Creative despite other pubic opinion.
*OO7 Lynch strikes again on Charlotte Flair*
Next up, Charlotte Flair got set for a one on one action against Sonya Deville.
After taking control early against Flair, including countering a moonsault attempt by the champion into a spinebuster for a two count, the Smackdown women’s champion mounted a comeback against Deville.
Muscling her way out of an attempted triangle choke, which she then countered into a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall of her own.
The contest finally ended with Flair locking in her patented Figure 8, for tap out victory.
Afterwards, Charlotte stopped at ringside to take some photos with her fans to celebrate her win.
About to leave ringside, Flair was then suddenly attacked by what looked to be a female WWE fan, but once the camera got up close, it turned out to be non other Becky Lynch in disguise.
Ripping off her paraphernalia, Lynch hopped over the barricade repeatedly kicking Flair while down on the ramp, before applying the Disarmer submission, leaving the Smackdown women’s champion in broken heap as she confidently walked away.
I am so in love with this repackage of Lynch, it as allowed her to explore another side of her character we always knew existed but never had the opportunity to be displayed.
Her and Charlotte’s rivalry might be the missing link to rejuvenating the Smackdown Women’s division, as both women are the perfect match for each other in every facet of pro-wrestling.
Regardless of who wins on Sunday, this feud is bound to continue and could be one Charlotte’s better one’s since her and Sasha Banks in 2016, and in turn finally make Becky the star we’ve desired her to be.
*Battle of the IT couples*
In anticipation for their big mixed tag match at Hell in a Cell, we gotta preview of what to expect Sunday as
Brie Bella took on Maryse one on one, of course accompanied by their respective spouses Daniel Bryan and The Miz.
The match itself never saw much action as Maryse attempted to walk out on the match, while fired up Brie was ready get to her hands on canadian diva.
After much stalling, Bella grabbed the mic, saying she always knew Maryse was a coward.
When attempting to get back in the ring upon hearing Bella’s insult, Miz got one the mic and said the fans nor Bella deserved to see her.
Miz then told the WWE fans he and his bride were leaving.
Moments later, Bella chased after Maryse up the ramp grabbing her by the hair and throwing her back into the ring.
The Miz now climbing up on the apron to which then retreated after Bryan catches him, caused a momentary distraction to Bella, giving Maryse an opening to land a superkick for a two count.
Bella then ceased control of the action by applying her own Yes Lock to Maryse, but was too close the ropes, that saw Miz blatantly pull Bella out of the ring, causing Bryan to attack the Miz.
The match ended when both Bryan and Bella trapped Miz the ring after Bryan unloaded on Miz with a barrage of Yes kicks, before landing two big punches to the A-Lister and Bryan clotheslining him over the top as he and his spouse stood tall.
This was a fun go-home angle that got everyone involved over, and the Bella punch to the Miz spot was really cool and fresh.
Hopefully the match will live up to the build it’s created Sunday, cause if not this entire feud will be a huge waste.
*OTHER matches on SMACKDOWN*
Andrade “Cien” Almas def. R-Truth
If Smackdown Creative can create a real story behind this, it could be one of the more entertaining feuds on the show, especially when you factor in the valets in Carmella and Vega.
If yesterday’s experiment is any indication, them I’m encouraged of what’s to come.
By the way is Carmella a fan favorite now? hmmm.
Rusev Day def. The Bar
Well it’s about damn time Rusev Day get’s a push, I mean it only took a teased break-up of the duo to make it happen, but regardless, it finally seems as if WWE is gonna give Rusev and English a chance.
This was a steady paced, hard hitting match, that told a great story of Aiden English proving his trust of Rusev, while having to overcome the odds of beating a team like The Bar who were heavily favored to win going in.
The spot at the end where English saving Ru-Ru by taking the Brouge Kick so that he could hit the Machuka Kick for the win was a nice wrinkle by WWE Creative, even if it was a call-back to a previous spot we’ve seen on a different brand.
Chances are Rusev Day aren’t beating New Day, which leads me to wonder if Creative will go with original plan and have English either betray Rusev straight up? or will it happen after he “accidently” cost them the tag titles.
I’d go with the latter, but knowing how WWE’s booking of best friends lately, I wouldn’t count on it.
If anything we’ll probably just get another period of teased frustration with no real payoff.