SmackDown Report for 7/17/20

SmackDown on Fox Episode #42
SmackDown Episode # 1,091
Orlando, FL – WWE Performance Center

We start the show with the intro video and then we got to several short pre-taped promos where those involved in the show tonight talks about what they will be doing on the show tonight, this included AJ Styles, Matt Riddle, Daniel Bryan, Alexa Bliss, Miz & Morrison, Braun Strowman, Cesaro & Nakamura, & New Day,

We then go straight to our first match of the night.

Match #1: Big E w/ Kofi Kingston vs Cesaro w/ Shinsuke Nakamura
The winner of this match would get to choose what kind of match the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match would be at Extreme Rules, they would get to choose between a Tables Match or a Steel Cage Match. 

Big E takes Cesaro down right away with a clothesline and then sends him out of the ring but when Big E follows him out he is caught with a kick and an uppercut but then Big E shoves Cesaro into the steps and then Big E charges in and spears Cesaro into the ring post. Big E rolls Cesaro back into the ring and charges at him but Cesaro side steps and Big E goes shoulder-first into the ring post. Big E rolls out and is sitting on the apron but is soon knocked to the floor courtesy of a baseball slide from Cesaro. Cesaro sends Big E into the ring post and then rolls him back into the ring, Cesaro then goes up and connects with a big ax handle off the top rope which only gets a 1 count. Cesaro drives a knee into the back of Big E and then applies a rear chin lock, once Big E fights out of the hold he runs off the ropes but is caught with a big slam by Cesaro for a 2 count. 

Cesaro goes up top for a second time and tries for another ax handle but this time Big E catches him and this leads to Big E hitting his trifecta of belly to belly suplexes and then he follows that up with the big splash but instead of going for a pin he signals for the Big Ending but Cesaro prevents that from happening with some strikes. Big E backdrops Cesaro to the apron and sends him head-first into the turnbuckle and then Big E hits Cesaro with another big splash while Cesaro is on the apron and this sends us to break. 

We come back to Cesaro hitting Big E with a couple of European uppercuts in the corner but when he goes for a third Big E catches him with the uranage for a 2 count. Cesaro rolls out to the apron and Big E sees that as an opportunity to try for the suicide spear, but Cesaro gets his boot up to block it and then he hits Big E with a big springboard uppercut but that isn’t enough to keep Big E down. Cesaro sets Big E up for the Neutralizer but Big E double legs him and locks in a stretch muffler but Cesaro is able to use his core strength to pull himself up and catches Big E in a pinning position but then transitions into the big swing and when the swing comes to a stop Cesaro locks in a sharpshooter, Big E uses his strength to power out of the move so Cesaro transitions into a crossface. 

Kingston is cheering on Big E when he suddenly gets taken down by Nakamura who then starts to mock Big E, this is enough to piss off Big E as he powers up to his feet while Cesaro still has the crossface locked in and puts him in position to hit the Big Ending but Cesaro grabs the ropes to block the move so Big E tries to spin him around and while spinning the referee has to duck in order to prevent herself from being hit and this misdirection allows Nakamura to jump up on the apron and connect with a kick to Big E and then Cesaro hits him with the Neutralizer to pick up the win.
Winner: Cesaro via Pinfall   Match Rating:  **¾ 

A bit later in the night  Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura let us know they are choosing to have a table match this Sunday at Extreme Rules. 

Given what has gone on between these two teams over the last few weeks not sure why we needed a match to determine the match stipulation as it was pretty obvious that it was going to be a tables match the entire time, especially after they did a big table spot to end the show last week. I thought Big E and Cesaro had a really good match and I would love to see them have more one on one matches against each other as they mesh well together as they are both as athletic as they are ungodly strong. I hope the match on Sunday is an elimination-style tables match because I always feel like table matches are very anti-climatic so an elimination style match doesn’t make it feel quite as anti-climactic. 

We go to the back where Kayla Braxton interviews King Corbin about his run-ins with Matt Riddle over the past few weeks and Corbin says that Riddle started everything by attacking him and tonight AJ Styles will have his way with Riddle and by the end of the night, everyone will know that the bro is just a little boy. 

We then go to the ring for another edition of A Moment of Bliss.

Alexa and Nikki talk about this week being the five year anniversary of the women’s evolution and they give the women of WWE a round of applause. Alexa says she is feeling clairvoyant which leads Nikki to go on a tangent about her aunt Claire (who makes a good shepherd’s pie) until Alexa informs her of what clairvoyant means. Alexa then makes a couple of predictions including Riddle winning the Intercontinental Championship tonight and Strowman winning the Swamp Fight on Sunday and then she predicts that her mystery guest is going to tear the roof off the place on Sunday. Alexa starts describing her guest and Nikki starts to get very excited because she thinks that she is the mystery guest, but Alexa eventually has to calm her down and let her know that she isn’t the guest and then right before she goes to reveal the guest we get the arrival of The Golden Role Models Bayley and Sasha Banks.

Bayley says that Nikki should get used to being disappointed because after Sunday Nikki will be a failure and then Sasha tells her that she will go back to being in Alexa’s shadow. Bayley says that Alexa forgot something when she was talking about the women’s revolution which was to give them credit for it as they were the architects of the women’s evolution. Bayley then fusses that the cameraman won’t get out of the way so she and Sasha can use the steps to enter the ring. Bayley then talks about how she and Sasha will win their matches on Sunday and have all the gold. Alexa tells them that everything they said is great and all but she was never able to reveal her mystery guest and this turns out to be Asuka. Asuka hits the ring and all five women start brawling until Alexa eventually gets free and she has somehow gained the power to make matches as she makes a tag match which is coming up next. 

I thought this was a pretty good segment that got better once Sasha and Bayley came out as they continue to be a highlight of any show they are on and although I have been a fan of heel Bayley from the beginning (unlike most people) I feel like she has finally perfected her heel persona in the last month and the little things she does or says like telling the cameraman to move out of the way are great. I know people are tired of the authority figure trope in wrestling but I feel like if done right (like Regal in NXT) it can work, I think some kind of authority figure is needed (even if they just pop up on the tron and don’t actually come out from behind the curtain) for situations like this when a match needs to be made on the fly as it made zero sense as to how or why Alexa got the power to make this match. 

We come back to Matt Riddle who is working on his striking with Drew Gulak.

We then cut to a video of Daniel Bryan talking about Styles being forced to be a fighting champion and says that Styles has a chance to be the greatest Intercontinental Champion ever if he just embraces the opportunity. Bryan then puts over Riddle.

Match #2: Bayley & Sasha Banks vs Asuka & Nikki Cross
It looks like Asuka and Bayley are going to start the match out but Bayley says she has no problem with Asuka and she wants Nikki, Bayley delivers a cheap shot to Nikki who is on the apron and now she wants Asuka to tag her in and that is exactly what Asuka does. Nikki comes in with so much fire you would think that Asuka made a hot tag to her as she takes Bayley down with a crossbody and then starts hitting her with punches and when Bayley gets back to her feet she is taken right back down with a double leg and then Nikki delivers more punches. Nikki sends Bayley into the turnbuckle and then stomps a mudhole in her before dragging her to the opposite corner where she looks to slam Bayley’s head into the turnbuckle but Bayley blocks it and sends Nikki into the corner instead and then charges at her but Nikki backdrops her out to the apron, Bayley tries to make a tag to Sasha while both women are on the apron but the referee won’t allow it and the distraction caused by the referee admonishing Sasha allows Bayley to slam her to the mat by her hair. We then get a legal tag from the heels and Sasha hits Nikki with a float over suplex for a 1 count. 

Sasha drags Nikki into the heel corner and we get another tag, Sasha and Bayley send Nikki into the ropes and hit her with a double back elbow. Bayley kicks at Nikki and then drives her elbow into the back of Nikki’s neck while she is in the ropes and then Sasha gets in a cheap shot as she drops Nikki throat first across the middle rope. The heels work over Nikki in their corner as Sasha hits her with a standing hip attack and then hits her with repeated clubbing blows to the chest and then Nikki chokes her while Sasha distracts the referee. Bayley tags in as Sasha is choking Nikki with her boot and then Bayley goes for a suplex but Nikki turns it into an inside cradle but Bayley is able to kick out. Bayley grabs the foot of Nikki to prevent her from running over to make a tag and then locks her in a chin lock Once Nikki gets free she crawls under the legs of Bayley and finally makes the hot tag to Asuka.

Asuka comes in and starts kicking the back of Bayley’s leg and then delivers a spin kick to the gut which sends Bayley back toward her side of the ring and allows for Sasha to make a tag. Sasha and Bayley both run toward Asuka but she takes them both down with a shoulder block. Asuka hits Sasha with a couple of hip attacks and then ducks a clothesline from Sasha and hits a running hip attack on Bayley which knocks her off the apron. Sasha charges at Asuka and connects with a flying headscissors which sends Asuka out to the floor, Sasha tries to go for a baseball slide but Asuka grabs the ring skirt and pulls it back so that Sasha would land in between the skirt and the ring apron and then Asuka delivers forearms to the back of Sasha. Asuka tags in Nikki who hits some forearms of her own while Sasha is tied up and then Nikki catches Bayley who tries to hit her slide through the ring kick and puts her in the same position Sasha was in and delivers forearms to her also, eventually both heels escape the ring skirt but Asuka catches Bayley with a sliding knee strikes and then Nikki dives off the apron with a crossbody to Sasha. Asuka and Nikki get on top of the announce table and start dancing as we go to commercial. 

We come back and Sasha is kind of mocking Daniel Bryan for some reason as she is doing the Yes kicks and then points her fingers in the air but when she goes for the roundhouse Asuka catches her in a schoolgirl that gets a 2 count and then Sasha drops Asuka with a clothesline. Sasha sends Asuka into the corner and Asuka tries to get her boots up when Sasha runs toward her but Sasha catches her feet and puts her in position on the middle rope to hit the double knees which gets a 2 count. Sasha stomps a mudhole in Asuka and then drags her to the heel corner so she can tag in Bayley who delivers a right hand to the gut of Asuka but moments later Asuka attempts to make a comeback hitting some body shots of her own and then catches Bayley in a backslide but Bayley kicks out and cuts Asuka back down with a knee shot to the gut. 

We get another tag by the heels who continue to work Asuka over in the corner and then Sasha snapmares her into the middle of the ring and applies a chin lock where at one point she grinds her elbow into the side of Asuka’s face, Asuka eventually gets to her feet but Sasha drives her right back into the heel corner where Bayley tags in and delivers shoulder thrusts to Asuka but then she takes her focus away from Asuka momentarily and this is when Asuka starts to fire back as she fights out of the heel corner and then goes for a schoolgirl pin and when Bayley escapes that Asuka hits her with the pop-up knee, Asuka crawls to the corner and we get tags on both ends. 

Nikki takes Sasha down with a clothesline and then a cross chop and a headbutt to the gut followed by a dropkick which sends Sasha into the corner where Nikki hits her with a monkey flip and then follows up with an avalanche in the corner and a running bulldog for a 2 count. Nikki goes up top and is looking for a crossbody but Sasha ducks out of the way sending Nikki crashing to the mat and then Sasha follows up with a basement dropkick and goes for the cover but only gets a 2 count. Sasha tags in Bayley who goes up top looking for the big elbow but Nikki cuts her off and attempts to hit a draping version of The Purge but Bayley blocks it and spins around to where she is back on her feet and then she throws Nikki to the outside. Bayley goes out to get Nikki but ends up getting hit with a tornado DDT on the floor, Nikki rolls Bayley back in and goes for the cover but Sasha breaks it up in time. 

Asuka comes in and hits Sasha with some strikes and then sends Sasha into the ropes but Sasha holds on and doesn’t run back so Asuka attempts to hit her with a running hip attack but Sasha moves and Asuka ends up being caught in between the ropes until Sasha kicks her in the head and then she falls to the floor. Bayley crawls over to the corner looking for a tag but Asuka grabs Sasha’s foot and this distracts Sasha as she tries to dive off the apron onto Asuka, but Asuka ducks and lays Sasha out with a roundhouse kick only to turn around and be hit with a baseball slide from Bayley. Nikki looks to hit another tornado DDT but Bayley blocks it and double legs Nikki and then stacks her up in a pinning position and with Bayley’s feet on the ropes for leverage she is able to keep Nikki down for the 3 count.
Winners: Bayley & Sasha Banks via Pinfall   Match Rating:  ***¼

This was a really good match and the team of Asuka and Nikki Cross is a lot of fun. 

We cut backstage where Miz is trying to hype Morrison up for his match against Strowman tonight and then tries to calm Morrison down by telling him how in horror movies the good guy always slays the monster. Morrison reminds Miz that usually the best friend of the hero fights the monster first in case that hero isn’t ready, but Miz then claims he has no clue what Morrison is talking about and then wishes him luck as he walks off and we go to a commercial.

We come back to what is supposed to be an edition of Firefly Funhouse, but instead of being in the funhouse, Wyatt is at the swamp. Wyatt says that when Strowman first set foot in the swamp he was just a lost sheep looking for a home and that is what Wyatt gave him, he says that Strowman looked him in the eyes and he told Strowman the truth and gave him purpose and then Wyatt said he created the monster that is Braun Strowman. Wyatt then talks about how the swamp is a place where the darkness comes to light and the devil comes to dance and once you enter you can never truly leave and a part of Strowman is still there in the swamp. Wyatt says that he knows that the monster he created is still inside Strowman and is dying to come out. Wyatt says that Strowman is not capable of handling the gifts that Wyatt gave him on his own and Wyatt needs to control them and because Strowman didn’t embrace the monster that he was destined to be he must destroy the monster he has become. He closes out the promo by saying that Strowman knows where to find him and tells him to come home. 

As Strowman comes to the ring for his match against John Morrison he gets on the mic and cuts a promo about how eventually every man must grow up and face his fears and this Sunday he will face his and he is willing to walk through hell in order to slap the devil in the face because that is the only way to end things with Wyatt. Strowman says the last thing he wants is for Wyatt to turn into The Fiend because The Fiend is the living embodiment of everything evil that Strowman has ever done or ever thought about doing. Strowman says he has to go home and end Wyatt before Wyatt ends Strowman. 

Match #3: John Morrison w/ The Miz vs Braun Strowman
Strowman charges at Morrison as soon as the bell rings and throws him into the corner and then he biels him across the ring and follows that up with an avalanche in the corner. Strowman hits a nasty short-arm clothesline and then stands on Morrison’s midsection and then grinds his boot into the side of Morrison’s face. Strowman grabs Morrison off the mat and hits him with clubbing blows to the chest, Strowman grabs Morrison by the throat while he is still on the mat and then hits him with a big chokeslam. Strowman laughs maniacally and then locks Morrison in the standing arm triangle where he shakes him around a bit before finally hoisting Morrison up and hitting him with the powerslam to finish the match.
Winner: Braun Strowman via Pinfall   Match Rating: **

After the match, Strowman grabs the mic again and looks directly in the camera and tells Wyatt that he hopes he is watching because he is coming home. Miz then checks on Morrison who is having trouble moving and Miz calls for the EMTs, but Morrison is able to eventually walk it off and Miz assists him in walking to the back.

This episode of SmackDown did the best job of building up the hype for the Wyatt vs Strowman feud as everything finally clicked. I thought the Wyatt promo was one of his better ones and it was cool to see him go back to the promo style he used to use for the backwoods cult leader character as we have gotten so used to him cutting promos as the Mr. Rogers character and I thought the promo made sense and had a point it was trying to make rather than just having Wyatt rambling on with a bunch of nonsense.

As good as the Wyatt promo was the one that Strowman cut before his match was even better and could be up there for one of the best promos Strowman has ever done and the fact that he was so pissed off during the promo made you believe that John Morrison may, in fact, die once Strowman gets his hands on him. I also loved the intensity that Strowman showed during the match as he ran through Morrison. I liked how they threw the little touch in of having Strowman use the arm triangle as I don’t believe he has used it since he broke away from Wyatt. I also have to give kudos to both Miz and Morrison for their selling of Strowman’s beating after the match as it made it feel like the beating Morrison got this time was much more violent and sadistic than what they have encountered before when they went up against Strowman. While I don’t expect much from the Swamp Fight in terms of quality I thought they did a fantastic job of hyping up the match on this show. 

Lacey Evans makes her way to the ring as we go to break.

We come back and get a replay of the karaoke contest from last week which is hands down the worst segment that the women’s division has had since Bayley and Alexa Bliss was a part of that This is Your Life segment back in 2017. 

Lacey says that after tonight Naomi’s glow will be just a sparkle.

Match #4: Lacey Evans vs Naomi
Lacey goes for a drop toe hold right away but Naomi blocks it and steps on the hand of Lacey. Naomi biels Lacey into the corner and then slides on her knees right in front of her and slaps her in the face. Naomi looks for a bulldog but Lacey pushes her off into the corner and charges in but Naomi backdrops her to the apron but Lacey hits Naomi with a shoulder to the gut and then sweeps her leg before delivering the slingshot elbow which gets a 2 count. Lacey tries to slam Naomi into the turnbuckle but Naomi blocks it so Lacey just slams her back down to the mat instead, Lacey attempts a moonsault off the middle rope but Naomi gets her knees up. 

Naomi hits a split style leg drop which only gets a 2 count. Naomi waits for Lacey to get up and goes for the rapid-fire kicks but Lacey catches her leg and tries for the Woman’s Right but Naomi ducks and goes for the full nelson bomb but Lacey elbows out of it only to be taken down with a running frankensteiner. Naomi charges toward Lacey in the corner but Lacey ducks out to the apron where she is hit by a big roundhouse kick from Naomi. Naomi grabs Lacey and tries to bring her back into the ring but Lacey grabs Naomi by the hair and ties it up in the ropes and after a minute of trying to get her hair untied she walks right into a Woman’s Right and that is enough to finish the match.
Winner: Lacey Evans via Pinfall   Match Rating: **

I thought this match was better than last week but that’s not saying much. I have no complaints about anything Naomi did as she was great as always. I have to ask, have Lacey’s elbow drops always looked so bad and I just didn’t notice, or is this a new thing that comes with her turning back heel? I can’t believe after the good stuff we were getting from Lacey earlier this year with her defending her kid and being more real they decide to turn her back heel and then to make it even worse she has regressed back to being a caricature of what a southern belle is and is once again cutting cheesy promos, these are the reasons I could never get behind the Lacey Evans character in the first place and after a week of her being a heel once again, I have lost interest in wanting to see her on my TV. 

We go to the back where Jeff Hardy is interviewed by Kayla Braxton who runs down everything Sheamus has done to Hardy and then she asks Hardy why he accepted the match against Sheamus seeing as it could risk his sobriety, Hardy says that a bully like Sheamus is a lot like addiction in that you can’t run from it or hide it you just have to stand up and face it until it quiets down, at the end of the day Hardy will take pleasure in seeing Sheamus look in the mirror and regretting all the things he has done. 

Kayla then asks Hardy his prediction on who will win tonight’s main event and Hardy says that he should be in that main event tonight but Sheamus had to take him out of the tournament by framing him for drunk driving and before he can say anything else he is hit out of nowhere with a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Sheamus sits down beside Hardy and says that he was right about what he said in that you can’t run from it, hide it, or wish it away but Sheamus tells him not to worry as he will cleanse Hardy of his demons next week on SmackDown and this takes us to a commercial. 

You mean to tell me they build up this tasteless feud and they are not even going to pay it off on a PPV, I hope that doesn’t mean the feud continues after next Friday. 

We come back from commercial and go to the back once again and this time we are with Bayley and Sasha Banks and they are asked by Kayla if the momentum they gained tonight will continue on Sunday and Bayley says it will because nobody has more momentum than her. Bayley then goes through the formula to determine momentum which is mass x velocity and with all of her title belts she has a lot of mass right now it’s freaking science. Bayley then talks about how Sasha will beat Asuka on Sunday because it is fate but Sasha speaks up and says it’s more than fate it’s their destiny to hold all the gold. Bayley says that Nikki may be apoplectic about tonight’s loss but after Sunday she will be in a state of depression when she loses her first real title opportunity at the gold and she might as well go back to being a chimney sweep. 

We cut over to another part of the PC where Nikki and Alexa were watching the interview. Nikki starts seriously doubting if she can beat Bayley on Sunday after coming up short in recent weeks against the Golden Role Models. Alexa tries to reassure her saying she has been in the same state of mind before but Nikki tells her it isn’t the same because girls like her don’t get title shots all the time. Nikki talks about how she has friends and family back in Scotland that she left in order to be here and they are back in Scotland watching her lose every week and says that her confidence is seriously shaken. Alexa tries to reassure Nikki once again but Nikki just doesn’t know if she’s right. We then hear laughing in the background and as Nikki looks over she sees that it’s Bayley and Sasha and she immediately runs over and starts attacking Bayley until Alexa finally comes over and pulls Nikki off the champ, the segment ends with Bayley telling Alexa she needs to put Nikki on a leash. 

I really liked the Nikki Cross part of these two little backstage segments because we got to see a different side of her that we haven’t seen before and I thought it was a great touch that Nikki didn’t immediately feel better when Alexa tried to reassure her the first time and explains to Alexa that it’s different when she loses a title opportunity than it is when Alexa loses one because Nikki doesn’t have that look that the people in charge want to have on top as their champion so she may never get another opportunity for a long time whereas Alexa could easily get a title match anytime she wanted. This was a nice moment of WWE being very meta about how things are run in the company. I did bust out laughing when Bayley kept yelling for Alexa to put Nikki on a leash. 

We go to break and when we come back it’s time for the big main event.

Match #5: AJ Styles © vs Matt Riddle (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Riddle ducks a big right hand and then we get a lock-up where Riddle pushes Styles into the corner until the referee breaks them apart. Riddle goes behind with a rear waist lock and tries to take Styles down but Styles backs him into the corner and then Styles hits Riddle with a couple of back elbows. Styles looks to send Riddle into the ropes but Riddle hooks the top rope to block the whip and then he hits Styles with a couple of rolling gutwrench suplexes and then Styles rolls out of the ring for a breather. Styles jumps onto the apron but is taken back down to the floor with a springboard kick by Riddle. Styles is frustrated and slams his hands on the table and then Riddle rolls out and does the same to mock Styles and this pisses Styles off so he throws the cover off the table and then walks right into a kick from Riddle and that sends us to a commercial break. 

When we come back from commercial Riddle is in control as he drives his knees into the ribs of Styles, Riddle tries to lock in an armbar but Styles starts to get back to his feet so Riddle locks in a waist lock and takes Styles right back down to the mat where he delivers another couple of knee strikes and a couple of elbows and then tries to go for something but Styles gets to the ropes and Riddle is forced to back away. Riddle hits a couple of strikes in the corner and then hits Styles with a bridging fisherman suplex but only gets a 1 count. Riddle goes over to pick Styles up but Styles is playing opossum as he grabs Riddle and hot shots him into the top rope and then hits him with a sitout facebuster but Styles is unable to make a cover as both men try to catch their breath. Styles gets back to his feet and backs Riddle into the corner where he delivers some kicks but then Styles backs away which allows Riddle to start firing back with some forearms which back Styles into the ropes and then he goes for a kick but Styles catches his leg and takes him down with a dragon screw.

Styles goes right to work on Riddle’s leg as he kicks his repeatedly to the point where Riddle has to roll out of the ring for a moment but once he gets back in Styles goes right back to work on the leg, Styles looks to go for another dragon screw but Riddle blocks it only to be put into a reverse chin lock moments later. Riddle gets back to his feet and tries to make a comeback but Styles stops the momentum with an elbow to the back of the neck. Styles lifts Riddle up as it looks like he wants to hit the ushigoroshi but Riddle slides out the back and hits a push kick which sends Styles into the corner. Riddle hits Styles with a running forearm in the corner and then hits an exploder, Riddle tries for a PK but Styles dodges it so Riddle tries for a standing moonsault but Styles moves out of the way and then Riddle hits him with a broton and then hits the PK he was looking for earlier. Riddle grabs Styles and hits him with the Bro 2 Sleep followed by a powerbomb in which he rolls through and then delivers a big knee strike, but somehow Styles is still able to kick out in time and that sends us to our final commercial break of the night. 

We come back to Riddle in control as he is laying in knee strikes to Styles in the corner and then he whips Styles into the opposite corner but when he charges in after Styles he is taken down with a big clothesline as Styles explodes out of the corner and then Styles hits him with a sliding forearm. Styles and Riddle trade chops and forearms in the middle of the ring and then Styles goes back to working over the leg as he hits them with multiple kicks. Styles walks over to Riddle and is caught by surprise with a German suplex, however, Riddle is unable to immediately make a cover. Both men slowly get to their feet and then Riddle hits Styles with a series of strikes in the corner before walking into a kick from Styles. Styles tries to send Riddle into the corner but Riddle blocks it so Styles hits him with a forearm and then follows up with a leaping clothesline in the corner. Styles sets up for the Styles Clash but Riddle blocks it so Styles attempts a suplex but Riddle reverses that as well as he goes behind Styles and then hits him with a ripcord knee strike. 

Riddle goes up top and looks to hit the Broton Bomb but Styles is able to get to his feet and move out of the way. Styles deadlifts Riddle off the mat and looks to hit a Styles Clash but Riddle blocks it by grabbing the ropes and then he flips over to the apron but Styles immediately brings him back into the ring with a brainbuster which gets a 2 count. Styles hits Riddle with the Ushigoroshi for a very close 2 count. Styles sets up to hit the Phenomenal Forearm but Riddle catches him and attempts to hit a tombstone piledriver but Styles repeatedly knees Riddle in the head so Riddle drops him and hits Styles with a broton instead. Riddle hits a flurry of palm strikes and goes for a roundhouse kick but Styles ducks and then delivers his own striking combination, but when Styles goes for the clothesline Riddle catches the arm and spins around for an attempted Pele but Styles catches the foot and then locks in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring and after a few minutes Riddle is able to roll Styles over and tries to lock in a submission move but Styles isn’t making it easy and eventually Styles rolls on top of Riddle and catches him by surprise with a pin and that is enough to get the 3 count. 
Winner: AJ Styles via Pinfall  Match Rating:  ***½

After the match Styles extends his hand and Riddle accepts the handshake but then Corbin attacks Riddle from behind and then beats him down before hitting Riddle with the End of Days, the show comes to a close as Corbin stands at the top of the ramp looking at Riddle who is writhing around in the ring. 

This was a really good match just as you would expect and I’m just glad they saved the Corbin run in for the end instead of doing a DQ finish as we have had way too many of those lately. I’m guessing that since Riddle is tied up with Corbin, Styles will go back to feuding with Bryan and Gulak. 

This was a much much much better episode of SmackDown than what we got last week as four out of the five matches delivered and we got some really good final hype for the matches at Extreme Rules especially when it comes to the Wyatt vs Strowman match. It would be nice if every episode of SmackDown was as enjoyable as this one was. 

That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next week for all the fallout from The Horror Show at Extreme Rules.