Big E and Kofi Kingston were put through a table after the SmackDown tag title match ended in a no contest
WWE brought SmackDown to the airwaves on Friday night with a show that was mostly fluff to set up the July 19 Extreme Rules pay-per-view. The main event of the show saw New Day put the SmackDown tag team championship on the line against recent rivals Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura.
Ultimately, the match ended in a no contest when tensions continued to escalate to the point of a four-man brawl that was beyond the referee’s control. The story quickly became the post-match violence work of the challengers as Cesaro and Nakamura took out both Kofi Kingston and Big E after the match before laying Big E on a table and powerbombing Kingston onto his partner. While not yet confirmed, these are the actions that usually lead to a tag team tables match at WWE’s annual “anything goes” event.
What else happened on SmackDown? Read on for a complete recap along with highlights and grades from the night’s action.
WWE SmackDown recap, grades
Jeff Hardy def. The Miz via pinfall: This match came out of a “Miz TV” segment where Miz and John Morrison taunted Jeff Hardy before setting up Sheamus’ challenge for a Bar Fight at Extreme Rules, a challenge Hardy accepted before challenging the duo to a match. Miz took up Hardy on the challenge, almost falling early in the match after Hardy hit the Twist of Fury. As Hardy went up top to hit the Swanton Bomb, John Morrison pulled Miz out of the ring to make the save. Morrison’s aid allowed Miz to turn the tide on Hardy for a stretch as Miz ran though a lot of his staple offense, including the kneeling DDT and a series of It Kicks. Hardy repeatedly tried to hit the Twist of Fate in his comeback attempts before eventually having to take Morrison out form the ring apron and heading to the top rope for another attempt at a Swanton before he was distracted by Sheamus appearing on the Tron. Miz tried to roll up the distracted Hardy, but Hardy managed an awkward reversal to score the victory. Sheamus not being at the events the last two weeks have taken steam out of the rivalry and the match between Hardy and Miz just never fully clicked. Grade: C
Bayley & Sasha Banks def. Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss via pinfall: As Banks and Bayley were making their way to the ring, Bayley was jumped by Cross. A brawl broke out as Bliss ran out to take on Banks. This led directly into the tag match. Mid-match, Banks and Bayley made their way to the ring to yell at the commentary team about it being “Boss Time,” but Cross took the opportunity to snatch Bayley’s SmackDown women’s championship belt, allowing a distraction that let Bliss take out the tag champs. Cheap tactics from Banks and Bayley allowed them to take over on Bliss, who was cut off from Cross, eager to get her shot at the woman she’ll be challenging at Extreme Rules. Cross almost got the win with a neckbreaker on Bayley after getting the hot tag, but moments later, Bliss used distraction by Bayley — and a foot on the ropes — to score a roll-up for the win. Cross has been a fun enough challenger for Bayley, but it is hard to get excited for a feud that feels like it’s largely killing time to get to the bigger story that is sitting right there. Grade: B
Jey Uso hosted a karaoke competition featuring Lacey Evans, Dana Brooke, Tamina and Naomi: Song choices included Evans singing “With My Baby Tonight,” Brooke singing “Honky Tonk Man,” Tamina singing “The Game” and Naomi performing “Common Man Boogie.” Brooke was cut off quickly, as was Tamina. Naomi won the competition by way of fan reaction. Evans shoved Naomi after the result and the two threw shoes at each other before Uso separated them as Evans was continuing to try and spike Naomi with her heel. This was a waste of time in every possible way, but seemingly moving Evans back to being a heel is a good idea. Grade: D
Lacey Evans vs. Naomi ended in a no contest: The karaoke brawl led to the match. Evans wrestled in a dress before she got frustrated and confronted Brooke and Tamina on the outside, leading to another brawl that resulted in the match being thrown out moments after it began.
AJ Styles vs. Matt Riddle was set for next week: Styles was interviewed backstage, talking up his win over Drew Gulak on last week’s edition of SmackDown. After running down the level of competition available for his intercontinental championship, he was informed he’ll be defending his title next week against Matt Riddle.
New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro ended in a no contest: New Day got things going early after Nakamura was sent to the floor, allowing Big E and Kofi Kingston to hit the Unicorn Stampede on Cesaro in the corner. An attempt by Big E to launch Kingston onto the challengers on the outside backfired when Kingston was instead launched into a huge European uppercut by Cesaro. New Day made a brief comeback after Kingston hit a stomp on Cesaro while he was on Big E’s shoulders, but Nakamura broke the pin with a running knee, putting the champs back on the defensive. Things quickly broke down from that point, with all four men continuing to brawl until the referee called for the bell. After the match, the brawl continued before Nakamura and Cesaro took over. They eventually laid Big E on a table and Cesaro hit a powerbomb from the second rope on Kingston, putting him through Big E and the table. The match had plenty of potential, and running with Cesaro and Nakamura as legitimate threats who have all but dominated New Day in their interactions is not a bad thing in any way. But it was what it was expected to be — a long setup for the gimmick match at Extreme Rules. Grade: B-