WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Historic match set for Evolution, World Cup field grows
In the wake of Super Show-Down, which took place this past Saturday in Australia, there’s a lot to look forward to in the near future. Two pay-per-view events are set to take place with the historic all-women’s Evolution event on Oct. 28, followed closely by Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 2. Builds to both kicked into high gear on Tuesday night’s SmackDown Live, highlighted by a historic match announcement for Evolution and two new members added to the WWE World Cup field. We also got our first glimpse at a WWE championship program everyone has been eagerly anticipating.
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Bryan-Styles kicks off, Miz lingers
Miz began the scheduled “Miz TV” segment on Tuesday night by informing everyone that general manager Paige warned him to be professional throughout the show. WWE champion AJ Styles was announced to the ring first, followed by the challenger to the title at Crown Jewel, Daniel Bryan. Styles and Bryan immediately shook hands in the middle of the ring, and Miz was absolutely disgusted. He said no one wants to see signs of mutual respect when the biggest prize is on the line. Bryan trolled Miz by asking him if they wanted to talk about his match at Super Show-Down .., because it won’t take very long.
Styles was asked about the caliber of opponent Bryan is, and while the rivalry with Joe continuously spilled out of the ring and got personal, the match with Bryan will stay between the ropes inside the house that he built. Miz attempted to turn that into Styles proclaiming he’s better than Bryan, but Bryan was having none of that. Calling back to the quick result at Super Show-Down, Bryan referred to Miz as the “2-minute man.” Styles told Bryan that, with all due respect, since his return he hasn’t faced anyone that’s phenomenal, as he pointed toward Miz. Bryan then got serious and said his dream since he made his return is to regain the WWE championship, and Styles stood from his chair to proclaim that he’s not moving aside for anyone — not even Bryan. Styles seemed as if he was about to get more serious when he got closer and told Bryan he has a question for him, but that question for Bryan was simply referring to how fun it is to punch Miz in the face.
Miz snapped as he stood on the apron. He said he tried to be professional for the segment, but he can’t take it anymore. He called Bryan’s win over him at Super Show-Down a fluke, pointing out that his shoulder was up. He asked Paige for a rematch but wasn’t awarded it because Bryan is such a charity case. Miz then turned his attention to Styles, telling the champ that he’s been the titleholder for nearly a year and the title’s never been more irrelevant. If he wants to know why the WWE championship isn’t main-eventing pay-per-views, all he has to do is look in the mirror. No matter who emerges with the title at Crown Jewel, Miz declared that he has next. Styles was then informed he’s facing the man who defeated Bryan just last week: Shelton Benjamin.
AJ Styles def. Shelton Benjamin via pinfall: Styles, with Bryan and Miz on commentary, earned the win after the Phenomenal Forearm. Bryan stood and clapped for his opponent while looking on from the announcer’s desk.
Just witnessing Bryan and Styles stand in the middle of the ring face-to-face with one another with the WWE championship in the picture was enough to give any wrestling fan legitimate goosebumps. When Bryan’s return was announced, revisiting his old independent rivalry with Styles was on just about everyone’s wish list, and now the time has come. With that said, it’s perfect to keep Miz in this mix as well. His work over the past year has earned him the right to sit at the top of the blue brand mountain, and you already get the feeling that by the time this is all said and done, neither Bryan nor Styles will be in possession of that title. Grade: B+
Lynch-Flair rivalry hits a violent level
SmackDown kicked off on Tuesday night with the champion Becky Lynch and challenger Charlotte Flair already gearing up in their respective corners in the ring. The formal introductions followed, and we were off and running in this SmackDown women’s championship match, equipped with the stipulation that if Lynch were to get herself disqualified, then she will lose the title.
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair ends in double countout: This three-segment match took up nearly the first half hour of this week’s episode, and in the end, the brawling these two women continually took to the outside caught up with them as they were both counted out. Because Flair didn’t earn a clean pin and Lynch was not disqualified, the title stays with the “Irish Lass Kicker.” Afterwards, they battled all the way up the ramp, and that’s when this rivalry took an even more violent turn with Flair spearing Lynch clear through the video board at the top of the stage. Officials immediately came out to check on both women as the show broke for commercial. Later in the show, Paige announced that due to the heated nature of this feud, Lynch and Flair will meet at Evolution in the first-ever Last Woman Standing match.
The assumption all along was that this rivalry would be featured on the Evolution card, and that was confirmed with everything that went down on Tuesday as these two will make history in the women’s division with the Last Woman Standing stipulation. As for this particular match itself on Tuesday … well, let’s just say it wasn’t the best effort these two have put in with one another. The brutal ending added a little more to the personal vendetta here, but the overall match itself had more mistimed and sloppy spots than you can count. Just an off night for Lynch and Flair in the ring. Grade: C-
What else happened on SmackDown?
- Jeff Hardy def. Samoa Joe via referee stoppage (World Cup Qualifying Match): They played up the knee injury Joe suffered at the hands of Styles on Saturday at Super Show-Down, with Hardy working it as much as he could. Eventually, Joe was unable to stand, and the referee called for the bell. Hardy enters the WWE World Cup field that already includes John Cena and Kurt Angle.
- Aiden English’s ruse is up: English said that after the tease of the video last week, he’s received six-figure offers. He was here on Tuesday night, though, to show us all the director’s cut. The extended footage from last week showed Lana telling English that she wanted him to know how much he means to Rusev with the way he sings his praises. English leaned in to make a move on Lana, but the video cut off. He called Rusev out to the ring and told him to either drop Lana and reform Rusev Day or he’d release the rest of the footage. Lana came out, though, and said she’d show what took place herself (she hacked English because his password was, apparently, “I heart Rusev”). All that went down was Lana shutting down the advance, and after a dig from English, Rusev raced to the ring to get his hands on English, who eventually got away.
- Randy Orton def. Big Show via pinfall (World Cup Qualifying Match): Orton is the fourth entrant into the WWE World Cup, dispatching of the returning Big Show after connecting with the RKO.