The build to Extreme Rules: The Horror Show continues as SmackDown takes place from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida tonight.
In his first title defense since becoming champion, AJ Styles defends the Intercontinental Championship against Drew Gulak. Styles won the title by defeating Daniel Bryan in a tournament final three weeks ago. Styles then mocked the SmackDown roster during his championship presentation the next week. Bryan pointed out that Gulak deserves a title shot since he defeated Styles before Styles won the title.
The feud between Sheamus and Jeff Hardy will also continue as Sheamus presents a toast to Hardy on tonight's SmackDown.
Tonight's show will feature an "exclusive interview" with Matt Riddle, who made his SmackDown debut two weeks ago and defeated Styles in a non-title match. Riddle was also one of the wrestlers who helped lay out Baron Corbin at the end of last week's show. Tonight's interview will take place in the ring and will be conducted by Michael Cole.
Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Michael Cole and Corey Graves opened up the show and ran down the line up for tonight. Cole announced a special preview of the Swamp Fight between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman.
Matt Riddle Interview
Cole was in the ring and introduced Matt Riddle. Cole noted Riddle was known as the Orignal Bro in NXT. Riddle made his way down to ringside, and they recapped his debut. There were shots of the fans at ringside, and most of them were wearing a mask. There appeared to be a few people not wearing one.
Cole discussed Riddle's debut and his win over A.J. Styles. Riddle couldn't believe he fought Styles and won. Riddle also couldn't believe he got to celebrate his victory with Daniel Bryan, Otis, and New Day.
Cole noted Riddle competes in his bare feet. Riddle explained he use to go to Wisconsin for vacation. Riddle loved swimming in the indoor pool. He'd then run out and put his feet in the snow.
One day, he got frostbite and decided never to wear shoes again. Cole pointed out that he should keep competing in his bare feet because he won against Styles.
King Corbin's music hit, and he made his way to the ring. He mocked Riddle. Corbin was furious Riddle jumped Corbin last week. Corbin noted he'd teach Riddle a lesson. Riddle was ready for a match with Corbin right away.
Corbin laughed and noted Riddle has to work his way up to a match against him. Instead, Corbin introduced Riddle's opponent John Morrison.
Matt Riddle defeated John Morrison (w/The Miz)
King Corbin joined Michael Cole and Corey Graves on commentary. Cole wondered how Corbin had the power to make a match. He pointed out Corbin almost ran Raw into the ground.
Riddle and Morrison had a really good match. It was hard-hitting with a lot of fast-paced action.
Riddle and Morrison started with mat wrestling. Riddle went for a kneebar, but Morrison made it to the ropes. Morrison rocked Riddle with a stiff forearm, but Riddle fought back. Morrison attempted a running knee, but Riddle caught the leg.
Riddle locked on the ankle lock, but Morrison escaped. Riddle attempted a release German suplex, but Morrison landed on his feet and hit a springboard kick. Morrison slowed the pace down and applied a chin lock.
Riddle got back to his feet, but Morrison backed him into the corner. In a cool spot, Morrison ended up on the apron and rocked Riddle with a kick. Morrison then hit a springboard corkscrew crossbody for a close near fall.
Morrison rocked Riddle with a sick looking running knee for another near fall. Riddle absorbed a series of kicks. They teased trading shots, but Morrison poked Riddle in the eyes. Riddle fought back and gave Morrison a suplex across the ring.
Riddle ended up outside of the ring. He grabbed his flip flop and threw it at Corbin.
Corbin was furious and chased Riddle into the ring.
Back from the break, Riddle was firmly in control. He hit a broton, the Bro to Sleep, and a German suplex for a close near fall. Riddle then attempted the Floating Bro, but Morrison got his knees up.
Riddle locked on the Bromission, but Morrison made it to the ropes. Morrison and Riddle fought on the top turnbuckle. Morrison hit a Spanish Fly off the top and then a standing Spanish Fly for a near fall.
Riddle and Morrison traded shots in the middle of the ring. Riddle rocked Morrison with a jumping knee.
Riddle followed up with a powerbomb into a running knee for a close two count.
The Miz jumped up on the apron, but Riddle knocked him off. Corbin jumped on the apron, but Riddle knocked him off as well. Morrison rolled up Riddle for a near fall. Riddle recovered quickly and rolled up Morrison for the pin to win the match.
A.J. Styles jumped Riddle as he was leaving. Drew Gulak ran out and attacked Styles.
In the back, Sara Schreiber approached King Corbin, Miz, and John Morrison. Corbin was furious at Riddle and promised to do something about it.
Intercontinental Champion A.J. Styles defeated Drew Gulak
This wasn't a bad match, but it was a bit disappointing considering who was involved. They worked a slow pace, but it did pick up towards the end.
Styles was firmly in control and beat down Gulak around the ring. Gulak fought back and used a victory roll for a near fall, but Styles quickly regained control.
Daniel Bryan joined by Zoom to give his thoughts on the match.
Styles used a snap suplex for one count.
Gulak recovered and rocked Styles with hard forearms. Styles quickly took back over with a dragon screw whip. Styles then focused his attack on Gulak's injured leg.
Styles attempted the Calf Crusher, but Gulak rolled through and locked on a submission. Styles quickly made it to the ropes to break the hold. Styles became frustrated at ringside. Gulak suddenly rocked Styles with a sliding dropkick.
Back from the break, Gulak had control of the match, but Styles sent Gulak shoulder first into the ring post. Styles then hit a brainbuster for a close two count.
Styles continued to dominate the match and beat down Gulak. Gulak rolled up Styles for a near fall, but Styles poked him in his eyes. Styles slowed the pace down with a chin lock.
Gulak recovered and dropped Styles face-first on the turnbuckle. Gulak fired up and hit a series of dropkicks. Gulak then hit the Michinoku Driver for a close near fall.
Gulak placed Styles on the top turnbuckle, but Styles slipped out the back and dropped Gulak face-first on the turnbuckle. Styles followed up with the Styles Clash but didn't go for the pin.
Styles picked up Gulak and stood him up against the ropes. Styles then hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions & SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks exited the production truck. Michael Cole noted they've been in the production truck all day working on a special tribute to Bayley and Banks that'll put the Undertaker's tribute video to shame.
Bayley and Sasha Banks Promo
Bayley and Sasha Banks made their way to the ring. Bayley noted Banks took on Asuka on Raw and then went to NXT. Banks cut her off and told her not to talk about that.
Bayley pointed out they're on every show. They noted nobody respects them, but there is one person. Bayley and Banks stated the only person that respects them is Undertaker. Bayley claimed she calls him Taker.
Bayley noted Undertaker called her and praised Bayley and Banks. She said Undertaker wanted the WWE to do a tribute for them. Bayley did an impression of Undertaker calling her.
Bayley and Banks then showed a special tribute video for them. The tribute video was done well. Banks and Bayley chanted "Thank You Sasha" and "Thank You Bayley" at each other, which was funny.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross interrupted and made their way to the ring. Bliss and Cross mocked Bayley and Banks by reading a list of their accomplishments. Bliss asked if Bayley and Banks realize what they sound like.
Banks mocked Cross and noted she couldn't beat Bayley. Cross stood up for herself and gave a heartfelt speech. She promised to defeat Bayley at Extreme Rules: Horror Show.
Bayley laughed at Cross, and Bliss smacked Bayley in the face. Banks was furious and challenged Bliss on Bayley's behalf to a match right now. Bayley wasn't thrilled about the match.
This was a good segment, mainly because of Bayley and Banks.
Bayley (w/Sasha Banks) defeated Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross) by DQ
Bayley didn't have her ring gear, so she competed in her street clothes.
They had a basic match that was kept short. Bliss had the early advantage, but Bayley took over. She targeted Bliss's arm and attacked it repeatedly. Bayley mocked Cross, and Bliss rolled her up for a near fall.
Bayley quickly took back over and worked over Bliss's arm. Bliss hit Bayley with the injured hand but couldn't capitalize. Bayley pulled Bliss to the apron and slammed her arm down.
Bayley mocked Cross, and she tried to jump in the ring. The referee was distracted, and Banks attacked Bliss. Cross ran around ringside and attacked Banks.
Bayley yelled at Cross. Cross heard enough and rocked Bayley with a forearm for the disqualification.
After the match, they brawled briefly until the heels took off.
The Wyatt Swamp Fight Preview
The excellent preview featured various shots of a swamp and looked at the history between the Eater of Worlds Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman.
They recapped New Day defeating Lucha House Party and Nakamura and Cesaro attacking The New Day after the match.
Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Cesaro) defeated Kofi Kingston (w/Big E)
This was a good match that picked up towards the end. Kingston rocked Nakamura with a dropkick at the ring of the bell. Nakamura briefly took over, but Kingston hit a second rope dropkick. Kingston knocked Nakamura to the floor and attempted a dive, but Nakamura moved out of the way.
Kingston threw Nakamura into the barricade, and Big E cackled at Nakamura. Nakamura recovered and rocked Kingston with a kick to the head. Cesaro then hit Kingston with a right hand.
Big E chased Cesaro around ringside. Cesaro slipped into the ring to get away from Big E. The referee had enough and threw out both Big E and Cesaro.
Back from the break, Nakamura was firmly in control with a chin lock. Kingston tried fighting back, but Nakamura nailed Kingston with a hard knee for a near fall.
Nakamura hit a sliding German suplex for a near fall. Kingston tried fighting back, but Nakamura caught Kingston with a back elbow. Nakamura draped Kingston over the apron and hit a running knee for a two count.
Nakamura slowed the pace down with a chin lock. Kingston broke free and hit a flying forearm.
Kingston fired up and hit a standing dropkick. Kingston attempted a crossbody, but Nakamura got the knees up and used an inside cradle for a near fall.
Nakamura missed the Kinsasha, and Kingston hit the SOS for a very close near fall. Nakamura briefly took over, but Kingston hit a double foot stomp for another near fall.
Kingston attempted the Trouble in Paradise, but Nakamura avoided. Nakamura then hit the Kinshasa for the win.
After the match, Cesaro made his way back to the ring and pulled out a table. Big E ran down to ringside, and the heels backed off.
Sheamus Toasts Jeff Hardy
A bartender was standing in the ring with a bunch of bottles of alcohol.
Jeff Hardy made his way down to the ring. Michael Cole noted that Hardy is an admitted alcoholic. Graves argued this is the world we live in. Hardy demanded that Sheamus come to the ring.
Sheamus appeared on the big screen at his bar from home. He decided to give Hardy some distance. Sheamus praised Hardy for defeating King Corbin during the Undertaker tribute. Sheamus mocked Hardy for his issues and noted Hardy couldn't avoid it. Sheamus figured out the solution to Hardy's problems, and it's in one of those bottles in the ring.
Sheamus toasted Hardy and mocked him for his problems. Hardy was furious and noted people go through the same struggle as he does. He asked if Sheamus thinks it's funny.
Sheamus noted he's trying to help Hardy. That's why Sheamus sent his personal bartender to SmackDown. The bartender put the drink in front of Hardy's face.
Hardy picked up the drink and teased having it. Instead, Hardy poured the drink on the bartender and broke a bottle over his head. Hardy then hit the Swanton Bomb on the bartender.
This was a fine segment, but it felt a little flat. Sheamus not being in attendance probably hurt whatever the original plan was for the angle two weeks ago. The bartender trying to force the drink on Hardy, and the attack felt a bit odd.
Next Week: Braun Strowman defending the Universal Championship against Bray Wyatt from Money In The Bank airs on network television for the first time. WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Bayley & Sasha Banks take on Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross. Plus, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day defend against Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro.