The SmackDown World Cup continues as tonight's episode takes place at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
The Bloodline and Brawling Brutes continue their feud with Sami Zayn taking on Butch in a first-round tournament match. Last week, Butch and Ridge Holland confronted The Bloodline, which led to Sheamus and Drew McIntyre getting involved. A massive brawl broke out between both teams as SmackDown went off the air.
Ricochet goes one-on-one with Mustafa Ali in tonight's other first-round World Cup match. The winner of the tournament receives a shot at Gunther's Intercontinental title.
Shotzi is out for revenge when she takes on Shayna Baszler. Shotzi won a six-way match last Friday to earn a title shot against SmackDown Women's Champion Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series. Rousey and Baszler then tried to intimidate Shotzi backstage after her win. Baszler choked out Shotzi when she got in Rousey's face.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The Brawling Brutes & Drew McIntyre Segment
They recapped McIntyre and the Brutes brawling with The Bloodline last week.
Michael Cole announced The Bloodline vs. The Brawling Brutes, McIntyre, and a partner in War Games at Survivor Series.
Sheamus joked about the mic not working. Despite their rivalry, McIntyre and Sheamus are teaming up in War Games. Sheamus mentioned his twenty-year feud with McIntyre created a bond and mutual respect. Sheamus added that McIntyre was his best man three weeks ago.
The fans broke into a loud "Ucey" chant. Sheamus asked McIntyre to be an honor Bruty. McIntyre agreed, and they shook hands. McIntyre knows what it's like to deal with The Bloodline. The fans broke into a brief "Bruty" chant.
They switched their attention to the identity of their fifth partner. Sheamus was about to make the announcement when Sami Zayn interrupted. The fans popped and broke into a loud "Ucey" chant,
Zayn noted they don't care about the fifth partner. He called himself Ucey in the sky with diamonds. Zayn guaranteed a victory at War Games and tonight in the World Cup. Sheamus thinks Zayn will care who their partner ends up being.
SmackDown World Cup: Ricochet defeated Mustafa Ali (11:03)
It's going to be tough to top Ricochet vs. Ali. They told a great story mixed with hard-hitting, fast-paced action. It revolved around Ricochet's reluctance to take on an injured Ali.
They recapped Bobby Lashley injuring Ali on Raw.
Earlier today, the trainer advised Ali not to compete tonight. Ricochet agreed with the trainer. Ali ignored their advice and came to the ring with his ribs taped up.
Ricochet and Ali traded quick pin attempts early. Wade Barrett explained that Ricochet doesn't want to hurt Ali, so he's trying to get the quick win. Concerned for Ali, Ricochet wanted him to reconsider the match. Ali took advantage of Ricochet's sympathy with a forearm to the back of the head. Ricochet and Ali fought on the top turnbuckle until Ali hit a top-rope backstabber.
During the break, Ricochet hit a superplex. Ali recovered and hit a plancha to the floor. Ricochet rolled through and hit a Michinoku Driver.
Ali caught Ricochet in a koji clutch when Ricochet missed a phoenix splash. After breaking free, Ricochet fired up, hitting a dragon suplex, a vicious clothesline, and a standing moonsault for a near fall. Ricochet was worried about Ali and told the referee to check on him.
After a whip into the corner, Ricochet ran up the turnbuckle into a back flip, landing on his feet. As Ricochet landed, Ali hit a second rope tornado DDT. Ricochet took advantage of Ali missing a 450 splash. He hit a shooting star press onto a standing Ali for the win.
Ricochet takes on Braun Strowman in the World Cup semi-final.
Jey Uso yelled at Sami Zayn in their locker room. Jey was furious that Zayn guaranteed victory at War Games. Zayn didn't understand Jey's problem. Jimmy got in between them and told Zayn to calm down. He noted that Roman Reigns is on the way, and they need to figure out the identity of the fifth partner. Jimmy told Jey to stop worrying about Zayn. After Zayn left, Jey asked Jimmy and Solo Sikoa if they really liked Zayn. They both said yes.
The Progressive Match Flo of the week was The Usos defeating New Day to set the tag team record.
Kayla Braxton spoke with New Day backstage. They were disappointed they didn't win the titles. Imperium interrupted and mocked New Day for losing last week. New Day made fun of Gunther and challenged them to a six-man tag team match. They promised to find a partner.
Emma spoke with Madcap Moss backstage. He noted he couldn't talk for three weeks due to Karrion Kross and the Kross Jacket. Emma encouraged Moss to use his speed in tonight's rematch.
Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) defeated Madcap Moss (3:44)
Moss caught Kross with a jumping knee at the bell. After a flurry of offense, Kross briefly took over. Firmly in control, Moss whipped Kross into the barricade. Kross recovered and slowed the pace down.
Scarlett interfered and slapped Moss in the face. However, Moss fired up and ran wild on Kross. Scarlett caused a distraction allowing Kross to hit a knee to the face. Kross locked on the Kross jacket, but Moss broke free. Kross recovered and locked on the Kross jacket again, but Moss couldn't break free and tapped out this time.
After the match, Kross refused to break the hold for several minutes. Emma ran out to check on Moss.
Bray Wyatt Makes Amends
Bray Wyatt and LA Knight told a simple yet effective story. Wyatt's trying not to give into his dark side as Knight taunts him. They were both excellent in their roles.
Bray Wyatt entered the ring. Wyatt feels terrible for hitting Knight last week and wants to apologize. He thought about all the bad things he did in his past. He always thought fear meant respect.
Knight interrupted and entered the ring. He thinks he gained Wyatt's respect because he's not scared of him. Suddenly, Knight slapped Wyatt and jumped onto the apron. The slap got a ton of heat. Knight accepted Wyatt's apology and said they're even now.
Wyatt was upset but let it go. He agreed that they're even now. Wyatt tried to shake Knight's hand, but Knight slapped him again. Wyatt was furious and stared at Knight as he walked off. Wyatt's symbols flashed on the screen in the background.
They recapped Shayna Baszler attacking Shotzi last week.
The Usos spoke to Karrion Kross and Scarlett backstage. Jey and Jimmy want to know if Kross is the fifth partner. Kross isn't the partner, but he will take the titles off Roman Reigns.
Bray Wyatt was in the background arguing with himself.
Shotzi defeated Shayna Baszler (w/Ronda Rousey) (4:50)
Nobody buys Shotzi as a challenger for Rousey, and this match didn't help. She got in some offense but got a fluke win after a distraction.
Shotzi had the early advantage until Baszler took over with a kick to the back. She slowed the pace down, but Shotzi broke free. Shotzi rocked Baszler with a flurry of offense. Rousey pulled out Baszler to save her. Baszler took advantage of Shotzi arguing with Rousey. She destroyed Shotzi with a German suplex.
After Baszler high-fived Rousey, Shotzi recovered and ran wild. Rousey caused another distraction allowing Baszler to take over.
Raquel Rodriguez saw enough and walked to ringside to back up Shotzi. Baszler went to stomp on Shotzi's elbow but was distracted by Rodriguez. Shotzi took advantage and rolled up Baszler for the win.
Megan Morant spoke with LA Knight as he was leaving the arena. She wondered if he was leaving because he's scared of Bray Wyatt. Knight denied being afraid. Knight slightly opened the door but kept talking to Morant. A terrifying masked man appeared briefly in the background, but neither Knight nor Morant noticed. Knight turned around and walked out the door. Presumably, that was Wyatt in the mask.
Back from the break, LA Knight was knocked unconscious and buried under a pile of tables and chairs. Referees and officials checked on him.
Braun Strowman & New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) defeated Imperium (Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) (7:20)
Before the match, New Day brawled with Kaiser and Vinci. Kingston went for the trust fall dive, but Imperium caught him and dumped him on the apron.
Woods went for a suicide dive, but Gunther took him out with a chop. Gunther and Strowman squared off, but Gunther jumped out of the ring when the bell rang. The second the bell rang, they cut to a commercial.
Back from the break, the heels were firmly in control as they isolated Woods. Strowman got the hot tag and cleared the ring. After absorbing a chop, Strowman chased Gunther around ringside. Gunther rocked Strowman with a chop and quickly tagged out. Kingston tagged in and wiped out the heels with a crossbody. New Day then hit the midnight hour for the win. Gunther avoided Strowman and took off.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Braun Strowman. He promised to win the World Cup when Ricochet approached. He mocked Strowman and referenced Strowman's flippy floppers comment on Twitter. Cole also alluded to Strowman's comments and assumed they'd play a role in their feud.
SmackDown World Cup First Round Match: Butch (w/Sheamus, Drew McIntyre & Ridge Holland) defeated Sami Zayn (w/The Usos & Solo Sikoa) (7:48)
Zayn and Butch had a hot seven-minute match. They packed in a lot in a short time, but it didn't feel rushed. The heat after the match was off the charts. Roman Reigns showed up to a big pop. Moments later, Kevin Owens appeared as The Brawling Brutes' fifth partner for War Games to a gigantic reaction.
Butch scored an early near fall, but Zayn quickly took over. After a brief argument between the Bloodline and Brutes, Butch hit a middle turnbuckle tornado DDT. Butch jumped to the top rope, but Zayn pushed him off, crashing into the barricade.
Butch rocked Zayn with a forearm back from the commercial. Jey caused a distraction allowing Zayn to score a near fall. The Usos interfered again, and Zayn hit a blue thunder bomb for a close two-count.
A brawl broke out at ringside. Butch wiped out the Usos with a moonsault. Zayn recovered and set up for the Helluva kick, but Sheamus and Jey fought in the ring. Butch took advantage of the distraction and hit the Bitter End for the win.
After the match, the brawl continued when Roman Reigns came out to a giant pop. Reigns took out Holland with a superman punch. He then caught McIntyre with a spear.
Sheamus and McIntyre squared off. With Zayn's help, Reigns took out Sheamus. He set up for the spear when Kevin Owens's music hit to a massive pop. Owens and Reigns squared off in the middle of the ring. Owens got the better of Reigns and stomped him in the corner.
Owens turned around to see Zayn. The brief stare-down allowed Reigns to hit the superman punch. He went for the spear, but Owens countered with a knee and hit the stunner.
SmackDown went off the air with The Bloodline retreating and McIntyre, Owens, and The Brawling Brutes posing in the ring.
Next week: In the World Cup semi-finals, Ricochet takes on Braun Strowman, and Santos Escobar goes one-on-one with Butch.
Plus, Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Raquel Rodriguez & Shotzi. Also, Drew McIntyre & Sheamus take on The Usos for the War Games advantage.