Welcome to Ringside News’ coverage of WWE Friday Night SmackDown on FOX. Please keep refreshing throughout the show for constant updates once it kicks off at 8:00 PM EST!
Tonight marks a SmackDown homecoming for Roman Reigns. After five months away from WWE programming, he made his impactful return at SummerSlam last weekend, spearing both Universal Champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman. The trio will sign the contract for their Universal Title No Holds Barred Match at Payback this Sunday. Sparks are sure to fly, so stay tuned.
Additionally, Big E will be a guest on Miz TV. On a recent edition of “Talking Smack,” the pair got heated when discussing Kofi Kingston. With E’s recent wins over Miz and his tag partner John Morrison, there’s plenty of bad blood.
All this and more is in store for tonight on what should be an action-packed edition of SmackDown.
We start things off with a video recap of the SummerSlam main event between Wyatt and Strowman.
Adam Pearce is then seen in the hallway speaking to the security team. He’s trying to ensure that nothing goes wrong with tonight’s contract signing.
Vince McMahon is in the house as well. He reminds Pearce that he needs all three men’s signatures tonight. It appears this won’t be a standard contract signing, and that Pearce will need to find all three separately. Very interesting and different.
Also, Vince announces that there’s a firefly funhouse segment tonight. It’s clear tonight’s show will largely centre around the triple threat.
Jeff Hardy & AJ Styles segment
Hardy is out first. There’s a quick recap of how he won the Intercontinental title (thanks to his knee brace).
Hardy starts talking about the victory when former champ AJ Styles comes out. He calls Hardy a “liar and a cheat” for using the knee brace. Styles notes that he’s medically unable to compete and that it’s Hardy’s fault.
Hardy says that’s unfortunate. He’s holding an open challenge for the IC title tonight for anyone in the back, except Styles.
Styles says Hardy is working the system and the two go face to face. Hardy hits Styles with a right hand. Segment ends with Cole asking who will take Hardy’s challenge up.
Hardy vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the IC title
Back from commercial, Nakamura has accepted Hardy’s challenge. Styles is at the announce table.
Strength test early, Nakamura slips behind for waist control. He grabs Hardy’s right arm now and contorts it. Hardy slips out and targets the left arm of Nakamura. They move to the ropes. Nakamura regains control with a headlock.
Nakamura off the ropes, but Hardy reverses with a hip toss. He takes Nakamura to the mat and hits a jumping elbow drop. The story being told at ringside is that Hardy’s knee still isn’t 100 percent.
Nakamura targets the injured right knee of Hardy now. He grounds Hardy. Cesaro is shown in the back. He is asked if Nakamura is more ambitious for taking the IC title opportunity and Cesaro says no. Wishes him luck in winning two titles tonight.
Back to the match. Nakamura still targeting Hardy’s knee, this time in the ropes. Hardy gets up, still favouring the leg. Hardy survives a suplex and sends Nakamura into the announce table. Commercial break.
Back from commercial, Hardy is in control. It’s vintage Hardy here with a basement dropkick and big splash. Nakamura is picked up, but gets control with some hard kicks. Both men to the top rope now, Hardy knocks Nakamura down with whisper in the wind. Hardy still clutching knee.
Both go to the corner. Nakamura escapes, lures Hardy into the ropes and hits a sliding suplex from the middle rope. He goes high risk now with a jumping knee. Goes for the cover and gets a two count.
Nakamura looks for the kinshasa knee strike, misses. Hardy goes for a twist of fate but it’s countered. Bunch of counters in a row now. Hardy hits the twist of fate finally. He goes to the top rope and hits the swanton for the win. Styles continues to call Hardy a cheater.
Winner and still champ: Jeff Hardy
Afterwards, Sami Zayn makes his return! He reminds Hardy that he never lost the title and holds his up. Distracts Hardy and hits a helluva kick and calls him a fraud. Styles looks on. We go to commercial.
Backstage now with Zayn, he’s asked why he attacked Hardy. Zayn says he’s all about “righting wrongs.” He calls Hardy and Styles both fraudulent champions. Reminds the people that he never lost his title. He’s asked why he hasn’t been able to defend the title over the last five months. He dodges the question and says he’s a “man of the world,” and speaks in French. Very amusing.
Firefly funhouse segment
Wyatt enters. He says something is missing, and shows the Universal Title. Says no one is taking it, and that it was nice to see Roman again.
Doorbell rings. It’s Pearce in a postman outfit. He gets Wyatt to sign the contract. Wyatt said he’s just signed “a couple of death warrants.” Reminds everyone to “let him in,” End of segment.
Matt Riddle promo
Video package recapping Matt Riddle and King Corbin’s mini feud. Riddle in the ring now, says Corbin is scared to fight him. Calls out Corbin as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, Riddle is still waiting for Corbin. Continues to taunt him. Corbin finally comes up the ramp. Shorty G attacks Riddle from behind. He wants to try for the king’s ransom…. again.
Riddle hits a suplex, gets control. Shorty G gets up, hits his own tiger suplex for a near fall. Shorty tries for the rolling suplex, Riddle counters into a running knee. He hits the Bro Derek for the three.
Winner: Matt Riddle
Corbin tries to attack Riddle after the bell but is thwarted.
We see a recap now of Big E and The Miz’s war of words on Talking Smack. There’s a network exclusive showing that E doesn’t want to be on Miz TV tonight, but is contractually obligated. There’s a confrontation between Miz, Morrison and Sheamus, against Big E, Tucker and Otis. There will be a six man tag later with all of them.
We head to the back, Otis is joking about a salami with E. Bayley and Sasha head over. Bayley jokes that some people can only handle a tag championship, and leaves. We head to commercial.
Back from commercial, Pearce is trying to get Roman to sign the contract. He knocks on his locker room door and doesn’t get a response.
Backstage interview with Corbin. He says he’s going to break all of Riddle’s toes this Sunday at Payback. The match is confirmed for the PPV by Michael Cole.
Golden Role Models segment
We get a recap of both women’s title matches from SummerSlam, where Sasha lost to Asuka while Bayley won.
Bayley says her and Sasha are the best tag team going. She references Sasha’s loss at SummerSlam, and declares that it’s her fault. She brings up Bank’s consistent inability to defend a women’s title. Bayley says that’s in the past now though and to move forward, says they’re “in it together.” Bayley notes that on Sunday, the pair “cannot lose” the women’s tag titles to Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Banks says Bayley is still her best friend and that they’re ready for Sunday.
Baszler and Jax on screen. They say they despise each other, but will team up because they want to beat up Bayley and Banks.
Banks responds, she says she knows what she wants, and will get her vengeance. End of segment.
Pearce is in the back with Drew Gulak. Gulak wants revenge on Strowman for attacking him last week. He hits Strowman in the back with a chair. Strowman no-sells it. Pearce confronts Strowman and says he needs him to sign the contract. Strowman says he’s only signing the contract if he gets to fight Gulak next. Commercial break.
Back from commercial and Cesaro is talking to Nakamura. He says he needs him in his corner for his match tonight against Kalisto. Zayn joins them. Nakamura is upset that Zayn didn’t say he was leaving or coming back. Zayn wants to re-form the Artists Collective. Cesaro won’t commit, and asks Zayn to leave.
Strowman vs Gulak
Gulak in the ring already. There’s a quick video recap of Wyatt facing Strowman from SummerSlam.
Match starts. Strowman is still in his street clothes. He mauls Gulak, including a running senton. He tells Gulak that he asked him for this, and hits a running power slam for the victory.
Strowman signs the contract after the match.
Kalisto asks his fellow Lucha House Party members to stay in the back for his match. Says they should “watch how it’s done. Cesaro attacks him from behind. Commercial break.
Kalisto vs Cesaro
Back from commercial, Kalisto is in the ring. There’s a video recap of last week’s tag title match between the LHP and Cesaro/Nakamura. Story being told is that Kalisto is upset about his partner’s not being able to bring home the gold.
Cesaro out now, with Nakamura.
Match starts. Cesaro shows his power, taking control early. Kalisto gets momentum with two different head scissors, one on the inside and one on the outside.
Cesaro reverses a dive from Kalisto into a backbreaker. Hits a body drop as well. Tries a second body drop, but Kalisto reverses. He gets two straight two counts on attempted roll-ups.
Cesaro runs to the corner, Kalisto reverses. Another attempted head scissors, but Cesaro reverses. Kalisto counters into an impressive DDT off Cesaro’s shoulders and gets a two.
Story here is clearly Kalisto’s speed against Cesaro’s power. Kalisto with another head scissors, Cesaro falls into the middle turnbuckle. Nakamura distracts Kalisto, Cesaro gets a roll-up for the three.
Dissension in the ring between the LHP. Kalisto walks out on the group.
We head to the back now, and it’s Vince. Pearce knocks and enters. Says he just needs Roman’s signature. Vince reminds him he needs all three, and to knock Roman’s door down. Pearce is off again as we head to commercial.
Back from commercial as Cole hypes up the Thunderdome.
Nikki Cross and Tamina in the back now. Tamina asks how Alexa Bliss is doing. Bliss shows up and says she’s never been better. Cross talks about Bliss’ hair, which has a dread lock in it. Cross says it’s not the best idea, as it reminds her of The Fiend. Bliss gets mad at Cross. Says she should support her, and smashes Cross’ mug. Heel turn here most likely.
Miz and Morrison in the back with Sheamus now. Sheamus wants to go over the game plan for their six-man tag match. Morrison says that they have to keep all three on the apron. Pretty funny. Sheamus is confused. Tells them to just follow his lead.
The faces are out first, led by Heavy Machinery and then E. Otis has a lunch box money in the bank case now, quite fitting. We go to commercial as Cole reminds everyone that Roman still needs to sign the contract.
Back from commercial and Pearce opens Roman’s door. We see Roman for the first time. He reads the details of the contract but hasn’t signed yet.
Heavy Machinery & Big E vs Miz, Morrison & Sheamus
Back to the ring where the heels are now entering. Match starts. Otis gets the momentum early on Morrison, following by a three-on-one for the faces. Tucker in now and hits a cross-body on Morrison.
Morrison fights back, and gets the tag to Miz. Miz works Tucker over with some kicks. Another quick tag to Morrison. He continues to ground Tucker with elbows.
Tucker takes down all three of the heels but can’t get the tag. He hits a drop kick on the outside to Sheamus and a boot to The Miz. Sheamus walks to the announcers table and rings the bell to distract the faces as we head to commercial.
Back from commercial, Tucker is still getting worked over. Big E and Sheamus both have yet to get in this one.
Sheamus wants in bad, as Morrison works the neck of Tucker. Miz tags back in. Cole once again reminds everyone that Roman hasn’t signed the contract.
Morrison back in, but Tucker fights back with a hip toss. Sheamus is livid for not being tagged in and leaves the match. It’s now a handicap match. Miz back in, as Tucker tags Big E in. He gets the upper hand on The Miz with a number of power moves.
Morrison comes in with a double stomp to Big E. Otis then slams Morrison and hits a caterpillar on Miz. Miz gets a skull-crushing finale on Otis, but Big E comes from behind and hits the big ending on Miz for the win.
Winners: Heavy Machinery & Big E
To the back and Roman says there’s changes that need to be made to the contract, but will be at Payback and will win. He notes that’s not a prediction, it’s a spoiler, as the camera pans to Paul Heyman beside him.
Roman Reigns is now a Paul Heyman guy! Intriguing end to the show, with Roman being painted as a heel here. We’ll see what happens Sunday. No mention of RETRIBUTION tonight.