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!
Universal Champion Roman Reigns is set for an in-ring segment with Jey Uso. He’ll break down his relationship with his cousin just two days away from their match at Clash of Champions. The Tribal Chief has been calculated with every decision he’s made since returning to SmackDown. We’ll have to see if that’s the case again tonight when he’s on the mic.
Elsewhere, Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy will face Sami Zayn in a non-title match. The Great Liberator has been saying for weeks how he’s the rightful IC champ, however fellow contender AJ Styles also has qualms with Hardy. There’s no telling what will happen as all three men prepare for their ladder match at Clash of Champions.
Additionally, Alexa Bliss will battle Lacey Evans one week after Bliss hit the Sassy Southern Belle with Sister Abigail. For weeks, Little Miss Bliss has been in a trance caused by The Fiend. Will we see more of this tonight, or will Evans get her revenge?
All this and more on an action-packed edition of SmackDown!
Michael Cole welcomes fans to the WWE ThunderDome at Amway Centre to open the show.
We head to the entrance ramp, where AJ Styles is entering. We’re kicking off tonight’s show with an Intercontinental Championship ascension ceremony in the lead-up to Sunday’s ladder match. Sami Zayn is out next, then Jeff Hardy. Corey Graves is in the ring for an interview with all three men.
Graves reminds everyone of the rules of a ladder match. Styles tells Hardy to savour this moment, because it’s the last time he’ll ever have his title. He also reminds Hardy that he cheated to beat him for the title. Styles turns to Zayn now, and asks why he’s here. Tells him he’s “nothing to nobody.”
Zayn chimes in, reminding Styles that he was a fraudulent champion. He tells Hardy that when he won the belt, he should have denounced the championship, and recognized Zayn as the rightful champ. Zayn puts over the dangers of a ladder match.
Hardy on the mic now, saying he has to side with Styles. He tells Zayn he should be grateful to be in this match. Hardy and Styles have defended the belt with honour, and this is Zayn’s chance to make his personal championship legit.
Hardy calls for the belts to be ascended, Styles jaw-jacks the whole time. Zayn then throws a ladder onto Styles and Hardy, beats up Hardy and leaves.
Adam Pearce sighting! He comes out and says that tonight’s match is now a triple threat with Styles. In the ring, Hardy hits Styles with a twist of fate as we head to commercial. That match is next!
Jeff Hardy vs AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn (non-title match)
Styles throws Zayn out of the ring to start. Hardy gets waist control and works over Styles. He then throws Zayn into the corner. The two men brawl, with Hardy gaining momentum after a double leg drop. Styles knocks down Hardy now. He lands a back breaker and targets Jeff’s left knee. He hits a baseball slide on Zayn who’s on the outside.
Styles picks up Hardy now, who reverses. Styles tosses Jeff over the top rope. Styles bounces Hardy’s head off the announce table, but Zayn knocks Styles down and throws him back in the ring. Zayn with a fierce Irish whip and clothesline for a two.
Zayn knocks Hardy back down and returns to Styles. Styles reverses and pushes Zayn into the corner. Headlock now for Styles to slow the pace. Styles knocks Zayn into Hardy, who still can’t get in the ring!
Snapmare back into a chin-lock for Styles. Zayn is sent out of the ring, but Hardy takes down Styles and Zayn with kicks. Zayn battles back but misses. Double drop kick by Hardy on both men now. All three men down.
Hardy with a big back body drop to Zayn, who he then uses to hit poetry in motion on Styles in the corner. Hardy to the top but Zayn dumps him down. Zayn is all over Hardy on the outside now with punches. Styles launches himself over the top though and all three men are down. Commercial break.
Back from commercial, all three men are battling around the top rope. It’s Zayn and Styles now on top. Styles jumps down and slams Zayn onto the top turnbuckle. Styles goes for Hardy, but he misses and Hardy hits whisper in the wind.
All three men get up at the same time. Styles lands shots on the other two. Hardy hits Styles with a kick, and then Zayn with a helluva kick to Styles. AJ bounces back with a pele kick to Zayn. All three men down again!
Styles hangs Hardy up on the top rope and also hits Zayn. He takes out Hardy with a phenomenal forearm, but Zayn takes Styles out of the ring and pins Hardy for the three.
Winner: Sami Zayn
After the match Styles is livid. He hits Zayn with a ladder to get his heat back. He also hits Hardy and looks up at both titles above the ring, before climbing the ladder and pulling down both belts. This segment was half an hour total and was excellent all around.
We get a shot of Otis backstage now. The pending legal action taken against him by The Miz takes centre stage after commercial.
Back from the break we get a rewind of last week, where Otis attacked The Miz and John Morrison. Kayla Braxton is backstage now with Otis. He’s asked if he’s made his decision regarding forfeiting the Money in the Bank briefcase or fighting the lawsuit. Otis says his mom told him of three things he shouldn’t trust: carnival clowns, one percent milk and lawyers. He says Miz and his fancy pant lawyers aren’t taking his Money in the Bank from him.
The Miz butts in and says his lawyers are only trying to give the WWE Universe a Mr. Money in the Bank that they deserve. Tucker says Otis isn’t giving up the briefcase. The Miz says his legal team charge $2000 and do not sleep. They will put a mountain of legal bills on Otis that he can’t pay. Otis gets angry, and The Miz takes a shot at Mandy Rose. Otis says where he comes from, they solve their differences in the ring. Tucker chimes in, saying John Morrison’s name isn’t on the lawsuit. With that in mind, both men attack him as refs come to break things up.
We get a replay of Bayley’s attack on Sasha Banks from last week. She sits on the chair that she used as a weapon, and says she could watch that footage over and over, but won’t, because a champ’s time is precious. She adds that unlike Sasha, she has work to do and a match against Nikki Cross to prepare for.
Bayley starts by saying she admires Cross’ heart, but that she overheard her saying that she thinks she’ll win due to Sasha not being there. Bayley reminds her to watch what she just did to Banks. She adds that she’ll start by slapping the stupid smile off Cross’ face and then holds the chair she was sitting on, signifying what will happen to Cross at Clash of Champions. Solid promo.
Cole hypes up Roman and Jey talking about their relationship for later tonight. Commercial break.
Back from commercial where Gran Metalik is in the ring, He takes on Shinsuke Nakamura, who is entering. The Lucha House Party battle Cesaro and Shinsuke at Clash of Champions.
Gran Metalik vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura takes control with vintage knees and kicks to the body. Metalik off the ropes and hits an arm drag on Nakamura. Both men to the outside, but Nakamura lands a kick and slams Metalik into the barricade. Running knee to the ribs by Nak now. He throws Metalik into the ring for a two.
Nakamura takes arms control and lands kness to the body. Metalik reverses but gets slammed into the bottom rope. Trademark aggression from Nak, wearing down Metalik in the corner. Deep front face lock from Nakamura now, Metallic uses elbows and then lands a head scissors to gain control. He hits Nak in the face and lands a terminator dive over the top onto the King of Strong Style.
Metalik with a senton off the ropes and gets a two. He tries for a moonsault but misses. Nakamura throws Metalik into the top rope and hits a running knee and reverse exploder. He finishes off the King of the Ropes with a Kinshasa.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Post-match Cesaro hits a gut wrench on Lince Durado, while Kalisto bails, only entering the ring after the champs have left.
Backstage, Jey is shown knocking on Roman’s dressing room door. Commercial break.
Back from commercial where various tweets of support are shown for the late Road Warrior Animal.
We get a video package showing how Sunday’s Universal Championship is a “family affair.” Afa — Roman and Jey’s uncle — and Rikishi, Jey’s father, are both interviewed. Sika — Roman’s father — talks about how strong Roman is. Jimmy Uso is also interviewed, discussing the importance of the bloodline for all three men.
Rikishi notes how Roman was destined for greatness, but Jey had to “pay his dues.” Sika plugs Roman to retain, Rikishi thinks Jey will come out on top. Different, and very fun way to look at Sunday’s title match.
Back to the ring where Jey Uso is entering. He says he’s hyped for Sunday. Jey says he has some questions for “big cousin.” A replay of last week’s tag match win with Roman and Jey is shown, followed by Jey and Roman’s embrace. The emphasis however, is on the glaring look Roman gave Jey as he left.
Jey says all the talk this week has been on “the look.” He asks Roman what’s up. Roman is shown in his dressing room with Paul Heyman. Roman declines to comment. Heyman is ushered out to the back. He says the entire WWE Universe wants to hear from Roman, but it won’t happen when Jey Uso wants it to happen. Heyman guarantees the face-to-face discussion in the ring will happen at some point tonight.
Jey says it’s all good. Either way he’s manning up, closing with “welcome to the Uso penitentiary.”
We get a replay of Matt Riddle and King Corbin’s feud. Corbin is backstage now, saying that when you’re a king, everyone looks at what you do and cares. He is upset that he had to watch Riddle’s bro montage last week. He says tonight, he looks forward to making sure bro means “unbearable pain, intolerable misery and excruciating agony.”
Riddle heads to the ring. Pre-taped promo first. He says for months, Corbin has been trying to make his life miserable, but you can’t keep a good bro down. He looks forward to showing SmackDown the difference between a “stallion and a jackass.” The pair’s Payback rematch is on after commercial!
Back from commercial where Corbin is out for his entrance.
Matt Riddle vs King Corbin
Riddle attacks Corbin from behind. We’re on now. Riddle with rights and lefts, taking Corbin to the outside. More punches from Riddle. Corbin hangs Riddle up in the ropes as he attempts to enter the ring. Both men in the centre, Riddle tries a knee bar, but Corbin uses his power to reverse multiple submission attempts.
Corbin beats down Riddle in the corner. He goes for a punch but is blocked. Corbin hits an elbow for a two after back-to-back counters. Cole notes that Riddle is trying to win two in a row against a former Money in the Bank winner. Corbin gets hit with a kick and Riddle throws him over the announce table now as we head to commercial.
Back live where Riddle has an ankle lock. He lands an arm bar, but Corbin powers out and gets a two, Corbin with his vintage brawler style now. He chokes Riddle in the ropes and hits a vicious elbow, Corbin with two right hands off the ropes. Riddle can’t even stand.
Riddle catches Corbin now, and hits a pump knee strike and running knee in the corner. Exploder suplex is followed by a broton and penalty kick for two. Riddle with an abdominal stretch into a headlock. Corbin gets to the ropes, then reverses a pump knee into deep six for two!
Story here is Corbin’s power against Riddle’s technical prowess. Riddle goes for a strike off the second rope but Corbin lands another right hand. Corbin goes for End of Days, but Riddle reverses into a knee. Riddle to the top for the floating bro, but Corbin gets his knees up. He hits End of Days for the three. Good match.
Winner: King Corbin
Riddle is interviewed post match. He says losing sucks, but he won’t let this setback stop him. He will continue to grind, and won’t stop until SmackDown is the bro show.
We get another tease of a returning superstar who has “untouchable” written in lipstick on the mirror. It’s Carmella for sure.
Pre-record with Bliss. She says Lacey Evans gives women a bad name, and is the kind of lady who sends food back at a restaurant. She says when she’s done with Evans, the only thing being sent back will be a “tall glass of bitter southern tea.” Commercial break.
Back from commercial. Bliss enters the ring first, and then Evans. We get a quick recap of Bliss hitting Sister Abigail on Evans from a week ago.
Alexa Bliss vs Lacey Evans
Collar and elbow tie up. Evans overpowers Bliss, but Bliss gets a roll-up and then a roll through for two. Evans in control now after throwing Bliss by her hair. She taunts Bliss and delivers double knees in the corner for two. Headlock for Evans.
Evans uses her power to maintain control. She targets the left shoulder of Bliss. Bliss counters, but The Fiend’s music plays in the arena. Bliss looks perplexed as we head to commercial.
Back live with Evans in control. Moonsault for two. Evans traps Bliss’ left leg and applies a headlock. Evans with an irish whip but Bliss reverses. She tries to attack Evans in the corner, but she dodges and drives Bliss’ face into the top turnbuckle, then rakes her face over the middle rope. Evans with a dropkick off the top, taking Bliss to the outside.
Evans gets multiple two counts. Bliss counters but can’t maintain any momentum. She’s totally out of it after hearing The Fiend’s music. The lights turn red now and the Fiend’s music plays again. Bliss’ demeanour changes completely and she snaps on Evans. She kicks her in the back countless times and gets disqualified. For the second straight week, she delivers Sister Abigail to Evans and leaves in a trance.
Winner by DQ: Lacey Evans
Cole says Bliss looks “wacked out” as she watches Roman enter the ring. Closing segment with Roman is up after the break.
Roman and Jey segment
Back live. Heyman says now is the time. Before he can continue, Jey enters.
Roman and Jey stare each other down. Roman takes the mic and gives his side of the story. He says he would give Jey the title if he could, but won’t because Jey wouldn’t know what to do with it. Roman adds that Jey doesn’t understand the weight, pressure, accountability or responsibility of being on top. He says Jey has depended on his brother his whole life because they’re twins.
Reigns puts over Jey as a legend in the tag division, but the family depends on Roman to be the “tribal chief,” and it will always be him. Roman puts the mic down and goes to leave.
Jey responds by saying “what if you’re wrong.” He adds “why can’t I be be the provider?” Jey’s fired up. He says Roman has always been on top, but when people see him, they have to ask which twin he is. Jey says after Sunday people will know who he is. “They’re going to say ‘you’re the one who beat Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship.’ That will be me.”
Roman leaves. As Jey is walking up the ramp, Roman lands a superman punch. He says he’s feeding the whole family by being Universal Champion and that Jey will never take his place at the head of the table.”
Great ending, solid show.