Tonight is, as far as I know, Friday. And that means another edition of Friday Night SmackDown is hurdling towards us. I’ll be here to give you the live recap and results of the show as they come of course, but first, a quick look at everything we can expect to see here tonight, with predictions where applicable. This is a special show as it’s not only the SmackDown half of the SummerSlam go-home week but it’s also the debut of the Thunderdome, with Vince McMahon himself introducing the concept! Be prepared to, maybe temper expectations. The leaks looked kinda dumb.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Jeff Hardy
After defeating Sheamus in the Bar Fight to put that storyline to bed, Jeff Hardy has set his sights on AJ Styles’ IC title. AJ and Joseph Parks who many know as the former monster Abyss – and, also as Joseph Parks – have devised the Phenomenal Intercontinental Statistics System to try and explain why he is undeserving of the shot. Poor Jeff just can’t get away from urine-flavored feuds, it seems.
It’s a bit weird to have a match like this immediately before not just one but two consecutive PPV cards. It’s certainly a lot bigger in theory than the US title match that’s gonna be on SummerSlam. My guess is that this bout won’t have a very conclusive outcome and they’ll end up having a rematch at Payback. With that in mind, AJ Styles to retain.
Braun Strowman’s final message to Bray Wyatt.
Somehow this feud has only gotten stranger since the Swamp Fight. While Braun is the latest in a long line of heroes that the Fiend has turned into a villain, this time it almost feels like the two of them have traded places. Braun has lost it and made it clear he no longer cares at all for old friend Alexa Bliss, who the Fiend has repeatedly been seen on the side of. It feels very much like a double turn happened somewhere along the line.
Frankly, I think the Firefly Funhouse/Fiend gimmick being a babyface from the outset would’ve been a good idea, since heels being sniveling cowards is a lot less damaging to them. And honestly I’ve been waiting for Bray to just be a babyface for years, he’s never been a guy people were into booing anyway. So if that’s happened then there’s one good thing that’s come of all this. I suppose we’ll get another hint of whether that’s the case or not here tonight.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik)
The other title match of the night, though this one does feel a bit more like a TV feud. That said it does appear they’ve been trying to raise the profile of Lucha House Party as of late, which I have zero issues with. Honestly it’s a little wild to think that we may live in a world where either Gran Metalik or Lince Dorado would be holding a title in WWE, but here we are!
Honestly? It’s very possible actually. Sure Shinsuke and Cesaro may have just recently won the titles, but it seems like that was very much a means to an end as it ultimately led to Big E going out on his own as a singles competitor. With both New Day and Heavy Machinery seemingly on hiatus, these guys actually don’t have a lot of babyfaces to defend against after this. With a tag division that skews much more towards heels, putting the titles on a face team makes a lot of sense. What the hell, I’ll go for it. Lucha House Party over, why not.
Big E vs. Sheamus
Speak of the devil. They did well to build up E’s foray as a singles competitor. Since then he’s defeated both the Miz and John Morrison 1-on-1, so far, so good. Sheamus represents a pretty major test though. I do fully believe that they’d be well-served to go all in with Big E here. I see Sheamus as a guy he might be best suited to defeating on PPV though, so maybe Sheamus screws him over here.