Live play-by-play of the show as it comes comin’ at ya! Watch this space!
We begin with a recap of the ending to SummerSlam with the Fiend taking the Universal title from Strowman only for Roman Reigns to destroy everybody. Adam Pearce is instructing security to actually be competent for once maybe. Vince McMahon is here. He says he seems to be a little bit nervous tonight. When anyone comes close to him, they’re a little intimidated. But he has a mission for him that’ll take him into the presence of Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and the Fiend. The three of them will be in a No Holds Barred Triple Threat, a totally pointless stip. Pearce has the task of getting them all to sign the contract. He even gives Pearce a Firefly Funhouse attire.
Jeff Hardy makes his way to the ring. Says it’s good to be standing here. After what AJ Styles did to his knee, he’s tickled pink to be standing anywhere. Before he can say much else out comes AJ to the stage in street clothes. Asks if this is real? Says Jeff seems pretty proud of himself for what he did last week. Calls him a liar and a cheat. Says he’s had injuries before but he never whined and cried to a doctor to get an illegal object on his knee but Jeff had a plan.
Styles says he clearly had him beat when he had the Styles Clash only for the brace to crash into his face. Accuses Jeff of playing the system because that same doctor will not medically clear him to compete tonight and it’s all his fault. Jeff says wow, that sucks, he was about to issue an open challenge for the IC title for anyone back there, except AJ. Styles howls in his face about taking advantage of the system. Eventually AJ charges in and Jeff just punches him out! Commercial break, we’re gonna have that open challenge when we come back.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Yep, Nak answers the call. Lock-up, Jeff takes him into the corner. Ref forces the break. Nak with a waistlock. Jeff reverses it, wristlock cinched in. Jeff with shots to the shoulder, Shinsuke takes him into the ropes, break forced. Shinsuke with a kick to the gut for a side headlock. Hardy shoots him off for an arm drag, Inverted Atomic Drop, Snapmare into a Running Neck Snap, Elbow Drop for a 2 count. Nak with a charging legsweep to Jeff’s bum knee. Working over the leg. Backstage Cesaro says he stepped away for one second and Shinsuke was gone, says he’s not more ambitious than him he’s just more impulsive. Says he guesses everyone wants to be a double champion now, wishes luck to his ‘partner’.
Nakamura with some roundhouse kicks to Jeff’s chest, until he catches one for an Inverted Dragon Whip! Takes him to the corner but when he tries to charge he ends up hobbled, Nak takes over, gets him to the top rope, charges for a high knee but Hardy avoids it, wants to suplex Nak from the apron, Shinsuke reverses Jeff tries to land on his feet but his leg gives out, only for him to clothesline him over the top rope! That was maybe an accident but it played to the match anyway. Pursues, throws Nakamura right into Styles! Commercial break.
Jeff and Nak exchanging blows as we come back, Jeff wins out, Inverted Atomic Drop, double leg into the Legal Lowblow, Basement Dropkick, quick splash from the mat for a 2 count. AJ claims that was a 1976 splash that won’t beat anybody, hilarious. Nakamura misses one high kick but hits the Dragon Whip! Shinsuke takes him up top, Jeff elbows him down though, Whisper In The Wind but Hardy favoring his leg! Shinsuke charges him in the corner, Jeff gets his boots up but Nak slides him in place for the Ishimori German Suplex! Flying knee from the second rope for a nearfall! Shinsuke stalks, charges but Jeff sidesteps, Twist of Fate reversed into a sleeper, snapmare, knee brace-assisted kick to the face, Twist of Fate! AJ is furious as Hardy goes up top, Swanton Bomb for the win!
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Afterwards Jeff gets in AJ’s face and shows off his title. But as Jeff makes his way to the stage… Sami Zayn’s theme hits! And he comes out with his own Intercontinental title! He sticks it in Jeff’s face and tells him there is only one IC champ and you are looking at him! As they confront each other, AJ makes his way to the ramp… Jeff is distracted by this, Zayn nails him with the Helluva Kick! Calls him a fraud and rushes off. AJ and Jeff stare each other down afterwards, strange I figured Styles would attack after that.
Sami sings to himself as he walks down the hallway, says throughout his whole career he’s been about righting wrongs. Says Jeff Hardy is pretending to be IC Champ just like AJ did. Says he won the title by himself, retained the title at WrestleMania by himself. And he’s had plenty of valid reasons to not defend his title over the past five months that he feels no need to disclose, says he’s a man of the world and he’s a true Intercontinental Champion in every sense of the world. Closes with a line in French.
Firefly Funhouse commences. Bray says it’s good to be back home with all of his friends, montage of puppets. Gag about the internet rotting Huskus’ brain. Bray says he feels like something is missing. We see a glimpse of his horrific mind, but then he realizes it’s just the Universal title and he shows it off! Says none of the monsters with big nasty teeth can take it away this time. Gets serious for a second and says, “Roman, it’s been a long time, man. It was good to see you again.”
Ring at the doorbell. It’s Postman Pearce! Bray says neither snow nor rain nor dystopian hellscape can stop Postman Pearce! Pearce asks him to sign the contract for the three-way and Bray cackles, “Why would I sign it?!” Pearce says he has a connection to… but he can’t bring himself to say the name. Bray lets him off easy and agrees to sign it, saying he’s just signed two men to their death warrants.
After a quick vignette, Matt Riddle makes his way out. He’s got a pyro show going along with his flipflop toss now. Gets on the mic and says Corbin claimed anyone who could prove he didn’t belong on SmackDown was entitled to the King’s Ransom. Says Corbin seems to be scared and doesn’t want to face him himself. Dares him to come out as we get an abrupt commercial break.
When we come back Riddle’s still alone in the ring. He says he knows it takes him a while to get that crown on his little big cranium but this is getting ridiculous. Finally Corbin does emerge. But as he comes down, Shorty G attacks Riddle from behind and Corbin says he accepts his challenge for a match… on behalf of Shorty G.
Matt Riddle vs. Shorty G
Shorty with a big takedown, crossface blows. Riddle zips to the ropes for the break. Riddle with a big Gutwrench Suplex, keeps ahold and pulls him up but Shorty reverses into a brutal German Suplex for a nearfall! Tries for the Chaos Theory, Riddle flips onto his feet, Bro Derek for the win.
Winner: Matt Riddle
A little depressing to see that end so quick. Corbin attacks afterward but Riddle gets the upperhand and fends him off.
We see a clip from Talking Smack where Big E is grilled by the Miz on whether or not he’ll start being serious on this singles run, which is a topic that’s come up in actual interviews a lot recently. E says he’s already on track and what’s important is to deliver. He gets into an argument over how Miz gets opportunities handed to him. Another clip makes it clear that Big E doesn’t wanna be on MizTV but is contractually obligated.
Backstage, Big E and Heavy Machinery are trading meat. Bayley and Sasha appear to clown on ’em for playing with their meat. Bayley says some people are only apt enough to be tag champion, and Sasha gives her a silent side-eye as she laughs.
Adam Pearce’s next stop is Roman Reigns’ locker room. But he doesn’t answer the door, so Pearce goes looking for him. Corbin is interviewed and says he is going break every single one of Riddle’s disgusting little toes. He’ll send him back to NXT or UFC or wherever, he’ll prove Riddle doesn’t belong in his kingdom here on SmackDown. That’s a Payback match.
Sasha and Bayley make their way to the ring. Bayley says they’re in the midst of one of the most difficult weeks’ of their career. They both had to defend singles titles at SummerSlam and in just a few days they have to defend the tag titles at Payback. But luckily they’re the best tag team out there, you got Bayley Dos Straps and… Sasha Banks.
Bayley says sometimes even when you have the best of intentions, things don’t go to plan and this is all her fault. She should’ve never let her challenge Asuka for the title in the first place, that’s how it all started! As her best friend, she should know her history with never being able to defend a title. Banks is clearly not okay. Bayley mentions how Sasha always says those tag championships represent them, they represent their friendship and on Sunday, they cannot lose. Sasha says no, she’s right, they can’t. And she knows Bayley is worried because of who they’re facing, but even though she’s not Two Belts Banks, she still believes in what these titles stand for.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax appear on the tron. Nia says they’ve done the impossible as she hates them more than she hates Shayna. Baszler says Nia frankly sucks but if she can help her beat them up and get the tag titles, she’ll team with her. Sasha says if they think one bad week will hold her back they’ve got another thing coming. This Sunday she’ll have her vengeance and still have her title.
Pearce asks Drew Gulak if he’s seen Roman. Gulak says no and asks about Strowman since he’s got a grudge. But suddenly he actually sees him, he attacks him with a chair to the back but to absolutely no avail. He tosses Pearce the chair! Strowman turns to face him, Pearce to his credit calmly explains that it was Gulak and asks him to sign the contract. Strowman agrees to sign it as long as he can get Gulak out to the ring right now!
Cesaro is pleading his case to Shinsuke, says he has a match with Kalisto later and he needs Nak in his corner. Sami Zayn barges in laughing, signing “Reunited and it feels so goo-oood!” Says the band’s back together but they’re not so happy. Shinsuke says he just disappeared for four months without even a phone call. Sami says sure he should’ve been more communicative, and apologizes but Cesaro says after he fell off the face of the Earth some things actually changed for the better, gesturing to the tag team titles.
Sami agrees and wants to put his IC title next to their tag titles but Cesaro tells him they were having a private conversation and they’d like to finish it. As tag champs. Sami asks if they’re telling him to leave and Shinsuke kindly says, “Please”. Now, Gulak is indeed in the ring.
Drew Gulak vs. Braun Strowman
Braun bullies Gulak into the corner, huge Biel Throw! Corner avalanche! Whips him to the opposite corner for another. Short-Arm Clothesline, senton to crush him! Goozles him from the mat and hoists him up for a chokeslam! Grabs him by the beard and pulls him to his feet! Gulak also grasping at Strowman’s beard as Braun yells, “Is this what you wanted?!” Running Powerslam and that’s that.
Winner: Braun Strowman
As Strowman makes his way back to the stage, Pearce hands him the contract. Man, he is giving no room for shenanigans. Strowman does sign it, only Roman left now.
Lucha House Party talking backstage. Kalisto says he learned from Lince’s mistakes against Cesaro. Tells him to wait here and let him show him how it’s done. As he leaves, Shinsuke and Cesaro attack Lince and Metalik from behind again exactly like last week.
Kalisto vs. Cesaro
Cesaro with an immediate big bodyslam. Drives him headfirst into the buckle, whip to the opposite corner, Kalisto with a floatover, round-the-world headscissor takes him to the floor, amazingly he jumps to the second rope for a front flip rana, wild! Throws him into the ring, goes for a Springboard but Cesaro grabs him out of the air for a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker! Back body drop sends Kalisto flying across the ring, cover but it’s too close to the ropes! Kalisto with a sunset flip, Cesaro stands his ground and hoists him up into the air but this actually gives Kalisto momentum to reverse into the Sunset Flip for the 2 count!
Cesaro catches a kick, flisp him onto his feet, Kalisto hits the ropes for a rana but Cesaro blocks, hoists him up for a Pop-Up but Kalisto turns THAT into a DDT out of the air! Rana Driver for a nearfall! Looking for SDS but Cesaro blocks, Kalisto sends him into the turnbuckles, Shinsuke up on the apron to distract the ref, Lince and Metalik go out to pull him off, Kalisto isn’t happy with this though and it allows Cesaro to roll him up.
Afterwards they’re screaming at each other again. Kalisto is pretty clearly in the wrong here. But eventually he calms them down and they leave together.
Pearce backstage meets with Vince, says he got Bray and Braun but Roman won’t answer the door. Vince suggests he kick the door down, says maybe he’ll throw him into the door and it’ll go right down. They both go to try and get the contract signed.
Nikki Cross meets up with Tamina, Nikki has a coffee mug with Bliss-Cross on it and she says it’s the first gift Alexa ever got her. Bliss shows up to give her a hug, says she is happy to see her. She notices the mug and talks about how she hasn’t seen it in so long. Nikki notes the pigtails and highlights, mentions she hasn’t seen her with that in so long. But she seems concerned about it because it reminds her of the Fiend for some reason? Alexa freezes for a moment and then has a bit of a freakout, grabs the mug and tosses it to the floor, shattering it.
Sheamus meets up with Miz and Morrison and discusses a gameplan. Morrison notes how big and strong all three of their opponents are, says we can’t let Big E, Tucker or Otis tag in. Sheamus berates them for being morons and demands they let him lead.
Pearce knocks on Roman’s door again. Turns out Vince didn’t come with him after all. He asks him to sign, Roman looks at the contract, wants to read it first. We just, hang on that for a second and fade out. Funny. Main event time, I guess!
Sheamus, John Morrison & The Miz vs. Big E & Heavy Machinery
Otis takes Morrison into the corner, Morrison flips out of a Biel, tries for a Flying Chuck but he knocks him out of the air! Tags, E with a corner thrust, Otis with a big shoulder block, Tucker covers but Sheamus pulls him off. TUCKY with a Crossbody off the second rope for a nearfall! Morrison with some sweeping kicks, Miz tags in, they hoist him up for a Double Gutbuster! Morrison tags in, kick to the gut as Miz holds him in place, Morrison covers for 2. Chinlock cinched in. He fights his way up and gets a head of steam, abruptly we hear the bell ring repeatedly and we see Sheamus is the one doing it. And then, commercial break…? What?
Morrison with a cover for 2 as we come back. Miz tags in, double whip, double clothesline, Miz covers for a 2 count. Miz with a side headlock, Tucker fights his way up for a back suplex to break! Morrison tags in to stop the tag though, mounts him for forearms. Sheamus demands a tag but Morrison cinches him into a Reverse Headlock. Tucker fights his way up, Miz tags in, kick to the gut of TUCKY.
As they keep working him over, Tucker kicks Morrison to the corner, Sheamus tags himself in but the ref didn’t see it! Morrison comes back in, Sheamus starts bellowing at the commentators, Morrison shoves Tucker into him and he falls to the floor! That’s enough for Sheamus to up and leave. Tucker finally makes the tag, Big E comes in with a million Belly To Bellies to Miz! Hits the ropes twice for a huuuge running splash! Wants the Big Ending, Miz rolls to the apron for a Hot Shot! Charges but the Corner Uranage stops him, Morrison with a springboard double stomp to break up the pin! Otis with a bodyslam to Morrison, rips off the shirt, and the Caterpillar commences! Miz avoids the elbow but Morrison does not, Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale to Otis but E with the Big Ending gets the duke.
Winners: Big E & Heavy Machinery
After the match, we cut back to Roman and Pearce. Reigns says he’ll be there at Payback, wrecking everyone and leaving, and he’ll take back the Universal title he never lost. And that is not just a prediction… that’s a spoiler. PAUL HEYMAN SITS BESIDE HIM! “Believe that” he adds with a smirk. Well that’s pretty rad. And that’s how the show ends.