WWE SmackDown Recap: July 31, 2018
S18 episode 31 Aired on July 31, 2018

Charlotte Flair returned to SmackDown LIVE to come to the aid of her friend Becky Lynch after she was assaulted by SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella, but The Queen quickly found herself in the thick of a higher stakes scenario with major SummerSlam implications.

Promising to call out Randy Orton after the savage attacks The Viper has laid on him in recent weeks, Jeff Hardy did just that, not hesitating to dare The Apex Predator to come down and face him in the middle of the ring. Never one to back away from a threat, Orton began to make his way down to the squared circle, but before he could get there, The Charismatic Enigma was brutally blindsided by Shinsuke Nakamura, who dropped Jeff with a kick to the back of the head.

By the time Orton got into the ring, The King of Strong Style was setting up for the Kinshasa. However, Orton stepped in front of WWE’s Rockstar before he could land the move. Shinsuke and Randy exchanged glares, and Nakamura drilled Jeff with the Kinshasa before exiting the ring. Orton beat Hardy down with a ruthless onslaught of stomps, dropped him with two DDTs, the second onto the unforgiving floor at ringside. The Viper continued the assault, brutalizing Hardy on the announce table, pouring water on his face and methodically and symbolically wiping away Hardy’s face paint with a towel before he finally departed.

Following The Miz dropping Daniel Bryan with a Skull-Crushing Finale last week after heinously throwing a baby doll at him, Daniel Bryan arrived on the scene fired up and disheartened. Bryan felt that what Miz did last week was a blackeye on the WWE Universe, WWE Evolution and sports-entertainment. However, before Bryan could fully speak his mind, The Miz interrupted him via the TitanTron from the set of his new hit reality show, Miz & Mrs.

Miz, of course, wanted to speak on the success of his new show, and Bryan, of course, couldn’t have cared less. Miz then absolutely ran down Bryan’s name and career before The “Yes!” Man hit Miz where it hurt by questioning Miz’s movie career and calling him soft inside the ropes. Bryan then challenged The A-Lister to a match at SummerSlam or to get on a private jet right now so he could pummel his rival. Miz, however, simply felt fit to sit back luxuriously and tell him that Bryan’s WWE career was over and that he should let his contract expire and go back to high school gyms because now all the WWE Universe saw him as a massive whiner. Miz then filled the screen with the images and audio of crying babies, as Bryan stared daggers through his nemesis.

General Manager Paige announced earlier in the evening that Carmella and Charlotte Flair would square off tonight, and if Flair got the win, she would be added to the SmackDown Women’s Championship Match between Princess Mella and Becky Lynch at SummerSlam, making it a Triple Threat. With pressure on both Superstars, Carmella and Charlotte partook in their rubber match on the blue brand.

Lynch watched on curiously from her locker room as the two battled it out. Quick to tout her two prior victories over The Queen, Carmella wrestled strategically in the early goings, trying to find her spots and wear Charlotte down. However, Flair’s dynamic offense could not be contained for long, and she was soon dishing it out on The Princess of Staten Island.

Carmella caught The Queen with a clutch superkick, but Flair escaped at the count of two. From there, The Princess got a little too overconfident and tried to apply Charlotte’s signature Figure-Eight on The Queen. But with Charlotte knowing the move better than anyone this side of The Nature Boy himself, Flair reversed it to earn the tapout victory and earn her place in the SmackDown Women’s Championship Match at SummerSlam.

In other action … Charlotte Flair returned to help Becky Lynch and hurt Carmella … The Bar def. The Usos to advance to the finals of the SummerSlam tag team tournament … Samoa Joe delivered a personal SummerSlam message to AJ Styles … and Zelina Vega def. Lana.

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