WWE Champion AJ Styles arrived at SmackDown LIVE hoping to break out of his vicious mental cycle caused by Samoa Joe over the past several weeks, but his SummerSlam challenger had one last trick up his sleeve that may have driven The Phenomenal One off the deep end just five days before their title clash at The Biggest Event of Summer.
As SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella insulted her two challengers from her position at the announce desk, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch teamed up to take on the hungry pair of Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville. With Flair and Lynch wanting to score an emphatic victory prior to their title clash on Sunday, both were competing with a little extra in their tank.
In the match’s pivotal moments, Becky Balboa fended off Rose and Deville, dropping Deville on the outside with a baseball slide and escaping Mandy’s rollup to trap her in the Dis-arm-her for the tapout victory.
Jeff Hardy returned to action on SmackDown LIVE after weeks of being tormented by Randy Orton and his opponent at SummerSlam this Sunday, United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. However, Hardy had an equally difficult test on SmackDown LIVE, as he faced cagy veteran Shelton Benjamin.
Benjamin tried to prey on any ring rust and lingering injuries Hardy may’ve been harboring after his rough several months. However, The Charismatic Enigma battled through the pain and claimed the victory after drilling Shelton with the Twist of Fate.
Hardy’s celebration was cut short when Nakamura’s music began to blare. Nakamura attempted to put Hardy down with a Kinshasa, all while Orton watched behind the side of the stage. However, The Charismatic Enigma caught Nakamura with a Twist of Fate and then added extra emphasis with a Swanton Bomb, making it clear that he would not go quietly into the night this Sunday.
WWE Champion AJ Styles arrived on SmackDown LIVE intending to make it crystal clear that he would no longer let Samoa Joe rattle him heading into their SummerSlam clash this Sunday, citing a promise he made to his wife Wendy that he would not go back to the dark place that Joe had put him in. Unfortunately for the titleholder, Samoa Joe quickly tried to make The Phenomenal One break that promise.
The Samoan Submission Machine arrived on the top of the stage with a letter in hand, one that he read aloud for the WWE Universe and Styles. The letter suggested that Styles never wanted children or a wife and would do anything to stay away from his family. Joe claimed the letter was signed by none other than Styles’ wife. Styles was left to stew as Joe executed one last mind game before their showdown on Sunday.
In other action … Carmella, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch went face-to-face-to-face ahead of SmackDown LIVE … The Bludgeon Brothers demolished The Triple Threat … The New Day def. SAnitY … Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Aiden English … Jeff Hardy def. Shelton Benjamin.