The “Wild Card Rule” brought Raw’s AJ Styles and Sami Zayn to SmackDown LIVE, but WWE Champion Kofi Kingston upped the ante when he challenged both Superstars to a Triple Threat Match with WWE’s most prestigious prize on the line. Elsewhere, new SmackDown Tag Team Champions were crowned, but not in the way Shane McMahon intended when the “Wild Card Rule” struck again.
After The Hardy Boyz were forced to relinquish the SmackDown Tag Team Titles last week on the blue brand, Shane McMahon promised to crown new champions here tonight. Of course, Shane first verbally lambasted the people of Louisville before announcing that he had chosen Daniel Bryan & Rowan to be the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions. However, before he could bestow the titles upon them, Raw Superstars The Usos arrived and, via the “Wild Card Rule,” convinced Shane that Bryan & Rowan should have to earn the titles … in a match against The Usos right now for the vacant championships!
Shane co-signed and the two teams went at it, with Bryan and Rowan looking to earn the titles they were almost given by surviving The Uso Penitentiary. In a ferocious battle, Bryan and Rowan looked to corner and ground The Usos as often as possible. Jimmy & Jey refused to stay down though, battling back and seemingly closing in on the victory that would see them take the SmackDown Tag Team Titles to Raw. In the closing moments, Rowan withstood a barrage of superkicks and connected with the Iron Claw to Jey that secured the three-count and the SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
Following the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match, Shane McMahon saw fit to stay in front of the WWE Universe and discuss the high stakes at WWE Money in the Bank, but he was blindsided by The Miz, who will face Shane at WWE Money in the Bank in a Steel Cage Match.
The A-Lister, who also attacked Shane on Raw last night, unloaded on his nemesis, but former Miztourage members The B-Team quickly hit the scene and attacked Miz. As Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas pounded away, Shane began to depart. However, when Miz started to turn it around on Axel & Dallas, Shane-O-Mac returned and drilled Miz across the back with a steel chair. Shane again struck Miz with the chair, firmly laying him out … but weaponry won’t be at Shane’s disposal when the two collide inside a steel cage at WWE Money in the Bank.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston ain’t scared of no wild cards; that much we know.
For the second straight night, Kofi Kingston embraced Mr. McMahon’s new “Wild Card Rule” by defending his WWE Championship against unexpected opponents. AJ Styles and Sami Zayn looked to bring the WWE Title back to Raw, but Kingston was steadfast in his confidence, taking on the dynamic attacks of both Styles and Zayn and firing back with his own.
The contest was highlighted by Kofi hitting a dazzling splash that sent all of his bodyweight crashing down on Styles’ back, Zayn nailing Kofi with a picture-perfect superplex, a massive hurricanrana from Styles to Zayn, and Kofi landing one of the most innovative SOSs of all-time (that also saw Styles drop Zayn with a reverse DDT).
In the closing moments, Kevin Owens (who earlier in the night claimed he was leaving the arena to celebrate his birthday) arrived and took out Xavier Woods with a brutal attack. This distraction allowed Zayn to connect with three Blue Thunder Bombs onto Kingston, but The Dreadlocked Dynamo refused to stay down and incredibly kicked out each time. A frustrated Zayn switched up his strategy, sizing Kofi up for a Helluva Kick, but the WWE Champion once again found a way, connecting with Trouble in Paradise for three to retain his title in an instant classic brought to us by the “Wild Card Rule.”
In a post-match interview at ringside, a fired-up Kofi tended to the fallen Woods and exclaimed that there would be “hell to pay” for Kevin Owens at WWE Money in the Bank.
In other action … The “Wild Card Rule” sets up an unexpected WWE Championship Match … and Randy Orton interrupted Ali vs. Andrade outta nowhere.