The first Smackdown Live since SummerSlam took place tonight and it started off in a huge way with Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan in the ring, surrounded by tag teams and members of the women’s division.
They were out there to introduce two new championships, which had been confirmed in prior weeks leading up to tonight. McMahon and Bryan announced that there would be the first ever six-pack women’s challenge to determine the inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion at Backlash as well as a Smackdown Tag Team title tournament, which would also culminate at Backlash, to determine the new champions.
At the top of the show, AJ Styles was seen gloating in the locker room and especially called out Dolph Ziggler, mocking him for falling short of the WWE World Championship against Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam. As Styles made his way down to the ring, interrupting McMahon and Bryan, the Showoff attacked him and a match was set for the main event.
The Usos faced off against The Ascension in the first match of the tag team tournament as they both looked to advance. The two-time tag team champions got the victory over the younger tag team and moved on to the semifinals.
Nikki Bella made her return to Smackdown Live as she was looking to face off against the Staten Island Princess, Carmella. While being interviewed, however, Bella was attacked from behind, showing a mean streak and a new side.
Randy Orton made his way down to the ring to address Sunday’s beatdown at the hands of Brock Lesnar. He looked to give his side of the story, but was soon interrupted by Bray Wyatt and it seems we could be headed to a match between the two.
Earlier in the night, Heath Slater interrupted Shane McMahon and claimed he wanted a contract on Smackdown Live and wanted to go after the tag titles. McMahon told him that he would include he and his partner in the tournament and would give Slater a contract if, and only if, they win the entire tournament and become the inaugural champions.
He looked all over the arena trying to find a partner, including going after Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Hall of Famer Arn Anderson. Just when all hope seemed lost, Rhyno came out of the darkness and offered his services to the Hottest Free Agent.
Smackdown’s hottest team, American Alpha, faced off against Breezeango in the second match of the tag team tournament. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable pulled off the big win and moved on to the second round.
WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose made his way down to the ring for commentary in the match between AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler. If Styles won, he would get a one-on-one match against Ambrose at Backlash and if Ziggler won, he would be added to the match and make it a triple threat.
The two went back and forth in a terrific match, but it was The Phenomenal One the hit the Styles Clash and got the big victory.
Tonight’s episode set the tone for the future of Smackdown Live and put in motion the beginning of at least four great matches at Backlash. Now, they must build towards them over the next few weeks.