Fresh off savagely beating Jeff Hardy once again last week, Randy Orton kicked off SmackDown LIVE reveling in his recent actions. The Viper made it clear that he plans on taking out all the Superstars that the WWE Universe puts on a pedestal, with Jeff Hardy being just his first target. The Apex Predator proclaimed that fans still opt to cheer for a Superstar like Hardy who took a 10-year absence from WWE even though Orton is a decorated champion who has been here all along.
Orton concluded by claiming that he was going to earn respect and that Hardy and the WWE Universe have made their choices, and those choices have earned Jeff Hardy future RKOs.
Though they'll be opponents at SummerSlam in the SmackDown Women's Championship Triple Threat Match against Carmella, best friends Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch teamed up on SmackDown LIVE to take on The IIconics. Prior to the contest, Peyton Royce & Billie Kay attempted to drive a wedge between Flair and Lynch, claiming that Lynch was forever stuck in Flair's shadow ahead of their title bout at The Biggest Event of Summer.
Carmella was on commentary for the contest, continually harping on the fact that she was being treated unfairly by being placed in the Triple Threat Match at SummerSlam. In the ring, The Queen and The Irish Lass Kicker didn't seem too deterred by The IIconics’ attempted mind games, rattling off a flurry of offense that put Lynch in position to win. However, when Becky was pushed back into Flair, The Queen instinctively made a blind tag that allowed her to finish Royce with the Figure-Eight Leglock for the tapout win.
Before the best friends had too much time to react to the victory or the blind tag, Carmella made a definitive statement by standing on the announce table and holding her SmackDown Women's Championship proudly in the air.
Clearly emotional and enraged by what Samoa Joe said about his family last week, WWE Champion AJ Styles retorted The Samoan Submission Machine's claims on SmackDown LIVE. The Phenomenal One made it definitively clear that everything he does in WWE is for his family and that although he sacrifices, he does as much as he can to spend every waking second with them that his schedule allows. Moreover, Styles seemed most upset that Joe personally knows Styles’ kids and wife due to their long friendship prior to arriving in WWE. The WWE Champion told Joe that he should’ve kept his family's names out of his mouth and that he plans to leave him laying at SummerSlam.
Joe, however, seemed none too concerned with Styles’ pointed words, as he simply watched The Phenomenal One's address backstage with it ultimately bringing him to laughter.
Following the hijinks that allowed Zelina Vega to defeat Lana in singles competition last week, the Rusev Day clan attempted to get back on track tonight in the rematch, as The Bulgarian Brute manned his wife's corner to attempt to counteract Andrade “Cien” Almas. Prior to the contest, Aiden English attempted to apologize again for all his mistakes (including inadvertently costing Lana the match last week), which Rusev and Lana accepted. However, despite The Mozart of Mayhem now being back in Rusev's good graces, The Super Athlete still asked that English stay behind for the rematch.
With tensions still riding high, Lana and Zelina went at it just as fiercely as they did last week. Inevitably, Rusev and Andrade began to mix it up, and English rushed to the ring to help. Aiden's good intentions once again led to bad luck, however, when he smashed Almas into the side of the ring, causing Lana—who was perched on the top rope—to topple forward, allowing Vega to defeat The Ravishing Russian with the running double knees into the corner.
After adamantly declining, The Miz announced earlier in the day that he would indeed battle Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam. To discuss that decision and other matters, The A-Lister (flanked by security guards on the TitanTron) joined Byron Saxton (who was in the ring) for an exclusive interview from the set of Miz & Mrs.
However, Miz seemed more eager to discuss the success of Miz & Mrs. over anything even remotely related to Bryan. Eventually, Miz focused on Bryan and ran his name through the mud as usual, claiming The Beard is “beneath him” and insinuating that Bryan needed a match against Miz far more than the other way around.
The A-Lister seemed primed to continue the onslaught of insults, but suddenly, The “Yes!” Man appeared out of nowhere, decked Miz repeatedly and started dropping the security guards. Bryan couldn't get his hands on The Miz the way he wanted, however, due to security trying to intervene, which caused Bryan to get struck with a vase across the upper back by The A-Lister. Miz and the security then quickly fled the scene as Bryan slowly staggered to his feet.
Wanting to make a statement ahead of his United States Title defense against Jeff Hardy at SummerSlam, Shinsuke Nakamura squared off against R-Truth on SmackDown LIVE after a strange altercation backstage.
Truth brought the fight to The King of Strong Style, but the ultra-aggressive Nakamura forced Truth to say “What’s up?” to a Kinshasa right to his dome piece at point-blank range, which earned WWE's Rockstar the victory.
With their SummerSlam opponents about to be determined in the main event, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers took on local team 3SK, and unsurprisingly, it was an absolute bludgeoning despite 3SK having a one-man advantage. Harper & Rowan decimated the opposition, making a big statement to either The New Day or The Bar as The Biggest Event of Summer approaches.
The finals of the SummerSlam Tag Team Tournament took place in the main event of SmackDown LIVE, as The New Day challenged The Bar with the opportunity to challenge The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles on the line.
Continuing to show no signs of ring rust, Sheamus & Cesaro attempted to wear down Kofi Kingston & Big E with several stiff strikes in the early goings. However, with the two teams so familiar with one another after all their epic clashes over the years, the momentum shifted several times over, keeping the WWE Universe thoroughly enthralled throughout the bout.
With the WWE Universe roaring their approval, Big E somehow overpowered Cesaro, standing straight up while still trapped in a crossface and getting The Swiss Superman in position for The Midnight Hour, allowing Kofi to drop his opponent for The New Day to get the W and the chance to face The Bludgeon Brothers at The Biggest Event of Summer.
As The New Day celebrated, The Bludgeon Brothers watched on menacingly from the audience. Will The New Day still be celebrating come SummerSlam?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Asuka & Naomi defeated Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
- Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch defeated The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) by submission (6:18)
- Zelina Vega (w/ Andrade "Cien" Almas) defeated Lana (w/ Rusev) (3:35)
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated R-Truth (3:13)
- Nakamura was the WWE United States Champion at the time of this match.
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) defeated 3SK (Alechi Lee, Julio Rivera, & Pavel Koslov) in a 3-on-2 Handicap match (1:26)
- The Bludgeon Brothers were the WWE Tag Team Champions at the time of this match.
- The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) defeated The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) in a WWE SmackDown Tag Team Title #1 Contendership Tournament Final Match (25:04)
Other on-screen talent
Randy Orton addressed his continued targeting of Jeff Hardy
Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch v The IIconics
AJ Styles fired back after Samoa Joe’s salacious address from last week
Zelina Vega v Lana
Daniel Bryan ambushed an unsuspecting Miz
Shinsuke Nakamura v R-Truth
The Bludgeon Brothers v 3SK
The New Day v The Bar
- WWE Smackdown Live #990 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #990 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #990 on WWE Network