Tonight, SmackDown Live kicks into gear before its next Pay-Per-View, Backlash. With Payback having two SmackDown Superstars competing, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan need to bide a little time before starting the WWE and United States Championship feuds. Advertised for tonight is a Six Pack Challenge to determine the new #1 Contender for the WWE Championship, as well as the Kevin Owens “Face of America” Open Challenge.
The “biggest acquisition of the Superstar Shake-up” (according to Shane McMahon), Charlotte Flair, comes down to the ring and cuts her first promo as a member of SmackDown Live. She demands the be given a SmackDown Women’s Championship match and the champion, Naomi, interrupts her. Naomi says she’ll give Charlotte what she wants and she immediately takes the “Queen” down with a forearm. Shane McMahon settles the chaos by making a match between the two later tonight. If Charlotte wins, she will become the new #1 Contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship and have a title match next week.
Charlotte tries to get the jump on Naomi before their match later, but Naomi stands tall while Charlotte heads to the back.
Sami Zayn vs. Mojo Rawley vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Erick Rowan – #1 Contender’s Match (WWE Championship)
Assuming Bray Wyatt doesn’t win the House of Horrors Match and take the WWE Championship to Raw, the winner of this match will challenge Randy Orton for the title at Backlash. Even though the match consists of six Superstars, only one pinfall or submission is needed to win the match. Half of the men in this match (Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn, and Erick Rowan) weren’t on the roster just a few weeks ago.
Sami Zayn has Jinder Mahal set up perfectly for the Helluva Kick when the Bollywood Boyz (Harv and Gurv Sihra) grab Zayn’s legs in the corner. Mahal takes advantage to hit a Full Nelson slam on Zayn to pick up the surprising victory. Winner, and NEW #1 Contender (via Bollywood Boyz): Jinder Mahal
Charlotte vs. Naomi
Smackdown acquiring Charlotte is a big deal for the division. The former four-time Raw Women’s Champion made history with Sasha Banks on several occasions, from a Hell in a Cell match to an Iron Man match. However, Naomi shouldn’t be taken lightly, as she is a two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Charlotte counters Naomi’s attempt at the Rear View and hits the champion with Natural Selection to pick up the win in her first SmackDown Live match. Winner, and NEW #1 Contender: Charlotte
Primo & Epico vs. American Alpha
Last week, American Alpha lost their SmackDown Tag Team Championship rematch to the Usos and were immediately attacked after by Primo and Epico Colon, [formerly?] known as the Shining Stars. The Colons were part of the Superstar Shake-up and made a statement with a change in attitude. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan have a chance to get revenge tonight in tag team action.
While the referee is getting Chad Gable back to the ring apron, Primo attacks Jason Jordan from the apron to help Epico get the pinfall. Winners: Primo & Epico
Kevin Owens’ Face of America Open Challenge
It is clear that this “Face of America” Open Challenge is supposed to make Kevin Owens look like a dominant United States Champion, He faces Gary Gandy, a local from Louisville, Kentucky, and destroys him in about thirty seconds with a Pop-up Powerbomb. Winner, and STILL Face of America: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens defends the United States Championship against Chris Jericho at Payback, and if he retains, he will have to eventually defend the title against AJ Styles. Since Styles is in the main event against Baron Corbin, Owens is sticking around for commentary.
Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles
AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn last week to become the #1 Contender for the United States Championship. Since Styles pinned Zayn, Corbin is furious that the opportunity was stolen from him, so he wanted this match to get back at the “face that runs the place.”
Corbin and Styles fight outside the ring, and Corbin back body drops Styles into Kevin Owens. Styles then counters the End of Days, hits a Phenomenal Forearm, and barely gets in the ring before the referee’s count hits “10.” Winner (via count-out): AJ Styles
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