Big E vs. John Morrison Ended in a No Contest
There isn't anything to say about the match as it was interrupted by RETRIBUTION just as it got underway, but this was a decent show-opening angle. I'm curious why RETRIBUTION have entered the ring only on SmackDown so far with their actions being tame on Raw. I'm glad they went after the Superstars here and gave viewers a reason to care, but I'm still not overly optimistic about where this angle might be going and if WWE even knows where it's headed or who will be revealed as being behind it.
Asuka Won a SmackDown Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Tri-Branded Battle Royal
This featured Superstars from SmackDown, Raw and NXT. In other words, there were a ton of other choices for WWE to go with as the winner except for Asuka. Listen, I love Asuka, but the idea of her challenging for two titles on the same show is ridiculously dumb, especially when it isn't supposed to be a unification match (nor should it be). As a Battle Royal, this was pretty good and it managed to further some stories which I appreciated. I also liked how Tegan Nox lasted as long as she did. Unfortunately, Asuka lastly eliminating Shayna Baszler ended this thing on a sour note. They have a ton of talent between the three brands, and yet we're getting Asuka vs. Bayley again even though Asuka has already faced Bayley in two full-length matches on Raw in recent weeks. Ugh.
Sheamus def. Shorty G
When these two feuded earlier this year and Shorty G was completely decimated by Sheamus at every turn? At a certain point, it fails to do anything for Sheamus and just makes the former Chad Gable look more like a loser. That was exactly what happened here as it was essentially an elongated squash match. I'm not sure if Gable is supposed to be a face or a heel and I don't think anyone truly cares, which is unfortunate. Is turning changing his name back to Chad Gable and making him a serious threat in the ring really too much to ask for?
Jeff Hardy Attacked Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles
First and foremost, the WWE debut of Abyss/Chris Park as his former TNA lawyer character Joseph Park brought a smile to his face. That gimmick was one of the best parts of TNA programming about eight years ago and I'm all for him becoming a permanent part of Styles' act if that is indeed the plan. The whole "P.I.S.S." thing was stupid, but the segment itself was entertaining and I'm definitely down for a Styles vs. Hardy program. We haven't gotten a chance to see them work together in WWE at all and I think those matches could be terrific. My only issue with it is that their first match is being given away for free next week on SmackDown instead of being saved for SummerSlam. I'm genuinely curious if Styles is personally requesting not to be a part of these pay-per-views because this is the third straight month he's been a part of an Intercontinental title matchup two days before one of them. SummerSlam without Styles (who has never been pinned or submitted at the event) would be a bummer.
Gran Metalik def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
It's a shame that this match meant virtually nothing on paper, just because Lucha House Party have largely been positioned as jobbers on the main roster and Nakamura has fallen far since winning the Royal Rumble in 2018. From an in-ring standpoint, though, this was a quality contest. I hate distraction finishes, but it was cool seeing Kalisto return. Here's hoping they can actually build momentum this time around and not be booked like a joke.
Alexa Bliss Was Interviewed About Universal Champion Braun Strowman and "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
This sit-down interview would have been better with a familiar face such as Renee Young hosting it as opposed to a random person behind the camera, but that's just me nitpicking. I'm digging how they're acknowledging Bliss' history with Strowman from a few years ago and the role she's playing in their current feud. She didn't gave away many answers here, but she did hint at there being a romantic relationship between them at one point. That makes Strowman's recent actions toward her all the most interesting.
Big E def. John Morrison
I'm happy we ended up getting the match between these two and that it wasn't forgotten about despite the attack from RETRIBUTION. Them wreaking havoc backstage was obviously the focus of this bout and the SmackDown Superstars chasing after them, but what we got from Big E and Morrison was solid stuff. Big E's singles run is off to a strong start. Meanwhile, it looks like The Miz and Morrison might be on the verge of splitting up. It's been teased a lot lately and the eventual breakup could be the best thing to happen to them considering they've been in the doldrums for months.
Universal Champion Braun Strowman Used Alexa Bliss to Entice "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
Did Strowman vs. Wyatt at Extreme Rules secretly have a Hair vs. Hair stipulation and that's where Mandy Rose got the idea from? In all seriousness, the new look is an improvement for him. There was talk from fans last week about his comments regarding Bliss being a ruse and that he was simply pretending like he didn't care about Bliss, and while that may very well be true, I don't think he would have slammed her down to the mat if he still had feelings for her. If the idea is that he doesn't want to get too close to her because he doesn't want The Fiend to change her, then he failed because The Fiend already attacked her. Strowman's acting is abysmal, but on the storytelling side of things, this is the most engaged I've been in the Strowman vs. Wyatt feud up to this point. I sincerely hope Bliss costs Strowman the title at SummerSlam.
As previously noted, I'm still not sold on the RETRIBUTION storyline and I'm not a fan of it taking center stage on SmackDown leading into SummerSlam unless there's a big development planned for the event. Otherwise, I thought this was a middle-of-the-road episode. The story with Wyatt, Strowman and Bliss continues to compel me, Styles' segment was the highlight of the night, Big E vs. Morrison delivered, and Kalisto's return was a pleasant surprise. However, the Battle Royal was disappointing, if only for the outcome, and Sheamus vs. Shorty G felt like a rerun from earlier this year. I almost forgot to mention the promos from Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville hyping up their Hair vs. Hair match for SummerSlam, which I'm extremely excited for. Their feud has been fantastic this year and I'm stoked they're getting the chance to blow it off on a major stage like SummerSlam.