Following a night where Monday Night Raw saw their best ratings in weeks, SmackDown LIVE was prepared to try and one-up them with the return of a New Day brother and the continuation of the 24/7 Championship from last night. Here are the highlights from the show:
SmackDown Live Highlights
Big E Returns Home
It certainly was a New Day last night, as Big E returned to the WWE following six weeks of being sidelined. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods would head out to welcome their brother home before a random person would be out to impersonate. Finally, the voice of Big E hit as he would let everyone know to not be sour and to clap as he made his way back in our graces. The New Day would have a big set up inside the ring as they began to celebrate. Woods would bring up E’s time on Twitter and even bring up Becky Lynch’s mom. Kingston would then take shots at the haters telling them stop as he needs to be more serious as a champion. Kevin Owens would make his way out, followed by Sami Zayn who would question why E was getting something for just missing six weeks while he missed nine months and got nothing.
Owens would remain silent as The New Day would let them know that Zayn would get nothing tonight much like his friend. Owens would put down the microphone and just head to the back, as Zayn would try to speak, and The New Day would have none of it. Zayn would make the point that later in the night all the jokes wouldn’t matter as he plans to beat him down. Kofi would get serious and tell him to ignore all of the jokes because when the bell rings, he will beat him because he is the champion and not afraid to do so. Kofi would learn the hard way that he has a new opponent coming for him, and Zayn was just the start.
The 24/7 Championship Makes Its SmackDown Debut
24/7 Champion, R-Truth, would be in disguise all night as he hoped to get through another day as champion. With the help of Carmella, he would try to remain in disguise while also heading out to the ring with her for her match against Mandy Rose. Mid-match, a number of referees would rundown with a group of wrestlers hoping to become the new champion. Later in the night, Jinder Mahal would get his hands on the champion and even attempt a pin, but Truth would kick out and escape. The B-Team would then attempt to take out Truth but would get into a disagreement of who should be champion. Truth would escape them following the blunder to escape off into the night still holding the 24/7 Championship.
Story Builders of the Night:
Ali would somehow fight the odds despite back problems to defeat Andrade by a roll up in a match that Andrade truly dominated. It seems as though Ali is rising to the top of the card more and more week in and week out.
The new SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, would team with Becky Lynch to take on Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans. Bayley would notch her second pinfall over Charlotte in the past 48 hours as it seems we know the next match at WWE Stomping Grounds, with Bayley prepared to defend against the nine-time champion, Charlotte Flair.
Roman Reigns would defeat Elias in a Money in the Bank rematch before Shane McMahon would look to put down “The Big Dog”. As Roman looked to hit him with Elias’ guitar, Shane’s newest associate Drew McIntyre, would hit Roman with a Claymore to end the show as Shane and Drew stood tall.
SmackDown LIVE MVP: Dolph Ziggler
The WWE Champion Kofi Kingston would face Sami Zayn at the halfway point of the show following the finding of Big E down and hurt as someone had taken him out from behind in the left leg which was previously injured. Kofi would be more focused as ever, ultimately defeating in a difficult fight when he would reverse a Blue Thunder Bomb into a Trouble in Paradise. Following the match, Kingston would be celebrating as Paul Heyman would come out onto the stage with Money in the Bank briefcase in hand, teasing the opening and cash-in by Brock Lesnar. Instead, Dolph Ziggler would return to the scene as he would attack Kingston from behind, leading to a brutal attack on the champion. Ziggler would beat him down, stretch him out on the turnbuckles and truly take him out completely.
Ziggler would put a chair around the neck of Kofi, throwing him into the announce table severely injuring the champion. Ziggler would begin to walk away before turning his attention back towards the champion. He would then step on the chair to clamp down on his neck yet again, crushing Kofi’s next leaving the fans in shock as they worried for the WWE Champion. Kofi would be stretchered to the top of the entrance aisle before getting to his feet and walking out on his own power but being hurt in the process.
Ziggler would then talk backstage being asked why he beat up Kofi with emotion in his face. He would head out to the stage to talk about why he beat up Kingston. Dolph began to blame how Ali getting hurt at the Elimination Chamber and Kofi managed to take advantage should have been his spot to do so. With emotion in his voice, he discussed how he should have walked into the Elimination Chamber and walked out a star. He then brought up how at WrestleMania, while he sat at home, Kofi got his chance to become WWE Champion. After years of frustration, it was all pouring out of Ziggler. He told the fans that at WWE Super Showdown that he will defeat Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship and everyone will love him, because all along, it should have simply been him. This new insane side of Ziggler may be what he needs as he is the new contender for Kingston.
The return of Dolph Ziggler and a successful night for the 24/7 Champion, R-Truth, would highlight the night of SmackDown LIVE in a big way. We continue to move closer and closer to WWE Super Showdown and WWE Stomping Grounds.