– The Backlash go-home edition of WWE SmackDown on FOX opens up with a video package showing last week’s Jeff Hardy promo on the hit & run from the previous week. We also see what happened with Sheamus.
– We’re live on a tape delay from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida as Michael Cole welcomes us. He’s joined by Corey Graves. We see some of the WWE NXT developmental trainees as “fans” in the crowd.
– Cole sends us to Renee Young in the ring. She mentions Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus at WWE Backlash and says WWE management has requested that they sign a contract to make the match official. Renee introduces Sheamus first and out he comes to boos. Sheamus comes to the ring with a doctor in a lab coat, and four men dressed in black as security. They are carrying a large black wrap-around cover or shield with them. Renee introduces Hardy next and out he comes to a pop.
Renee asks what this is all about and Sheamus doesn’t want to embarrass the lady. Hardy isn’t worried what this is about. Jeff accuses Sheamus of being behind the recent hit and run. Jeff mentions at Backlash nothing will be able to save Sheamus, even his security. Sheamus wants a little assurance going into Backlash. He had his lawyer make it to where Jeff has to take a urine test before he signs the contract. Sheamus believes Jeff will fail the test and if he does, the Backlash match is off because there’s no chance he’s stepping in the ring with a junkie. Sheamus gets booed some more now. Jeff says he is an alcoholic and if this is what he has to do to get to Sheamus, fine. He’s been battling alcohol and addiction since his early 20s, and he’s tired of fighting. He goes to meetings each week and talks about how he’s let everyone down. He’s sick and tired of being sick and tired. His demons are starving and sometimes all it takes to want to feed them is being in the presence of a bastard like Sheamus but not this time, he’s going to be a beacon of light for everyone else who experiences something like this. Jeff goes on about what he’s going to do to Sheamus. Sheamus says his doctor will be able to speed up the test which usually takes 24 hours, and he will pay for the test on his own. Sheamus says his doctor is even overseeing the test.
Sheamus asks Renee to leave the ring because Jeff is experiencing performance issues. Jeff steps inside of the curtain that Sheamus had brought out. The doctor steps in with him. Sheamus knocks Hardy while he apparently urinates in a cup. They step back out with a glass full of urine. Sheamus jokes that Hardy had fun at Happy Hour. Sheamus continues to taunt Hardy as the doctor tests the urine. Jeff ends up grabbing the urine and throwing it in Sheamus’ face. Jeff exits the ring while Sheamus stumbles back, covered in urine. Sheamus is furious. We see Sheamus’ doctor heading to the back. Sheamus flips the contract signing table over in the ring and fumes as security looks on. The crowd chants “you got pissed on!” as Jeff watches from the ramp. Jeff’s music starts back up as we go to commercial.
– Back from the break and Sheamus is in the bathroom washing his face off. The doctor comes in and informs him that the test was negative for any kind of substances. Sheamus throws another fit.
– Cole and Graves hype tonight’s match for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Title.
The New Day vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
We go back to the ring and out come SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day – Big E and Kofi Kingston. They take a knee and kneel in the middle of the ring, raising their fists in the air. Out next are Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura for this non-title match as Greg Hamilton does the introductions.
Cesaro starts off with Kofi and they lock up, trading holds in the middle of the ring. Cesaro overpowers with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Nakamura tags in and they go at it. Kofi counters and sends Nakamura to the floor. Big E tags in and launches Kofi out onto Nakamura. Cesaro levels Kofi on the floor. Big E runs over Cesaro with a clothesline. Big E brings Nakamura back in but Nakamura drops him back to the floor with a kick to the back of the neck.
Cesaro runs back over and drops Big E on the floor with a big uppercut. We go back to commercial with Kofi and Big E down on the outside.
Back from the break and Cesaro has Big E grounded in the middle of the ring. Big E fights up but Cesaro uppercuts him in the corner. Nakamura tags in and delivers high knees in the corner. Nakamura and Cesaro keep control now. Big E fights Cesaro off and hits a belly-to-belly out of the corner. Kofi and Nakamura tag in at the same time and Kofi mounts offense.
Kofi unloads on Nakamura and drops him with a big right hand. Kofi with the Boom Droop in the middle of the ring. Kofi rallies the crowd but is distracted by Cesaro on the apron. Nakamura tries to capitalize but Kofi counters and hits SOS for a 2 count as Cesaro breaks it up. Big E comes in and clotheslines Cesaro to the floor. Big E also lands hard on the outside. Kofi rocks Nakamura and goes to the top. Nakamura climbs up but Kofi knocks him to the mat. Kofi with a big crossbody from the top but Nakamura gets his knees up. Nakamura covers for the non-title win.
Winners: Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro
– After the match, Cesaro joins Nakamura on the floor and they celebrate the non-title win as the music hits.
– We see Tucker and Otis backstage getting ready. Mandy Rose walks up and reminds Otis to take his Money In the Bank briefcase. Otis is excited to see Mandy but Tucker tries to get him to focus. We suddenly see Jeff Hardy and Sheamus brawling next to them. They brawl into a bunch of items stacked up as officials try to separate them. Sheamus pounds on Hardy as we go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and the announcers lead us to a video package on the history of the WWE Intercontinental Title, narrated by Graves.
Tournament Finals for the Vacant WWE Intercontinental Title: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
We go to the ring for tonight’s tournament finals for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Title as AJ Styles makes his way out first. Daniel Bryan is out next. We get formal ring introductions from Hamilton. The Intercontinental Title belt is on display in the arena.
The bell rings and they lock up, trading holds in the middle of the ring. Bryan takes control and they break after a hold. Fans do dueling chants as they go at it again. Styles drops Bryan into the turnbuckle in the corner. AJ ends up hung up on the second rope as Bryan sends him to the floor. Bryan runs the ropes and nails a suicide dive for a pop. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Bryan drives knees into AJ while keeping him down in a submission in the middle of the ring. They end up running the ropes and AJ nails a big dropkick. AJ works Bryan over with chops now, sending him to the corner and back out. Bryan fights back and uppercuts AJ into the corner.
Bryan takes AJ back down but AJ counters and works on the arm. They run the ropes again and Bryan delivers a knee to the gut to drop AJ. Bryan with a leg submission now. Bryan keeps AJ down with submissions, forcing him to yell out in pain. AJ tries to crawl to the bottom rope. The hold is broken after Bryan turns it into a 2 count. Bryan uppercuts AJ back into the corner and unloads with kicks now. Bryan charges but AJ comes out of the corner. They trade quick pin attempts a few times. AJ takes Bryan down into a side headlock, then a leg scissors. They trade more counters and pin attempts. They charge and both collide in mid-air. They both go down in the middle of the ring as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and we see the title on display as the action continues in the ring. AJ and Bryan continue to go back and forth. AJ rolls Bryan for a 2 count. Bryan goes back to the arm and tries for the Yes Lock. AJ blocks it and catapults Bryan over the top rope to the floor. Bryan sells an arm injury. AJ leaps to the floor but Bryan catches him. Bryan rams AJ arm-first into the ring post. AJ goes down while the referee counts and Bryan looks on.
Bryan stomps on AJ’s elbow on the apron now. Bryan goes back to the floor and brings AJ in. Bryan continues to focus on the hurt arm. AJ fights him off but Bryan takes him back down by the arm. Bryan keeps the punishment coming and stomps on the elbow again after twisting it up. Bryan keeps AJ grounded again, bending the arm back. Bryan slides AJ into another 2 count. AJ rolls to the apron for a breather but Bryan stays on him. Bryan headbutts AJ into the corner. Bryan charges in the opposite corner with a dropkick but AJ moves and Bryan lands hard. AJ with kicks to keep Bryan down in the corner now. AJ goes to the floor and wraps Bryan’s leg over the edge of the apron. AJ breaks the count and comes back in to keep working on Bryan’s knee and leg as the trainees boo him. AJ wraps Bryan’s leg around the middle rope and pushes him back as the referee backs him off. AJ leaves Bryan’s leg hung up on the middle rope, then goes back to work on him. The referee continues to warn AJ.
Bryan connects with an enziguri to bring AJ back down. Bryan is also down in the middle of the ring now. AJ keeps control and springboards in from the apron but Bryan cuts him off and rocks him in mid-air, avoiding the Phenomenal Forearm. Bryan unloads with Yes Kicks in the corner now. Bryan takes it to the top and hits the big hurricanrana. Bryan starts to hulk up and rally the crowd. Bryan with Yes Kicks while AJ is on his knees in the middle of the ring now. AJ ducks the roundhouse kick and unloads with strikes. Bryan with big kicks. AJ comes right back with a clothesline. They both go back down and we return to commercial.
More back and forth after the match as they trade strikes. Bryan launches AJ over the top rope to the floor. AJ ends up coming back in and then springboarding from the apron but Bryan blocks another Phenomenal Forearm. Bryan goes on and drops AJ into an armbar. AJ counters with the Calf Crusher. Bryan reaches for the bottom rope as AJ tightens the hold. More back and forth on the mat. Bryan gets free and delivers a big kick. Bryan drops AJ from his knees with another big kick to the head but AJ kicks out at 2. Bryan ends up in control on the top rope, looking for a super back suplex. AJ back elbows Bryan to the mat. Bryan leaps back up to the top and nails AJ with a forearm to the back of the head. AJ knocks Bryan back to the mat again.
AJ stands up on the turnbuckle but Bryan runs back up with another forearm smash. Bryan unloads with more strikes to AJ’s back up top. Bryan hits the huge back suplex from the top and they both land hard. We go to commercial with both competitors down.
Back from the break and Bryan’s knee buckles, allowing AJ to drop him for another close 2 count. AJ scoops Bryan on his shoulder but Bryan fights out with elbows. AJ comes back with a pele kick. AJ keeps control and nails a Brainbuster for another close 2 count. The “fans” continue rallying. AJ gets up and goes for the Styles Clash but Bryan blocks it and jackknifes him for a 2 count. Bryan blocks a pele kick and goes for the ankle lock. AJ fights out of it but Bryan turns that into a German suplex for a 2 count. They tangle some more and AJ hits a German of his own but Bryan is still in it.
They tangle on their feet again and Bryan delivers his second German but AJ kicks out. Bryan drives elbows into AJ on the mat now. Bryan goes for the Yes Lock and the referee checks on AJ. The hold is broken as the “yes!” chants start up. Bryan stretches AJ and stomps away while holding his arms. Bryan gets fired up and plays to the crowd. Bryan waits for AJ to get up, calling for another “yes!” chant. AJ slowly gets up and Bryan runs for the flying knee but AJ catches him and drops him with a Styles Clash. AJ is unable to crawl over for the pin. AJ moves to the apron and slowly tries to get back to his feet.
The crowd does more dueling chants. AJ springboards in from the apron and nails the Phenomenal Forearm for the pin to win the vacant title.
Winner and New WWE Intercontinental Champion: AJ Styles
– After the match, AJ’s music hits as he starts to get back to his feet. We go to replays. AJ stands tall with the title as Renee Young enters the ring to interview him. She asks him what it means to be Intercontinental Champion. AJ has said it before and he will say it again – he’s the best champion the WWE Universe has ever seen, and he is phenomenal. AJ’s celebration resumes as we see a referee checking on Bryan outside of the ring. Bryan clutches his knee. AJ has trouble staying up, but stands back on his feet and raises the title.
– We see what happened last week with The Miz and John Morrison pranking Braun Strowman, and then Strowman tipping their van over. Braun is backstage now. He says Miz and Morrison have vowed to make his life hell. He can fix his windshield but they won’t be able to fix themselves after he destroys them at Backlash. Braun also mentions Otis possibly cashing in during tonight’s main event. He warns Otis and Tucker that if they try anything tonight, he has no problem with obliterating some “heavy machinery.”
– We see the ring crew setting up for a celebration in the ring. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see how Sasha Banks and SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley recently won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
– We go to the ring and out come WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley for their big celebration. Cole hypes Banks and Bayley vs. The IIconics vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross at WWE Backlash on Sunday.
The boos immediately start and Bayley isn’t happy. The crowd chants “you suck!” now and Bayley disagrees, bragging about how good she is and untouchable she is. Bayley says it can be lonely at the top but she has her best friend, Sasha. Banks also brags about their success and says they will only get stronger because together they are unstoppable.
The boos continue and Bayley tells Banks not to listen to these people. She wrote a poem to tell Banks exactly how she feels. Bayley goes to read her poem but the music interrupts and out comes Bliss and Cross. Bliss is cool with them celebrating their win but she has to draw a line at poetry. Bayley throws a fit over their moment being ruined. Cross taunts them as they enter the ring. The IIconics interrupt on the big screen next. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, with the RAW logo in the background, taunt the others in the ring and. They suggest the champs not turn their backs on Cross and Bliss. Banks and Bayley turn around to an attack from Bliss and Cross. They clear the ring of Bayley and Banks as The IIconics look on from the big screen, laughing at everyone. Bliss’ music hits as Banks and Bayley yell at them from the floor.
– Kayla Braxton is backstage with John Morrison and The Miz last week. They joke about Braxton accidentally getting slimed last week. They go on and send us to their latest music video and version of the “Hey Hey” song. The music video is interrupted by WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman making his way to the ring for tonight’s main event.
Braun Strowman and Heavy Machinery vs. The Miz, John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler
WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman hits the ring to a pop for tonight’s six-man main event. Out next are his partners, Heavy Machinery. Tucker and Otis hit the ring and Otis is carrying his Money In the Bank briefcase. We go back to commercial.
Back from the break and we get a new “coming soon” vignette for Matt Riddle. Riddle will make his debut next Friday night. We go back to the ring and Braun stands with Heavy Machinery as Dolph Ziggler makes his way out first. The Miz is out next to join Ziggler on the stage. John Morrison joins them and they all head to the ring together.
Strowman taunts Miz and Morrison on the floor before we get the bell. Ziggler starts off with Otis. Ziggler retreats over the top rope to the floor. Otis taunts him from the ring. Ziggler paces around but Miz is going to start. Otis brings Miz over the top rope and goes to work on him. Otis tags in Tucker for the double team headbutts. Tucker drops another headbutt, sending Miz to the corner to tag out. Morrison tags in and catches Tucker with a big kick. Morrison counters a big backdrop. Tucker catches Morrison in mid-air and slams him for a 2 count.
Tucker stands tall over Morrison and talks some trash. Morrison retreats and tags in Ziggler. Ziggler goes behind Tucker but Tucker counters and clubs him. Otis tags in, as does Strowman. They triple team Ziggler by launching Strowman into him with a splash in the corner. Strowman clubs Ziggler to the mat with a big strike. Tucker tags back in and holds Ziggler in the air for a big suplex. King Baron Corbin suddenly appears on the big screen, telling the camera man to follow him but keep a distance.
Tucker stops the suplex, placing Ziggler on his shoulder, and everyone watches Corbin. We see Corbin approach Mandy Rose backstage and ask him about what happened last week with Otis and his crown. Mandy says they were just playing around. Corbin says Mandy was really fantasizing about being with him. Otis appears out of nowhere and rushes Corbin, knocking him down. Otis unloads on Corbin as officials try to break it up. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Ziggler tags in to drop a big elbow on Tucker for a 2 count. Otis has not returned to the ring. Strowman tries to rally for Tucker while Ziggler keeps control and grounds Tucker in the middle of the ring. Tucker fights up but Ziggler rams him into the corner by his hair while Miz distracts the referee. Morrison tags back in and delivers kicks to Tucker.
Morrison drops Tucker with a kick for a 2 count as the crowd boos the heels some more. Morrison grounds Tucker by his arm as Strowman reaches for a tag. Miz tags in as Tucker sends Morrison to the floor. Tucker blocks a Figure Fur and kicks Miz out of the ring. Ziggler comes in but Tucker ends up dropping him with an enziguri. Tucker goes for the tag but Miz and Morrison pull Strowman from the apron to the floor. They double team him and Miz drops him with a big DDT.
Ziggler turns his attention back to Tucker in the ring. Otis returns to the ringside area and Mandy is with him. Ziggler taunts Rose but pays for it as Tucker drops him. Otis tags in and drops Miz and Morrison from the apron to the floor. Otis levels Ziggler with a clothesline. Miz and Morrison run back in but Otis takes them out. Otis dances around, taking shots from Ziggler. Ziggler hits him again but Otis just takes it. Otis with a headbutt. Otis ends up tossing Ziggler out to the floor and he lands hard. The crowd chants for Otis now.
Otis calls for the Freight Train as Strowman runs wild around the ringside area, leveling all three opponents. Ziggler is sent back in and Otis hits him with the Caterpillar, then the big elbow drop. Otis covers Ziggler for the pin to win.
Winners: Braun Strowman and Heavy Machinery
– After the match, Mandy hits the ring to celebrate with Strowman, Otis and Tucker. Otis kicks Ziggler out of the ring as the Heavy Machinery music hits. We go to replays. Strowman raises the Universal Title in the air while Otis raises his Money In the Bank briefcase. We see the heels down on the outside recovering. Otis, briefcase still in the air, glances over at Strowman and his title while the celebration continues. The final SmackDown before WWE Backlash goes off the air.