In case you're wondering why I am tackling this apparently random episode of Smackdown, especially five years into my hiatus from watching WWE TV on a weekly basis, it's because this is the first episode with Eric Bischoff as the Executive Director behind the scenes. Color me curious.
From the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Our hosts are Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves, and they're still buzzing about Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley going through the LED wall on last night's Raw.
Kevin Owens hosts the Kevin Owens Show with his very special guests, Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon! If I had to guess, I would say that Shane and Drew vs. Undertaker and Roman is going to main event Extreme Rules. Owens asks them to respond to footage of them fleeing the ring from Undertaker on Raw. Shane plays it cool, as he's feeling good about himself after beating Miz and Reigns, and nonchalantly makes their match No Holds Barred. Owens replays the footage of Shane and Drew rushing away from Undertaker and makes fun of them for hiding in the fourth row. Owens brings up Shane's loss to Taker at Wrestlemania and Shane appears ready for a fight, when Dolph Ziggler interrupts. Owens doesn't let Dolph get a word in and relentlessly mocks him for underachieving. Dolph says the only thing Kevin could win is a hot dog eating contest, which Owens is proud to own. Shane randomly decides that Ziggler and Owens should team up to face Heavy Machinery for a chance to enter a title match at Extreme Rules. In other words, 3 + 2 = 6, and don't question us because we're rolling in FOX money.
Smackdown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan are asked about Shane's booking decision. Bryan says we all need to accept Shane's unpopular decision and intends to continue reigning as the planet's tag team champions.
Xavier Woods and Big E are all smiles hanging out together, apparently not too upset about all the bad stuff that happened to them on Raw. They're asked about Shane's decision, and they seem pretty confident that they're regaining the tag titles at Extreme Rules.
R-Truth is interviewed backstage about his most recent 24/7 title loss to Drake Maverick. Truth rambles incoherently about his own honeymoon and demands his baby back.
Alexa Bliss asks Nikki Cross to host A Moment of Bliss for her tonight. Cross is overwhelmed by the offer, but Bliss thinks she'll be great, despite being socially awkward. I kind of like this subtly condescending heel role for Alexa.
Nikki Cross hosts A Moment of Bliss on the stage and is gushing over the opportunity and offers Alexa a heartfelt thank you. Nikki's very special guest is Smackdown Women's Champion Bayley, who is impressed that Alexa is sharing the spotlight. Nikki tries to defend Alexa and takes exception to Bayley suggesting that she's merely doing her bidding. Nikki is upset that Bayley has called Alexa a liar and dragged her name through the mud. Bayley stirs the pot saying it's unfair that she's facing Alexa at Extreme Rules and not Nikki. This frazzles Nikki who challenges Bayley right here and now. I continue to like this angle.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston is strutting around backstage throwing pancakes at passerbyers. He seems to be in a pretty good mood for someone who was beaten and humiliated 24 hours ago.
Ali cuts a promo in the parking lot. He is aiming to bring change and become WWE Champion.
Kayla hosts an in-ring confrontation between WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe. Joe dismisses Kayla right away or else she might become collateral damage. Joe accuses Kofi of using his New Day cohorts to get ahead. Kofi defends his recent resume, claiming he did it all by himself, and calls Joe out for his recent losses and playing hide and seek. Joe responds by insulting Kofi's family, which Kofi admirably no-sells. This seems to get under Joe's skin and he challenges Kofi to simply shake his hand. Kofi thinks about it but flips him off instead (a well placed camera angle blocks the bird from TV viewers). Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and stands tall. No joke, this segment was fantastic. Kofi got to look defiant, intelligent, and likeable, while Joe got to get himself over as mean, menacing, and determined. I actually want to see their match at Extreme Rules now.
Heavy Machinery are interviewed backstage. They're not all that concerned about their match with Owens and Ziggler tonight because they love each other so much.
Hey, did you know that Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley went through the LED wall on Raw? Well, if you missed it and the other 327 replays, let's take a look at it! To be fair, it actually goes somewhere, as we see footage from Twitter of Bobby Lashley reacting to the incident. He accuses Braun of putting them both through the wall on purpose but feels satisfied knowing that Braun got the worst of it. Lashley vows to send that “son of a bitch” to the morgue.
Kevin Owens pays Dolph Ziggler in the locker room to strategize for tonight. Dolph just wants Kevin to sit back and let him steal the show. Kevin suggests that they could actually make a good team and what's the harm in trying? Dolph agrees to be professional and shakes hands with Kevin, so long as he stays away from hot dogs.
Ember Moon looks determined on her way through the back and Carmella randomly offers her good luck.
Aleister Black cuts a promo in a shadowy, nondisclosed area. He talks a lot of gibberish about fighting an unnamed opponent in the seven layers of hell. Basically, he's issuing an open challenge for Extreme Rules. They rushed this guy out of NXT for this?
Shelton Benjamin is asked about his thoughts on the WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules. He just grins and heads out without saying a word. Is this Bischoff's doing?
Daniel Bryan, Rowan, Xavier Woods, and Big E join commentary for the main event.
Kevin Owens is outraged over the loss and superkicks Ziggler.
Final Thoughts: This was seemingly a pretty typical episode of Smackdown that didn't make any big waves. There seems to be a better effort to give more members of the roster something to do, and that's always a good thing. Mild thumbs up, mostly because there were no 2/3 falls matches.