After SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige explains the rules of the Gauntlet Match and reveals the participants for the match, SmackDown LIVE officially gets underway with SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella, fresh off of her title defense against Asuka at Money-in-the-Bank where she used a distraction by the returning James Ellsworth to defeat “The Empress of Tomorrow”. Carmella says that, when she was younger, she struggled with a lot of “self-confidence issues” but she saw something beautiful in herself before anyone else could and she became a champion. The champion then drops the act, saying that she has been “moonwalking and trashtalking” since she was in diapers, telling everyone to “just give up”. Carmella continues, touting that she beat Charlotte Flair twice and, at Money-in-the-Bank, she did the unthinkable by defeating Asuka, claiming that she did it all by herself.
The champion is then interrupted by Asuka’s music before James Ellsworth makes his way to the ring, once again dressed up as Asuka. Ellsworth removes the mask before proclaiming that “no one was ready for Ellsworth”, especially Asuka. Ellsworth then says that he’s back to serve “the greatest woman in history”, saying that Carmella is better than Charlotte Flair, Lita, Trish Stratus, Mother Theresa, Beyoncé, Ronda Rousey, and she is especially better than Asuka! This brings an angry Asuka to the ring as “The Empress of Tomorrow” is ready for a fight and James Ellsworth gets in the face of Asuka and Ellsworth pays for it with a kick to the mid-section but, much like on Sunday, this gives Carmella the opening to drop Asuka with a super kick. Carmella and Ellsworth then leave the ring, leaving “The Empress of Tomorrow” down but with a smile on her face.
After coming up short in the Women’s Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match, Becky Lynch would look to rebound in the opening match of the night as “The Irish Lass Kicker” would go one-on-one with The IIconics’ Billie Kay, with Peyton Royce in her corner. After taking Peyton Royce out on the outside, Becky Lynch would counter a roll-up attempt into the Dis-Arm-Her, making Billie Kay tap out to pick up the win.
Following his loss to Shinsuke Nakamura last week, United States Champion Jeff Hardy would appear on the Tron. With his back turned, Jeff would recount Shinsuke Nakamura’s loss to AJ Styles at Money-in-the-Bank, saying that AJ has moved on. Jeff then says that he can’t move on from what happened last week, saying that Nakamura’s actions had an “unintended consequence”. The United States Champion then says that his “eyes were closed” before but, now, they are “open”. Jeff then turns around to show his face as Jeff is sporting his signature face paint once again as Jeff shows his white eyes before telling Nakamura, “I see you”.
Chaos would then arrive on SmackDown LIVE with the much-anticipated debut of SAnitY as Eric Young leads Killian Dain & Alexander Wolfe into battle against The Usos. Before the scheduled match can even begin, The Usos try to fire the first shot against SAnitY but the former champions are quickly overwhelmed by the wild trio. Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe then hold Jey Uso, making Jey watch as Killian Dain squashes Jimmy with a splash in the corner. Killian then makes Jimmy watch as Alexander Wolfe hoists Jey Uso up as Eric Young comes off of the second rope with a neckbreaker to Jey. This leaves SAnitY standing tall in the ring, having decimated one of the top tag teams on SmackDown LIVE in their first night on the blue brand.
In a rematch from the Money-in-the-Bank Kickoff, Gallows & Anderson would challenge The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles on SmackDown LIVE. Despite giving it their all and refusing to stay down, Gallows & Anderson would ultimately succumb to the dominance of The Bludgeon Brothers as Harper & Rowan would isolate Karl Anderson, hitting the double team powerbomb as Harper pins Anderson to successfully retain the SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
Then it was time for the main event as Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Rusev, Big E, and Samoa Joe would compete in a Gauntlet Match to determine who will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Title at Extreme Rules. The first Superstar to enter the Gauntlet Match would be Daniel Bryan as, after a tense staredown with The Bludgeon Brothers in the entrance way, Bryan would start the multi-part match against The New Day’s Big E. At the end of a competitive first part of the Gauntlet Match, it was Daniel Bryan scoring with the running knee, keeping Big E down for the three-count. There would be no rest for Daniel Bryan as Bryan would advance in the Gauntlet Match to square off with “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe. During a technical, hard-hitting classic between Daniel Bryan and Samoa Joe, Joe would lock in the Coquina Clutch on Daniel Bryan outside the ring but, with the referee nearing a count of ten, Daniel would quickly escape the hold and leap into the ring at the last second as Joe is counted out, meaning that Bryan advances!
However, before the next portion of the Gauntlet Match could begin, The Bludgeon Brothers would emerge as the SmackDown Tag Team Champions would target the Superstar they had a confrontation with earlier in the night, Daniel Bryan as Harper & Rowan would plant Daniel with their double team powerbomb! This would leave Daniel Bryan vulnerable to the next competitor in the Gauntlet Match, The Miz, as “The A-Lister” would pick the bones of his longtime rival, hitting the Skull Crushing Finale before eliminating Daniel from the Gauntlet Match! The Miz then tosses Daniel Bryan out of the ring before the Gauntlet Match comes down to The Miz and Rusev.
At the end of a back-and-forth battle, The Miz would go for the signature running knee of Daniel Bryan but Rusev would counter with the Machka Kick before locking in the Accolade, making “The A-Lister” tap out to win the Gauntlet Match and earn a match against AJ Styles for the WWE Title at Extreme Rules! After the match, WWE Champion AJ Styles would make his way to the ring to confront the new #1 Contender, symbolically laying the WWE Title belt down in the center of the ring before shaking hands with “The Lion of Bulgaria”. Aiden English would then want a handshake of his own from the WWE Champion but would pull his hand away at the last second and Styles would deck Aiden English for taunting him! Styles then leaves the ring as Rusev questions Aiden about his actions.
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