Edge channelled his dark WWE past to get a mental edge over Seth Rollins on SmackDown just 24 hours before their SummerSlam dream match.
The former world champion went back to his days in the Brood as he left the Drip King covered head to foot in something of a bloodbath as he showed how far Rollins has pushed him heading into Saturday night.
The go-home show kicked off with Edge coming out to the roar of the Phoenix crowd as he delivered a brilliant promo tearing down his rival.
He showed flashes of the Rated R Superstar as he hinted at the depths he’ll sink to in order to beat Seth this weekend, and he offered a bit of a foreshadowing talking about the darkness he was willing to embrace.
Just an hour or so later, all was revealed as Rollins came to the ring in all-white suit to offer his rebuttal.
The Drip King was at his smarmy, over the top best here as their storyline continues to impress heading into SummerSlam, and he urged Edge to listen and told him there’s ‘no shame in [his] shortcomings’ before snapping at the fans, showing flashes of anger as they cheered for his rival.
He insisted the darkness was gone from Edge, only for the lights to drop as the Brood’s music hit and Edge threw it back to the Attitude Era and urged Seth to beware, ‘because the freaks come out at night’.
It turned into a bit of a bloodbath, leaving the ring splattered and Rollins covered from head to foot to the delight of the live crowd and viewers around the world.
This storyline didn’t need the extra spark, but boy was it welcome as Seth and Edge hinted at something special this weekend – and maybe even beyond.
Roman Reigns raises the strakes and vows to quit WWE if he loses to John Cena
In the main event segment of the evening, John Cena and Roman Reigns came face to face for the final time before their huge Universal Title clash at SummerSlam and the fans in Phoenix were absolutely hyped.
Naturally, the Tribal Chief was on fire – with Paul Heyman more than playing his part – as he tore down the movie star before Cena riled up the crowd as very few others can.
He insisted the champ has no idea what he’s in for and insisted he’ll be taking the title back to Hollywood, bringing Roman down a peg and leaving him high, dry and embarrassed.
He even vowed to become a record breaking 17-time world champion, to make the impossible become possible, with Cena going back to the one-two-three line time and time again to the delight of the crowd.
Reigns was riled up and raised the stakes, promising to leave WWE if he loses the championship tomorrow night!
In the first match of the night, Rey and Dominik Mysterio showed a bit more tension backstage before the former came out for a one-on-one match against Jimmy Uso.
The in-rung action was as great as you’d expect, with a great wrinkle when Dominik tried to help his dad with a pinfall only for the ref to notice, stop his count and go to kick him out.
Father and son have some words at ringside with the Usos jumping on the attack before Jimmy threw Rey back in the ring and hit the top rope splash for the win.
Up next, poor Baron Corbin – with Big E’s stolen Money In The Bank briefcase in hand – came down to face Kevin Owens after they’ve clashed recently.
The action was decent if unremarkable, but things picked up when the New Day man came out to reclaim his briefcase, battering his rival but getting shoved into the post as the former King of the Ring took it back and hightailed it out of the arena.
Backstage, Bianca Belair ranted to Kayla Braxton about her desire for revenge against Sasha Banks tomorrow at SummerSlam, and she vowed to take out Zelina Vega and Carmella after their attack last week, as she was set to face both women in one night.
After an advert aired revealing Logan Paul will be joining John Morrison on Moist TV during Monday Night Raw, it was time for Shotzi and Nox to take on Natalya and Tamina (again) in another Championship Contenders match.
The rising stars picked up another win over the champs (which the commentators called an upset despite them already doing so twice before), which should set up one more match with the gold on the line.
Elsewhere, Alpha Academy and Street Profits members clashed in singles action as Otis battled Montez Ford in a fun bout with their respective partners at ringside.
Otis continues to improve with his new look, and he made quick work of Ford to keep his team’s momentum rolling.
Up next, Rick Boogs and King Nakamura made their thrilling entrance before taking on Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez in a match delivering entertaining action with Boogs looking great in his first main roster outing.
Belair came back out for her some in-ring action with Carmella sending Zelina Vega in there for the first match, which the SmackDown Women’s Champion won with the K.O.D.
Carmella immediately hit a superkick to give herself the advantage in her bout, which went longer and showed off both stars’ chemistry together before the EST of WWE went two for two with another win.
WWE SmackDown results and grades
- Jimmy Uso pinned Rey Mysterio (B-)
- Baron Corbin beat Kevin Owens via DQ (C-)
- Championship Contenders Match: Shotzi and Nox defeated Natalya and Tamina (C+)
- Otis pinned Montez Ford (C+)
- King Nakamura and Rick Boogs beat Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez (B)
- Bianca Belair defeated Zelina Vega (C)
- Bianca Belair pinned Carmella (B)
*WWE SmackDown airs Friday nights at 1am on BT Sport 1.
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Author: Alistair McGeorge