WWE SmackDown 1000 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
SmackDown celebrated 1,000 episodes Tuesday night with an explosive show featuring returning icons and the Superstars of today.
Titles changed hands, rivalries continued and Rey Mysterio returned to full-time action as he battled Shinsuke Nakamura in the night's main event.
Find out everything that went down on the blue brand's landmark episode with this recap of the USA Network presentation.
Vince McMahon Promo
R-Truth and Carmella were in the squared circle for just the second episode of Truth TV. The Princess of Staten Island introduced the first guest: former SmackDown general manager Stephanie McMahon.
Shane McMahon joined the festivities, followed shortly by Mr. McMahon, who received a thunderous ovation.
The boss said no one wanted to hear them talk; they wanted to be entertained. With that, he ordered a dance break, and everyone involved did just that.
The McMahon family has been a vital part of SmackDown's history, and as a harmless little segment to kick off the show and pay homage to those whose presences have helped make the show a historic one, this was perfect.
AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan vs. The Usos
AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan will do battle for the WWE Championship at Crown Jewel, but Tuesday night they teamed up to battle one of SmackDown's greatest teams, The Usos.
Both AJ and Bryan overcame onslaughts from Jimmy and Jey to stand tall heading into the commercial break.
A hot tag late in the bout from Bryan saw the bearded wonder unload on the opposition, including a suicide dive that wiped out Jimmy on the floor.
A miscommunication led to Styles colliding with his surging partner and The Usos delivering a wicked double superkick for the upset win.
The Usos defeated Styles and Bryan
Any match with this caliber of talent involved is guaranteed to be a fun one, at the very least. While it did not reach the quality it had the potential to, it did further the competitive rivalry between Styles and Bryan while giving the little-used Usos a signature win for the first time in a while.
A fun way to kick off the show from an in-ring perspective.
Evolution reunited Tuesday night, drawing a huge ovation, particularly for the return of Batista.
The Animal took to the squared circle alongside Triple H, Randy Orton and the iconic Ric Flair, basking in the adulation of the audience as he did. This despite the fact that Evolution was never really part of the SmackDown brand.
Triple H put over everyone in the ring and discussed the significance of SmackDown's 1,000th episode. Flair delivered some crowd-pleasing woos, and Orton discussed the evolution of the business.
Then Batista took the mic.
The Animal discussed the pride he has in having helped build the brand. He reminded fans that he was born and raised from nothing in Washington, D.C., and returning to talk to them all was a dream of his. He wanted to return for the fans because no matter whether they cheered or booed (he mentioned Bluetista!), he appreciated every one of them. And finally, he put over the specialness of Evolution.
It was a mention of his undefeated record against Triple H that drew the ire of The Game, who wore a look of dismay on his face straight through their final embrace.
Not only did this give fans the reunion of one of the greatest factions in WWE history, but it also planted the seeds for Batista's long-awaited return to the squared circle.
The look on Triple H's face when Batista reminded him of the fact that he has never defeated him was more than enough to suggest that the issues between them are only beginning.
While some will argue that those two guys should not be taking up television time at this point in their careers, they always did have strong chemistry, dating back to their Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance 2005.
If allowed to lean on gimmicks and specialty match stipulations, the potential for one last great match is certainly there. Especially if Batista can bring the magic and charisma, as he did one more time Tuesday night.
World Cup Qualifier: Rusev vs. The Miz
Back from the commercial break, Rusev and The Miz were in the squared circle for a World Cup Qualifier.
Before the match could really get started, Aiden English appeared at ringside and provided a distraction that allowed Miz to score a schoolboy roll-up for the win.
After the match, Lana delivered a low blow to English, and The Bulgarian Brute sent him over the commentary table to abruptly end the segment.
Miz defeated Rusev
This was so rushed, it would have been better served as part of next week's show.
It made sense that English would seek revenge after last week's humiliation, but this did nothing to make him look like anything more than a geek forever destined to be beaten down and humbled by his former tag team partner and his wife.
A waste of a few minutes this show almost certainly did not have at its disposal.
The Cutting Edge with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair
Edge returned to the WWE ring for the first time in over a year for a special edition of The Cutting Edge. The Rated R Superstar discussed his lengthy SmackDown resume, including a No Disqualification match with Eddie Guerrero that "is still talked about today."
He introduced Becky Lynch to the WWE Universe, and the SmackDown women's champion drew the largely positive ovation she has become accustomed to in recent months.
Edge told The Lass Kicker that he understood what it feels like to be underappreciated and to have to scratch and claw her way to the top. He was never supposed to be on the posters or in the headlines, he said. He earned that. She can too, but she cannot do it the way she has so far.
He said she will sit at home and regret her actions and not even like herself.
Lynch responded, saying she loves herself before telling him to get out of her ring.
Charlotte Flair arrived on the scene and a brawl between her and Lynch erupted before producers rushed the ring to pull them apart.
Edge looking back in hindsight and admitting that all of his successes were regretful because of his actions, only to be dismissed and disrespected by the attitudinal Lynch was excellent television that gave fans a look at just how deep into this new persona the champion is.
The brawl was nice, though nothing we haven't seen before.
If anything, this did a fine job of putting emphasis on the upcoming SmackDown Women's Championship match at Evolution but did little to sell any other aspect of the feud fans have not already bought into.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day vs. The Bar
The long-running rivalry over the SmackDown tag team champions The New Day and The Bar continued this week, as Xavier Woods and Big E defended the gold against Cesaro and Sheamus.
Heading into the commercial break, Cesaro delivered a Neutralizer that nearly won him and The Celtic Warrior the gold. Back from that break, Sheamus and Cesaro delivered a combination powerbomb/uppercut that earned another near-fall.
At ringside, Woods launched himself over the top rope, only to end up in the grasp of the challengers. After tossing Woods into the crowd, The Bar watched as Big Show made his way to the ringside area.
Big Show delivered a nasty chokeslam to Kofi Kingston through the announce table, allowing Sheamus to deliver the Brogue Kick to Big E and score the tag team titles for the heels.
The Bar defeated The New Day to win the tag team titles
It would not be a celebration of SmackDown without a nonsensical Big Show turn.
We got that here, but at the same time, a hint of mystery. Why did the giant turn on New Day and align himself with Sheamus and Cesaro? What does he have to gain?
If anything, it breaks up the monotony that had become the repetitive New Day-Bar bouts.
Even if they were typically awesome.
World Cup Qualifying Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Rey Mysterio, one of the most significant stars in SmackDown history, returned to WWE for the first time since the Greatest Royal Rumble this past April for a World Cup qualifying match against United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura.
Back from the final break of the show, Nakamura had overcome the early onslaught from Mysterio and was in firm control of the bout. As he rushed across the ring for the Kinshasa, Mysterio countered into a roll-up for two.
Another attempt at the Kinshasa was countered, and a headscissors sent the U.S. champion into the ropes. The 619 followed, and a springboard splash earned him the victory.
Mysterio celebrated his victory after the match until the familiar gong sounded, the lights dimmed and The Undertaker returned to the show he was such an integral part of from 2002 through 2012.
Mysterio defeated Nakamura
This was more of a reintroduction to Mysterio than an actual competitive dream match.
The Master of the 619 looked phenomenal, and his chemistry with Nakamura was there; it just did not have the opportunity to expand or evolve as the match went along because the show obviously ran late and needed to hit upon the return of The Undertaker as well.
Disappointing, yes, but not at all because of the performances of the wrestlers themselves.
The Undertaker Returns to SmackDown
The Deadman earned a raucous ovation as he stepped through the curtain, the aura as awe-inspiring as ever. The lights came back on with the rise of his arms, and The Phenom set foot inside the squared circle.
A microphone in hand, he stood ominously in the center of the ring to address the WWE faithful.
"At Crown Jewel, I have three words for DX: Rest. In. Peace."
With that direct message, the night's broadcast came to a close as the commentary team hyped the upcoming match between The Brothers of Destruction and D-Generation X.
What a colossal waste of The Undertaker.
The Deadman was a cornerstone of SmackDown, right alongside Rey Mysterio, Edge and Eddie Guerrero, and the fact that he was wasted on a three-minute segment that was essentially more hype for a match that may or may not actually happen is a shame.
A terribly disappointing close to a show that often felt rushed.