Big E Confronts Reigns, Becky Lynch's Heel Behavior, More WWE SmackDown Fallout
After successfully cashing in his Money in the Bank contract on Raw, Big E returned to SmackDown with the WWE Championship.
The powerhouse of The New Day immediately confronted Roman Reigns and the rest of The Bloodline to kick off this week's show. Their segment led to Finn Balor and Big E facing The Usos.
Apollo Crews has been out of the spotlight in recent weeks, but he came roaring back when he attacked Shinsuke Nakamura and challenged him to a match for the IC title.
We also saw Toni Storm team up with Liv Morgan to face Carmella and Zelina Vega, and Bianca Belair was welcomed back to her hometown by Kane for a special presentation. Becky Lynch made sure The EST wouldn't forget this night.
Let's look at the biggest moments from this week's episode of SmackDown.
Big E Brings the WWE Title to SmackDown
SmackDown opened with Reigns, Heyman and The Usos cutting a promo in the ring. They were soon joined by Big E and Balor before a commercial break. They didn't have a chance to say anything before the interruption, so when we returned to see The Usos battling Big E and Balor in a tag match, it felt abrupt.
The new WWE champion and the No. 1 contender for the Universal Championship may not have The Usos' experience as a team, but they brought the fight to the SmackDown tag champs from the moment the bell rang.
The Usos used their vast experience advantage to control a lot of the action, but once Big E tagged in, he was able to overpower Jimmy and Jey with ease.
Balor and Big E finished off the twins with their finishers at the same time to score a win that popped the live crowd.
Despite winning the WWE title, it looks like management hasn't fully committed to making him exclusive to Raw. If the plan is for him to appear on both brands for a little while, he could end up fielding challenges from either locker room. That opens the door for several interesting possibilities.
Apollo Crews Wants the IC Title Back
Rick Boogs took on Robert Roode in singles competition this week, but what happened after the match was the real story.
After Boogs came out of the match with a win, he and Nakamura were celebrating at ringside before Commander Azeez and Apollo Crews attacked them out of nowhere.
The former IC champion said Nakamura had made a mockery of the title and he wanted it back. He issued a formal challenge, but since Nakamura was down, he didn't give a response.
This is likely being set up for Extreme Rules, but it may also end up on the Crown Jewel card depending on how long WWE wants to run this feud again.
We saw these two fight over the belt for most of the summer, so some fans are probably rolling their eyes at the idea of seeing them back in the ring again. We will likely get an official response from The King next week to set it up.
Toni Storm Finally Has Another Match, Liv Morgan Challenges Carmella
Storm made her SmackDown in-ring debut on July 23 against Vega. She won that match but hasn't been in the ring since that night. That changed this week when she and Morgan took on Vega and Carmella in a tag team match.
This bout was originally scheduled for last week's big MSG show, but WWE opted to bump it from the card, upsetting a lot of fans on social media in the process.
Mella took a cheap shot at Morgan on the apron before Storm forced her to retreat to her corner. Vega and the former NXT UK women's champion had the first competitive exchange.
After Carmella sold a possible broken nose, she and Vega were counted out to give Morgan and Storm the win. Morgan immediately grabbed a mic and challenged Mella to a match at Extreme Rules.
WWE booking a countout finish for the only women's match on the show is not the best outcome, but having a non-title bout at a PPV is so rare for the women's division that the bad finish might be worth it.
Morgan and Mella have both waited patiently for months to have something meaningful, and it looks like they will finally get it. If they impress at the PPV, we could see the winner enter the hunt for the SmackDown Women's Championship right away.
Bianca Belair's Homecoming
SmackDown ended with Kane returning to the blue brand to present Belair with a special homecoming award for all of her accomplishments. He gave her a key to the city.
Belair looked genuinely choked up at the reception and honor that was bestowed upon her, but it didn't take long before The Man made her presence felt.
She talked some trash before saying she wanted to show Belair some respect. She offered her hand for a shake and The EST took it, but when Lynch tried to walk away, Belair refused to release her grip.
The Man countered the KOD and hit the Manhandle slam to leave the hometown hero laying in the middle of the ring. Even when not in a match, nobody wins in their hometown if WWE has anything to say about it.
Lynch's heel turn is coming along nicely. She has embraced her ego and started wearing ridiculous clothes with a goofy hairstyle to accentuate her new personality.
The match at Extreme Rules between these two could use a hardcore stipulation to up the stakes. Something like a Last Woman Standing or Falls Count Anywhere bout might fit them best.