Smackdown results: WWE walks on thin ice with Jeff Hardy storyline
Hardy’s real-life history of DUI offences is an extremely sensitive matter and portraying it on TV was pretty poor booking.
Friday night Smackdown opened with a segment that is bound to leave a bad taste. Jeff Hardy emerged as the prime suspect in a hit and run case against Elias and was arrested. The show began with Elias laying in the street and being tended to by paramedics next to a crashed car, that alcohol and paperwork suggesting it the vehicle was rented by Hardy. Hardy was found laying near the bushed, reeking of the smell alcohol and arrested.
It took a while for the whole angle to be digested completely. WWE has in the past included real-life scenarios in storylines but in this particular case, they may be taken things a little too far. Hardy’s history of substance abuse and DUI offences are extremely sensitive topics. Portraying it on TV is a pretty solid example of poor booking and definitely not what the WWE stands for.
None the less, the angle led to cancellation of two matches for the evening – Elias vs AJ Styles and Hardy vs Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental title tournament. Styles gleefully accepted a walkover into the tournament final, but Bryan decided to fight for it. So in order to determine his opponent, a 10-man Battle Royal was set up. Despite an impressive show by King Corbin, who eliminated the first four participants, it was Sheamus who won the match by taking out Jey Uso with a Brogue Kick.
The win led to an engaging main event with Bryan and Sheamus battling for a spot in the final. Sheamus kept mocking Bryan, reminding the Leader of the Yes Movement of his 18-second win at WrestleMania 28. Sheamus landed the White Noise but just when it seemed he would close in on the win, Hardy walked out the ramp. Enough to distract Sheamus, Bryan struck with the running knee and set up a clash with Styles next week to determine the new Intercontinental champion. The show came to a close with Hardy beating down on the Celtic Warrior.
It was the perfect end to an impressive show otherwise, which saw a couple of exciting matches in the women’s division. Lacey Evans battled Sonya Deville which ended in a double count out before and Sasha Banks picked up a win over one half of the Smackdown Women’s tag champ Alexa Bliss. Shorty G had his moment, defeating Cesaro via pinfall with a sunset flip. A match that stemmed from the Battle Royal earlier in the evening, saw the Olympian overcome an early onslaught from the Swiss Superman before picking up an impressive win.