WWE SmackDown #4 [Tampa Bay, Florida]
Match #1 - Bayley O def. Bianca Belair X
Having taken out The Boss last week in impressive style, Bianca Belair looked to complete the set by taking on the Huggable half of the Boss 'N' Hug Connection; Bayley. For a moment it looked like she had succeeded too; Bayley taken out unawares by a waiting Ruby Riott as she waited for Belair to stagger to her feet. Hit with the Riott Kick, all Belair had to do was cover the fallen Bayley, only for her to kick out at the last possible second, to the excitement of Tampa and The Hugger Section. Belair attempted to ride the momentum, hitting the Argentine Facebuster which had taken out Banks last week, only for Bayley to once again kick out at the last second. Furious now, Belair ran at Bayley, only for her to be caught in a Bayley to Belly, with the latter gaining the hard-earned pinfall victory.
Her joy was short-lived however as Riott, this time accompanied by the remainder of her Riott Squad posse, stormed the ring and laid waste to Bayley. Chair Shots rained down on The Huggable One, before Logan slammed her repeatedly into the ring post. Eventually, Liv Morgan set up a table and Riott slammed Bayley through it. EMTs came down to the ring and the arena fell silent as Bayley was gently placed into a neck brace and onto a stretcher before being carried up the ramp, The Riott Squad sitting cross-legged in the ring, ill-disguised mirth written all over their faces.
Match #2 - SAniTy [Eric Young & Killian Dain O] def. Zack Ryder X & Curt Hawkins
[WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Quarter-Final]
The final team into the WWE SmackDownTag Team Tournament Semi-Finals was decided in a crushingly short match featuring SAniTy members Eric Young and Killian Dain and the team of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Dain was the main reason this match was so short, delivering crushingly stiff blows to both members of the opposition. Big Boot after Big Boot followed thumping Running Knee Strikes before Hawkins was actually Alabama Slammed out of the ring entirely. With Eric Young directing traffic from the sidelines, Dain climbed to the top rope and delivered an enormous Splash, crushing any resistance out of Zack Ryder, leading to a emphatic win for SAniTy, firmly establishing them as a favourite as the tournament makes its way to the Semi-Final stages.
The Rated R Superstar, Edge, came out next addressing the capacity crowd before his singles match against Chris Jericho. After pouring what seemed like fake praise on the previous match, he reminisced briefly about his time as a Tag Team wrestler, and talked then about how the tag division was noting to when he was in it. Following this, he invited Randy Orton to the ring, with whom he had had a very lucrative tag team before and extended the offer of reacquainting once more to put a pathetic Tag Team division on notice. Orton though briefly but the apparent lure of more gold swayed it in his favour and the two shook hands, smiling at each other. Terrible news it seems for the Tag Team division.
Match #3 - Edge w/ Randy Orton O def. Chris Jericho X
Orton then stayed out to watch his new Tag Team partner in singles action in what many saw as a PPV level match between Chris Jericho and Edge. After a brief back and forth, Jericho seemed to have Edge's number, avoiding the Spear by hitting the Codebreaker before looking to lock in The Walls of Jericho. Noting this Orton, pulled the referee out of the ring to cause a distraction. Jericho, rightly incensed by this, chastised Orton from inside the ring, only to be low-blowed by Edge. With the referee still coming to, Orton slid in to hit the RKO and then threw the referee back into the ring, allowing Edge to hit the Spear and get the victory. The audience felt cheated by the result and how the result came about, booing the two superstars as the two new best friends left the ring laughing hysterically at Jericho, still on his back in the centre of the ring.
Daniel Bryan came to the ring next, wasting no time in calling out Drew McIntyre who duly obliged. Bryan asked him outright why he was attempting to dominate in this way, but rather than answer, McIntyre aimed a swift kick to the nether regions of Bryan, causing him to keel over in pain. A wild brawl then followed with the two superstars fighting their way around the arena, into the crowd and back into the ring before the officials could successfully break the pair up. No answers as to why yet, but a rivalry that is quickly becoming one of the most heated in the WWE.
Match #4 - Roderick Strong O def. Cedric Alexander X
[WWE United States Championship Match]
Roderick Strong Becomes the First WWE United States Champion
A huge reception greeted Cedric Alexander as he made his way to the ring, but that was nothing to the reception hometown hero Roderick Strong received as he entered the arena hoping to become the inaugural WWE United States Champion. The match was started with a handshake, after all both men had defeated more fancied opponents in the qualifying matches, but after that it was nothing but electrifying wrestling at an electrifying pace. It kicked off instantly with Strong going for a quick School Boy, only for the pair to then trade pinfall attempts, transitioning all around the ring.
The pace then changed again , with the action then moving to the outside, and Strong pandering to his fans with 4 unbelievable Sentons over the top rope onto Alexander. Once the match made its way back into the ring, it was all about Strong's trademark Backbreakers against Alexander's arsenal of Suplexes, and the crowd were treated to the exhibition of wrestling they had missed out on in the previous match.
The action intensified and Strong had to use every ounce of his resilience to kick out of a Brainbuster from Alexander, but with the crowd behind him, it seemed only a matter of time until Strong got the upper hand. Alexander responded by kicking out of an End of Heartache and a Belly to Back Facebuster, before Strong finally got the all important pinfall victory with a second End of Heartache, in the process becoming the inaugural WWE United States Champion in front of his hometown crowd.