Prior to this episode of Smackdown, it was officially announced that Asuka will be defending her WWE Women’s Championship on the line against Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair at the upcoming Summerslam Premium Live Event in a Triple Threat matchup.
To help build momentum towards her championship match at the “Biggest Party of the Summer”, Charlotte was scheduled to face Ms. MITB IYO SKY on Smackdown with SKY’s Damage CTRL teammate Bayley on commentary. In what many have long considered to be a dream match, Flair and SKY brought out each other’s athleticism by showcasing moves that displayed their respective backgrounds in gymnastics. IYO targeted Charlotte’s knee throughout the match looking to weaken her down for the patented Figure 8 signature move.
As Flair looked to gain the upper hand with SKY on the top turnbuckle, Bayley would leave the announce table area to distract The Queen before an eerie video package of Shotzi would appear on the titantron seeming to haunt Bayley. Frightened by Shotzi’s antics, Bayley would leave the ringside area completely to allow a clean one-on-one bout between Flair and SKY. Both women looked to land their respective moonsaults, but it wasn’t until a back-and-forth roll-up that Charlotte saw the opportunity to land the Natural Selection to pick up the win. Before The Queen could relish in her victory, a vicious Asuka would attack her from behind, delivering a nasty German suplex and locking her in an armbar to send a message to her Summerslam challenger.
Writer’s Thoughts: IYO SKY vs. Charlotte Flair was always a dream match I wanted to see happen in the WWE, so for it to happen unexpectedly on an episode of Smackdown was a fun surprise! Despite IYO’s loss, I think this was a good decision to keep IYO out of the title picture for the time being until Summerslam so that the WWE Universe could divert their attention to the upcoming Triple Threat with Asuka, Charlotte, and Bianca. I also enjoyed the brief continuation of the Bayley and Shotzi rivalry as this could be an opportunity for Shotzi to win the fans over with a victory over the veteran Bayley. I am curious, however, regarding Bianca’s absence on this episode of Smackdown.
For further coverage on this episode of Smackdown, be sure to check out Women’s Wrestling Talk’s official Smackdown Post-Show Live Stream!