WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Begins

The first edition of SmackDown on FOX following Money in the Bank featured “Mr. Money in the Bank” Otis appear on Miz TV. Earlier in the week it was announced on WWE Backstage that Sami Zayn has been unable to defend the Intercontinental Championship, thus declaring the title vacant. A tournament began Friday night to declare a new champion.

Miz TV with Otis

The Miz and John Morrison barely got through their introduction before Otis paraded the arena with his MITB briefcase. Otis said his biggest win was winning over the heart of his “peach,” Mandy Rose. 

Several baby pictures of Otis appeared on the jumbotron and he talked about the role his mother had in his life. Miz talked down about Otis and sounded jealous while doing so. He questioned how Otis ascended to his position and challenged him to find a partner for a tag team match later in the night.

Elias vs. King Corbin

The first round of the Intercontinental Championship tournament kicked off with the rivalry between Elias and Corbin being revisited. Elias appeared at MITB and struck Corbin with a guitar as his rival was climbing toward the briefcase.

Corbin began the match going quickly after Elias and putting him in several submissions. Elias escaped those holds and clotheslined Corbin from the ring. He climbed atop a turnbuckle and jumped on Corbin in front of the announce table. 

Corbin regained himself and slammed Elias into a barricade before he grabbed his opponent’s guitar from the corner. Enraged, Elias met Corbin outside the ring and slung him from the barricade to the ringpost and into the timekeeper’s area. Corbin delivered several clotheslines and Elias hit a spinning neckbreaker when he found an opportunity. 

Elias kicked and pushed Corbin against the ropes and knocked him against the mat for a two-count. He looked to jump from the turnbuckle but Corbin moved and hit a spinebuster for his own two-count. Corbin set up for a superplex from the turnbuckle and hit a chokeslam when the two moved from the corner. 

Corbin smashed Elias’s guitar against the ringpost after leaving the ring. Elias countered with a knee and a quick roll-up pin to advance to the second round of the tournament. He will face the winner of next week’s A.J. Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match.

Naomi vs. Dana Brooke

Brooke defeated Naomi a little less than a month ago to qualify for the women’s MITB Ladder Match. Naomi looked to gain revenge and began the match quickly.

Naomi started with her legs, but Brooke hit an elbow to her opponent who was stuck in the corner. Naomi splashed onto Brooke from the top rope and Brooke followed through with a pin attempt. The two traded pin attempts and Brooke gained the edge, holding Naomi long enough to defeat her for the second time. 

Charlotte Flair appears

The invitational allowed NXT Champion Flair to appear on the blue brand. Flair called herself the hardest-working woman in the industry and said people want more of her.

SmackDown Women’s champion Bayley entered the arena and recounted the last time she saw Flair. The Queen responded by degrading the two instances where she lost to Bayley. 

Flair brought up how she and Sasha Banks main-evented Raw and questioned why she was “content with being an afterthought” by befriending Bayley. A Champion vs. Champion match was agreed upon when Flair accepted Bayley’s challenge, but before leaving the arena the NXT Champion asked Banks if she really was okay in her position behind Bayley.

Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak

Two friends who coach and train together squared off in the second matchup of the first round of the Intercontinental Championship tournament.

The two shook hands to begin the match and locked up in several holds. Bryan executed a Yes Lock and Gulak used the bottom rope to break the hold. Gulak used momentum to put his counterpart in his own submission maneuver to which Bryan set his leg on a rope. Bryan slammed Gulak to the mat and held his left arm in an armbar.

As the two moved around, Gulak tossed Bryan out of the ring. He slammed Bryan back-first to the mat and Bryan responded with a shin breaker and several dragon screws. Gulak body slammed Bryan for a two-count.

Gulak responded to Bryan’s German suplexes and several quick pins with a submission hold. Bryan held Gulak in a heel hook, rolled to the middle of the ring, and was able to get his friend to submit. Bryan will face the winner of next week’s Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus match.

Otis and Braun Strowman vs. The Miz and John Morrison

Otis was turned down by Sheamus in his search for a partner and could not turn to Tucker, who was out with an illness. Mandy Rose proposed the idea of Strowman as his partner, and the WWE Champion accepted.

Otis and Morrison began the match and the latter kicked the former in the stomach after being tossed into a corner. Otis tossed Morrison to the mat several times and knocked Miz off his corner before tagging Strowman. The two executed a double Caterpillar to Morrison, who rolled out of the ring following the move. 

Miz charged and kicked Otis twice while he leaned against a turnbuckle. He continued his roll by climbing atop the turnbuckle and landing a shot to the head of Otis and followed with kicks. Miz held Otis in a headlock and attempted a double-team suplex with Morrison, but Otis countered with the same move. 

Strowman hot-tagged and tossed Miz and Morrison around the ring. The Champion exited the ring and chased his opponents with Morrison just escaping, resulting in Miz taking his charging blow. 

Back in the ring, Strowman charged his opponents’ corner but collided with the ringpost. This did not provide a hindrance as Strowman fended off several punches from Morrison and body-slammed him to earn the victory for his team. Rose entered the arena post-match and seemed to provide a small distraction as Otis hinted at attacking Strowman, but insisted it was only a joke.

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