Four straight days of live WWE action can be pretty hard going, especially if the action gets gradually worse as the days go on. That's why the current state of SmackDown Live is so important right now. It was announced ahead of time that a five-man gauntlet match would be main eventing Tuesday night's show, and instantly it not only gave fans something to be excited about after three days of big WWE events, but more importantly something completely different to anything featured on Raw, NXT TakeOver, or Money In The Bank. That match alone left us with a lot to unpack, and that was just one of the matches from this week's SmackDown Live.
5. Carmella Continues To Poke The Empress
On Sunday night at Money In The Bank, Carmella managed to retain her SmackDown Women's Championship against Asuka. However, she did not do it alone. You wouldn't have known that if you believed her braggadocious promo to open SmackDown Live this week though. 'Mella claimed that she defeated The Empress all by herself. Obviously, she forgot about the distraction from a returning James Ellsworth dressed in Asuka's gear. Ellsworth joined the champ on Tuesday, once again wearing full Asuka regalia. The Japanese star had seen enough soon after and quickly made her way to the ring. Upon arrival, she gave Ellsworth a well-deserved kick to the gut, but then received a superkick from Carmella for doing so.
4. Becky Bounces Back Against Billie
A lot of the women competing in the MITB ladder match came extremely close to attaining the briefcase on Sunday night. Only one woman could win it of course, and that woman was Alexa Bliss. The losing competitor who will be kicking herself the most though is Becky Lynch. The Lass Kicker was almost at the top of the ladder when Little Miss Bliss popped up and ruined what would have been a perfect night for the Irish native. On SmackDown Live this week Lynch was given the opportunity to bounce back and get things back on track via a one on one match with Billie Kay. Clinching victory was always going to be a tall order with Peyton Royce lurking at ringside, but the first ever SmackDown Women's Champion managed it.
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3. SAnitY Finally Arrive On SmackDown Live
The Superstar Shakeup has improved SmackDown Live a lot. What's even more impressive about that is the fact one of Team Blue's NXT call-ups didn't even debut until this week, SAnitY. The trio has been mysteriously absent, but on Tuesday night they arrived with a bang. Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain were due to face The Usos in a tag team match, or at least two of them were, but the bell never got a chance to ring. Instead, the trio decided to send a message by beating down the veterans they were due to have a match with. SAnitY has arrived, and the entire SmackDown Live tag division should be afraid.
2. A Second Chance For Gallows & Anderson
Gallows & Anderson took on The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles during the MITB kick-off show, but they came up short. Nevertheless, they were given a chance to right that wrong 48 hours later on this week's SmackDown Live. The Good Brothers once again put up a good fight, but the chaotic yet systematic methods of the champions proved too much for them to overcome. Once again, Karl Anderson was taken out of the match for a very long period, and even the most valiant efforts from Luke Gallows weren't enough to sway the match in his and his partner's favor.
1. Rusev Runs The Gauntlet
If WWE has proved anything in 2018, it's that they know how to put on a good gauntlet match, something they demonstrated yet again on Tuesday night. Daniel Bryan was the first man in, of course, and he was joined by Big E. The former World Champion picked up the first gauntlet win, and the next man in was Samoa Joe. It took all of an already exhausted Bryan's cunning to overcome The Destroyer. While in the Coquina Clutch outside the ring, Bryan rolled backward over Joe and slid back into the ring as the referee counted ten, leaving a flabberghasted Submission Machine out of the match. At that point, the Bludgeon Brothers reappeared. The Tag Champs were clearly annoyed that Bryan upstaged their victory with his entrance earlier in the evening and well and truly ruined his night. After leaving him laying, the next entrant, The Miz sprinted to the ring and eliminated The Leader Of The Yes Movement. That meant just The A-Lister and Rusev remained, and it will be the latter going to Extreme Rules. The Bulgarian Brute forced Miz to tap to his Accolade meaning he has earned himself a shot at AJ Styles' WWE Championship.