WWE’s pre-Summerslam edition of Smackdown Live was the first broadcast to emanate from the company’s new filming location, affectionately titled ‘The Thunderdome’.
And on their maiden voyage surrounded by screens of fans watching live, one of the company’s oldest championships changed hands.
Jeff Hardy pinned AJ Styles with a Swanton at the 9:38 mark to begin his fifth reign with the title. His first was almost 20 years ago, when he upset Triple H in 2001 for a brief spell with the belt.
Neither man is scheduled to compete at Summerslam itself on Sunday, so it appears the duo’s heavily-advertised championship clash at the Thunderdome was to focus on promoting the new concept, while other Superstars sell the WWE Network special itself.
Post-match Styles took out his frustrations on his ‘analyst’ Joseph Park. Who knows? Perhaps it’ll lead to the non-wrestling character being forced to stand up for himself and somehow learn to wrestle..? It wouldn’t be the first time!
You can watch highlights of the IC title match below.