One night after winning the United States Championship on Raw, Jeff Hardy switched over to SmackDown LIVE through the Superstar Shake-up.
Hardy captured the United States Championship from Jinder Mahal and on his first night on the blue brand (well, since 2009), competed in a match against Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin apparently turned heel a few moments earlier as he said that he never needed Chad Gable as his tag team partner, who switched over to Raw the night before. Benjamin looked to make a major solo impression on the blue brand by calling out anyone on the roster to face him.
First out was Randy Orton, clearly looking to silence Benjamin. However, before “The Apex Predator” could make it to the ring, he was interrupted by Hardy, who answered Benjamin’s challenge.
Hardy, of course, beat Benjamin.
The reason behind Hardy getting this solo push is because Vince McMahon sees Jeff as a major singles star.
The Chairman has felt this way about Hardy since 2008 as it was that year where Hardy started having big merchandise sales as a singles star, second only to John Cena.
Vince feels Jeff can still do big merchandise numbers and that’s why he’s being pushed as a singles competitor, and not being used with his brother, Matt Hardy, despite the storyline possibilities.
With Orton and Daniel Bryan not wrestling on the road full time, the only other major full-time face on SmackDown LIVE is WWE Champion AJ Styles, so Hardy is really needed on the blue brand.
Jeff Hardy’s United States Championship win made him a Grand Slam Champion, by WWE’s current standards for the accomplishment. He’s held the WWE Championship (one primary world championship needed), the Raw Tag Team Championship (one needed from either the WWE/Raw Tag Team Championship or the SmackDown Tag Team Championship), the Intercontinental Championship, and now the United States Championship.