Big Jeff Hardy US Title Defense Announced for This Week's SmackDown

Jeff Hardy will get a chance to follow through on a promise he made last week in a match this week on WWE SmackDown Live.

Hardy will defend his U.S. title against Shinsuke Nakamura on this Tuesday's broadcast, as announced by SmackDown General Manager Paige on Sunday. She made the announcement via social media.

Hardy went back to an old look last week when he did a backstage promo wearing face paint. It was the first time he had used the face paint look since returning to WWE early last year. He had previously used the look in his prior WWE run, as well as during his time with Impact Wrestling.

Hardy announced on the show that the Kinshasa he took from Nakamura in a loss two weeks ago had woken him up. He said the move had unintended consequences in that it shattered his soul and opened his eyes, vowing to get revenge.

Nakamura was later asked about the promo and said that he would close Hardy's eye if they crossed paths again. He will get that chance on Tuesday night.

This has been a period of transformation for the direction of Nakamura's WWE character since his most recent loss to WWE champion AJ Styles. Most had expected Nakamura would emerge from the feud with a championship run, given how hot his character was after his WrestleMania heel turn.

Instead, Styles retained against him each and every time, with seemingly an exclamation point in their Last Man Standing Match last weekend at Money in the Bank.

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In essence, it feels as though Nakamura has now fallen down the card into a feud for the U.S. title. While he and Hardy should be able to produce some memorable contests, one can't help but be disappointed that Nakamura didn't get that run with the company's top title.

The reason is somewhat surprising, as one report indicated that WWE didn't want to take the title off Styles while they announced he would be on the cover of the upcoming WWE 2K19 video game.