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Once Shinsuke Nakamura won the United States belt from Hardy in a matter of seconds at Extreme Rules, Orton briefly appeared to the crowd’s surprise. Instead of saying anything, he simply curb stomped Hardy and left, much to Nakamura’s bewilderment.
On this week’s Smackdown, Hardy and Nakamura had their rematch for the US belt. After Hardy’s abrupt defeat on Sunday, he was determined to not repeat his past mistakes and was prepared for Nakamura’s dirty tactics.
The match was fast-paced from start to finish, with the two exchanging blows back-and-forth. Hardy managed to land his trademark Swanton Bomb, and it appeared he would get redemption for his loss at Extreme Rules—until Orton showed up.
“The Viper” pulled Hardy out of the ring and quickly started assaulting him, resulting in a disqualification. Orton managed to slam Hardy into the steps leading into the ring, but he didn’t stop there.
In a display of pure masochism, Orton pulled at Hardy’s gauged ear, seemingly trying to rip out his piercing. It looked just as painful as you’d imagine, and the crowd was shocked by Orton’s depravity.
Throughout this ordeal, Orton seemed singularly focused on Hardy, despite Nakamura having the belt and his own reputation of “ruthless aggression” (particularly a near-constant barrage of low-blows). Since the two share a mutual rival, Nakamura didn’t intervene during Orton’s attack, only looking on in confusion.
Why Orton appears to only care about Hardy remains to be seen, but hopefully we’ll find out soon.