Smackdown – August 7, 2018

Date: August 7, 2018
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

We’re in the final stages of the Summerslam build and that means there isn’t much left to do. The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan match was confirmed earlier today so, aside from setting up the Tag Team Title match, everything is going to be ready pretty soon. That means we only have to get through the rest of the build, which can make for some fun television. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Randy Orton to a heck of a face reaction to open things up. Orton talks about Jeff Hardy calling him out last week and we see the beatdown that ensued, including Orton wiping away Hardy’s face paint. He liked feeling Hardy squirm last week because he’s here to take out everyone that the fans have put on a pedestal. Orton is going to become so violent that he’s going to make people want to change the channel.

You can believe in your superheros like Hardy but Orton is here to destroy them all. When he started his career here, he was the youngest guy in that locker room. Since then he’s become a thirteen time World Champion and won everything that there is to win. The fans have made their choice and Orton has chosen to erase everyone the fans believe in. You can call him the Legend Killer, the Viper, the Apex Predator or whatever else you want, but all that matters is RKO.

I’m digging this Orton character change. He’s someone who has a long history and has done almost everything he can do in WWE. Changing things up like this is a great idea and one of the only ways you can get him booed as a heel. Orton is so good at what he does but he needs to be freshened up a bit. Having him go after the popular guys is a good idea, but he’s going to be turned into a face again by the end of it because of how well he pulls the thing off.

Becky Lynch and Charlotte are in the back to discuss Charlotte being added to the Women’s Title match. Lynch was really looking forward to getting a shot at the title, but now there’s a big blonde boulder in the way. Charlotte did what she had to do and Lynch is cool with that. They’re fine for their tag match tonight because they’re not like Sasha and Bayley.

Charlotte/Becky Lynch vs. Iconics

Carmella is on commentary. Before the match, the Iconics play a word association game about how sad this place is and how Carmella is going to win. Becky is going to stay in Charlotte’s shadow because she’s always a bridesmaid and never a bride. As usual, history isn’t WWE’s strong suit. The fans dub this boring, though it’s hardly that bad. Charlotte starts in on Billie’s arm to start and a pair of double hiptosses have both Aussies down. It’s too early for the Disarm-Her though and they bail to the floor. Charlotte dives onto both of them as we take a break.

Back with Billie and Charlotte hitting stereo big boots because Smackdown isn’t the kind of show that has to comeback from a commercial with a chinlock. Becky gets the tag and starts cleaning house but Billie breaks up the Disarm-Her. Charlotte tags herself back in and moonsaults onto both of them, setting up the Figure Eight to make Peyton tap at 6:18. Way too little shown to rate but the idea here was Charlotte stealing the spotlight.

New Day is proud of their commentary last week but now it’s time to try their hand at backstage interviewing, with Kofi in a blue suit and blond wig. They’re not worried about facing the Bar or the Bludgeon Brothers because both teams will bow down to the power of positivity. New Day cracks up and says they can do that too. Even Renee Young is smiling.

Earlier today, Miz accepted Daniel Bryan’s challenge for Summerslam.

Byron Saxton will have an interview with Miz later tonight and Corey Graves is stunned.

Becky and Charlotte are excited about their win but things will be different at Summerslam. They’ll have to be great against each other instead of with each other.

Video on AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe, set to Joe’s great promo from last week about how Styles has sacrificed everything to be WWE Champion, including his family. AJ’s family will be cheering for Joe at Summerslam so daddy will finally be home.

Here’s AJ for a chat. AJ talks about how a lot of things go on between these ropes, including a lot of trash talking. That can get personal and Samoa Joe did that last week. AJ is doing this for his family, just like a lot of people do. That’s what he’s supposed to do as a father and as a man. He misses his kids’ little league game and birthdays. Two days ago, he celebrated 18 years with his wife, but she’s basically a single parent because he can’t be there. We’re supposed to give our families what they need and occasionally you can give them what they want.

AJ wants to be there to pick his kids up when they fall and Joe knows all of this. Joe knows AJ’s wife and kids and AJ isn’t going to let Joe get his hands on this title. At Summerslam, Joe isn’t walking out the WWE Champion because he’ll be lucky to walk out period. Very intense stuff from AJ here, which is a place he doesn’t go to very often. It’s also nice to have these promos not be interrupted by something or someone. Just let them talk and see what they can do.

Lana is getting ready for her rematch with Zelina Vega when Rusev comes up. He’ll be in her corner tonight to make sure it’s a Happy Lana Day. That makes Lana happy but here’s Aiden English to apologize to her again. Rusev accepts, but thinks English should stay in the back tonight. English looks disappointed.

Lana vs. Zelina Vega

Rematch from last week with Rusev and Andrade Cien Almas as the seconds. Vega slaps her in the face to start and gets kicked to the floor. That lasts all of two seconds as Lana throws her back in to start the brawling. Zelina’s chinlock doesn’t last long as Lana suplexes her down and drops some elbows. Almas jumps onto the apron and the distraction lets Vega score with a jawbreaker. Rusev throws Almas around but Vega kicks him in the back of the head. That earns Rusev a posting but Lana kicks Vega in the head. Cue English to save Rusev, knocking Lana down again. The running knees in the corner finish Lana at 3:36.

Rating: D+. Much like last week, the match wasn’t great but Lana didn’t embarrass herself out there, which means she’s making actual progress. She already has the charisma and the association with an act like Rusev Day could allow her to go pretty far. As is the case with so many people, she just needs ring time so having matches like this is the best thing for her.

Shinsuke Nakamura isn’t going to be facing Jeff Hardy at Summerslam because Hardy was erased. He’ll face what’s left of Hardy, but here’s R-Truth to challenge Nakamura for the US Title instead. Nakamura: “How are you going to do that?” R-Truth: “The same way everyone else does: I’m going to pin Carmella.” Nakamura speaks Japanese and Truth is horrified, because he can’t repeat that in public. It’s bad enough that the match with Carmella is off and he wants Nakamura tonight. Truth continues to be one of the funniest guys in WWE, just by following WWE logic.

Byron is in the ring to interview Miz, who pops up on screen instead of coming to the ring. He calls Byron a bad announcer and plugs the success of Miz and Mrs., which doesn’t have a single bad review on Rotten Tomatoes. Byron keeps asking about the match with Bryan but Miz ignores him to plug the show. Tonight he learns CPR, which would be a good idea for Bryan because he needs to resuscitate his career. Miz finally mentions it, saying he’s become a star while Bryan has been working in a garden.

Bryan needs this match while Miz needs to be recognized as WWE Champion. Miz is here night after night while Bryan has been off in bed crying. He’s not hiding from anyone and at Summerslam, Bryan is getting exposed as being beneath Miz. Go talk to Bryan about it because he’s probably off eating kale and talking about his wife. Bryan runs into the room, beats up security and punches Miz a few times until a potted plant to the back of the head lets Miz escape. The string of good promos continues tonight, but that kind of goes without saying for these two.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. R-Truth

Non-title. Corey says he can understand more of Nakamura’s song than Truth’s. Nakamura chokes him in the corner and says COME ON so Truth charges at him with a rollup. Now it’s Truth shouting COME ON before taking him down with a hurricanrana. Nakamura gets in a kick to the back of the head and hooks a triangle choke but Truth gets over to a rope. A reverse exploder puts Truth down and Kinshasa is good for the pin at 3:13.

Rating: D. Exactly what you would expect here with Truth getting in some entertaining stuff but falling short against the bigger name. It’s rather impressive that Truth is still completely watchable at 46 years old, which is far beyond the end a lot of careers. If nothing else just let him do his funny cameos in the back and he’ll be around forever.

You know how the Bludgeon Brothers haven’t cared who they fight at Summerslam? It’s still true as they promise to break whoever faces them both physically and mentally. They’re going to have fun.

Bludgeon Brothers vs. 3SK

Non-title as this is a 3-2 handicap match. The Brothers dropkick two of the guys off the apron (Roman Reigns Starter Kit and Tazz Jr. according to Graves) and Rowan crossbodies them. The other guy gets kicked in the face and Harper is slammed onto the other two. A powerbomb/middle rope clothesline combination gives Harper the pin at 1:27. That’s the kind of squash that makes these two look great.

Summerslam rundown.

Tag Team Title Tournament Finals: New Day vs. The Bar

The winners get a shot at Summerslam. The fans want pancakes so Xavier Woods, on the floor for this one, throws some into the crowd. Big E. and Cesaro actually grapple a bit to start but it’s time to swivel the hips. Kofi comes in and sticks the landing on a monkey flip to frustrate Cesaro even more. It’s off to Sheamus, who knocks Kofi to the floor in a heap so New Day stops to check on him. A hard uppercut keeps Kofi down and Cesaro grabs a chinlock back inside.

Back from a break with Kofi still in trouble (but not in a chinlock) but avoiding a charge so Big E. can come in for the belly to belly suplexes. More hip swiveling (it’s his gimmick) looks to set up the Warrior Splash but Big E. has to knock Cesaro off the apron instead. A Rock Bottom out of the corner gives Big E. two on Sheamus and it’s back to Kofi vs. Cesaro. The SOS gives Kofi two but Big E. makes a hot tag, only to miss the apron splash. He seems to have banged up his arm and the distracted Kofi takes the Regal Roll on the floor.

A double implant DDT gets two on Big E., with the fans sounding very relieved on the kickout. We settle back down with Big E. in trouble and take a second break. Back again with Big E. still in trouble, including Sheamus kicking him in the face to set up Cesaro’s superplex into a top rope knee from Sheamus. That’s only good for two though so Sheamus tries a Texas Cloverleaf.

Big E. uses the leg strength to kick him to the floor though and the hot tag brings in Kofi. A springboard shot to the head drops Sheamus and the Boom Drop has him in even more trouble. Air Kofi hits both Sheamus and Cesaro, followed by a top rope double stomp for two on Cesaro. Big E. is sent outside again and a double backbreaker gets two on Kofi. The Brogue Kick misses and Kofi’s dropkick is enough to bring Big E. back in.

The Midnight Hour is quickly broken up though and a spike White Noise gets….two again as Kofi makes a very last second save. Cesaro swings Big E. into the Sharpshooter as Kofi hits a tornado DDT to plant Sheamus on the floor. Big E. can’t get to the ropes as Cesaro rolls over into a Crossface. That’s powered out as well, with Big E. muscling him up (that’s just scary strength) into the Midnight Hour for the pin on Cesaro at 25:10.

Rating: A-. Now that’s more like it with two great teams getting to show off for a long time in an entertaining match. New Day winning wasn’t the biggest surprise in the world and it’s VERY nice to not go to another triple threat match, which I was expecting for a long time during the match. The Bar not being able to make TV for months is absurd given how awesome they were here, but you can’t expect something like that to matter in wrestling.

The Bludgeon Brothers look on to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. This was an excellent show with great promos and an outstanding main event with everyone working hard and getting ready for Summerslam. It’s amazing how much better this was than Monday Night Raw, which was downright unwatchable last night. Just go with a build that works and isn’t full of rematches, bad promos and Roman Reigns overload. Is that really too much to ask?


Becky Lynch/Charlotte b. Iconics – Figure Eight to Royce

Zelina Vega b. Lana – Running knees in the corner

Shinsuke Nakamura b. R-Truth – Kinshasa

Bludgeon Brothers b. 3SK – Powerbomb/Middle rope combination to ???

New Day b. The Bar – Midnight Hour to Cesaro

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