Smackdown – July 29, 2022

Smackdown
Date: July 29, 2022
Location: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

This is going to be a weird one as it’s the go home show for Summerslam so there won’t be much in the way of moving forward to the show, but there is a #1 contenders match for the next major show. At the same time, this is the first television show with no influence from Vince McMahon following his departure from the company. Let’s get to it.

Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre

Donnybrook match, meaning street fight, and the winner gets a World Title shot at Clash At The Castle. Sheamus jumps McIntyre during his entrance and they start fast with McIntyre being thrown inside for the opening bell. A Michinoku Driver gets McIntyre out of trouble and it’s time for the Shillelagh. That doesn’t work yet so McIntyre grabs a table, only to be sent into the steps (near the makeshift bar).

They get back inside with Sheamus whipping out the cut Shillelagh from last week to beat on McIntyre even more. Twenty forearms to the chest rock McIntyre even more and they go back to the floor. This time Sheamus’ suplex through a table is countered into a suplex from McIntyre, who whips him into various objects to make it worse. Sheamus gets whipped through some barrels and we take a break.

Back with Sheamus hitting a powerslam but McIntyre sends him into the corner. Some belly to belly suplexes and a neckbreaker before piling up some chairs. White Noise is countered into Futureshock onto the chairs for a near fall. That’s enough for Ridge Holland to come in for a cheap shot on McIntyre, who beats the fire out of Holland.

A belly to belly suplex sends Holland through a table at ringside and we take another break. Back again with McIntyre in the Tree of Woe but sitting up for something like a belly to belly superplex. McIntyre gets back down, earning himself an Alabama Slam to give Sheamus two. They head back outside with Sheamus being sent into the bar, knocking down photos of Sheamus’ grandparents.

Butch dives off some barrels to take McIntyre down (because of course he does) and Sheamus breaks a bar stool over McIntyre for a big crash. White Noise gets two, so Butch brings out a REALLY BIG Shillelagh. McIntyre gets in a Glasgow Kiss to knock it out of Sheamus’ hands though and house is cleaned, including a Claymore to Butch. The distraction lets Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for a rather close two and frustration sets further in. Another Brogue Kick is countered into a powerbomb through a table, setting up a Claymore for the pin at 26:35.

Rating: B+. You can tell if Sheamus gets into a match by how badly his hair gets covered in sweat. This was like a pay per view match the night before a pay per view as these guys beat the fire out of each other. Even if McIntyre was all but guaranteed to win here, it was a very good fight on the way there, which is pretty obvious when these two are in the ring together. Awesome fight and the extra time helped it a lot.

Post match McIntyre thanks the fans and promises to win the title from a part time champion…and then gets jumped by Theory with a briefcase shot.

We look at Happy Corbin jumping Pat McAfee last week and their ensuing brawl.

Corbin has a ticket and sits in the front row, complete with a bag of popcorn and a sign with McAfee’s face and the word LOSER. McAfee has to hold himself back.

We look at Seth Rollins attacking Riddle, resulting in Riddle being pulled from Summerslam due to injury.

We run down the Summerslam card, with McAfee complaining about Corbin throwing popcorn at him the entire time.

McAfee gets in Corbin’s face but officials come out to hold them back. Corbin throws the bag of popcorn at him and jumps the barricade, where he kicks McAfee low when McAfee’s back is turned.

Theory knows a lot of people are after him, but he doesn’t care because he’s winning the US Title and cashing in Money In The Bank at Summerslam. Paul Heyman comes up and the two go off for a chat.

Aliyah vs. Shotzi

Shotzi jumps her to start and pounds away, setting up a Boston crab. That’s broken up with a grab of the rope and Aliyah starts striking away. Aliyah knocks her outside and hits a Meteora off the apron but Shotzi knocks her down again. Back in and Never Wake Up finishes Aliyah at 3:27.

Rating: D+. This felt like filler but I’ll take Shotzi getting some TV time. It’s better than having Lacey Evans do the same thing over and over again and if Shotzi gets a chance, good for her. Nothing match of course, but were you expecting anything more from Aliyah? I get why she’s there, but at some point she needs to be able to do something other than smile.

We look at Sonya Deville complaining during a commercial last week and getting beaten up by Ronda Rousey.

Rousey and Liv Morgan are glaring at each other in the back when Natalya comes in to mock her. Deville comes in and cuts them both off….and Rousey just leaves so the other three can keep arguing. Morgan starts talking and we cut to the ring where Shotzi is running her mouth. Rousey comes out and beats her up before taking the mic. Rousey to a fan: “YOU SHUT UP AND YOUR MOM FAILED YOU!” After that great line, she calls out Morgan to show these people why they’re fighting tomorrow night.

Liv Morgan/Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya/Sonya Deville

The audio sounds very different for some reason. Natalya takes over on Rousey to start but gets knocked into the corner for the tag off to Morgan. Deville comes in as well, with Morgan taking her down rather quickly. Rousey is back in and yells at Morgan, who has to duck Deville’s clothesline. The ankle lock is broken up though and it’s back to Morgan, who gets tossed to the floor as we take a break.

Back with Deville hitting a running knee for two on Morgan and the villains taking turns with the beatdown. An enziguri gets Morgan out of trouble as she and Deville are both down. Morgan won’t tag out though and gets discus clotheslined to give Natalya two. Natalya gets sent into the corner for a breather but Morgan still won’t tag. That’s fine with Rousey, who tags herself in and cleans house as everything breaks down. Oblivion to Natalya sets up the ankle lock to make Deville tap at 11:40.

Rating: C+. They had a story here as Morgan is still trying to prove herself despite being the champion. That is the kind of thing that has been lacking from a lot of WWE matches in recent years, as there was enough of a spin on this to get what they were going for while keeping things fresh. Now just don’t screw things up and have Rousey get the title back or have Charlotte take it from Morgan in a month and we might be somewhere.

The staredown is on post match.

Here are the Street Profits and the Usos for the official instructions from special referee Jeff Jarrett. Jeff cuts off the near brawl and says he wants to lay down the law. The Usos ask if it’s a DQ to punch Montez Ford in the face or hit them with the belts. The Profits ask if it’s a DQ if they hit Jey so hard that he comes back with his face paint back on, or if the Usos’ bodies are left laying on the mat with the Profits are the new champs.

Jarrett thinks they’re creative but says he’s not there to contain them tomorrow so get it out of your system now. The brawl is on with Jarrett failing to stay out of the way. Jimmy fires a superkick and hits Jarrett by mistake, which has him realizing he screwed up. Jarrett shoves the Usos away and the Profits clear the ring, setting up Ford’s big flip dive. It’s interesting to put Jarrett on one side, but I don’t know if I can see the Profits taking the titles.

Maxxine Dupri introduces the Maximum Male Models Summerslam Beachwear Collection, which is a bunch of beach gear with Summerslam logos. Max Dupri pops in to say they’re still looking for clients to titillate the juices. He sounded a bit more like his old self here so that might be a good sign.

New Day vs. Viking Raiders

Erik shrugs off Woods to start so Kingston springboards in with a high crossbody for one. Kingston gets driven into the corner and sent outside, where Ivar crushes him against the barricade. We take a break and come back with Kingston hitting a quick SOS, allowing the tag to Woods. A tornado DDT gets two on Ivar and there’s the dive to Erik. Everything breaks down and Ivar kicks Woods in the face for two. A double powerbomb finishes Kingston at 9:43.

Rating: C. The Raiders needed to dominate here and that is what they did for the most part. New Day has been beaten up time after time in the feud and there was no reason to mess with that this time. Just let the Raiders be built up as the next big deal, possible for the Street Profits if that is the way they go, because we could use a long break from New Day and the Usos.

Post match the Raiders beat up New Day again and Pillmanize Woods’ ankle. That might be part of the New Day break.

Here is Paul Heyman for the big push towards Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. After waiting for the crowd to do his entrance, Heyman talks about how Reigns is approaching 700 days as heavyweight champion, which has not been done in 35 years. Now Lesnar wants to play spoiler and that isn’t happening over Heyman’s dead body. Lesnar will be put down for a ten count and that will be it for him in WWE.

Cue Lesnar and Heyman knows this isn’t good. Lesnar takes his time circling Heyman but here’s Theory with a briefcase shot. That’s shrugged off and Theory is sent outside, where Drew McIntyre pops up with a Claymore to end the show. That alone is more intrigue than they’ve had to end a show in a good while and it’s not even anything great.

Overall Rating: B-. They haven’t completely shaken things up since Vince left, but you can tell that things have changed enough. There is more of a focus lately and the show was missing any of the really goofy stuff that often drags a show down. It’s the theory of “what you’re seeing now is what’s important” and that has been lacking for a long time. This was an enjoyable show and I’m wanting to see Summerslam, so nice job on doing what needed to be done this week. The big changes can come later, but this show worked out rather well.

Results
Drew McIntyre b. Sheamus – Claymore
Shotzi b. Aliyah – Never Wake Up
Liv Morgan/Ronda Rousey b. Natalya/Sonya Deville – Ankle lock to Deville
Viking Raiders b. New Day – Double powerbomb to Kingston

 

 

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