Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, & Byron Saxton
This week on SmackDown WWE tries to make the final sell for Sunday’s SummerSlam as Roman Reigns tries to find out who keeps trying to murder him. My vote is Repo Man. I’m probably wrong.
- WWE CHAMPION: Kofi Kingston
- WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Shinsuke Nakamura
- SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Bayley
- SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods)
- Ali vs. Dolph Ziggler (*1/2)
- Ember Moon vs. Natalya (NR)
- Aleister Black vs. Sami Zayn (**)
- The New Day vs. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (***1/4)
-IN-RING SEGMENT: Charlotte Flair is here to open the show. Flair says Trish Stratus was never as good as her as the athletes are far more superior than they were during her time. Flair vows to shatter Stratus’ dreams come Sunday, and kicks it over to the TitanTron to show off a highlight reel of her career…but it turns into highlights of Trish Stratus’ career. The music hits and out comes Trish Stratus for some words of her own. Stratus says she played that video to remind Flair why she’s been given all of these history-making opportunities. Stratus says she needs the bright lights, and says Flair might be the queen but she’s not Trish. And that’s bad why? Flair tells Stratus that she will make her bow down come Sunday, WOOOO. Stratus slaps Flair, Flair gets all ANGRY-FACED then walks off laughing like a crazy person.
- Did what it needed to do to build the SummerSlam match that is apparently more historic and big than it feels like to me. Right on. I’m sure the match will be good, though.
-LAST NIGHT ON RAW: Dolph Ziggler accidentally signs up to face Goldberg at SummerSlam. Goldberg shows up, signs the contract, and says Dolph IS NEXT.
-Goldberg’s theme kicks up in the arena…but instead it’s Dolph Ziggler doing the entrance, security guards and all. Dolph smartly skips the pyro, lest his hair go up in flames Michael Jackson-style.
–Rey Mysterio makes his entrance…and is immediately attacked by Ziggler and laid out with a Superkick. Out come the officials to check on Mysterio. Ziggler grabs Mysterio and connects with Superkick #2 before grabbing a mic. Okay cool wrestling is stupid on a wrestling show, you right. Ziggler says he will end the legend on Sunday and this match will be Goldberg’s LAST. Ali rushes to ringside to check on Mysterio then goes after Ziggler, sending him to the floor and following up with a tope suicida. Ali gets on the mic and says something but it’s during a commercial break so I can’t hear it. I assume it’s him challenging Dolph to a match.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Ali via pinfall with the Superkick (4:14 or so)
Ali on the offensive for a few seconds until he tries a springboard and gets shoved to the floor like yesterday’s garbage. Ziggler throws Ali into the steps then into the ring for a two-count off a lateral press. Ziggler talks trash, Ali responds with rights to the ribs. Ziggler with an Irish whip into a pop-up flapjack. Ziggler tries another pop-up, Ali counters with a dropkick and mounts his comeback. Ali dodges a corner splash and connects with a kick followed by a rolling thunder X-Factor for a two-count. Ziggler belts Ali with an elbow and signals for the Superkick. Ali dodges and counters with a roll-up for the 1…2…Ziggler kicks out and staggers Ali with a headbutt followed by a Superkick for real, and that’s all she wrote.
- Most of the match happened during the commercial so I was struggling to pay attention, but what I saw was…fine. It was a way to give Ziggler some momentum heading into his 90 second loss to Goldberg on Sunday and was a good enough way to eat up TV time. (*1/2)
-VIDEO(s): Roman Reigns almost dies from falling production equipment last week on SmackDown. Who put the camera on the scaffolding before this happened? Samoa Joe meets Roman Reigns in the parking lot on last night’s RAW, Reigns’ car is hit by a mysterious assailant. Somehow there’s a camera in the car too. WWE really does put cameras on everything, huh?
-LAST NIGHT ON RAW: Seth Rollins gets beat to sh*t by Brock Lesnar some more. Rollins gets on the mic after and vows to be at SummerSlam and beat Lesnar, despite being held together by tape. It’s like the Becky Lynch stuff from earlier in the year but now it’s her boyfriend doing it.
-Phillips and company go down the other big matches happening at SummerSlam. Did they throw away the script for the show or something, why is nothing happening?!?
-EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Kayla Braxton sits down with Roman Reigns earlier in the day. Reigns says these attacks have threatened his ability to provide for his family. Braxton asks Reigns who he thinks is responsible; Reigns says he knows who it wasn’t: Samoa Joe. Reigns publicly apologizes to Joe for dragging his name through the mud, then vows to get some answers on who actually attacked him TONIGHT.
- Real hard-hitting interview there.
-VIDEO: WWE looks back at the life of the late-Harley Race, who passed away last week. Greatest NWA World Heavyweight Champion of all-time, don’t @ me.
Ember Moon and Natalya fought to a double countout (1:32)
Both ladies are challenging for their respective brand’s Women’s Championship on Sunday (Moon meeting Bayley, Natalya taking on Becky Lynch in a Submission Match).
Moon sort-of kind-of lands on her feet off a backdrop and connects with a dropkick followed by a face slam. Moon goes for the killing shot, Natalya rolls to the floor. Natalya dodges a clothesline, Moon dropkicks her right into the barricade. Natalya responds by sending Moon into the LED apron followed by a clothesline. Natalya locks in the Sharpshooter on the floor as the ref is forced to count them out.
- Well I mean they both have title shots on Sunday, couldn’t really expect either one to take the L, you know? (NR)
Bayley sends Natalya packing and checks on her SummerSlam opponent. Bayley helps Moon up and…uh that’s that.
-THE KO SHOW: Kevin Owens wants to get this over with and calls his guest, Shane McMahon, to the ring. Nothing. Owens calls him out once again and now the music hits and out comes Shane with his dork dance. Owens cuts off the “BEST IN THE WOOOORLD” thing because they’ve got things to do. Owens is putting his career on the line against Shane at SummerSlam apparently. Okay. Owens says he didn’t ask Shane to also put HIS career on the line because he’s a McMahon and can do whatever he wants…but now Owens has changed his mind and asks Shane to do so. Shane says that’s an emphatic no. Shane lists the ways that Owens can lose on Sunday. Owens says Shane has just exposed to everyone that he doesn’t have any balls, and drops the mic like it was the COOLEST THING EVER. It very much wasn’t. Shane says they should give everyone a prelude of what will happen on Sunday. They clear the ring, Elias attacks from behind. Owens takes care of Elias in short order and throws Shane across the announce table. Owens clears the table, Elias attacks from behind again, Owens hits a Stunner. Shane sweeps the legs and it’s RABBIT PUNCH CITAY. Shane flips the table over, trapping Owens. Shane concludes by Pillmanizing Owens’ skull with a dropkick.
- This was alright, but I’m not particularly invested in this story so it went on longer than I was hoping it would. Shane refusing to put his career on the line was cool though, nice for someone to use their damn brain for once…even if it’s an all-powerful McMahon.
–Sami Zayn makes his way out to the ring. YAY MORE TALKING. F*CK. He apparently challenged Aleister Black for SummerSlam last week, but Black has yet to respond. Zayn says Black has been silent because he’s hiding his black room, playing it safe so the fans can still think he’s cool and great. Zayn says Black doesn’t want a fight with him at SummerSlam because the idea of losing his aura terrifies him. The music of Aleister Black hits and Black announces the match is happening NOW, not at SummerSlam. LIKE NOSFERATU HE RISES.
Aleister Black defeated Sami Zayn via pinfall with Black Mass (5:51)
Black drops Zayn with a kick to the chest, Zayn rolls to the floor and Black does a backflip to play mind games. Black kicks Zayn some more, Zayn catches him with a flurry of strikes himself when they re-enter the squared circle. Black b(l)ackflips out of a backdrop attempt and connects with another kick, Zayn backs him into the corner and belts him with cheap shot jabs. Black counters Zayn’s tornado DDT attempt, Zayn blocks an O’Connor Roll and takes him to the mat. Black fights back with more strikes, Zayn catches him charging and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two-count. Chinlock time. Black escapes and mounts his comeback. Black with a sliding knee and kip up followed by a springboard Moonsault. Black with a pump knee and the Black Mass for the 1…2…3.
- Hey y’all, Aleister Black has striking ability. I don’t think the commentators mentioned it enough. Match was fine, best match of the show by default unfortunately. What is Sami’s point on the show at this point? (**)
-Someone off-camera asks if Shelton Benjamin sees himself competing for the 24/7 Championship. He looks around a bunch, says “Well”, then walks off. K.
-FIREFLY FUN HOUSE: Bray Wyatt says Finn Balor is not afraid of anything and he loves that. Wyatt says Finn’s courage is ignorance in disguise, and laughs about the fact that he invited The Fiend to his doorstep willingly. Wyatt says it’s Finn Balor’s turn to hurt and The Fiend is coming to him. Cut to THE FIEND who says “Let Me In” and it’s very spoopy.
–Chad Gable is working out backstage. Elias shows up and tells him to get his bands away from his guitar. Elias says it’s his bad, he thought he was talking to a child. CHAD GABLE IS SHORT LOL. Elias walks off with his guitar, leaving Gable to stew in his anger.
-VIDEO: Hype for Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton at SummerSlam, from the perspective of Kingston. Kingston says Orton used his influence to keep him down over the past ten years, and Kingston is hoping to vindicate himself by beating his longtime nemesis. Oh MAN I’m going to laugh if they have Orton go over. Full on belly laughs.
The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) defeated “The New” Daniel Bryan & Rowan via Disqualification when Rowan hit Woods with the ring steps (9:05 shown)
Bryan has been teasing a career-altering announcement over the past couple of weeks, but hasn’t done so yet, and looks absolutely disgusted to be in Detroit wrestling tonight. Kofi being champ is great but let’s not sleep on the fact that Bryan had the BEST RUN OF HIS CAREER as WWE Champion heading in.
Bryan attacks Woods at the outset, Woods fights back and connects with a tope con hilo. New Day stand tall as we go to commercial. Back live and it’s Bryan in control of Big E’s arm, but Big E brushes it off and belts him with a clothesline for two. Woods tags in, wheelbarrow splash onto Bryan for another two-count. Bryan backs Woods into the corner and Rowan tags in to do big boy stuff, nearly putting Woods through the canvas with a scoop slam. Woods floats over Rowan and kicks him in the face. Count-a-long rights, Rowan pushes him off and Woods responds with more strikes. More count-a-long rights, Rowan shoves him off again and WRECKS HIM with a crossbody, his elbow flush cracking Woods in the jaw. F*CK. Heels work Woods over, Bryan locks in a cravate. Woods escapes and hits a back elbow, Bryan prevents the tag with an armbar. Woods whips him off and drops him with a rolling elbow. Rowan tags in and clears Big E off the apron before tossing Woods to the floor on the opposite side. Rowan whips Woods into the steps and into the timekeeper’s area. Rowan with a guttural scream as we go to another commercial break.
Back live just time to see Woods drop Rowan with a missile dropkick. Big E gets the hot tag and launches Bryan around the ring with belly-to-belly suplexes followed by a Warrior Splash. Bryan escapes the Big Ending and kicks his leg out of his leg. Big E ducks a kick and counters with a roll-up for the 1…2…Bryan kicks out and Big E immediately transitions into a STRETCH MUFFLER! COOL! Bryan trips him up and counters with a LeBell Lock. Big E pries Bryan’s arms off, Bryan switches to a triangle choke, Big E deadlifts him into a power bomb for the 1…2…Bryan kicks out just in time. Bryan tries to get a tag but Rowan is not on the apron. Bryan with a series of European uppercuts, Rowan tags in proper and drops Big E with a spinkick for the 1…2…E kicks out. Woods gets a blind tag, Big E drops Rowan with a lariat, Woods with a flying elbow HALFWAY ACROSS THE RING for the 1…2…Bryan breaks it up. Big E tosses Bryan to the apron, SPEAR THROUGH THE ROPES. Woods wants to fly too but eats nothing but stairs as the ref calls for the DQ.
- Thank the maker for this main event. DQ ending aside, which was fine honestly, these two teams tore it up and I was hooked on every minute. Everybody in this one rocks, and also Rowan is okay too I guess. Almost made up for the last hour and change feeling like seven hours and change. (***1/4)
The attack continues, Bryan stomping a mudhole through Woods and Rowan hitting an Iron Claw slam on Big E. Rowan picks Woods up and Bryan hits him with the Busaiku Knee.
-Cut backstage where Roman Reigns tells everyone but Buddy Murphy to get out of the locker room. OH SNAP. Reigns asks Murphy if he drove the forklift or drove the car. Murphy has no idea what he’s talking about. Reigns says he saw Murphy in the hallway, Murphy promises he doesn’t know who did it. Reigns says he’s going to ask him one more time, Murphy says he doesn’t know who did it…but he still wouldn’t tell him a damn thing. Reigns attacks Murphy, throwing him around the locker room. Murphy finally talks: it was ROWAN.
-Cut back to the ring where Bryan and Rowan have been watching the goings-on. Did Rowan do it for The Rock/the people? Did Bryan pull Rowan’s strings? Let’s find o-just kidding show’s over, time for Miz and Mrs.
FINAL THOUGHTS: SmackDown Live was focused on building the PPV and I can’t fault them for that, but the show felt like it was really dragging for that first hour. It legit felt like they left the script in the hotel room accidentally and were trying to do it all by memory which was a bummer. Way too much talking but the last two matches were alright, main event especially kicked ass. I’m actually a little invested on this “Who’s Trying to Kill Roman?” mystery. I hope it goes real deep state and Rowan is just the patsy.