Featuring an appearance from the Fiend, and some weird lighting and audio problems (spooky), this August 7th episode of SmackDown looks to carry on the momentum from a good show last week.
We start off with a recap of last week’s action, which is still awesome. I’m super excited to see what the Fiend will be up to today. On that note, we enter the Funhouse, where Bray is hanging up pictures of his favorite black sheep. He says that Braun is responsible for what happened to Alexa Bliss last week, and that the Fiend will be here later along with Bliss, who seems to be being used as a hostage.
Matt Riddle VS Sheamus
Sheamus starts off using his power advantage to shove Riddle around. Riddle fires back with a sleeper hold attempt, showing his technical advantage. Riddle annoys the Celtic Warrior with some kicks, and Sheamus answers with a knee, taking Riddle off his feet. Sheamus traps the Original Bro in an armlock, but Riddle reverses it into a Fujiwara armbar. He transitions the armbar into a key lock, and then a pinning combination for a 2 count.
Sheamus uses his great strength to simply muscle Riddle into a powerbomb that knocks the wind out of the Bro. Sheamus winds Riddle some more with the 10 Beats of the Bohdran, but when he climbs to the top rope, he is stopped by Riddle, and is thrown to the floor as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Riddle is getting destroyed with a trifecta of Irish Curse backbreakers. Riddle gets locked tight in a headlock, but he fights out of it, reverses a suplex and slams his foot into the Irishman’s head. Riddle gets fired up, hitting Sheamus with a kick and some forearms in the corner. He executes an exploder suplex, a penalty kick, and a Bro-Ton, but only gets a 2 count.
He goes up to the top rope, looking for the Floating Bro, but he lands on his feet as Sheamus rolls out of the way. Sheamus slams Riddle hard with White Noise, but Riddle kicks out at 2. Sheamus looks for the Brogue Kick but gets dropped with a German suplex.
Sheamus reverses a Final Flash into a schoolboy pin for 2, but he misses a shoulder tackle in the corner and gets sent to the floor. Riddle delivers some solid kicks on the outside, and Sheamus delivers a bicycle knee to the Original Bro.
Before Riddle can get back inside, Shorty G attacks him from behind, ending the match in Riddle’s favor. Riddle fights back, kicking Shorty and slamming him into the announce table. Sheamus also takes his turn, Brogue kicking Shorty twice for getting him disqualified. It’s a great ending to the match, not giving the Celtic Warrior a pinfall loss so he stays looking powerful but also not ending the King’s Ransom storyline yet. The story of brute power versus technical prowess was flawlessly portrayed by the two Superstars.
Winner via disqualification: Matt Riddle
Match Rating: 4/5
Backstage, Sheamus interrupts King Corbin to give him a piece of his mind about the King’s Ransom. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t like it. He says he’ll kick Corbin’s head off its shoulders if he messes with him again.
The Dirt Sheet has a new theme, very jovial for a show that’s covering such a terrible event like Sonya Deville’s attack on Mandy Rose. Their guest is a blonde wig with googly eyes, apparently Mandy’s hair. They’re so great, there’s no voice on the video, it’s just Miz and Morrison doing the voices, sometimes overlapping. This is the funniest thing WWE has done in awhile.
They bring out Sonya Deville, who cuts a great promo about how Mandy only got to WWE on her looks. Heavy Machinery comes out and cleans house, trashing the Dirt Sheet set and beating up Miz and Morrison.
Cesaro VS Lince Dorado
Cesaro uses his power to beat down the smaller Dorado, hitting a big backbreaker and a big uppercut. Dorado fights back with a hurricanrana, but as he dives onto Cesaro on the outside, the lights flicker a little, foreshadowing an appearance by RETRIBUTION.
Cesaro catches Dorado, but Dorado hurricanranas him into the apron. He throws the Swiss Cyborg back in and rolls him up with a sunset flip for 2. Cesaro slows it down again with a big backbreaker for a 2 count. Cesaro drops an elbow on the Golden Lynx for 2. Dorado hits Cesaro with a springboard stunner, and looks to hit his three moonsaults, but Nakamura distracts him, letting Cesaro to take control.
Cesaro looks to deliver a crucifix powerbomb to Dorado, but it gets reversed into a pin for 2. Cesaro quickly rocks the luchador with an uppercut, and then delivers the Neutralizer for the win
Winner via pinfall: Cesaro
Match Rating: 3.5/5
The Fiend makes his entrance, and it’s still awesome that Alexa Bliss is just kinda hanging out, looking mildly terrified. As The Fiend looks to lock in the Mandible Claw on Bliss, she stops him, and then kinda strokes his face? He jerks away and we barely have time to process whatever the heck that was before Braun Strowman appears on the screen, alive and well.
Plot twist: he doesn’t care about Bliss, all he wants is to destroy the Fiend. Apparently, Braun Strowman has gone full evil, saying he finally let the dark part of himself out. Looks like we’ll be seeing Braun versus Bray at SummerSlam.
Jeff Hardy VS King Corbin
Hardy comes out of the gates hard and fast with an atomic drop. He hits his inverted atomic drop-leg drop combo, and then a dropkick and a splash for 1. Corbin takes back control with a punch, and he reverses a Twist of Fury attempt into a clubbing clothesline for a 2 count.
The King throws Hardy to the floor and clovers him with some punches. He dumps him back in the ring and Hardy kicks out at 2. He traps Hardy in a necklock, wearing him down. Corbin goes for his round-the-ringpost clothesline, but Hardy catches him on the other side with a wrecking ball dropkick.
This was a brief burst of offense, as Corbin drops Hardy with Deep Six. He looks for End of Days, but Hardy fights back. Hardy is sent to the outside, and Sheamus comes out and blasts him with a Brogue Kick, getting revenge on Corbin for costing him his win against Riddle earlier.
Winner via disqualification: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: 3.5/5
King Corbin VS Sheamus
When we come back, Sheamus and Corbin are doing battle with the Celtic Warrior beating down the Lone Wolf. Can I still call him that? Is he done with that forever or is he just doing the King thing until the next King of the Ring? He drives a knee into Corbin. Corbin avoids the 10 Beats of the Bohdran, and then clotheslines Sheamus when he comes after him.
He continues the assault on the outside, slamming him on the announcers’ table. Corbin throws Sheamus back in and tries to follow him, but gets sent back out. He drives the King into the barricade, and throws him into the ringpost, which Corbin sells brilliantly.
Corbin ducks a flying clothesline from Sheamus and delivers a sidewalk slam for a 2 count. The Celtic Warrior is driven into the ringpost, and Corbin locks him in a necklock. He’s pushing Sheamus around like nothing.
Sheamus looks to deliver White Noise, but gets decked with a clothesline. Suddenly and hilariously, Matt Riddle enters, jumping clean over Corbin in the most beautiful springboard distraction I’ve ever seen. Obviously with his eyes on the flying Original Bro, Corbin doesn’t see the Brogue Kick coming and gets pinned by Sheamus for the win.
Great match, great storyline progression. Corbin didn’t cheat at all this match, and looked like a real strong competitor with muscle, speed, and dangerous precision rather than a weasel. If only they always booked him like that.
Winner via pinfall: Sheamus
Match Rating: 3.5/5
Backstage, we see that some cracks are forming in the partnership of the Golden Role Models, with Bayley being a little mad about being thrown into the match with Asuka next week on Raw and Sasha Banks saying it’s fine. Their conversation is interrupted by a backstage worker telling them they have a video call from Stephanie McMahon.
Kayla Braxton interviews Big E, who talks about how he’s been sort of goofy these last few years, and he’s ready to show the world what he can do. He says that his tag partners and goofy antics have not dragged him down though, nay, they’ve lifted him up. He does such a fun promo, he always has so much energy.
Bayley and Sasha Banks get scolded by Stephanie for breaking a few rules, but she says it’s fine. According to her, “I’m not one to hold a grudge, I’m a McMahon!” Ok then. Stephanie reveals that Sasha will be defending at SummerSlam, just maybe not against Asuka, depending on the results of the match on Raw.
And as for Bayley, the enemies she made across all three brands will compete in a Triple-Brand Battle Royale to gain the opportunity to face her at SummerSlam.
Backstage, Miz and Morrison get interviewed about if they regret upsetting Otis. They don’t. They think that beating Heavy Machinery will be easy, because Miz and Morrison are quote “Physical marvels.”
Miz and Morrison (w/ Sonya Deville) VS Heavy Machinery
Morrison starts out with some kicks to Tucker, but he quickly loses the power game and gets slammed hard for a 1 count. Tucker shows off his mat wrestling skills, and also his strength, blasting Morrison with a clothesline. As the lights flicker again, Otis is tagged in and throws Tucker into Morrison in the corner.
Miz is tagged in, but he can’t make a mark on the massive figure of Otis. Tucker is tagged in and they squish The Miz between them, and Tucker swantons both opponents on the outside as we go to commercial.
When we come back, The Miz is controlling Tucker with a neckbreaker-stomp combo with Morrison. Morrison kicks down Tucker, and Tucker tries to fight, but Morrison clocks him with a shining wizard. Miz and Morrison continue their double teaming as Sonya Deville cheers them on.
The Miz DDT’s Tucker for a 2 count, and Morrison hits a cheap shot on Tucker. Tucker reverses a double team attempt and tags in Otis, who is referred to as Mandy Rose’s boyfriend, which I love. If Naomi is going to have “Wife of Jimmy Uso” in her info card, it should be the same for the dudes.
Otis comes in strong, slamming both opponents around like they’re nothing. Otis hits the Caterpillar, but the Miz breaks up the pin. Miz and Morrison slam both Heavy Machinery members into the barricade and steps, but before they can capitalize, Mandy Rose, sporting a short, undyed hairstyle, comes out and beats down Deville.
The ref stops the match and the two women go at it, with Mandy getting the better of the exchange before they’re separated.
Result: Double disqualification
Match Rating: 3/5
Rose and Deville keep fighting backstage, but suddenly, as if it was foreshadowed all night, the lights turn off, and RETRIBUTION comes into the ring with bats. They attack the announcers and the cameramen, and swear like they’re ten-year-olds who just learned those words. They run out and beat down the planted crowd, making fun of them in the process. They spray red and black paint all over the place, drawing the WWE logo and crossing it out. A guy pulls out a chainsaw and cuts up the ropes, and they just fully destroy the WWE ring as the show ends.
This was great. When RETRIBUTION appeared on RAW, all they did was set fire to a set piece that they had made for the segment. Yada yada, no big deal. This time they came and trashed the ring. The real WWE ring. No one-off set piece, no messing around this time. This segment had some gritty realism to it that I loved so much. It’s the perfect opposite to the currently goofy RAW that features ninjas and a fight club that tries to be cool but really isn’t. Remember that the main point of Survivor Series these last few years is SmackDown trying to prove they aren’t the “B” show? In my opinion, they just did it.
SmackDown August 7
This was one of the best, if not the best, episode of SmackDown in recent memory. There are two reasons why it doesn’t achieve a perfect 5: The lack of balance (It was all guys’ matches, but at least there’s finally some good storylines in the women’s division, so I’ll let that one slide a little) and the fact that none of that matches were without disqualification or interference, which gets a bit repetitive. Otherwise, amazing SmackDown, second great one in a row!