This week’s WWE Smackdown featured the fallout from Money in the Bank last weekend with Liv Morgan becoming Smackdown Women’s Champion. Also, Roman Reigns is back as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion prepares for SummerSlam on July 30.
I feel refreshed after not watching or writing about any wrestling for the past week. It wasn’t the best vacation, but I’ve had worse. I’m writing this on Saturday night after being away for the last week. Thanks to the TJRWrestling team of news and feature writers for holding things down while I’ve been away.
The opening video package showed highlights from Money in the Bank last Saturday. Theory lost the US Title to Bobby Lashley early in the show, but then Theory won the Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match. Theory is now the Money in the Bank briefcase holder.
The commentary team was Michael Cole with Corey Graves replacing Pat McAfee this week. Corey is good with Cole, but I like Pat more.
The Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns made a rare Smackdown appearance to a big reaction from the crowd. Roman was joined by the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos and the Special Counsel “Wise Man” Paul Heyman. Reigns told the camera that he’s the GOAT aka the Greatest Of All Time. Reigns defends his two titles against Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing Match at SummerSlam. They are pushing it as the last match in the rivalry. Reigns posed in the ring so that more fireworks could go off by the entrance area. They showed Mr. Money in the Bank Theory standing by the entrance and Reigns didn’t even notice him there while Cole screamed about it.
Analysis: I like Reigns as much as anybody, but that five-minute entrance is not the most exciting thing to watch on television. They had a recap of Money in the Bank, then the entrance and it took up nearly ten minutes. Let’s get to the action or at least a promo.
Let’s Hear from Roman Reigns and The Bloodline
Reigns: “Fort Worth, Texas, acknowledge me.” A mix of boos and cheers as usual, but what matters is it’s a loud reaction. Reigns acknowledged some “you suck” chants and “Roman” chants by the crowd. Reigns said that when The Tribal Chief is in the house, business picks up. Reigns said that life is good because as long as God wakes him up, he can handle anything. Reigns said he woke up on the compound, went to the private gym, got his workout in, went on the private jet and flew here. Reigns said it was a great day. Reigns said he’s breathing, he’s healthy, happy to be at work and on his show Smackdown. Reigns said it was an honor to see his Bloodline, his family referring to The Usos. Then Reigns sees his “Wise Man” Special Counsel and he looks concerned. Reigns said he’s the Greatest Of All Time, so Paul should be very confident and he wondered what the problem is. Reigns wanted Heyman to tell us what’s wrong.
Heyman grabbed the microphone while shaking. Heyman: “I love you, my Tribal Chief and I love The Usos.” Heyman said that they have a problem and that problem’s name is…Brock Lesnar. Heyman said that Reigns is the GOAT in an era where no one can hold onto a championship, Reigns holds onto both titles and has done it for 600+ days. Heyman said that Reigns was the longest reigning champion of the last 35 years. Heyman said that Lesnar has no respect for that, he’s got one last match against Reigns and when Lesnar is cornered, that’s when he is most and dangerous. Heyman mentioned Lesnar was 24 years old and wasn’t supposed to beat The Rock for the WWE Title (SummerSlam 2002), but Lesnar did it. Heyman also mentioned ending The Undertaker’s 21-0 streak at WrestleMania. Heyman said now Lesnar has his back against the wall, in a do-or-die situation, who becomes a footnote in history and who could end this all…Brock Lesnar. Heyman: “I’m scared because what’s going to have to happen now is we’ll have to see Reigns go savage.” Heyman said that Reigns will have to smash Lesnar and he has to be a Reigns like never before. Heyman ranted on about what Reigns needs to be, so he fired Reigns up and Heyman pointed at Reigns as the winner of the match. Heyman got on his knees as he begged towards Reigns, who seemed happy by the end of it.
Theory’s music hit. He had the Money in the Bank briefcase with him. Theory ran around the ring, then up the aisle and to the back. Thrilling.
Analysis: It was a way of using Heyman to put over Lesnar without Brock being there himself to do it. Heyman is such a great talker when it comes to promoting the big matches, so they gave him a few minutes to put over Lesnar, then he turned it around and said what Reigns needed to do to win. I think Reigns will beat Lesnar to put an end to that rivalry. I assume the Theory thing was just done as a tease that WWE will keep doing in the future as well.
They showed the Progressive Match Flo replay from last week when The Viking Raiders beat up The New Day.
The Viking Raiders made their entrance for tag team action.
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs. Jinder Mahal & Shanky
Shanky wanted to dance, so Mahal tagged himself in. Erik grounded Mahal with an armbar. Shanky left the apron to dance on the floor. Mahal with a kick to the face, but Shanky was not ready to tag in and Erik punched Mahal down. Ivar tagged in for a double Powerbomb for the pinfall win after one minute.
Winners by pinfall: The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
Analysis: 1/2* Easy win for the “vicious” heel Viking Raiders as they continue to look dominant. Shanky continues to look like a dancing fool.
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods mentioned VR kicking their butts and Kofi said that their butts are still here. Woods said that those beatdowns were not sanctioned, but they have sanctioned “Ass Beating” tickets in their hands. Kofi said it’s time to give VR the whooping they all deserve.
Kofi and Woods went into the ring, but Erik slammed Kofi with a spinebuster and Erik did a knee (with leg slap) to Woods. Ivar with a double foot stomp to the chest. Ivar was on the middle rope where he did a front slam on Kofi to send him to the mat.
Analysis: The “New, Vicious Viking Raiders” continue to dominate The New Day for the third straight week. At some point they’ll have a match. This was more of the same where the goal was to put over the Viking Raiders having a mean attitude.
They showed a clip of Happy Corbin beating up Pat McAfee after Money in the Bank last Saturday. They showed this clip on WWE’s Youtube channel and social media after it happened. Corbin accepted Pat’s SummerSlam challenge.
Happy Corbin joined the commentary team with Cole mentioning that medical personnel didn’t want Pat to show up and Pat is playing golf. Corbin said that Pat was in 67th place, so he made fun of him. Cole said that Pat will be back next week while adding that Pat signed a new contract with WWE as well.
Gunther, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance with Ludwig Kaiser.
Gunther was standing in the ring with Ludwig Kaiser, who said there is no competitor worthy of standing in the ring or competing with the Intercontinental Champion Gunther. Ludwig said that we are not worthy of seeing Gunther compete tonight. Ludwig talked about an Open Challenge. Gunther said that you’re foolish if you think he’ll do an Open Challenge while adding that it has to be somebody that deserves the opportunity.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance, so Corbin on commentary did some excitable dancing like what McAfee does although it was a lot sillier. Graves thought it was great, so he went on the table with Corbin and Cole called them fools. Nakamura got into the ring with Gunther.
Nakamura said that Gunther can keep the title for now, but Nakamura challenges Kaiser to a match right now.
Analysis: I believe Gunther and Nakamura have been wrestling at live events for a few months, so they probably have developed good chemistry. They are two talented veterans that know what they are doing out there.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ludwig Kaiser (w/Gunther)
Nakamura sent Kaiser into the turnbuckle followed by a sliding German Suplex. Gunther stared at Nakamura, so Shin was distracted and Kaiser dropkicked Nakamura while he was against the ropes, so they went to break.
Nakamura hit a jumping kick to the face followed by a kick to the back of the neck. Nakamura with kicks to the body, then a jumping kick to the face and a boot to the throat. Nakamura with a running knee to the ribs for a two count. Kaiser with a jumping kick followed by a double underhook suplex. Nakamura avoided a kick and hit a spin kick of his own. Nakamura with a Kinshasa knee strike for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: *1/2 It was okay for the three minutes that we actually got to see. They could have timed it better. Anyway, it should lead to Nakamura challenging Gunther for the IC Title. Perhaps it’ll be a SummerSlam match or we’ll see it on Smackdown soon. The IC Title hasn’t been defended on a PPV/PLE event in over a year.
Post match, Gunther went into the ring to yell at Kaiser about losing the match. Gunther made him stand up. The fans chanted “USA” at them. Gunther delivered a hard chop to Kaiser’s chest, then Kaiser got back up and Gunther delivered another hard chop. Kaiser was back up again and Gunther hit Kaiser with a hard chop leading to a back bump. Gunther stood tall over his fallen ally.
Analysis: That’s Gunther trying to toughen up Kaiser. I don’t see them splitting up. I think they’ll be together in the future.
They showed highlights of Liv Morgan becoming the Smackdown Women’s Champion at Money in the Bank this past Saturday. Morgan won the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match earlier in the night and then Morgan cashed in on an injured Rousey, who had a right knee injury. Morgan did a kick to the knee followed by the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the win.
Liv Morgan made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. She had on some unique shoes that made her look six inches taller. Maybe they’re not unique and they are normal? I don’t know. They made her look taller at least. The fans popped for her.
The main event still to come was Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus for a WWE Title shot at Clash at the Castle.
Let’s Hear from Liv Morgan
Michael Cole was in the ring interviewing Morgan with the fans chanting “you deserve it” for Morgan. Cole said that Morgan etched her name in history and a mere two hours later, she cashed in on Ronda Rousey to win the Smackdown Women’s Title. Cole mentioned Ronda suffered a knee injury in her match with Natalya. Morgan said if Ronda wants a rematch then she wants her to bring it. Morgan said that this title is a culmination of a lifetime of hard work, sweat and tears. Liv said she’ll work ten times as hard to stay here. Morgan added that no one wants that title more than her. Cole mentioned that ten years ago, Morgan was a waitress saving her money to be a sports entertainer (or “wrestler” as we like to say) and Cole said that Liv came close many times, but it didn’t happen. Cole asked Liv what it means to be Smackdown Women’s Champion. Liv said that this means everything to her because she has dreamed about this her whole, entire life. Liv said that she thought that maybe she would never get there, but here she is. Liv mentioned something John Cena might say: “Never Give Up.”
Natalya arrived for the interruption. Natalya said she can dream too…about when Liv will finally shut up. Natalya said that there is no way in hell that Morgan would have beaten Rousey fresh while adding that Liv only beat Rousey because Natalya injured Ronda. Natalya added that while she may have lost the match, she enjoyed the hell out of it.
Ronda Rousey was next for the promo party with Rousey favoring her right knee a bit on the way to the ring. Rousey congratulated Morgan for seizing the moment at Money in the Bank and that’s what it is all about. Rousey said that at SummerSlam, Liv will learn that challenging for the title is a lot easier than defending the title. Rousey said that she’s not really dressed to compete right now, but she asked if the fans want to see Rousey beat up Natalya again. Natalya with a forearm to the back of Rousey and then Morgan tossed Natalya out of the ring.
Analysis: I thought Morgan was fine as the babyface champion that smiles a lot and did the promo about living her dream. I think it was a genuine promo for the most part. Natalya made some valid points as the heel in the segment because she did weaken Ronda’s right leg, which led to Morgan cashing in, so Natalya was speaking the truth. Rousey was gracious towards Morgan while also giving advice to Liv. It was also a way to set up a Rousey/Natalya rematch.
This Monday on Raw: Brock Lesnar is there, Bobby Lashley will have a US Title Open Challenge and Theory faces Riddle.
Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya
Rousey with kicks to the left knee of Natalya, so Natalya left the ring and regrouped on the floor. Rousey rammed the kneecap onto the ring apron. Natalya left the ring again leading to Rousey kicking the back of the left leg. Rousey with elbow strikes to the leg and an Ankle Lock on the apron. Rousey applied an ankle lock, Natalya stood up to get out of it and Rousey hit a body slam. Rousey applied the Ankle Lock submission again, then she dropped down to the mat with a heel hook and Natalya tapped out. It went just over two minutes.
Winner by submission: Ronda Rousey
Analysis: * That was quick. It sucks for Natalya, who did a good job at Money in the Bank, but this time she got no offense and Rousey dominated the whole match. It was a way to make Ronda look dominant going into her title match against Morgan at SummerSlam.
Drew McIntyre was interviewed backstage by Megan Morant, who asked about Drew’s match with Sheamus. Drew said that the Clash at the Castle is going to be huge and he’s coming for whoever comes out of SummerSlam as the WWE Undisputed Champion – Reigns, Lesnar or Theory. Drew said that he first met Sheamus when he was 19 and he was like 47 years old. Drew said that it’s appropriate they are in Texas because everything is bigger in Texas, especially these stakes in their match. Drew mentioned the 3-2-1 countdown before the Claymore Kick.
Analysis: A solid babyface promo from Drew as usual.
Max Dupri made his entrance.
Maximum Male Models
Max Dupri was in the ring with a spotlight on him. Max said that last week their MMM debut was a viral sensation. Max said they were there to present the 2022 Tennis Collection. Mace was up first wearing tennis attire while holding a tennis racket. I am not describing the poses or the outfits. It’s Mansoor up next. More tennis attire. When Mansoor swung a forehand with his racket, Graves remarked about how great it was. This is really over the top. Submit your full body photos to MaximumMaleModels.com if you want to join. It’s actually a real website. More posing by Mace and Mansoor to end it.
Analysis: I find it boring. I get that it’s done to annoy people. It doesn’t interest me at all. Maybe when Mansoor and Mace are in the ring in the near future it will make it better, but I don’t know about that. I’m sure some people watching think it’s a great heel act that they enjoy. More power to you if you like it a lot. I don’t love it at this point.
Theory was interviewed by Kayla Braxton with Theory saying he was always watching. Theory said that he may cash in against Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar. Theory said that he loves that people don’t like him. Theory said that he’ll become a two-time US Champion at SummerSlam after he defeats Bobby Lashley and whoever survives Reigns/Lesnar at SummerSlam, they better be ready for him. Theory said that Reigns is screwed because Lesnar is going to beat him or Theory will beat him. Theory said that the same goes for Lesnar if he beats Reigns. Theory left, Madcap Moss walked into the picture saying that’s a big briefcase and he bets he can shove it in his mouth. Moss said he would like to try.
Analysis: Theory’s promos are okay. They are getting better now that he has a reason to brag as Mr. MITB briefcase holder.
Aliyah made her entrance for a tag team match with Lacey Evans against Shayna Baszler & Shotzi.
The music of Lacey Evans hit, she walked out there and didn’t seem to like the reaction from the crowd. Evans went to the back, then she walked out again and didn’t like the response a second time even though there were cheers. Evans went to the back and did her entrance for the third time.
Evans did a promo saying she was disgusted by the response she got from the crowd. Evans said she poured her entire heart and soul out on live TV, told her life story and hoped to help you guys…for that reaction? Lacey said that you look at a woman like her and know all of her struggles, but you know you can’t go through half of them to be the kind of woman that she is. Evans said that she should get a standing ovation. Evans wondered if it was because of the pulled pork and brisket that makes it so hard for you to stand up. Evans told the fans that they were disgusting, which led to a “you suck” chant. Evans said she’s an American Hero that put her life on the line for the likes of you. Evans remarked that until she gets the respect that she deserves, every single one of you can go to hell. Evans tried to leave, but Aliyah stopped her and Evans decked Aliyah with the Woman’s Right punch to the face. Evans left to boos.
Analysis: There’s the heel turn for Evans. She was booed a lot at Money in the Bank and there were rumors of a heel turn anyway, so having Evans as a heel was likely the plan for a few months now. Evans was always more comfortable as a heel in the past, so I think it’s the best role for her. It was the classic “blame the fans” promo for a heel turn by saying the fans don’t respect her enough and that’s why Lacey is acting that way.
The Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos made their entrance for a match.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Los Lotharios (Angel & Humberto)
The match started during the break. They showed Humberto getting a nearfall. Angel kicked Jimmy out of the ring and the Lotharios did a double kick on Jey. The Usos were on the floor, they avoided a diving attack and the Lotharios kicked The Usos down on the floor. Jey made a blind tag leading to a popup into a Samoan Drop for two on Humberto with Angel making the save. Angel jumped over the top to go after Jimmy, but Jimmy hit him with a superkick on the floor. Back in the ring, Jey avoided a move by Humberto and Jey hit a superkick to Humberto. The Usos hit the 1D and Jimmy covered Humberto for the win after about two minutes.
Winners: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
Analysis: * A quick match to give The Usos a win. Los Lotharios got some offense early, but then The Usos put them away with the superkicks and the 1D for the finish.
The Usos were interviewed in the ring by Kayla Braxton, who noted their win at Money in the Bank was a match where they got away with something. They showed the replay of the pin when Montez Ford’s right shoulder was up during the winning pin by The Usos. Braxton said it appeared that they got away with cheating. Jimmy said that’s not on The Usos, it’s on the referee. Kayla said that there are rumors that they will have a special guest referee in their match at SummerSlam. Jimmy said that he had a volunteer in mind (signaling Roman Reigns). Jey said that as long as they can count to three and then The Street Profits will get hit with the 1D again. The Usos said that they are “the ones” to end it.
Analysis: I think the special referee idea makes sense after the controversial finish to the Usos/Profits match at Money in the Bank. I don’t know who it will be, but I think it should be interesting. I think The Usos will win at SummerSlam and the Profits will probably be broken up as a team by the time of the next draft in October or if they do it in September instead.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance for the main event while The Usos were still in the ring. They didn’t show them interacting.
Next week on Smackdown:
* Liv Morgan vs. Natalya in a Championship Contender’s Match meaning if Natalya wins then she gets a shot at Liv’s title.
* Madcap Moss vs. Theory.
Sheamus made his entrance for the main event with his buddies Ridge Holland and wild man Butch by his side. Sheamus said that the winner tonight goes on to Clash at the Castle for the Championship Match. Sheamus started coughing a bit, he said he had a “bit of tickle in me throat,” Sheamus said maybe “he had a dose of the Covid” and he said that rules state he can’t compete until he gets tested. Sheamus said he had a backup plan in mind. Sheamus said that Butch is foaming at the mouth to get his teeth on Drew. Sheamus: “Go get him, Butchy.”
Analysis: That means WWE spent nearly two hours telling us it was going to be Drew vs. Sheamus for an Undisputed WWE Universal Title shot at Clash at the Castle even though they were never going to do it this week. I assume we get to see that match next week or the week after. Perhaps they save it for SummerSlam itself.
Drew McIntyre vs. Butch (w/Sheamus & Ridge Holland)
Drew wasn’t happy as he launched Butch across the ring with a belly-to-belly throw. Drew went after Sheamus, then Butch went for an armbar on Drew’s left arm and Drew gave him a headbutt. Drew with another belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Drew punched Ridge off the apron to the floor. Butch came back with a jumping kick, then a leap off the top, Drew moved and Drew hit a neckbreaker. Drew hit the Claymore Kick with Butch selling it with a flip bump for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: *1/4 It was yet another short match on this show to give an established star like Drew a clean win. Butch sold that Claymore Kick really well.
Holland attacked Drew after the match, Drew got a hold of him and hit a Future Shock DDT. Sheamus was freaking out on the floor while checking on Butch. Sheamus tried a cheap attack, but Drew had Angela the sword in his hands. Sheamus said you don’t have it in you, but then Drew hit the top rope with the sword. The top rope broke. Sheamus got out of the way. They lit the goalposts on fire as well, so there was a pyro show for the rope cutting. Drew celebrated in the ring while Sheamus, Butch and Holland stared at Drew from the aisle. That was the end of Smackdown for this week.
Analysis: The main event segment wasn’t that interesting because they just delayed a match they advertised for nearly two hours. I’m sure we’ll see Drew vs. Sheamus again soon, but it wasn’t this week.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre
- Paul Heyman
- Roman Reigns and The Usos
5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
This was a weaker episode of Smackdown. In terms of match quality, this was nothing to get excited about. Lots of short matches and obvious winners. Some of the storyline progression was good and I liked several of the promos, so that saves it from being a terrible show. I just think Smackdown should be and could be better on a more regular basis.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is SummerSlam from Nashville on Saturday, July 30th. Here’s what we know so far.
* Last Man Standing Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
* United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Theory
* Unified Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits
* Pat McAfee vs. Happy Corbin
The Miz vs. Logan Paul isn’t official yet, but it’s happening too.
You can watch WWE SummerSlam, streaming live Saturday, July 30, at 8 ET/5 PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
Thanks for reading. Please check out my reviews of every WWE PPV ever listed in order. Go Toronto Blue Jays. My contact info is below.