Photo Credit- WWE Twitter account
Last week’s episode was a very eventful one in both good ways as well as bad. The show kicked off with a great segment with Cena and Heyman and an unexpected swerve with Roman Reigns defending the title against Finn Balor at Summerslam! However, the appearance at Rolling Loud left a lot to be desired. The crowd did not care whatsoever about any matches going on in front of them and it hurt that portion of the show. With that being said, though, Smackdown continues to be the A show heading into Summerslam. Can they continue that momentum? Let’s find out!
MUST WATCH: The show kicks off with John Cena. Cena talks about how he was rejected by Roman because he never changed his music, look or anything. He just stayed as the same old Cena for years. Cena says that that’s stupid and that’s like asking The Rock or Steve Austin to change. John talks about how Roman expected Cena to change, but Cena says that Roman is the one that has to keep changing to stay relevant because no one believes in him, especially himself. He says that Roman didn’t reject him because of how he looks, but he makes Roman look. Cena is interrupted by Baron Corbin who tries asking Cena for help. Cena hilariously doesn’t recognize him at first. Corbin talks about how Cena is always able to make wishes and continues asking Cena for help. Cena asks the audience what he should do, to which they’re actually very split. Cena gives Corbin some money, who is ungrateful that it’s not enough. He offers to work for Cena as his stunt double in the next Suicide Squad movie, but Cena says no which prompts Corbin to call Cena a Hollywood sellout with an inflated ego. Cena gives Corbin an attitude adjustment for his troubles to end the segment. This was overall a fantastic segment. Cena’s promo about Roman was stellar and the bit between him and Corbin was downright hilarious. A great way to start the show.
AVERAGE: Rey Mysterio is backstage with Dominik. Dominik says that he’ll have his dad’s back in his match with Jimmy Uso and keep an eye on Jey. Rey says that he’s proud of the competitor Dominik has become, but tells him to sit back and watch. A decent, short segment leading into the next match.
GOOD: Up next is Rey Mysterio taking on Jimmy Uso. A really fun back and forth match. Rey goes for a 619 on Jimmy but Jey tries to stop him, who eats the 619 instead. Rey is able to hit the 619 on Jimmy and Dominik pushes Rey to give him added leverage. Turnabout is fair play as they say as the Usos kept trying to cheat throughout the match as well, so this was arguably justified.
Result: Rey defeats Jimmy via pinfall.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.5 stars
GREAT: Bianca Belair is in the ring being interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Kayla talks about how Bianca has officially been champion for over 100 days and asks how the next 100 days for her reign will look. Bianca reflects on the past several months until Carmella comes out. Carmella wants one more match against Bianca for the title because she’s been champ for 130 days as if that matters when getting a title shot. Carmella continues until Zelina Vega comes out and challenges Bianca to face a rising star like herself and says no one else is more deserving. Bianca accepts Zelina’s challenge but is jumped by both women. However she is saved by a returning Sasha Banks! It was heavily rumored that Sasha would return tonight and it’s great to see the rumors are true. I’m shocked, though, that she didn’t establish herself as a heel and she’s staying as a face. Maybe this leads to a potential heel turn in the coming weeks before Summerslam? Overall, this was a pretty good segment. Bianca was great as always, Zelina was pretty good and the return of Sasha was a great moment. Carmella was probably the weakest part of this segment because I’m not a huge fan of her beautiful gimmick and her insistence on a third title shot after losing twice clean.
GOOD: Reginald cuts a promo before his match talking about how he would’ve done anything to get to the WWE, like be a sommelier. Interestingly, Reginald seems to have dropped his accent. An interesting change to his character but I’m ok with it. He talks about how he constantly has his head on a swivel and constantly looks around for any would-be opponents. A standard but good promo that’s no different than a promo from any other 24/7 champion.
AVERAGE: Up next is Reginald defending the 24/7 Championship against a mystery opponent. Who is that opponent? Alpha Academy comes out and Otis cuts a short promo saying it’s not him that’s facing Reginald, but rather Chad Gable. Otis attacks Reginald before the match, giving Gable an early advantage. The match itself was honestly pretty entertaining, but Otis comes in and causes the DQ. Post match he tries throwing Reginald over the top rope to the outside but Reggie lands on his feet. Reginald is easily one of the best 24/7 champions ever and it’s not even up for debate. He’s killing it in this roll.
Result: Reginald defeated Gable via DQ
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 2.5 stars
AVERAGE: Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville are backstage and Sonya reveals that tonight’s main event will be a tag team match as Carmella teams up with Zelina to take on Sasha and Bianca. Should be a good main event.
GREAT: Up next is the contract signing for the Universal Championship match at Summerslam between Roman Reigns and Finn Balor. Pearce and Sonya are also out here to make sure the contract is officially signed and that there are no shenanigans. Whenever Roman comes out there’s always this intense atmosphere and I absolutely love it. Pearce tells both men to look over the contract one last time and sign it to make it official. The crowd starts chanting for Cena but Roman says that Cena already came out. Roman also tells Finn that because he accepted Finn’s challenge, Cena thinks that Finn is a lesser opponent. But Roman says that Finn is worthy of a chance at the title, as well as a beat down. Roman says that he’s gonna smash Finn and send him back to NXT. What a great line. Finn says that Roman thinks very highly of himself but he’ll be happy to go back to NXT as Universal champion. However, before he can sign the contract, Baron Corbin jumps him and throws him over the barricade on the outside. Corbin tries signing the contract, but Cena comes out and stops Corbin. Cena then proceeds to sign the contract himself. Overall, a really good segment that got soured a bit at the end. A great back and forth with Roman and Finn and Cena coming in to sign the contract, while highly questionable, was a fun way to get Cena into the match at Summerslam against Roman’s wishes. The only thing that keeps this from being must watch is the fact that they kind of made Finn look like a bit of a chump here. However, I’m hopeful that Finn gets an eventual title shot down the line and isn’t stuck feuding with Corbin.
GOOD: Paul Heyman tries talking to Pearce and Sonya about what just transpired, attempting to say that what just happened is not legally binding. However Pearce says that it’s good enough and Cena will officially challenge Roman for the title at Summerslam. I’m not the biggest fan of Cena getting the title shot this way, but it makes sense for the story they wanna tell of Roman not wanting to face Cena and Cena has to find a way into the title match. Heyman was also great in this segment and is always the right amount of over the top.
GOOD: Up next is a six man tag team match with King Nakamura, Cesaro and Big E taking on Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. A decent match where most of it took place during the commercial break but for what we did get, it was good. There was a great spot where Ziggler reversed a kinshasa into a Zig Zag. The competitors have a fun finishers party where they all hit their finishers on each other. Apollo goes to put Nakamura away but is distracted by Rick Boogs playing the guitar. However, Commander Azeez puts a stop to that and takes out Boogs. Cesaro uppercuts Azeez over the barricade and then eats a super kick from Ziggler for his troubles. Nakamura picks up the win after reversing a crucifix pin attempt from Apollo into a Kinshasa. A fun little match that I wish we got to see more of had it not been for the commercial break. But on the other hand I’m happy we just got to see the fun spots and the fat was simply trimmed. I’m not a fan, however, of the Intercontinental champion being pinned once again. Hopefully, though, this means Nakamura takes the title off of Apollo because Apollo, while great, is doing nothing for the title unfortunately.
Result: Nakamura, Big E and Cesaro win via pinfall after Nakamura pinned Crews.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
GREAT: Up next Edge comes out to cut a promo but is jumped by Seth Rollins. DURING THE COMMERCIAL!!! WHAT THE HELL GUYS! Anyway I’m glad they at least showed what happened. Rollins jumped Edge and hit him with a camera. Edge is taken to the back as Rollins cuts a promo saying that all Edge does is take and take and he keeps taking opportunities away from Rollins. He says what goes around comes around and that is a revolution. By proxy this makes Seth a revolutionary. He continues and says that he’s proud of everything he’s done and says that what he did was the right thing to do. Seth says that he is the rightful number one contender for the Universal title and that if he can’t have it, Edge can’t either. I loved this segment. This was a great promo from Seth and I really love the story of Rollins being upset at Edge for constantly taking title shots away from him. It’s a great feud that paints Rollins as this delusional, entitled brat.
GOOD: Finally it’s our main event as Carmella and Zelina Vega take on Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. Sasha and Bianca have great chemistry as a tag team when they’re not at each other’s throats fighting over a title and I find that hilarious. Spots like Bianca pressing Sasha over her head, walking up the steel steps and throwing Sasha at Carmella and Zelina is fantastic. A good match that was more so a showcase for Sasha and Bianca. Sasha eventually wins after making Carmella tap out to the Bank Statement.
Result: Bianca and Sasha win via submission after Sasha taps out Carmella.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
MUST WATCH: Post match, Sasha and Bianca celebrate until Sasha suddenly hits Bianca with a backstabber!! HEEL TURN!!! Sasha absolutely destroys Bianca, locking in the Bank Statement and making the champion tap out. Sasha lets go of the hold but almost immediately locks it back in and has it locked in as the show fades to black. A fantastic way to end the show. Everyone expected Sasha to turn heel and I’m happy it came sooner rather than later. Really looking forward to Sasha vs Bianca at Summerslam.
Overall, a really fun show from top to bottom. Some good in-ring action, a great contract signing albeit with a somewhat questionable resolution, a great promo from Seth Rollins and Sasha Banks coming back and turning heel is exactly what the women’s division and Bianca’s title reign needed. My only complaints with the show are that some of the backstage segments were too short to be anything really noteworthy and some of the decisions in the contract signing. Cena signing the contract is questionable but an ok resolution to get the Roman match and Finn kind of looked like a chump at the end , but I’m optimistic that he gets a title shot down the line.
Show Theme and Presentation: 7/10
Crowd Reaction: 10/10
Storyline Progression: 8/10
Overall show rating: 7.8/10