Photo Credit- WWE Twitter account
Last week’s episode of Smackdown gave us some solid in-ring action as well as a lot of great build for an eventual Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns title match. However, last week failed to hype up Summerslam in a big enough way with little focus on Cena. With Cena confronting Reigns tonight, can Smackdown get back on track on the road to Summerslam? Let’s find out!
MUST WATCH: The show kicks off with John Cena. Cena calls Reigns a disappointment and says that Roman has been fed to the crowd for 10 years, and the only one that buys into it is Roman himself. He asks the crowd if Reigns will beat him at Summerslam, to which they say no. John says that Reigns will definitely beat the hell out of him at Summerslam, but Reigns won’t win. Roman Reigns comes out to address Cena and tells Cena not to waste his time. Cena says that he’s gonna embarrass Roman at Summerslam and says that Roman thinks that Smackdown is his show. Cena also says that the company brought him back to humble Roman and that the fans have to choose a side. Roman says that he wants Cena to lash out better insults and cut him deep, to which Cena says that he’s gonna cut him deeper at Summerslam when he beats him for the title. Roman, however, says that he respects Cena and puts over Cena as one of the greatest ever. He says that Cena is good enough to win the WWE title but not the Universal title. Cena closes by saying that Roman has been protected for so long and that Cena only needs three seconds to embarrass him. Overall, this was a really damn good opening segment. The Cena promo up until Roman came out was a bit underwhelming but once Roman came out business picked UP. A great back and forth between the two, spilling subtle AEW references and creating this sense of realism that was missing from the build up to this point. This should have been the build to this match the entire time.
GREAT: Up next is the Intercontinental championship match as Apollo Crews defends against King Nakamura. Rick Boogs distracts Apollo with his guitar playing, which gets Boogs thrown out by the official. Commander Azeez tries to simultaneously get into the ring to attack Shinsuke but is also caught by the official and is thrown out as well. Glad to see that this match will go to a decisive finish with no outside interference. A really good back and forth between the two here. Shinsuke eventually hits the Kinshasa on Crews and wins the championship!! We have a new Intercontinental champion!!!
Result: Shinsuke defeats Apollo via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.75 stars
GOOD: Kayla Braxton is backstage with the Street Profits and asks Montez about how he feels getting back into the ring with Otis tonight. Ford says that he’s been hurting for two months but he’s not concerned about getting back into the ring to get his revenge. A good short promo from Montez.
GOOD: Up next is the Street Profits vs Alpha Academy in what is seemingly the blowoff to their feud. A good little match but a bit shorter than I expected. There was a great spot where Gable uses the rally towel to lure Otis into a spot, like a bull seeing red. The finish sees a slight miscommunication between Gable and Otis where Gable inadvertently tags himself in. Otis is taken out by Dawkins and gets hit with an unfortunately botched dive from Montez. Montez got way too much distance on it and pretty much cleared straight over Otis’ head. Meanwhile, Angelo hits the spinebuster on Gable and gets the win as the Profits scamper before incurring further wrath from Otis. A good match for the short time it got, but the botched spot from Montez and Otis kept it from being a bit higher.
Result: The Profits win via pinfall after Dawkins pinned Gable.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
MUST WATCH: Seth Rollins is in the production truck and tells the crew to play something when he tells them. He goes to the ring and says that he has “sources” that say Edge won’t be in the building tonight. Seth says that he put together a career retrospective of himself and Edge to show the “truth” about Edge. The package talks about how Edge has done so much in his career, but Seth not only has done similar things, but has done them better. Seth says that he’s had a revelation that Edge and the fans should be thanking him. He says that if he curb stomped Edge back in 2014, he never would have had his great comeback. He also has a GREAT line where he says that his daughters wouldn’t be pushed by him in a stroller but they’d have to push him around in a wheelchair. Seth closes by saying that times have changed and that at Summerslam he will not hesitate to stomp Edge. Wow. This promo was incredible. I absolutely love this Edge and Seth Rollins feud and this only furthered my love for it. A brilliant promo from Seth on top of a hilarious video package.
AVERAGE: The Mysterios are backstage and Rey continues telling Dominik that he needs to focus and stop being too overconfident and overzealous heading into Summerslam. He asks him to focus going into their tag match up next, to which Dominik agrees. A short segment that did its job.
GOOD: Up next is The Mysterios taking on the Dirty Dawgs. A good back and forth match here. The Usos come on the tron and distract the Mysterios as Dominik goes for the 619. Rey tells Dominik to pay attention and the advice works as Dominik pins Roode with a roll up. The Usos close by saying that they’re not gonna be ready to step into the ring with the 7 time champions at Summerslam. A good match overall. I liked the Usos spot and Dominik being distracted only to get his focus back by listening to his dad was good and made sense. Looking forward to the match.
Result: The Mysterios win via pinfall after Dominik pins Roode.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
GREAT: Up next is Baron Corbin coming out to give his last and final plea for help before officially filing for bankruptcy. Corbin says that people want to see him in pain after everything he’s done so this is his last plea for help. He says that everyone should give him a minimum of $1,000 and pulls out a scanner on his phone to get the money. Kevin Owens comes out and says that this needs to stop and that he’s only embarrassing himself. He says that he tried helping him before because he thought he would change like he did, but Corbin says that he’s not leaving the arena until Owens gives him $1,000. Owens challenges him to a match where if Corbin wins Owens will give him the money. If Corbin loses, however, he needs to stop begging for help. Corbin says that he wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for cheap people like Kevin. Kevin gives Corbin a stunner for his troubles. Overall, a really fun segment. Corbin continues to thrive in this poor man gimmick, Mcafee was exceptional on commentary here and Owens had a great promo as well. A solid segment.
GOOD: Up next is Baron Corbin v Kevin Owens. Another fun match here as Owens eventually defeats Corbin, preventing him from asking the fans for money again. Post match Owens hits Corbin with a stunner.
Result: Owens defeats Corbin via pinfall.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.5 stars
GOOD: Backstage, Corbin is asked what’s next for him. He silently thinks things over and runs over to a nearby table and STEALS Big E’s money in the bank contract and runs off with it! Not the route I was expecting Corbin to take but a feud with Big E should be good and I love the last ditch attempt at desperation from Corbin.
MUST WATCH: Finally we have the contract signing between Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair for their Smackdown Women’s championship match at Summerslam. Bianca asks Sasha if she should turn around and let her stab her in the back like she did two weeks ago. Sasha says that Bianca scarred her and that she didn’t come back to be Bianca’s friend. She’s only here for revenge and to win back her women’s title. The two argue as Sonya Deville tells them to knock it off and sign the contract. Sasha goes to sign it but says she needs “witnesses” present before she signs it. Out comes Zelina Vega and Carmella who stand by Sasha as the two sign the contract. The three beat down Bianca, but Bianca gets the upperhand and takes out Zelina and Carmella. Sasha beats down Bianca again, however, and ends the segment by locking in the Bank Statement on the table, with Bianca’s hair stretched in her mouth. This was a damn good closing to this episode of Smackdown. A short but very heated contract signing to end the show. I’m also intrigued by the possibility of Zelina and Carmella joining Sasha to form a trio.
Wow. This was legitimately one of the best Smackdown shows of the year so far. A fantastic show from start to finish. Great in ring action, fantastic segments, a new Intercontinental champion. So much packed into a highly enjoyable two hours.
Show theme & presentation: 7/10
Crowd reaction: 8/10
Overall storyline progression: 9/10
Overall show rating: 8.2/10