Photo Credit- WWE
Last week was an eventful Smackdown to say the very least. John Cena took Finn Balor’s spot in the Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns and Sasha Banks returned in a big way, turning on the Women’s champion Bianca Belair. Smackdown is shaping up to have a solid build to Summerslam. Can they keep it up? Let’s find out!
GREAT: The show starts off with Sasha Banks cutting a promo about her actions last week. Sasha says that she’s here to take back the spotlight that she created and deserves and won’t let anyone take it from her. Sasha says that she only saved Bianca to make a statement and says that Bianca would be nothing if it wasn’t for her. She says Bianca cried at Wrestlemania because she was in the ring with Sasha and that she never thanked Sasha for anything. Now she’s back to make Bianca pay. Bianca comes out and says Sasha didn’t make her and that she begged her to choose her for Wrestlemania in the first place. Bianca says that if Sasha wants the championship, then she accepts. Zelina Vega comes out and says that Sasha doesn’t deserve the title shot because Bianca accepted Zelina’s challenge first. Sasha will face Bianca at Summerslam for the title and Zelina will face her tonight for the title. This was a great segment to start the show with. Sasha and Bianca cut great promos on each other, this being Bianca’s best promo in a while in my opinion. Even Zelina being out here makes logical sense as Bianca did accept her challenge before Sasha’s, so her getting a shot first makes sense. Granted she doesn’t DESERVE the title shot as she’s won zero matches since coming back but this is more so to feed Bianca’s fighting champion story so I’m ok with it.
GOOD: Rey Mysterio talks with Dominik backstage and asks why he challenged Jey Uso to a match tonight. He says that he knows Dominik is hungry but they have a title match against the Usos at Summerslam and that they can’t afford a loss to stunt their momentum. Dominik says he’s got this and jokingly says he doesn’t need his dad’s help. This was a short but good segment between father and son. Both performed well and Rey brings up the great point of Dominik being young but a bit overzealous.
GOOD: Up next is Dominik Mysterio vs Jey Uso. A really good match between the two here but nothing too different then what we’ve seen from these four men recently.
Result: Jey defeats Dominik via pinfall.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
AVERAGE: Edge has a backstage promo where he discusses what Seth said about him last week. Edge says that when Seth gets here he can meet him in the ring. A short promo that did its job but was nothing really special either.
AVERAGE: Up next is Shinsuke Nakamura vs Apollo Crews in an Intercontinental championship contenders match. Overall a decent match that never got a chance to properly pick up as Commander Azeez pulled Nakamura out of the ring, causing the DQ early on. For what we got though it was alright and it’s definitely going to lead to a title match between the two at Summerslam.
Result: Nakamura defeats Crews via DQ
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 2.5 stars
GREAT: Kayla Braxton is backstage trying to get a word with Roman Reigns but Paul Heyman comes out asking what she wants. She asks if Roman can give a comment about what happened last week but Heyman speaks for him. He says that the contract that Cena signed means nothing, using a great analogy about stealing Tom Brady’s new contract. He says that there’s nothing else left to say and turns around to see Big E maniacally laughing with the briefcase which was hilarious. A great promo here from Heyman and Big E continuing to tease cashing in on Roman is fun.
SATISFACTORY: Up next is Tamina vs Teagan Nox. Nothing noteworthy here outside of the finish. Shotzi shoots a missile past Tamina, which allows Tegan to take advantage and win. Not a bad match by any means but this was a nothing match here and the insistence on faces having to cheat to win matches boggles me.
Result: Tegan wins via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR star rating: 2 stars
AVERAGE: Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce are backstage and they’re interrupted by Zelina. They tell Zelina that she can’t get her title match against Bianca tonight because she doesn’t deserve one and that Bianca doesn’t make matches. They tell her her match tonight with Bianca will be non-title and that if she wins she’ll get the winner of Sasha and Bianca at Summerslam for the title afterwards. A decent segment but the whole beating the champion to earn a title shot is a tad overdone and a bit uninspired.
MUST WATCH: Edge comes to the ring and cuts a promo on Seth Rollins. He says that Seth isn’t here tonight and that ordinarily he’d let bygones be bygones, but costing him the universal title is where he draws the line. He says that he sees himself in Seth and says that if the roles were reversed he would have probably done the same thing. Seth Rollins comes on the titantron via satellite and says that the similarities between the two are slim but that Seth always has a plan B. Edge officially challenges Seth to a match at Summerslam to which Seth says he’ll think about it. Seth says that while he thinks about it, Edge should also think about it to make sure he knows what he’s in for. He says he has no qualms stomping in a man with a healthy neck let alone a man who’s had his neck fused three times. Seth says that Edge needs to think about being a husband and a father, which irates Edge. Edge says that since Seth never finished the job and took him out in 2014, it’s been biting him in the ass and that Seth constantly tries to fill Edge’s shoes. He calls Seth “Edge- lite” which makes Seth furious. Seth says that he’s far better than Edge ever was and accepts the match at Summerslam. This was a fantastic segment all around. Seth being so confident that he was manipulating Edge only for Edge to manipulate him in the end was absolutely stellar. A fantastic segment hyping up what should be a fantastic match at Summerslam.
GOOD: Up next is the Street Profits taking on The Dirty Dawgs. Overall, a good match between these two teams. Nice to see the Profits back together again after Montez has been out for a while. The Profits pick up the win.
Result: The Street Profits win via pinfall.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
GOOD: Finn Balor cuts a backstage promo talking about how Cena took his contract from him and will deal with Cena later. For now he turns his attention to Corbin, saying he has no honor or integrity and that he’s gonna beat some of it into him.
GOOD: Up next is Bianca Belair vs Zelina Vega. This was a very good Bianca Belair showcase, very similar to her matches in recent weeks against Carmella. A solid match between these two and more momentum was built for the Summerslam match.
Result: Bianca defeated Zelina via pinfall.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.5 stars
AVERAGE: Roman Reigns is backstage as Paul Heyman comes up to him and whispers in his ear. Roman says that he has an interest in the upcoming match between Finn Balor and Baron Corbin and will be paying attention closely.
AVERAGE: Up next is the main event as Finn Balor takes on Baron Corbin. Corbin cuts a quick promo before the match and tries to apologize but Finn is having none of it. This match is pretty much all Finn and Finn beats Corbin pretty decisively.
Result: Finn defeats Corbin via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR star rating: 2.5 stars
MUST WATCH: Post match, Balor cuts a promo saying that usually he’s smiling but tonight he’s not. He says that he wants to face Roman for the title and says that he’s willing to go through John Cena to do it. Roman comes out and says that he gave his position last week. He says that he understands Finn’s anger with Cena and says that he tried helping him by giving him a title shot. He then says that Finn needs to keep the name of the Tribal Chief out of his mouth. Finn pushes Roman out of the ring to antagonize him, showing that he’s not afraid. The Usos jump the ring and attack Finn, but Finn eventually gets the upper hand. Roman comes back to the ring and Finn begins to beat up Roman before the Usos help Roman get the jump on him. The Bloodline beat down Balor as the crowd chants for Cena, who weirdly never comes. Overall a great ending to the show. Finn looked amazing here and the eventual feud between Roman and Balor is gonna be so good.
Overall, a good enough show tonight, however it definitely got overshadowed by the unfortunate news of the released NXT talent. Some decent in-ring action mixed in with some great segments. The opening segment had great promos from Sasha and Bianca, the Edge and Seth feud continues to be fantastic and the seeds for a Roman Reigns and Finn Balor feud post Summerslam are being set into motion.
Show theme & presentation: 6/10
Storyline progression: 8/10
Crowd reaction: 8/10
Overall show rating: 7.3/10