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ELDER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 31, 2018
TAMPA, FLA. AT AMALIE ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
The show opened with Renee Young in the center of the ring introducing Becky Lynch. Philips reminded everyone that Lynch will be facing Carmella at Summerslam for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Young interviewed Lynch in the ring and Becky went on to say it is an honor to have the chance to compete for the championship and to walk into the all-women pay-per-view Evolution as the new champion. Carmella joined them in the ring with her belt over her shoulder. Carmella went on to say that she had thought about the upcoming fight, and realized that she was just jealous. She praised Lynch as the centerpiece of the women’s division, while Carmella herself is just an afterthought. Carmella began tearing up as she reiterated how she hears the fans comments about how she does not deserve to be champion, as the crowd erupts into a mild “you suck” chant. She wished Lynch good luck and extended her arm out for a handshake to Becky when James Ellsworth music hit. Lynch looked to the ramp when Carmella attacked her. After landing a few blows on Lynch, Carmella ran down to her aid. After being given a suplex, Carmella retreated as Charlotte helped Lynch to her feet in the ring.
(Elder’s analysis: Too many opening monologues go on for too long, and this one is no different. Becky, along with the crowd, knew better than to believe a word that Carmella was saying. We had to wait for the inevitable twist, which, of course, inevitably came. It was, however, a nice way to reintroduce Charlotte as Lynch’s ally, and the Ellsworth tease was a nice swerve. This is clearly heading into a triple threat. It does give Charlotte an important match with such limited time before a major PPV, so I understand the reasoning. The Charlotte/Becky friendship dynamic will be interesting going forward.)
-Graves announced that Samoa Joe would appear to give A.J. Styles his own personal message regarding Summerslam later tonight.
-Jeff Hardy is shown backstage listening to music via headphones as Philips explained that Hardy will be confronting Orton tonight after Orton’s brutal attacks over recent weeks.
-The Uso’s are backstage and they cut a promo regarding their match against The Bar in the tag team tournament coming up next. They then cut to the first commercial break. [c]
-They picked things up backstage as Carmella complained to Smackdown G.M. Paige who said she should be ashamed of herself for her actions. Carmella said that she had poured her heart out in the ring and said Paige would never be a champion again. Paige said that she would teach Carmella how to be a “real” champ. Paige said that tonight she will face Charlotte, and if Carmella loses, her match at Summerslam will become a triple threat.
-With Graves livid with Paige’s decision, the Uso’s walked to the ring. The Bar then made their entrance to the ring. The New Day came down to ringside and sat at a custom orange announcers table since the winner of the coming match will face them in the next round of the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Tournament.
(1) THE USOS vs. THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro) – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Tournament Match
The match began before going to a commercial break with the action shown in PIP. [c]
They returned with Sheamus controlling Jey Uso in the middle of the ring with The New Day commenting from ringside. Graves reminded everyone that it was The Bar that ended The New Day’s historic Championship reign. Jimmy Uso attempted a suicide dive onto Cesaro who was pushed aside by Sheamus who took the dive himself. After more back and forth action, they cut to another commericial break. [c]
Returning from commercial The Bar attempted a double suplex from the second rope on Jimmy Uso when Jey made the save. Jimmy landed a corkscrew jump on Cesaro. Jay saved his partner from a double team maneuver. Cesaro was pushed out of the ring. Jay went for the pin on Sheamus who kicked out quickly. Jey then landed a super kick. Jimmy landed a splash before Cesaro made the save on the pin. The New Day go crazy at ringside after the close call. With Sheamus down in the center of the ring, The Uso’s went for a double splash. Cesaro caught one with an uppercut while Sheamus blocked the other with his knees. Sheamus then rolled him up for the pin.
After the match, The New Day confronted The Bar in the ring. After exchanging words, The Bar walked back up the ramp as the crowd gave a “New Day Rocks” chant.
WINNER: The Bar by pinfall in 16:00 to earn a match against The New Day next week to earn a title shot at Summerslam.
-An advertisement for Daniel Bryan appearing later tonight was shown.
-Lana vs Zelina Vega was announced as a match for later tonight.
-Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Charlotte. Charlotte said she was just there to support her best friend Becky Lynch, and didn’t even think she would have a match at Summerslam. She was reminded by Renee that she still needed to beat Carmella tonight to earn that match, but Charlotte responded by saying “The queen is back. Woooo!”
-Highlights from Samoa Joe’s attack on A.J. Styles last week were shown. Corey Grave’s said that Joe would deliver a personal message to Styles next before cutting to a commercial break. [c] One advertisement was for Sonic and included an extended montage of The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s career in WWE.
-They returned as Samoa Joe entered the ring. Joe grabbed a stool and a microphone and sat in the middle of the ring. Joe said that respects the house that A.J. built but went on to say that he had put the title in front of his family and friends. He said that Styles preferred being on the road as supposed to home with his family and has put the championship above all else. He said that his family will be rooting for Joe to win so that after he is put to sleep, his wife and kids will have their daddy back. Joe stated, “I will be WWE Champion.” Joe left the ring as Phillips apologized for Joe’s personal comments.
(Elder’s analysis: Damn! Things just got personal. While some of that is almost cringe-worthy because of the personal nature of the comments… Man… Joe is one mean, unapologetic dude. This guy has been on a tear lately, and he is making no qualms about what he wants: To put A.J. Styles to sleep, and to be the next WWE Heavyweight Champion.)
-Highlights were then shown of Randy Orton’s brutal attack on Jeff Hardy two weeks ago on Smackdown. They then cut backstage to show Jeff Hardy applying his face paint and Phillips said that Hardy will be addressing Orton next before cutting to commercial break. [c]
-The show returned and Jeff Hardy came down to the ring and grabbed a microphone. Hardy said that when he lost his championship, that he lost a piece of himself, and that nothing was as important as getting that back by beating Shinsuke Nakamura. He said that there was one thing that was nearly as important, and that is getting back at Randy Orton, before calling Orton down to the ring. Orton’s music then hit, and he approached the ring. As Orton was about to enter the ring, Nakamura attacked Hardy from behind with a kick to the back of the head. Orton then approached Nakamura and stared him down for a moment. He then stepped back as Nakamura delivered a Kinshasa on Hardy. Orton then stepped up to Nakamura again before Nakamura slowly retreated from the ring, leaving Orton alone with Hardy in the ring. Orton waited for Hardy to get to his feet before taking him down and stomping on him repeatedly. Orton then gave him a rope hung DDT in the ring before delivering another DDT off of the ring apron. Orton continued to beat Hardy who was laying face up on the announcers table. Orton tore Hardy’s chain and pendant from his neck. Orton then poured a bottle of water onto Hardy’s face before wiping his face paint away with a cloth. The crowd seemed particularly disgusted by this act. Orton then decided to leave Hardy alone, while slowly walking away with Jeff’s pendant in his clenched fist. They then cut to commercial break.[c]
(Elder’s analysis: Well, if Samoa Joe was personal, then Randy Orton is just plain sadistic. Every move he makes feels like a planned calculation. Slow, methodical, and devastating. This type of attack perfectly suits his character.)
-Returning from commercial, Renee Young is backstage interviewing Becky Lynch. Lynch is asked if she is happy that Charlotte is back. Lynch said she is happy that she is back, but not so happy about the potential triple threat. When asked if she is rooting for Carmella tonight, Lynch responded with “Renee, I never root against my best friend.”
-Lana enters the arena as they showed footage from the Rusev vs. Almas match last week where Aiden English accidentally bumped into Lana which caused Rusev to ultimately lose the match. Zelina Vega entered with Andrade “Cien” Almas. Phillips said that this would be Zelina Vega’s first match in WWE.
(2) ZELINA VEGA (w/Andrade “Cien” Almas) vs. LANA
Vega opened the match by immediately settling into the “Tranquillo” pose in the center of the ring. Lana then went on the attack as they cut to commercial break with the match still showing in PIP. [c]
They returned with Vega taking control of the match for a while before Lana gained the upper hand. Almas distracted Lana twice before Aiden English came to her aide by taking him out. This accidentally distracted Lana as well and Vega managed to roll her up for the pin.
WINNER: Zelina Vega by pinfall in 5:00.
-An advertisement for next week’s match between The Bar vs. The New Day was shown. The Bludgeon Brothers appeared and address the competitors in next week’s match. They reiterated that “No one escapes the bludgeoning.”
-Daniel Bryan entered and the crowd erupted with a thunderous “Yes!” chant before they cut to a commercial break. [c]
-They returned with Aiden English apologizing to Lana backstage. He swore to her that it was an accident before leaving as Rusev arrived on scene. Lana said that she said that she understood that Rusev needed to figure out what was best for Rusev Day, but she could have really used him out there tonight before she walked away.
-Back in the ring, Daniel Bryan praises the Evolution PPV announcement. Bryan showed the crowd a video highlight of his interaction with Miz last week on Smackdown. Bryan called out Miz saying that he would love “nothing more to punch him in the face right now.” Miz appeared on the jumbo tron with security by his side. Miz revealed he is currently on set at “Miz & Mrs.” and he plugged the show before ensuring that he is not in the building. Bryan called Miz nothing more than a coward. Miz reminded Bryan that the last time Bryan called him a coward was on Talking Smack and that Bryan just walked away then instead of doing anything about it. Daniel Bryan officially challenged Miz to a one on one match at Summerslam. Miz said that Daniel Bryan’s career is over. Team Hell No is over. He suggested that Bryan just let his contract expire and said that everyone looks at Bryan as a baby as photos of crying babies appeared on the jumbotron. They highlighted the upcoming Carmella vs. Charlotte match before cutting to commercial break. [c]
(Elder’s analysis: They do have actual wrestling matches on this show, right? Nothing puts a live crowd to sleep faster than someone talking in the middle of the ring, aside from forcing them to watch someone else talking on a big screen to someone in a ring. At this point, I think we all just want some action here. A pull apart would do just fine. They had fans begging for this feud, including me. But this tonight, along with a baby throwing incident last week aren’t building this to what it should be.)
-Phillips announced that A.J. Styles will be returning to Smackdown Live next week as Carmella made her way to the ring.
-Renee Young is backstage with Carmella. Carmella said that she wants to face Becky Lynch alone at Summerslam, and said that she knows that Lynch is rooting against Charlotte tonight. Carmella then entered as Graves reminded everyone that “Mella is Money.”
(3) CARMELLA vs. CHARLOTTE
Charlotte got the upper hand quickly before Carmella retreated out of the ring. Carmella gained control as they cut to commercial break. [c]
They returned to action with both competitors back in the ring and Charlotte landing some chops into Carmella. As the action spilled outside, Carmella threw Charlotte over the barrier and retreated into the ring hoping to win via count out. Charlotte just made it back into the ring. They cut to Becky Lynch watching the match from backstage. More back and forth action ensued until Charlotte kicked Carmella to the outside of the ring. Charlotte then did a moonsault off of the barrier onto Carmella. Charlotte hits Carmella with a Natural Selection but Carmella kicked out of the pin. Carmella recovered and nearly scored a pin. Carmella bided time before attempting a figure four lock which was reversed into a Figure-Eight by Charlotte. Carmella tapped immediately. They cut backstage to Lynch who hung her head at the result. Phillips reminded everyone that Charlotte earned her way into the match between Carmella and Becky Lynch at Summerslam, making it a triple threat for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
WINNER: Charlotte in 13:00.
-The show went off the air with Becky Lynch backstage staring at Charlotte on the TV.
(Elder’s analysis: The outcome was never in question. One really does feel bad for Becky Lynch. A legit one on one match at Summerslam for a title was something that she deserves. With Charlotte in the picture, I can’t help but foresee this not ending well for Lynch. As for match quality, Carmella and Charlotte don’t seem to have much chemistry. I hope Lynch’s inclusion can remedy this.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I haven’t always been too high on Randy Orton despite his impressive resume. However, right now, I can’t wait to see what he does next. For a guy that has been around for so long and done so much, WWE has got me reinvested in him, and I commend them for that. I wish I could be more interested in the tag team tournament. But, for that to happen, I need some new tag teams to be thrown into the mix. The New Day and The Uso’s and The Bar all know each other inside and out. All three teams work great matches together in any combination. But we’ve seen it all too many times. In Elder fantasy land, Rusev Day would’ve been in this tournament. It would have made their break up more interesting if they were actually presented as a team that was relevant in the tag team division.