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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
AUGUST 14, 2018
GREENVILLE, S.C. AT THE BON SECOURS WELLNESS ARENA
AIRS ON USA NETWORK 8:00 P.M. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
In Memory: Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
Earlier in the day yesterday our hearts were broken as learned of the passing of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.
Neidhart most notably worked in the WWF (known today of course as WWE) as the tag team partner of Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart, his brother-in-law. They held the tag team championship on multiple occasions and feuded with legendary teams such as the British Bulldogs, Demolition, the Killer Bees, the Rougeau Brothers, Strike Force, etc. One of their more memorable matches was against Demolition at SummerSlam 1990 when they re-gained the WWF Tag Team Championship.
Neidhart got his start in Stampede Wrestling in the late 1970s after being discovered by who would turn out to be his future father-in-law, WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart. He would later work for various promotions including Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, Continental Wrestling Association, and more. In addition to his time in the WWF, he spent time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) during the Monday Night Wars.
He was known for his infamous goatee, boisterous laugh, and magnanimous personality. When I think of the first wrestlers I watched as a kid in the mid-1980s, Jim Neidhart is certainly one of them. The Hart Foundation is without question one of the greatest tag teams to ever grace the squared circle.
He is of course the father of WWE women’s wrestler Natalya. Natalya was to take on Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss last night but was not at Raw for obvious reasons. Our sincerest condolences go out to Natalya, her mother, and the rest of Neidhart’s family and friends. May one of the greatest rest in peace.
WWE heads towards Greenville, S.C. tonight for Smackdown as the Bon Secours Wellness Arena will host the go-home show for SummerSlam from the Smackdown side.
Two matches are on tap for tonight as announced by WWE.com. G.M. Paige has hinted at another on Twitter, and we can obviously expect more. WWE Champion A.J. Styles is expected to have more to say to his SummerSlam challenger Samoa Joe. We can expect more build for the match between Daniel Bryan and The Miz although nothing is specific according to WWE.
A.J. Styles with More to Say to Samoa Joe
Last week WWE Champion A.J. Styles responded to his SummerSlam challenger Samoa Joe as Joe in the previous week cut a very personal promo attacking A.J. Styles as a husband and father to his family. He discussed the fact that he’s not home much, but with his family gives their children everything they need. He referenced their longtime friendship, which certainly comes from their time in TNA which won’t be mentioned for obvious reasons. In the end he promised Joe would not only not walk out of SummerSlam as WWE Champion, but would not walk out period. Joe watched on a monitor from the back, with a black eye. Tonight, A.J. has more to say.
Thoughts: You certainly saw a more intense side of A.J. last week, which we saw a little bit of during his feud with Shinsuke Nakamura earlier this year. Combine that with Joe’s intensity and I believe we can expect an explosive final build tonight if they come face to face. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that their match at SummerSlam is the show-stealer. As far as who walks out WWE Champion it’s 50/50.
Six-Man Tag: The New Day vs. Sanity
In the main event of last week’s show, The New Day defeated The Bar to earn the right to face Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam for the titles. If New Day wins, if would be their fifth tag team championship in their history. Three years ago, at SummerSlam, they began their second reign which would turn out to be their record-breaking 484-day reign by defeated the then-champion Prime Time Players. Tonight, New Day takes on Sanity in a six-man tag match, a group they’ve exchanged wins with recently on TV and at Extreme Rules.
Thoughts: Sanity hasn’t had the dominant run we likely expected when they were promoted from NXT earlier in the year. WWE hasn’t had them on TV that frequently, so I don’t think much damage has been done. There’s no shame in putting over four-time tag team champions if that what happens tonight, depending on how the match is framed. Sanity is not scheduled for anything on the SummerSlam card at the moment. They are clearly “on the bench” at the moment, similar to when a baseball player is called up from AAA after the trade deadline or in September. I wouldn’t read too much into their run thus far as I would think better things are planned.
Aiden English vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
In the past two Smackdowns Rusev’s Lana has lost to Zelina Vega, the business manager of Andrade “Cien” Almas. In each case Aiden English inadvertently cost Lana while trying to help her. On the SummerSlam pre-show, Rusev and Lana face Almas and Vega in a mixed tag match. Tonight, English takes on Almas in an effort to “make it up” to Rusev and Lana. Here’s English on Twitter this week:
I know it’s been a hard few weeks for #RusevDay but I swore to make it up to @RusevBUL & @LanaWWE – so ahead of their #SummerSlam match, I’m demanding here and now to face @AndradeCienWWE 1 on 1 this Tuesday on #SDLive – I’ll do whatever it takes. https://t.co/P881KA0koN
— Aiden English (@WWEDramaKing) August 11, 2018
Thoughts: I don’t want to make too much of this, but wasn’t Rusev in a WWE Championship match only one PPV ago at Extreme Rules in July? I don’t take issue with what they’re doing here, but it is quite a drop-off in just one month. Nonethless, it appears Rusev and Lana have gone the babyface route in this feud with Almas and Vega. They didn’t clearly turn though, as their treatment of English could be viewed as heelish. Even though he’s cost Rusev and Lana matches he’s had good intentions. He certainly could be an x-factor in the tag match at SummerSlam. This is only speculation on my part, but he could intentionally cost Rusev and Lana the match turning heel claiming he was “mistreated all along” or something to that nature.
Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Carmella Face to Face
Last week Charlotte and Becky Lynch picked up a victory over The IIconics, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay with Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella as a guest commentator. Before the match they discussed their competitiveness, talking about how they wanted the same thing and because of it that’s why they get along so well. Becky did cite though that the hill she must climb has gotten higher, but what else is new. Carmella would taunt Charlotte and Becky after the match, holding up the title they both desire. Tonight, there will be a face to face with all three women, who will square off in a triple threat match at SummerSlam for the championship.
Thoughts: Charlotte and Becky took a little shot at Bayley and Sasha Banks in the pre-match conversation when discussing their ability to get along. With the rumored Women’s Tag Team Championship possibly coming to fruition, it’s not crazy to imagine these teams of women vying for the titles possibly at Evolution. That would seem to be a waste of Charlotte and Becky, as their story has developed quite well in recent weeks. I think their time is better served working over a single’s title, with no disrespect to the possible tag team titles which could be unveiled rather soon. There has been a genuine feel of conflict between Charlotte and Becky, having to juggle their friendship and desire to be Smackdown Women’s Champion.
Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose’s “Opportunity”
Mandy Rose tweeted out her frustration with G.M. Paige, claiming she gives her former PCB stablemates (Charlotte and Becky Lynch) preferential treatment. Here’s the tweet and Paige’s response:
Tonight, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville’s opportunity is revealed.
Thoughts: We would have to think there will be a tag match featuring Charlotte and Becky vs. Mandy and Sonya tonight based on the tweets, wouldn’t we? The cryptic nature of Paige’s tweet could be suggesting something else, but it’s hard to know what that may be.
- Daniel Bryan attacked The Miz while “on set” of “Miz and Mrs.” (Are they filming season two already? Otherwise why is he “on set”) The Miz was cutting a promo about their SummerSlam match when Bryan came out of nowhere and hit Miz with a vase. More should come tonight on the go-home show. Note that it’s been reported Bryan has still not signed a new contract. His current deal expires September 1st.
- U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura defeated R-Truth in a non-title match. Nakamura faces Jeff Hardy for the championship at SummerSlam. At the open of Smackdown last week, Randy Orton doubled down on reasons for his “change of heart” lately. He still hasn’t factored into the U.S. Title match at SummerSlam, but the feud between the two still remains unsolved. Hardy should be on the show tonight.
Start Time and 205 Live
The arena website shows a start time of 7:45 p.m. with doors opening at 6:15 p.m. They’re not advertising any matches. They show AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy, The Miz, Carmella, and “more” appearing.
205 Live will follow Smackdown.
Akira Tozawa vs. Lio Rush
Non-Title Match: Cedric Alexander (Cruiserweight Champion) vs. Jack Gallagher
On the SummerSlam pre-show, Cedric Alexander puts the cruiserweight championship on the line against Drew Gulak. Tonight, Alexander faces one Gulak’s “friends” in Jack Gallagher in a non-title match.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!