7/30 WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT: Keller’s report on Summerslam developments including Randy Orton addressing Kofi Kingston

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c) WWE.com


JULY 30, 2019

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Jake Barnett from ProWrestling.net to break down the show with live callers, an on-site correspondent, and the mailbag.

•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com


-They opened with a close-up of Shane McMahon’s face with a selfie video. He said he had an announcement that would ruin a lot of people’s evenings. He revealed that he would not be part of Smackdown tonight. Cheers. He said he knows a lot of people are upset and angry. He said there’s one person to blame for that. They showed clips of Kevin Owens attacking him. He said he is centering himself tonight. He said his life coach told him to get his emotions in check because he already has what he wants – a match against KO in two weeks. He said that resonated with him and he felt peace and has his aura back and his glow. He said after he beats KO, KO will look him in the eye and say Shane is the better man and he quits.

(Keller’s Analysis: I know a lot of people are sick of Shane, but I think that’s due primarily due to overexposure, not because he isn’t good in this role. Shane has finally found a character that fits his real background that fans can resent – a privileged kid who is delusional about how good he really is and doesn’t understand the institutional and family advantages that have given him a leg up on every success he has had in his life. Of course, WWE doesn’t get it quite right when framing it that way because it strikes too close to home. but Shane is damn entertaining playing that role whether he knows he’s playing it or not. Having him go to a life coach who told him to get his emotions in check is tremendous.)

-The announcers introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. The graphic said they were in Memphis, Tenn. They hyped the key matches and segments on the show.

-Owens made his ring entrance. They replayed KO giving Shane stunners last week. KO sarcastically told people they can get through Smackdown together even without Shane. He said tonight maybe Smackdown can be about the talent “instead of his stupid face.” He told him to bring his stupid face and stupid body to SummerSlam, though. He said Shane might be at peace with whatever crap his life coach is feeding him, but he is not going to quit at Summerslam. He vowed to beat him. He said Shane will learn he doesn’t belong in the ring with someone like him. He said after he beats him at Summerslam, Shane will probably keep showing up, and nobody can stop him because of his last name. He said, though, Shane will know from then on that it’s not his ring or his show, “this is the Kevin Owens Show.” He tossed the mic over his shoulder.

(Keller’s Analysis: There was some truth thrown in there, which is that while KO’s career is on the line if he loses to Shane, if he beats Shane, Shane won’t be affected because he’s a McMahon and his last name guarantees him a job.)

Drew McIntyre walked out and got in KO’s face. “You talk too much,” he said. Drew said he failed to say they have a match later. Then he popped him in the face with the mic and threw him over the announcer table. He told KO their match is next. [c]


Drew controlled the early minutes including focusing on KO’s arm. KO eventually took over. He headbutted Drew off the second rope, then landed a frog splash for a two count. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split-screen. [c]

They fought back and forth after the break including Drew countering a stunner with a Glasgow Kiss and then a sitout side slam for a near fall. Drew got frustrated. He put Owens on the announce desk and set up a move, but KO blocked it and gave Drew a stunner. Drew staggered back into the ring. KO followed up quickly with a superkick and a stunner for the clean win.

WINNER: Owens in 13:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Since KO is going to beat Shane, then KO has to beat Drew, right, based on WWE’s rules about not having a loser beat a McMahon? Not sure if it’s worth having Drew lose clean in a TV match with so little build-up. WWE does interference finishes too often, but they shouldn’t avoid them altogether. There’s a right time to do it, and this was that right time. Elias should have interfered and helped Drew win, or Elias should have tried to interfere only to have it backfire and help KO win. Either way, the storyline could be that KO is going to face similar interference not just from Elias, but also Drew, at Summerslam. It would have stacked the odds against KO, put him and his future in WWE in more jeopardy, and cemented Shane as the heel who would stack the odds in his favor. Instead, Drew lost a match on TV when he should be protected as a top five guy who rarely if ever loses, and certainly not a 13 minutes TV match. On the bright side, the match itself was really good.)

-Kayla Braxton interviewed Dolph Ziggler. They went to a clip of Ziggler giving Sweet Chin Music to Michaels last week. Ziggler said other wrestlers are upset and complaining on Twitter. He said he has two words for them: “Too bad.” He called Mick Foley “a walking pile of catchphrase.” He said Foley got decimated by The Fiend because he didn’t belong in a wrestling ring. He said speaking of people not belonging in a wrestling ring, did you see Goldberg’s last match? He told Michaels that he had Seth Rollins come to his rescue, but then Brock beat up Seth. He talked about facing Miz at Summerslam, but he said Miz isn’t even the best wrestler in his house. He then turned to talking about Finn Balor. He said Balor is living the past, whereas he – Ziggler – is the future. “You are looking at the headliner, you are looking at the main event, you are looking at the best damn thing going today.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Why does he have to break into bursts of yelling over and over randomly in these promos. Just calm the f down and say what you have to say. It’s so amateurish to always lean on the grinding yelling voice to emphasize what he’s saying. Ziggler is, more often than not, the epitome of a bad stereotypical wrestling promo, with the type of content and delivery that someone goofing off with friends in the dorm room hallway at 1 in the morning would do when half drunk and pretending to be a wrestler to try to get laughs – yelling and insulting and huffing and puffing with over-the-top acting. Can’t WWE hire a real acting coach to point this out and show wrestlers like Ziggler a better way that feels more natural and is ultimate more effective?)

-Bayley walked up to Ember Moon and said she hasn’t forgotten that she gave her an Eclipse last week. She said she ought to remember she got her title match because she picked her. She said they’ll get through teaming tonight, but if she thinks of pulling something again, she’ll regret it. [c]

-Aleister Black, back in his dark room, saluted “Mr. Cesaro” for stepping up and facing him, but now it’s time to write the next chapters of his own book. He said he’s in a self-imposed prison, a purgatory, sitting there waiting a little less patiently this time for anybody to catch on to what it is he is trying to do for himself.


During Ember’s ring entrance, they showed her beating Charlotte last week and then giving Charlotte and Bayley her Eclipse afterward. Bayley made her ring entrance next. Graves complained Ember Moon hasn’t shown Bayley any gratitude for granting her a title match. Then Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross came out. Bayley knocked Alexa to ringside and then kicked her through the ringpost. They cut to a mid-match break. [c]

The heels took control for a while against Bayley. Moon eventually got the hot-tag and rallied and yelled before hip attacking Bliss and Cross in the corner. She followed with a top rope Eclipse on Nikki. Bliss, the legal wrestler in the match, attacked her from behind and threw her shoulder-first into the ringpost. She punched a charging Bayley, then leaped off the top rope with Twisted Bliss for the clean win. Graves said Bliss deserves to be in the match at Summerslam because of that win.

WINNERS: Bliss & Cross in 8:00.

-After the match, Bayley checked on Moon and helped her up. Then after a friendly thank you nod from Moon, Bayley gave her a Bayley-to-Belly, then stood over Moon with her title belt smiling.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was a strange finish unless they’re adding Bliss to the match. I wish WWE knew it’s okay to have two babyface face each other and not turn into unlikable jerks by the time the match starts. Damage is done in these feuds. Why can’t one or both just be gracious and competitive? Would they really lose any WWE Network subs if there wasn’t a string of unreasonable aggressive nasty actions and gestures leading into the match? If one of them is going heel, shouldn’t the other “seem to be in the right” all along and take a high road? That’s not happening here.)

-An unnamed blond woman said things have heated up between Moon and Bayley before introducing Sami Zayn. Sami said he’s there scoping out the competition and all he hears is people complaining and feeling sorry for themselves. He said a lot of people are in a lot of pain, but Aleister especially so. He said he sits in a back room and begs for somebody to fight him. He said he’s clearly begging for help. He said he feels the pressure of all the hype, but knowing he can’t live up to it. He said the fans are parasitic who are going to see the whole illusion fall down. He said Black should be exposed so the hype can end and he can begin the healing process. He said he is the man to do it, and he’ll do it at Summerslam.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good vintage Sami heel promo there. Apparently this means Black is going to be a babyface, right?)

-The announcers hyped the Roman Reigns Summerslam Challenge announcement later and the King’s Court with Trish Stratus. [c]

-Phillips talked about The Big Show coming soon to Netflix as he now has his own sitcom.

(Keller’s Analysis: I’m happy for Big Show. He shouldn’t be trying to wrestle much if at all with the physical wear and tear on his body, but he’s so talented and gifted as an actor, with a great comic touch, it’d be a shame if he didn’t have people fighting for him to get a chance to show it on a sitcom format. Hopefully he ends up with a winning situation to shine in.)

-Kayla interviewed Daniel Bryan and Rowan backstage. She asked what his career-altering announcement is going to be. He breathed deeply and then turned and walked away.

(Keller’s Analysis: Bryan isn’t building anticipation as much as he’s losing goodwill and frustrating fans by dragging this out. Obviously, it’s not his fault in real life, but dragging this out better be for a good reason and the payoff better be worth the wait.)

-King’s Court: Lawler stood in front of his hometown fans. Graves, Phillips, and Saxton stood and applauded. He said it’s good to be The King, “especially right here in Memphis, Tenn.” He introduced Trish, one of his all-time favorite Superstars. Trish made her ring entrance. She absorbed crowd cheers and said it felt good. She said she flew from her cottage to be with Lawler. He said she has been on vacation and that’s why she missed the Raw Reunion. She said she was bummed about missing it. She said it was a wild show, including Kelly Kelly becoming the 24/7 Champion. Lawler said that was great. He said everyone was toasting the past, the present, and the future, and it was magic. He said afterward in the locker room, a lot of the legends were talking about wanting to return to the ring and have one last match. Lawler asked if she ever wishes she could come back and have one final match. Trish smiled. A “One more match” chant started.


Trish said WWE is in her blood and it’s part of her heart and soul. She said she’ll always get that itch, but she’s a mom now and has to do her mom duties. Charlotte interrupted. She told Lawler that it is a disgrace to hold King’s Court without a proper queen. She said the question he should be asking is how is the greatest female Superstar of any era not on Summerslam. Trish said, “Hey, Charlotte.” Charlotte said “blah blah blah blah blah blah and all your sappy reminiscing.” She said she’s a mom, so congratulations. She asked Lawler to hold open the ropes for her. Jerry did. Fans chanted “Jerry! Jerry!” She said there have been a lot of WWE Superstars who were parents. She said they all have moms, so it sounds like an excuse to her. She said the greatest moment of her life hasn’t happened yet, though. She said the Queen challenges her to a match at Summerslam.

(Keller’s Analysis: So Charlotte either got an awful script here or she badly butchered the script she was given. Charlotte walks out and tells Trish, in essence, being a parent is no excuse not to wrestle because many wrestlers are parents. Okay, that’s something a heel would say and it matches up fine with what Trish just said. Then Charlotte went into a spiel about how everybody *has a mom.* Uh, yeah, but Trish didn’t say she won’t wrestle again because she *has a mom,* she said she won’t wrestle because she *is a mom* with the responsibilities (and joy) that comes along with that role.)

Trish thought about it. Another “One more time” chant started. Charlotte said she expected more out of the seven-time women’s champion. She said now that WWE has evolved and now that they’re no longer models “shaking our assets” and are instead trailblazers changing the industry, she understands. She doesn’t think she can actually hang with The Queen, “so get the hell out of my ring, hop in your minivan, and go back to changing diapers.” Trish said she respects Charlotte for being a hell of an athlete and performer, but right now she’s “just being a bitch.” Charlotte looked offended. Trish said there’d be no trail for her to blaze if it weren’t for her, Lita, Jacqueline, Ivory, and Beth Phoenix. (No Victoria?) She said to be the woman, you need to beat the woman, and Charlotte should know that better than anyone. “You want your match at Summerslam, you got your match at Summerslam.” Saxton was very excited.

(Keller’s Analysis: Trish’s strength was never her mic work. It still isn’t. That said, she was solid here. I wish there was more of a reason Trish was there being interviewed as it all felt contrived because you knew something would happen as she went on about nothing in particular. I also wish Charlotte was advancing her promo skills over time. Her sing-song deep voiced cliche-ridden approach isn’t effective.)


Sgt. Slaughter joined Wade Keller & Bruce Mitchell on this weekend’s Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast in front of a live audience at the Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame summer event this past weekend. He has done interviews infrequently, and no interview as long or as detailed and revealing as this two-hour epic career retrospect spanning from his pre-Sgt. Slaughter days to last Monday at the Raw Reunion and all of the career highlights and controversies and hilarious stories in the decades in between.


-Backstage, A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows talked. Styles said if people only believe what they see, as Ricochet says, he sees three champions right now. They said they are the official, original, and only club that matters. Styles said Kofi Kingston will find out why the Blue Brand will forever be the House that A.J. Styles built.

-Firefly Funhouse: They cut to a basket of vegetables. Ramblin’ Rabbit talked about how excited he is for Summerslam because he’s Finn Balor’s biggest fan. Clips aired of Balor flying around the ring. An animated bee crossed the screen. Rabbit said he is extraordinary. He said Balor made a very big mistake, though, because The Fiend has been unleashed. He said Finn doesn’t understand what the Funhouse really is. Bray Wyatt walked in, so the rabbit fled quickly. Bray then laughed and turned sinister and said, “Let me in.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Did you ever think you’d see a pro wrestling match hyped by a rabbit puppet who was scared of a fraudulent demands kids’ show host who turns dark and wears a domonic clown mask?) [c]

-They showed Brock Lesnar attacking Seth Rollins on Raw last night. The announcers talked about a WWE post on Twitter saying Seth has asked that no details be released about his condition. Graves said the match might not take place.

-The ring entrances for Dolph Ziggler and Balor followed.


They cut to a break as soon as the match began, but stayed with the action on spilt screen. [c]

Ziggler dominated during the break. Balor made a comeback after the break. Ziggler then took over and stomped the mat to telegraph his super kick, imitating Shawn Michaels. Balor countered with a sling blade and knocked Ziggler to the floor. Then the lights went blue and dark. The Fiend then showed up on camera from the stage. The lights came back on and Ziggler blindsided Balor with Sweet Chin Music for the win.

WINNER: Ziggler in 7:00.

-They showed Shinsuke Nakamura backstage. [c]


Ali countered a Nakamura set up for a Kinshasa with a super kick. He went for a top rope for a 630, but Nakamura moved. Ali ducked a Nakamura kick and rolled up Nakamura for a one count. Nakamura gave him a quick DDT. Ali countered another Kinshasa attempted with a surprise schoolboy for a three count.

WINNER: Ali in 2:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: They had a story they wanted to tell there, but jamming it into a two minute match doesn’t make it worth it. How about planning ahead and having Ali win a bunch of matches on Smackdown, Raw, and Main Event, and then have him tonight face another wrestler on a winning streak, and announce the winner gets the U.S. Title match at Summerslam? Instead, it’s another case of a challenger pinning the champ in a non-title match. It’s WWE’s go-to shortcut when they can’t be bothered to plan ahead enough to tell better long-term stories.)

-Phillips threw to a video feature which he called “an exclusive” featuring Randy Orton’s thoughts on facing Kofi Kingston. Orton said everyone likes talking about Kofi’s match against him in 2009, but by then he had accomplished so much. He listed his title wins and big main events. He said as a third generation wrestler, he just had to be himself, whereas Kofi couldn’t just be himself. He said Kofi had to pretend he had a Jamaican accent and dance moves and “being the fun guy.” He said Kofi can’t step to his level until he says he can. He said Kofi was stupid for thinking he could hang with him, so he sent him back down the ladder. He said jumping ahead to 2019, the new Kofi was Ali. He said he stuck the heel of his boot so far in his eye socket, he couldn’t compete. He said that resulted in a spot to be filled, and it was Kofi. He said there is no Kofi-mania without him doing what he did to Ali. “And I can’t even get a thank you?” he said. He said Kofi’s entire reign is based on a fluke and luck. He said Kofi challenging him is “stupid, stupid, stupid.” He said Kofi might not see it coming, but he’ll take the title off his waist “with the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment – R-K-O.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Aspects of this were well done, with Orton trying to take credit for the success Kofi had while accentuating how ruthless and dangerous he can be. That said, this promo didn’t quite get to where it seemed to be going, which is Orton saying he is a third-generation wrestler who better fits the prototype of what a star wrestler looks like than Kofi, and act like that’s justified that he got more opportunities and had more success. That would be the heelish lob over home plate for Kofi to knock out of the park next week. Kofi could come out next week and say Randy was right in saying Randy didn’t have to do anything but show up and focus on winning matches, which he did a lot of. Kofi could explain that didn’t have the advantage of focusing only on winning nor did he have faith that winning would be enough because he didn’t look like Randy or come from a wrestling family. Kofi could have said he had to focus on getting the attention of fans and promoters, and he got off-track at times and other times was overlooked because he didn’t have the traditional look – i.e. tall white muscular handsome dude. Then explain to Randy that he now has proven he can be a world champion and he no longer is worried about proving himself or being overlooked, and the result of that is him being the best wrestler he’s ever been, and at Summerslam he’ll prove to Randy that he’s now better than him, and he always was. It would resonate with a big part of the WWE fanbase and rally them to Kofi’s side at Summerslam. But that won’t happen. Kofi will gyrate and smile and spew a cliche or a catch phrase while Xavier and Big E act obnoxious and overtake the scene and diminish the gravity of Kofi-Orton for the WWE Title happening in 2019 at Summerslam. It’s too bad.)

-Kayla tried to interview Kofi. Big E and Xavier Woods joined them. Xavier gently took the mic from Kayla and sent her off. Big E and Xavier took turns with quips. Kofi said they’re all champions. They swiveled their hips and belts. Kofi said Smackdown Live is no longer the House that A.J. Styles Built, it’s the Palace of Positivity. Big E then introduced Kofi. They made their way to the ring, throwing pancakes on their way. [c]

-They showed postcard shots of Memphis, focused on Graceland.

(5) KOFI KINGSTON (w/Big E, Xavier Woods) vs. A.J. STYLES (w/Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows)

The OC made their ring entrance. The bell rang with 15 minutes left in the show. Graves said a loss for either wrestler here could have catastrophic ramifications on their confidence at Summerslam defending their titles. The teams at ringside bickered. Kofi leaped off the top rope toward Styles, but Styles kneed him out of mid-air and then went on the attack. He threw him into the time keeper’s area. [c]

They showed a split screen of Kayla preparing backstage for Roman Reigns’s big announcement that will air before the show ends. Kofi rallied and fans chanted “New… Day Rocks!” Styles side-stepped a charging Kofi, then charged, but Kofi hit Styles with two high knees for a two count. Then he hit an S.O.S. for a near fall. Styles came back with an enzuigiri. Kofi kicked a charging Styles and dove onto him with a splash. Anderson and Gallows pulled Styles by his boots out of the ring. Xavier and Big E walked over and yelled at them. Styles caught Kofi with a forearm, but Kofi stood and gave Styles a boot. Styles took a shot at Big E. That led to a brawl at ringside. Kofi then dove onto The O.C. threesome. Things felt rushed here as if they were getting time cues and having to rush through some spots. Kofi then springboarded, but Styles caught him mid-air and gave him a fireman’s backbreaker. Styles leaped off the top rope, but Kofi kicked him with Trouble in Paradise out of mid-air and scored the pin.

WINNER: Kingston in 13:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. The right person won. But the ending was a mess. The director and cameras couldn’t keep up with things. My hunch is the match was running long and they were short on time, so a lot of spots got rushed or condensed and not everyone was in the right spot at the right time, thus so many shots were missed by the cameras. The whole thing was exciting, but also clunkier than you usually see with WWE top matches. It added to the sense of chaos, but was hard to follow.)

-They abruptly went backstage to Kayla who was standing backstage and they went to an awkwardly wide shot of Reigns arriving for the interview. Then suddenly she cried out with concern as scaffolding was tipped over on him. Amazingly, there was a camera filming the scaffolding from above falling onto Reigns (WHICH WAS RIDICULOUS). Then a bunch of speakers fell around him. Kayla freaked out and others shows up and called for help from medics. Roman sat up and was fine, if not shaken up. He stood and acted like the medics were overly aggressive fans asking for his autograph in the middle of dinner or something. Reigns walked away and checked over his shoulder as if fearing more could happen. Graves said he’s the luckiest person on the planet. The camera followed him walking away and the show ended

(Keller’s Analysis: That whole thing was awkward. It’s yet another tease of an announcement that wasn’t delivered, too. The camera showing the scaffolding from above falling onto Reigns was too stupid for words, pretty much as bad as when there happened to be a dash-cam inside the limo when Shane’s head went through the side window. WWE just can’t pass up a camera angle no matter how little sense it makes and how much it immediately takes you out of the mode of thinking “something unexpected and unplanned is happening!” I don’t get where this is going, but hopefully there’s a good payoff to this too. Reigns acting like he was in shock might make sense, but I need to see the next chapter before judging how this was all produced.)

Tonight after WWE Smackdown, join me live with guest cohost Jake Barnett from ProWrestling.net to break down the show with live callers, an on-site correspondent, and the mailbag.

•CALL: (347) 215-8558

•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: wadekellerpodcast@pwtorch.com

4 Comments on 7/30 WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT: Keller’s report on Summerslam developments including Randy Orton addressing Kofi Kingston

  1. It is being reported by multiple sources that they rewrote almost the ENTIRE show. How bad could it have been? Last night’s show was pretty terrible.

  2. No Keller, we’re sick of Shane PERIOD!! I wish all the McMorons would all die in a fiery wreck! Yes I mean that!! Also, Nakamura please go back to New Japan. WWE can’t or is unwilling to do sh*t with you. Why do any Japanese wrestlers go to WWE?? They do nothing with them EVER! I hope Kushida realizes this before his contract is up.

  3. X Pac heat my ass. McMahon heat is more like it. That’s the rightful term for someone the fans legitimately hate both as a character and as a person. Fans didn’t hate X Pac as a person but rightfully hate all the McMahons.

  4. Keller’s Analysis: Why does he have to break into bursts of yelling over and over randomly in these promos. Just calm the f down and say what you have to say. It’s so amateurish to always lean on the grinding yelling voice to emphasize what he’s saying. Ziggler is, more often than not, the epitome of a bad stereotypical wrestling promo, with the type of content and delivery that someone goofing off with friends in the dorm room hallway at 1 in the morning would do when half drunk and pretending to be a wrestler to try to get laughs – yelling and insulting and huffing and puffing with over-the-top acting.

    Yet Ric Flair made a career of yelling during all of his promos and has always been viewed as a great promo guy…yet I don’t recall you ever saying a negative thing about his promo abilities during his wrestling career.

    I think there’s some wrestlers that you’re not really a big fan of and you go out of your way to find things to nit-pick about them. Randy Orton is another one. I thought his promo was great and there wasn’t a thing wrong with it.

    Meanwhile the wrestlers you seem to like you go out of your way to defend and make excuses for them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.