WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 8/20: Murphy vs. Bryan, King of the Ring First Rounders Owens vs. Elias and Crews vs. Andrade, The Viper Strikes Again

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

Daniel Bryan (art credit Joel Tesch © PWTorch)

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AUGUST 20, 2019

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

Arena and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE heads up towards Sioux Falls, S.D. for tonight’s Smackdown as they return to the Denny Sanford Premier Center. Smackdown had an appearance here in September of 2017 along with 205Live as well as Raw in July of 2018. The building first opened in 2014. SummerSlam is firmly behind us and we begin to turn our attention towards Clash of Champions, which comes our way on Sunday, September 15th.

Here is what’s advertised for tonight’s show:

Matches & Segments:

  • Buddy Murphy and Daniel Bryan to battle as the Big Dog whodunnit looms large
  • Can Kevin Owen silence Elias as the King of the Ring begins?
  • Apollo Crew and Andrade to settle the score in the first round of the King of the Ring

Storyline Follow-Up:

  • How will Kofi Kingston respond to Randy Orton’s vicious assaults?

Daniel Bryan vs. Buddy Murphy

Last week on Smackdown, Buddy Murphy took on Roman Reigns as the case of who has been attacking Roman continues. Roman picked up the victory, but Murphy looked strong as the match went around twelve minutes. It ended when Roman hit his signature spear, which Murphy sold like a rock star.

Prior to the match Daniel Bryan and Rowan came out and claimed they had nothing to do with the recent attacks on Roman. He claimed, and I do paraphrase, that anyone under duress would lie and tell you what you want to hear. He of course was referring to Roman’s questioning of Murphy a week prior.

Following the match, Bryan and Rowan questioned Murphy in the back. Rowan then coerced Murphy when he wouldn’t talk, and he admitted he lied to Roman about Rowan being behind the attacks. He was then unceremoniously tossed across the room. At the close of Smackdown, Roman confronted Bryan and Rowan. They said they had been doing their own investigation, and now know who did it and would reveal the attacker next week (tonight).

Roman had some kind words for Murphy on Twitter, and a message for Bryan and Rowan. Murphy challenged Bryan to a match, which Bryan accepted:

Bryan and Murphy go one-on-one tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: I hope the match between Roman and Murphy sticks in people’s minds more than what happened afterwards, which may have deflated the balloon for Murphy’s great effort earlier. That and the banter between suggests a babyface turn for Murphy, but we’ll see. It was suggested that Murphy, Bryan, and Rowan could be in on it together and one of them was truly the attacker. Overall, WWE should recognize what they have in Buddy Murphy. He can wrestle and has a snarky little personality that could work as a heel or babyface. He certainly doesn’t wrestle heel.

King of the Ring First Round Matches: Kevin Owens vs. Elias and Apollo Crews vs. Andrade

Last night the King of the Ring tournament got underway. Tonight, we continue with two more first round matches as Kevin Owens takes on Elias and Apollo Crews hooks up with Andrade. Last night on Raw Samoa Joe defeated Cesaro and Cedric Alexander defeated Sami Zayn. Update those brackets folks!

Owens and Elias have had their issues lately, especially at SummerSlam when Elias when the special outside enforcer for Owens’ career-on-the-line match against Shane McMahon. When Elias tried to interfere, Owens attacked him. That lead to Shane fining Owens $100,000 last week. Elias also got involved as an enforcer for a match between Owens and Samoa Joe last week. With the referee incapacitated, Elias stepped in and fast-counted Owens giving Joe the win. Owens and Elias go at it tonight in their first round King of the Ring match.

Apollo Crews and Andrade have circled each other as well recently. They had some exchanges on TV that lead to a match ending in a no-contest several weeks ago. They then took their feud to WWE.com exclusives and had a match on Smackdown, which was decisively won by Andrade. They renew their feud in first round action tonight. Here’s a WWE.com exclusive with both of them talking to Sarah Schreiber:

Frank’s Analysis: Apollo and Andrade had a decent match when they worked weeks ago. I’d lean towards Andrade winning as I have him in the higher “tier” of possibilities winning the tournament. As far as Owens vs. Elias, Owens should win. I do fear Elias winning this tournament as I could see Vince getting a kick out of him wearing the crown and robe while playing the guitar.

Randy Orton Assaults

The saga between Randy Orton and WWE Champion Kofi Kingston continued last week. Kofi reiterated how inappropriate it was for Randy to stare at his family the way he did at SummerSlam, which is why he attacked him the way he did. Randy talked about Kofi’s kids growing up one day and asking why their father ran away from that “big, scary man” because he can’t beat him. Randy and the Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) proceeded to take on and defeat Kofi and his New Day brothers, Smackdown Tag Team Champions Big E & Xavier Woods. Here’s Randy in a WWE.com exclusive following last week, where he dropped Kofi with two RKOs:

Last night on Raw the assaults continued. Randy interfered in a match between E & Woods and the Revival by giving E an RKO out of nowhere, causing Revival to get disqualified. Kofi went out for the save but was beaten down and then forced to watch Dawson drop a flying knee onto Xavier’s leg. Xavier screamed in pain. According to WWE.com, Xavier was “rushed to a medical facility”:

We’ll find out tonight how they follow up on this story between New Day, Randy, and the Revival. Kofi and Randy are at the center.

Frank’s Analysis: I have to admit I didn’t like the finish at SummerSlam between Kofi and Randy but looking back it makes sense as it furthered the story. It feels like there’s genuine animosity between these two. Done right, this could be a go-to feud down the line if they want to revisit. Revival is getting a boost hanging with Randy and it’s nice to see Randy hanging with others as opposed to doing his own thing. The heels and babyfaces should stick together more often when it makes sense.

The Undertaker

This isn’t part of tonight’s show. WWE announced that the Undertaker will be on the Smackdown September 10th episode at Madison Square Garden.

We last saw the Undertaker team with Roman Reigns to defeat Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon at July’s Extreme Rules. He had defeated Goldberg at Super Showdown in Saudi Arabia in early June in a widely criticized match. Smackdown was Undertaker’s “home” for the most part during the original roster split era from 2002-’11 (What roster split? They stopped honoring that three years in just like now.).

Frank’s Analysis: No matter what, it’s always exciting to see that the Undertaker is coming. This has got a Bray Wyatt attack written all over it given Bray has been attacking the legends upon his reintroduction.

Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week

  • Charlotte Flair defeated Ember Moon
  • WWE announced that next year’s SummerSlam will be in Boston, Mass. They also announced the 20th anniversary show will be the debut of Smackdown on FOX on October 4th.

Overall Thoughts on Tonight’s Show

Dare I say I’ve been enjoying the main roster product the past few weeks? People are looking at the camera when they do interviews. They’re showing inset promos “filmed earlier” with the wrestlers talking about what the matches mean to them. They have purpose when they come to the ring, which is what you want to see on a wrestling program. The King of the Ring tournament continues tonight with at least one match that ought to be good in Apollo vs. Andrade. Hopefully WWE gives some stakes to this tournament.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!

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