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WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
AUGUST 7, 2020
WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER IN ORLANDO, FL.
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves
WWE YouTube Top 10 Moments from Last Week
Top Three Developments from Last Week
I’m always looking to tweak the primer, so I’m now including a condensed version of a dormant staple of PWTorch.com, and that’s the top three developments. It’s good to recap the major takeaways from the previous week to drive us to where we may be headed in the present week. Here are the top three developments from last week:
- “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt attacked Alexa Bliss and gave her the mandible claw after Bayley defeated Nikki Cross to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
- Shorty G appeared to have aligned with King Corbin after he attacked Matt Riddle, who attacked Corbin after he defeated Drew Gulak.
- Big E defeated the Miz as he embarked on his singles journey.
Overview and Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight, we continue course towards SummerSlam with another edition of Smackdown. The event took more shape this past Monday as two more matches were announced. I’ll talk about those in Monday’s Raw primer. Thus far all four matches on tap are from the Raw. Here’s what advertised in WWE.com’s preview:
- Bray Wyatt heads back to The Firefly Funhouse after attack on Alexa Bliss
- Matt Riddle set to put skills to the test against Sheamus
- Jeff Hardy looks to continue redemption tour against King Corbin
- “The Dirt Sheet” returns with special correspondent Sonya Deville
Bray Wyatt and the Firefly Funhouse
Last week, Bray Wyatt returned to television via the Firefly Funhouse. He talked about Universal Champion Braun Strowman being amongst the alligators where they had their swamp fight at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show. At the end of that cinematic match, his Fiend character re-emerged which Bray acknowledged had been awakened. Braun has something he wants which is the Universal Championship. Bray defeated Seth Rollins for the title at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia on Halloween of last year. He held it until February of this year when he lost it to Goldberg at Super Showdown, also at Saudi Arabia. It was Bray’s second title run after holding the WWE Championship briefly in 2017.
In the main event of last week, Bayley retained the Smackdown Women’s Championship over Nikki Cross, who had her friend Alexa Bliss in her corner. Nikki defeated Alexa the previous week to earn the title match. That said, after the match, Nikki shoved Alexa to the canvas as she was trying to comfort her. Moments later, the lights started to go out and the Fiend emerged. He circled a terrified Alexa ever so slowly and eventually gave her the mandible claw to close out the show.
Alexa and Braun were partners in the season one edition of Mixed Match Challenge and were lightly known as “Team Little Big.” Alexa’s Twitter account is one of only three that Braun follows (his former Raw Tag Team Championship partner Nicholas being another). It’s safe to say they are close friends and I think people have always linked them romantically, although I’m certain Alexa has a boyfriend. That said, there is no doubt in storyline that the Fiend is trying to get to Braun via Alexa. The Fiend and Braun appear headed to another match at SummerSlam. Here’s a cryptic tweet from Bray, who checks back in from the Firefly Funhouse tonight:
Who controls the past controls the future.
Who controls the present controls the past.
— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) August 2, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I can’t remember the last time an evil monster character terrorized the pretty girl, but here we are. I think the only thing to which I can compare last week was Kane terrorizing Lita around 2004, or perhaps the Undertaker “crucifying” Stephanie McMahon in 1999. There may be other examples, but none come to mind. That said, it’s obvious to me why they ran the angle last week. The only criticism I would have is if people aren’t aware of Mixed Match Challenge and don’t know the history of Braun and Alexa, it may be hard to understand why Fiend would target Alexa. At any rate, I thought it was cool. The follow-up should be interesting for sure.
Matt Riddle vs. Sheamus
Jeff Hardy vs. King Corbin
We’ll talk about these matches together because they may be tied into each other.
Matt Riddle goes one-on-one with Sheamus in a first-time match tonight. Riddle was recently a challenger for the Intercontinental Championship but came up short against A.J. Styles. He was then attacked by King Corbin after the match. He holds a non-title victory over A.J. which happened several weeks before the title match, so we’ll see if they put him back on a journey to the championship.
Sheamus was recently involved in a semi long-term feud with Jeff Hardy, who is set to take on King Corbin tonight. Sheamus and Jeff traded victories before Jeff finally got the best of Sheamus in a cinematically produced “bar fight.” Last week, Sheamus cut a backstage promo where he proclaimed that he lost to Jeff because Jeff was “in his natural environment, referring to the bar. He said he is now the problem for the rest of the Smackdown locker room.
As far as Jeff and Corbin, they’ve faced each other a couple of times this year including the night they paid tribute to the Undertaker. Jeff defeated Corbin and paid his respects to Undertaker, whom Jeff considered a mentor many years ago. They also faced each other in the first of the empty arena shows on March 13. They go one-on-one again tonight.
Back to the brief history between Riddle and Corbin. I talked about the attack after the Intercontinental Championship match. Last week, Corbin put a bounty on Riddle. He then defeated Drew Gulak but was attacked by Riddle after the match. Shorty G very oddly came to Corbin’s aid as mentioned in the top three developments and gave Riddle a German Suplex, which was apparently enough to collect the bounty. Now, Shorty appears to be in the camp of Corbin. They were opponents in the finals of the 2019 King of the Ring tournament and briefly feuded after Corbin won.
As you can see, there are a lot of entanglements in these two matches, which could for all intents and purposes stay as advertised or morph into a tag team match as we’ve seen in the past.
Frank’s Analysis: Personally, I would keep the matches separate, but they may not be able to help themselves. Riddle and Corbin are starting a feud, and I talked about the history between Jeff and Sheamus.
The Dirt Sheet: Guest Correspondent Sonya Deville
The Miz and John Morrison bring the Dirt Sheet back to Smackdown tonight with guest correspondent Sonya Deville. Last week Sonya was busy channeling her inner Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake as she cut the hair of her former best friend Mandy Rose. Mandy and Otis were getting ready for a date night where they would enjoy some BBQ. Mandy promised a peach sundae covered in whipped cream with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and a cherry on top. (Otis … dude … she wasn’t talking about an actual sundae you eat … well actually, she kind of was.)
Miz and Morrison walked up to Mandy, who was being tended to, and expressed outrage and shock that this could happen in WWE. They then spit out their usual bad jokes. That said, we’ll see what’s in store as Sonya checks in on the Dirt Sheet tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: Miz TV and the Dirt Sheet. Miz and Morrison have more shows than Ryan Seacrest. Anyway, they needed to move away from Sonya and Mandy feuding because it’s going nowhere. Ultimately the payoff is a match, and we’ve seen it already. About the only other thing I can think of that may be better is Mandy teams with Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) to face Miz & Morrison and Sonya sometime soon.
Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- A.J. Styles defeated Gran Metalik to retain the Intercontinental Championship. He attacked Metalik after the match.
- Smackdown Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura were having drinks when interrupted by Lucha House Party.
- Naomi defeated Lacey Evans. 50/50 booking rolls along folks.
I don’t expect anything other than a standard episode of Smackdown. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’d imagine they start putting matches together for SummerSlam, since all they have set up is from the Raw side. I’m guessing Lucha House Party vs. Cesaro & Nakamura for the Smackdown tag titles, Braun vs. Fiend for the Universal Championship, an Intercontinental Championship match, and something involving Mandy and Sonya.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!