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WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN PRIMER
AUGUST 14, 2020
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves
Top Three Developments from Last Week
Last week’s edition of Smackdown was jarring to say the least, as we continue to head towards SummerSlam which takes place on Sunday August 23. The location of the event has yet to be revealed. Here are the top three developments from last week:
- Universal Champion Braun Strowman challenged “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt to a match at SummerSlam.
- Stephanie McMahon advised Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley that her challenger at SummerSlam would be decided by a triple-branded battle royal.
- Retribution appeared at the end of the show and went after fans, spray-painted the ring, and took a chainsaw to the ropes.
Items Advertised by WWE
- Braun Strowman promises a monstrous confrontation with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
- Triple Brand Battle Royal announced to determine Bayley’s SummerSlam challenger
- Big E looks for another win into build momentum with clash against John Morrison
- Alexa Bliss will sit down for an interview to discuss her run-ins with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Braun Strowman Seeks to Confront “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Alexa Bliss to Discuss Run-Ins with Bray
We’ll talk about these items in the “same section” as they are tied in together.
Last week via the Firefly Funhouse, Bray Wyatt made his intentions clear as he wants to win back the Universal Championship. He urged Braun to give “him” (Fiend) what he wants, or he will come and find him. Later, Bray was in the ring as the Fiend with Alexa Bliss, whom he gave the mandible claw a week earlier. It looked like he would do something again to her when she caressed his face and he turned away. Next, Universal Champion Braun Strowman appeared on the big screen. He said he didn’t care about Alexa, was “the thing that nightmares are made of,” and was willing to give Fiend what he wanted at SummerSlam.
Tonight, Braun seeks a confrontation with Bray as they head towards their match (which is in WWE’s official preview of SummerSlam). In addition, Alexa will “sit down” and talk about her recent confrontations with Bray. It’s not clear with whom she will talk. This past week, Braun tweeted out the lyrics to Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave” and another cryptic tweet:
Well, meet me Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air
And if these wings don't fail me I will meet you anywhere
Ain't no grave can hold my body down
There ain't no grave can hold my body down!!!
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) August 8, 2020
Beneath the stain of time
The feeling disappears
You are someone else
I am still right here
What have I become? #FaceYourFears
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) August 13, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I really hope Fiend is not winning the Universal Championship, but it very well could go that way. As far as Alexa’s involvement it’s still interesting to me. I hope she doesn’t turn out to be “sister Abigail.” I could oddly see Nikki Cross playing that role, but that would be a waste of her talent. I would bet Braun saying he didn’t care about her was to protect her. Showing anger might push Fiend in storyline to more horrifying things to her, but we’ll see if that’s where this goes. Braun was horrible on the screen, and thus I hope they pull back on the fake-monstrous tone.
Triple Brand Battle Royal to Determine Challenger for Smackdown Women’s Championship
Last week, the holders of “all the gold” in Bayley and Sasha Banks had a video conference in the ring with Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie expressed her frustration with them taking advantage of the stipulation she set forth several weeks ago for the Raw Women’s Championship match in which Sasha defeated Asuka via count out when Bayley was attacking Kairi Sane prior to her departure from WWE. They began kissing up to Stephanie including plugging the WWE Network (for just $9.99!) when she said she wanted to challenge them a bit. While she said Sasha could be defending her Raw title against Asuka (which we know now she will as a result of Asuka beating Bayley on Raw), a triple-branded battle royal will determine the challenger to Bayley’s Smackdown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam.
It’s not known whom will partake in the battle royal tonight, as WWE likely wants to keep that close to the vest to get you to tune in and watch.
Frank’s Analysis: I thought about Mia Yim right away, and then Rhea Ripley. I know it’s been talked about on the Torch how it could be a way for Nikki Cross to win and get another title match, which if that’s the case don’t you have to have her win the title? It doesn’t feel right to shoot up Mia or Rhea although either one of them would inject fresh blood into Smackdown which has nobody…yes I said nobody outside of Bayley and Sasha (who is technically Raw now seeing as she’s the Raw Women’s Champion?).
Big E vs. John Morrison
Big E continues his singles push as he does one-on-one with John Morrison tonight. Two weeks ago, he defeated Morrison’s partner the Miz. Last week, he spoke with Kayla Braxton backstage about his current run. He talked about being an entertainer, tag partner, and a friend. He said that moving to singles matches lifts him up rather than being an anchor or a burden.
Big E and Morrison aren’t strangers. It was Miz & Morrison that defeated New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) at Super Showdown for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. New Day won it back on an episode of Smackdown when Big E defeated Jey Uso of the Usos and Miz in a triple threat match where each team was represented by a single member.
Frank’s Analysis: This is straight forward. I expect a Big E win. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some shenanigans, but everyone would be better served if they did a clean win and let Morrison push him to the limit. I like the Big E push, and don’t mind he hasn’t just had a total revamp of his character. He looks like he’s having fun, as he always does. It’s better that way.
Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- Matt Riddle defeated Sheamus via DQ when Chad Gable attacked Riddle. This angered Sheamus who confronted King Corbin about sending out Gable to interfere in his match. Here’s Matt in a WWE exclusive:
- Sonya Deville was a guest of Miz and John Morrison on the Dirt Sheet. She said she had no respect for her former friend Mandy Rose, whose hair she cut a week earlier.
- Co-holder of the Smackdown Tag Team Championship Cesaro defeated Lince Dorado of Lucha House Party. Here’s Cesaro and his partner Shinsuke Nakamura in WWE exclusives where they blow off Kayla Braxton and speak of plans for a “champion’s lounge”:
- Jeff Hardy defeated King Corbin via DQ when Sheamus attacked Hardy, with whom he recently had a long-term feud.
- Sheamus defeated King Corbin.
- Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) and Miz and John Morrison wrestled to a no-contest when Mandy Rose attacked Sonya Deville, who was in the corner of Miz and Morrison.
So much happened last week that, to me, was not productive. You could say the DQ finishes made sense, and they probably did, but wrestling has worked better when those type of finishes are done few and far between which helps them stand out. It makes the matches more important when real finishes are given and there are more worthwhile discussion points with that rather than DQs, interferences, distractions, etc. Also, get to the point with Retribution and tell us what this is about. I wish WWE would think more about the fan sitting down and watching for the first time, or the casual fan, and what would they think watching that episode. My guess if you don’t know the real DNA of WWE is that it will produce more eye rolls and “I ain’t watching this” thoughts instead of being compelled to see what happens next.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!