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WWE SMACKDOWN TV REPORT
AUGUST 18, 2022
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CAN AT BELL CENTRE
AIRED ON FOX
REPORT BY ALEX McDONALD, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
-The show opened with a large pyro display, then the Smackdown logo appeared on the screen. Michael Cole welcomed the audience to Smackdown’s 1200th episode. Pat McAfee talked up the historical nature of the 1200th episode.
-Ronda Rousey walked past the announce desk in front of Cole and McAfee. She entered the ring and asked for the music to be cut. Rousey said she paid her fine and then some, and she’s not leaving until she’s reinstated. She asked Pearce to come out and lift the suspension. The crowd chanted for Rousey. Adam Pearce appeared at the top of the stage with security guards. He said he can’t lift the suspension because she wants him to. He said it’s above his pay grade. Pearce said that Rousey can’t hijack the show to get what she wants. He asked her to leave the ring peacefully. Rousey said she chose to leave peacefully last week. The crowd chanted “we want Ronda”. Rousey told Pearce to “not make her choose violence”. A pair of security guards entered the ring and Rousey took them out. She knocked another off the apron then put another guard in an armbar in the ring. Pearce waved for police officers. Two officers appeared and Rousey stared them down, then outstretched her hands. One of the police officers handcuffed Rousey and she was escorted up the ramp. Cole said Pearce had no choice. Rousey talked trash to Pearce as she was placed in a police car. Rousey told Pearce he has a nice hair cut.
-A black Yukon pulled into the parking lot and Roman Reigns emerged. The crowd popped huge. They showed a graphic for a face to face segment with Reigns and Drew McIntyre set for later in the evening. Cole hyped the segment as Reigns walked towards the arena. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: And that’s how you open a show. Rousey walking past Cole and McAfee is something that would have never happened with Vince McMahon in charge. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but it’s a small detail that makes a difference, and makes the show feel less scripted. It helps with the immersion of “anything can happen in the WWE”. Rousey wasn’t great promo wise here, but she comes off as enough of a badass that it doesn’t hurt as much as before. Going from that to the arrival of the Tribal Chief was a perfect transition. For the first time in a long time, this feels like a living, breathing universe, as opposed to the scripted, linear show it had become. Good stuff.)
-They showed a graphic for the Fatal 5-Way to determine who will face Gunther for the Intercontinental title at Clash at the Castle.
-Natalya and Sonya Deville were in the ring. The crowd cheered Natalya. They showed the Women’s Tag Team Championships at ringside. McAfee turned around as Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky appeared in the crowd and sat down behind the announce desk.
-Toxic Attraction made their entrance. Cole explained that they are a replacement team announced by Shawn Michaels earlier today. They then cut to a video package on Toxic Attraction. Bayley shouted at Cole.
(1) TOXIC ATTRACTION (Gigi Dolan & Jacy Jane) vs. NATALYA & SONYA DEVILLE – Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament First Round Match
Dolan took down Natalya and put her in a headscissors. Natalya tried to get out but Dolan took her back down. Natalya rolled her up for a near fall. Deville tagged in and put Dolan in a headlock. Deville speared Dolan and floated over into a cover for a near fall. Dolan went for a headscissors but Deville caught her. Dolan fought back. Jane tagged in and covered Deville for a near fall. Bayley shouted Jane’s name to McAfee. Deville kicked at Jane in the corner. Deville charged Jane but Jane moved and Deville hit the post. She dropped to the outside. Jane hit a cannonball off the apron and took Deville out. Natalya ran over to make the save but Dolan caught her with a big running kick from the apron. Toxic Attraction tossed Natalya into the steps. They stood tall and posed at ringside. [c]
Deville was on Dolan, but Dolan fought back. She tagged in Jane and they double-teamed Deville. Jane hit a cannonball then covered Deville for a near fall. Jane charged Deville but Deville hit her with an elbow then fought out of the corner. Jane recovered and took Deville out with a dropkick. Jane set up a Sharpshooter but Deville fought out. Jane held her back from tagging Natalya, but Deville fought through and tagged Natalya in. Natalya hit a leg sweep followed by a pair of suplexes. Jane fought back but Natalya hit her with a German suplex. Natalya went for a Sharpshooter but Dolan caused the distraction to break it up. Dolan tagged in and took Natalya down for a near fall. Deville sent Dolan to the outside, then Jane dumped Deville. Jane tossed Deville into the barricade in front of Bayley. Bayley taunted Deville. Back in the ring, Natalya rolled up Dolan for a near fall. Natalya then hit her with a discus clothesline. Dolan fought back in the corner then tagged in Jane. Natalya got the Sharpshooter on Dolan, but Jane came in and slammed Natalya down and covered her for the win.
WINNER: Toxic Attraction in 10:00 to advance to the second round of the Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament
(McDonald’s Analysis: Solid debut for Toxic Attraction. It was odd for Natalya and Deville to work as the faces, but the situation kind of called for it. Toxic Attraction’s win was predictable, but they had a solid showing. Nothing to write home about here, but a really solid match. Four matches into this tournament and it’s basically doubled the total time spent on the Queen’s Crown Tournament, which is an excellent sign.)
-Sami Zayn was in the back. he stopped at Reigns’ dressing room. There was a security guard. The guard said that Reigns wants to see Zayn. Zayn knocked and opened the door. Reigns was waiting. He invited Zayn to sit down. Reigns asked how things were going. Zayn said it’s been a little dicey, if he’s being honest. He said he’s been getting into it with Jey Uso. Zayn described last week’s incident. Zayn said that Jey is acting like Zayn isn’t carrying his weight. Zayn mentioned taking the Claymore last week. He said that Jey is ungrateful. Reigns said that Zayn is right. Reigns said that Jey doesn’t appreciate anything. Reigns said that Zayn should have been talking to him or Jimmy. Zayn looked very happy and relieved. Reigns walked away, but his phone rang. It was Jey. Reigns told Zayn to answer the phone. Zayn answered and told Jey he would take care of it, but it’s not a good time. After they hung up, Zayn told Reigns that Jey said there’s trouble at the border. Zayn said he doesn’t think the Usos will be here tonight. Zayn said that he’s in the 5-way match. Reigns said that the IC title would look good in the Bloodline. Zayn said they should do this more. Reigns stopped Zayn from leaving. He asked if Zayn was still friends with Kevin Owens. Zayn said yes. Reigns told Zayn to tell Owens that Reigns doesn’t owe anybody, anything. Zayn agreed and said he’d pass the message along. Zayn left excited. Reigns exhaled. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Zayn is gold and this was no exception. I loved the look on his face when Reigns invited him in. And the look on his face when Reigns agreed with him. Zayn is like the nerd in high school being invited to sit at the cool table with the star quarterback. The dynamic between these two works really well. The set up for no Usos will make it a fair situation between Reigns and McIntyre later. Reigns doesn’t have any backup, besides Zayn. Reigns realized that, and didn’t seem too thrilled about it. Yet, he was still smart enough to butter Zayn up. This was a breath of fresh air type segment. This was much closer to what we saw from Reigns during the pandemic, but now with the added gem of Sami Zayn.)
-Cole mentioned former IC champs from Montreal. He then threw to a video recap of Gunther’s win over Shinsuke Nakamura last week on Smackdown.
-Maximum Male Models with Max and Maxxine Dupri were in the ring. Max said that they’ve titillated the juices of your guilty pleasures. Hit Row’s music played and interrupted Dupri. Hit Row danced on the stage. Dupri talked to Mace and Mansoor in the ring as Hit Row entered. Dupri said that it’s a scheduled appearance for Maximum Male Models. He said Hit Row isn’t model material. Ashante thee Adonis and Top Dolla tossed Mace and Mansoor out of the ring. Hit Row then rapped in the ring. Maxxine Dupri danced at the top of the stage. Max realized and turned her around and pulled her away. Hit Row’s rap continued. McAfee danced at ringside. Pyro went off behind Hit Row.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I don’t think that’s a good sign for Maximum Male Models. Rap was solid. Hit Row is getting some shine upon their return. Let’s see where this goes.)
-They showed a graphic for the IC title Fatal 5-Way. Cole hyped the match. [c]
-A commercial aired for the next edition of Broken Skull Sessions with Charlotte Flair.
-Scarlett and Karrion Kross appeared on screen with a creepy back drop. Kross said that McIntyre mentioned him. Kross said that whether they want to be or not, McIntyre and Reigns are the chosen ones. He said it doesn’t matter what McIntyre wants to be, he’s still the chosen one. He said that McIntyre was chosen, but they were wrong and someone else (Reigns) took his place. He said that Reigns built the table that McIntyre failed to set. Kross said that McIntyre was chosen, but they were wrong. He then screamed it as they faded out.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I really liked the content of this. Kross said that last week and it felt like a throwaway line, but they really fleshed that out here and it worked. Kross needs some work delivery wise, but I can get past it if the content is good and he improves every week. This program has some promise.)
-Cole hyped the face to face between McIntyre and Reigns later tonight.
-Sheamus’ music played and he made his entrance. Cole said that Sheamus has never won the IC title. Madcap Moss followed. Happy Corbin then made his entrance. Ricochet followed. Sami Zayn then made his entrance to a huge pop. The crowd chanted “Sami, Sami”. Cole reminded the audience of the rules.
(McDonald’s Analysis: I love the bizarro world nature of WWE when they’re in Canada. Between that and the new regime, this is a super fun show so far. I love how over Zayn is here. It’s such a treat and you can tell he’s enjoying himself. Wade’s right, I hope they go the long route and make this guy a babyface again.)
(2) SHEAMUS vs. MADCAP MOSS vs. HAPPY CORBIN vs. RICOCHET vs. SAMI ZAYN – Number One Contender’s Match for Intercontinental Championship
Corbin dropped out of the ring. Moss and Sheamus battled and Moss knocked Sheamus to the floor. Moss followed. Zayn went after Ricochet. Ricochet hit a hurricanrana. Corbin entered and chokeslammed Ricochet. Everyone broke up the count. Everyone brawled as they cut to break. [c]
Corbin slammed Zayn on the announce table face first. Sheamus drove Ricochet into the barricade. Sheamus battled with Moss. Corbin threw Zayn down, then moved to Ricochet. Corbin tossed Ricochet into the ring. He whipped Ricochet hard into the corner. Sheamus threw Moss into the barricade and charged, but Moss backdropped Sheamus into the timekeeper’s area. Corbin punched Ricochet down as Moss entered the ring. Corbin whipped Moss into the corner, then whipped Ricochet into the corner again. The crowd chanted for Zayn. Corbin hit his under the rope clothesline on Moss. He then knocked Zayn off the apron and to the floor. Cole said that Zayn looked like El Generico there. Corbin took Ricochet down. Sheamus appeared and punched at Corbin. Corbin recovered and hit a back suplex on Sheamus for a near fall. Ricochet went under the ropes again but Ricochet took him down with a dropkick. Ricochet hit a springboard on Moss then a springboard kick that knocked Zayn off the apron to the floor. Ricochet hit a running shooting star press on Corbin for a near fall. Moss took Ricochet down with a huge shoulder block. Sheamus entered and took some shots from Moss. Moss and Sheamus brawled. Sheamus got the advantage and delivered an Irish Curse backbreaker. Zayn ran in and got an Irish Curse of his own for his trouble.
Sheamus hit Ten Beats on Moss as the crowd counted along. Sheamus stalked Corbin and pulled his shirt up for his turn at the Ten Beats. The crowd chanted along again. Ricochet attacked Sheamus from behind. Sheamus recovered and got Ten Beats on Ricochet this time. He went way past ten and the crowd lost count. Sheamus dumped Ricochet to the floor. He then rolled Zayn into the ring. The crowd booed Sheamus as he went for the Ten Beats. Zayn hung Sheamus up on the top rope. Corbin charged Zayn but Zayn moved and Corbin fell to the floor. Zayn then hit a big dive over the top rope and took out Corbin and Sheamus. Ricochet attacked Zayn and charged him but Zayn caught him with a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. The crowd booed. Zayn set up a Helluva Kick and charged but Moss caught him. Zayn recovered and delivered a Blue Thunder Bomb to Moss for a near fall. The crowd chanted for Zayn. Zayn climbed to the top rope. Corbin tried to stop him, but he fought Corbin off. Ricochet charged but Zayn tossed him off as well. Sheamus then followed and hit White Noise on Zayn off the middle rope. Zayn rolled out of the ring and huddled against the barricade. Moss went after Ricochet and Sheamus. Ricochet recovered and took control, then Sheamus took control and took out both men. Corbin entered and hit a slam on Sheamus. Refs came down to ringside and helped Zayn to the back. All four men were down in the ring. [c]
Moss battled Sheamus on the top rope. He delivered a fallaway slam off the middle rope. Moss crawled towards Sheamus and covered him for a near fall. Ricochet hit a springboard moonsault on Moss for a near fall. Corbin entered and Ricochet reversed a clothesline, then sent Corbin to the floor. Ricochet hit a springboard elbow, but Corbin hit a big boot. Corbin then used a torture rack into a neckbreaker for a near fall. Corbin went for a slam on Sheamus but Sheamus reversed. Moss entered the frey. Sheamus recovered and hit a big knee on Moss for a near fall. Sheamus stood tall in the ring. The crowd chanted “we want Sami”. Sheamus went for a Brogue but Moss caught him and slammed him. Ricochet got the Recoil on Moss and Moss rolled out of the ring. Ricochet got the shooting star press on Sheamus and covered him, but Corbin broke up the fall. Corbin charged Ricochet, but Ricochet ducked. Zayn appeared on the ramp and the crowd exploded. Ricochet looked confused and charged. Zayn caught him with an exploder suplex into the corner followed by the Helluva Kick. Zayn covered Ricochet but Corbin pulled him off and to the floor at the last second. Corbin tossed Zayn into the post. Corbin entered the ring and went after Ricochet. Sheamus appeared out of nowhere and hit a Brogue Kick for the win.
WINNER: Sheamus in 23:00 to earn an Intercontinental Championship Match at Clash at the Castle
(McDonald’s Analysis: Whoa. I need to catch my breath after that one. I loved the pacing of that. Everybody looked good here and it was honestly hard to pick a winner. After Zayn came back, I assumed he would win, but the Sheamus win came out of nowhere. Reader Leander Beatty has been asking for this match between Gunther and Sheamus, so I’m happy he’s getting his wish. On top of that, myself and Wade have asked for a renewed push for Sheamus for a while. It was interesting that Butch and Ridge Holland weren’t involved at all. I hope this is a sign of things to come. The story with Zayn was well told and the crowd ate up every part of it. For five guys who have had varying degrees of success over the past six months to a year, this match did a lot for everyone involved. No one looked weak here despite the fact that only one man won. That’s how you give clean finishes, yet still protect people. I can’t wait to see Gunther and Sheamus. I also can’t wait to see which way the crowd goes on that one.)
-Cole threw to a video package on the match between McIntyre and Reigns at Clash at the Castle. Afterwards, they showed the graphic for the face to face segment later in the night. Cole hyped it. [c]
-They hyped Clash at the Castle. Cole then threw to a video they “received” from the Viking Raiders earlier today. The video showed the Raiders at some tribal ceremony. They said they respect the New Day as great warriors and champions but their time has passed. They said that New Day failed to heed their warnings. They said Valhalla awaits. They said that a great battle awaits and soon, the sun will set on the New Day and it will be the dawn of a new Viking Day. They then set something on fire as clips of their attacks on the New Day were shown.
-Cole and McAfee were at ringside. They called it a Viking funeral. Cole then said that Liv Morgan may be headed for her own funeral in two weeks at Clash at the Castle. Cole recapped the actions of Rousey over the past couple of weeks. He then threw to a video recap of the contract signing between Morgan and Shayna Baszler last week.
-Morgan was in the back. Her arm brace is gone. Kayla Braxton appeared. She asked if facing Shotzi tonight will hurt her chances at Clash at the Castle. Morgan said if she played it safe, she wouldn’t be champion. She said the target on her arm isn’t as big as the target on her back. She said she did what it took to win the title and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep it. She told Kayla to watch her. They showed a graphic for Shotzi against Morgan. Cole hyped it for after the break. [c]
(McDonald’s Analysis: Morgan was a lot less cringeworthy there. Maybe the secret with her is backstage promos where the crowd can’t affect her. That and making it quick. Let her say what she has to say and move on quickly. This is a good example of hiding her weaknesses. I assume Levesque will do more of that than we’re used to. The old regime just gave up instead of attempting this method. For Morgan’s sake, I hope it works.)
-Morgan’s music played and she made her entrance. They showed a graphic for Morgan and Baszler at Clash at the Castle. Cole said that Baszler is a master of submissions and Morgan’s arm is still injured. Shotzi was approached by Kayla in the back. Shotzi said she’s going to break Morgan’s arm. She said that Morgan thinks with her big, dumb heart. She said that Morgan will pay for her decision to take a match against her. Shotzi then made her entrance in the arena.
(3) LIV MORGAN vs. SHOTZI
Shotzi set up for a test of strength but Morgan kicked her in the gut. Morgan dropkicked Shotzi into the corner. Morgan hit a running knee on Shotzi. Shotzi recovered and took Morgan down. Shotzi hit a running senton on Morgan against the ropes, then covered her for a near fall. Shotzi knocked Morgan into the corner. Morgan fought her off then hit a dropkick off the second rope. Shotzi took over and hit a big kick from the apron, then hit a DDT on Morgan on the apron of the ring. Shotzi celebrated. [c]
Shotzi hit a knee on Morgan, followed by a big kick. Shotzi lifted Morgan to her shoulders but Morgan countered with a crucifix. Shotzi recovered and hit a butterfly suplex on Morgan for a near fall. Morgan and Shotzi battled on their knees in the ring. Shotzi got the better of the exchange and stood over Morgan, then slapped her. Morgan recovered and hit knees to the face, followed by a botched Oblivion for the win.
WINNER: Liv Morgan in 6:00
-Baszler appeared and took out Morgan. Baszler grabbed the arm of Morgan and wrenched. Baszler set up Morgan’s elbow, but she stopped. Baszler leaned in on Morgan. She said she wants to break Morgan’s arm, but she won’t because she needs her shot at Clash at the Castle. Baszler said that’s the only reason. Baszler teased it again, then walked off.
(McDonald’s Analysis: The match was solid, but the finish was botched badly. Shotzi could be interesting, but she loses so often it’s difficult to take her seriously. It’s a shame there isn’t a couple of women a little lower than her that she could beat. Baszler’s beat down at the end was expected, but the logic was solid. I’m glad they added that wrinkle and explained the situation. They continue to frame Morgan as having more guts than brains, which may or may not be a good thing. I still think Baszler is going to leave Cardiff with the title. If she doesn’t, Rousey will get involved and we will end up with a triple threat at some point.)
-They showed a still of Rousey being arrested earlier in the show. Cole said that Pearce won’t press charges, therefore, Rousey has been released.
-They showed Reigns and McIntyre getting ready to come to the arena. McIntyre had Kross’ hourglass behind him in his locker room. Cole hyped the segment. [c]
-Cole hyped the next round of the Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament next week on Smackdown. They also announced Ricochet against Happy Corbin.
-Reigns’ music played and he made his entrance. The crowd cheered loudly. Cole touted Reigns’ title reign at 719 days. He said he looks a little naked without the rest of the Bloodline. Cole said Reigns walked out alone. Reigns posed and his pyro went off behind him. Reigns looked around, then walked towards the ring. They then showed a graphic for Reigns against McIntyre at Clash at the Castle. Cole hyped the match. Cole then threw to a video recap of Broek Lesnar’s F-5 on Paul Heyman at Summerslam. Cole said that Heyman is still in recovery. Reigns posed again as another set of pyro went off behind him. Reigns stuck his hand out for a mic. Finally, the cameraman handed him one. The crowd cheered for Reigns. Reigns paused. Reigns finally spoke and asked Montreal to acknowledge him. They did. Reigns then said that he’s not here every week anymore. He said that every once in a while, people are going to come out and say stupid stuff. He said if anybody comes out and says that they’re the face of the company, the main event, or that they carry the company on their back, and they’re not him, they’re lying. Reigns said there’s only one face of the company, the main event, and only one man that carries the company on his back. He said their name is Roman Reigns. He said that what he says has substance. Reigns said he doesn’t need to say anything to McIntyre because McIntyre is beneath him.
-McIntyre’s music played and he made his entrance. McIntyre entered the ring and got a mic. He stared down Reigns. He said that he wanted to say everything to Reigns’ face, but he’s not here anymore. He said Reigns doesn’t represent the titles and he doesn’t deserve to be champion. Reigns questioned McIntyre. McIntyre said that Heyman helps politically and the Usos help physically. He said that Reigns may be in God Mode, but he’s just a man. McIntyre said that he sees fear in Reigns’ eyes. McIntyre said there isn’t a man alive that he can’t tear apart. McIntyre said it’s a unique opportunity because Reigns is here and alone. McIntyre removed his shirt. Reigns attacked and they traded punches. McIntyre tossed Reigns with a suplex. McIntyre set up for a Claymore. Reigns moved and McIntyre hit Zayn who appeared out of nowhere. Reigns took McIntyre down. Reigns set McIntyre up for a spear and charged, but McIntyre countered with a Claymore. McIntyre stood tall and posed with both titles.
(McDonald’s Analysis: Reigns came off as a huge star here. The crowd was also firmly behind him. McIntyre got a solid reaction, but he’s just nowhere near the level of Reigns right now. It may be a little concerning moving forward. I assume that will change at Clash of the Castle with McIntyre being the “hometown guy”. If that isn’t the case? Really, really bad news. Anyway, the segment was solid. Nothing that blew me out of the water, but a solid end to a really good episode. McIntyre got his first one over on Reigns in a long time. McIntyre has looked great during this build, which probably means he’s going to lose. Based on recent weeks, it’s a little odd that Kross didn’t make his presence felt here, but in a way, I’m glad.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: That was a great episode of Smackdown. This show is an excellent example of making the most of what you have and portraying everyone you have as being somewhat important. Nothing on this show felt like filler and that’s a good thing. The 5-way was fantastic and did a great job of making all of the competitors feel important and look strong. We still need a draft, but that match can go a long way toward rebuilding some of these guys. Not everyone can be rebuilt over night, but small building blocks like this are important. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and WWE Superstars aren’t either. Everything here is a positive sign. I know there are a lot of skeptics and a lot of Vince apologists, but this show feels fresh for the first time in a long time. Nothing that’s changed is drastic. The things that have changed are noticeable, and the things that have been eliminated are even more noticeable. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, those are positive things moving forward. Watching the change is encouraging and I can’t wait to see where we are come 2023.
Everyone remember to check out the PWTorch 90’s Pastcast on the PWTorch Dailycast feed. Our newest episode should be up now or tomorrow morning. If you like nostalgia and love early 90’s wrestling give it a listen and give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org