WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 11
Every week on Bleacher Report, I take an in-depth look at WWE SmackDown to recap the action, offer analysis and grade the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show. I also provide some predictions on the direction of storylines.
We are a little over one week away from Battleground, so WWE is doing its best to tighten up all the storylines and make sure everything is built in the right way.
Most of the card has been decided at this point, but things can always change in pro wrestling. As for SmackDown, we got the first match between Roman Reigns and Rusev as well as a great bout from old rivals, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton.
It was an average week on the blue brand. It's up to you to decided if that's a good or a bad thing. Let's take a look at everything that went down on the show.
The Almost Clash of the Titans
The show opened up with a quick video that led right into Rusev and Lana delivering their signature brand of anti-American rhetoric.
Roman Reigns came out to discuss their upcoming match face to face, and things got a little tense. A ref even came to the ring to start the match, but Lana said they would not fight until they were ready.
Reigns pulled off the tough-guy act really well, and this is easily the most interested I have been in a segment involving Rusev. They built up the tension the right way and made me care about their match.
Lana was especially good here. Her promos are fine, but it's when she has someone else to play off of that she really shines.
This segment and the upcoming match are really the kind of thing Rusev needs right now. Reigns is a hot commodity, and rubbing shoulders with him will go a long way toward solidifying Rusev as a top heel.
Some notes from the segment:
- Someone spelled "Believe" wrong on one of their signs, and it wasn't in reference to Bo Dallas. Someone else spelled Reigns' name wrong on another.
- I don't care that much. I just find it funny when people run out of space to write what they want.
- Lana was a straight-up Bond villain in this segment. Not only her accent, but her facial expressions really sell the story she is telling.
- WWE did not upload this segment to YouTube, so instead you get this week's JBL and Cole Show.
Total Divas Acting Like Total Divas
Cameron acted like she wanted to put on some lip gloss before the match got started, but she used it as a ploy to attack AJ when her guard was down. The ring ended up with a few big red spots thanks to her dropping the bottle.
She proceeded to hold AJ down and put some lip gloss on her while she struggled to get free. Cameron kept a fair amount of control for most of the match, but AJ was able to pick up the win with a little help from Naomi.
Cameron tried to leave the match, but her former partner came down and shoved her back in the ring and into a Shining Wizard from the Divas champion.
This wasn't a bad match, and it gave us a somewhat fresh pairing along with some development in an ongoing storyline involving the breakup of The Funkadactyls.
Some notes from the match:
- Cameron was checking herself out in a mirror as she waited for AJ to get to the ring. Many Superstars have used mirrors to highlight their vanity, but if that's what Cameron is going for, she needs a bigger mirror.
- I like how JBL questioned whether Cameron should be disqualified by using the makeup on AJ.
- AJ always make sure she has a little pose prepared for when she pins an opponent. Little details like that allow her to stand out as a performer.
- I have a feeling that Cameron will do very well as a heel.
Fandangoing vs. Whatever It Is Adam Rose Is Doing
Summer Rae accompanied an excited Adam Rose to the ring for this match, and she stayed at ringside to support the opponent of her former dance partner.
I thought this would be a comedy match, which was not a good thing at first, but then Summer Rae took all of 30 seconds to wait before marching around the ring and going right for Layla.
Fandango was counted out while trying to separate the two women, and once Summer realized he had lost, she took off to go dance with the Exotic Express.
For some reason, I was entertained by all of this. There's something special about Summer Rae and the way she performs. She knows exactly how people see her as a character, and she plays into her strong suits very well. Her talent in the ring will get her far, but it's her charisma that will carry her to the top someday.
The match itself was by no means good, but the drama that unfolded was enough to make this watchable.
Some notes from the match:
- There were so many more fans dancing for Fandango than there were for Adam Rose. It was hilarious to see a shot of a whole section Fandangoing and then a shot of one lone kid dancing to Rose's song.
- Rose ended up hitting his finisher on Fandango before leaving with his crew. Still undefeated on the main roster, but his star appears to be dying.
The Usos vs. Whoever Had Nothing to Do
The Usos were given a throwaway match in preparation for their upcoming title defense against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan at Battleground.
It makes no sense whatsoever for Titus O'Neil and Heath Slater to be teaming up, but WWE would obviously rather use them as glorified jobbers at this point, so it doesn't really matter.
The Usos picked up a quick win with a Superkick/Superfly Splash combo. Nothing to write home about, but credit to Slater for selling the kick like a pro.
Some notes from the match:
- The pairing of Titus and Slater was explained in a quick segment on the WWE app where they talked about dropping their inferior partners.
- It shocks me that WWE didn't have anyone else it could use other than Slater and O'Neil. It's bad enough that 3MB is over, but now WWE is just proving how little it believes in Slater by pairing him up with a random heel.
- Titus is also being treated poorly in his booking. This is a man who has speed and power to spare. Why WWE broke up The Prime Time Players will never make sense to me.
1st Undisputed Champion vs. 1st WWE World Heavyweight Champion
Chris Jericho's absence makes almost any match he has feel fresh, even if we have seen it many times before. Chris Jericho and Randy Orton have been opponents many times, but they always make it interesting.
This match had enough time to be very entertaining, and it had an ending that allowed someone to walk away with a win while neither man really looks weak from a loss.
The Wyatt Family's signature sound effect provided the split-second distraction that Orton needed to hit Jericho with an RKO to score the win.
These guys know the psychology behind putting on a good match so well. This could have been a great main event on any show.
Some notes from the match:
- It's not surprising to see Jericho take the loss here. He has plenty of time to get revenge before his match with Bray Wyatt.
- It's good to see the crowd finally treating Orton like a heel and booing him. Fans cheer for who they like most, but it makes the show more entertaining when the bad guys get booed and the good guys get cheered.
Fandango Has 99 Problems, and Women Are All of Them
Layla and Summer Rae were supposed to have a match after their altercation earlier in the evening, and Fandango was going to serve as the special guest referee.
The two women each tried to attack the other, but Fandango held them apart. He tried to ease the tensions with a little hip-shaking, but that just made matters worse.
Both women attacked him and sent him running while they apparently made up and started dancing to Fandango's entrance music.
It appears this feud has reached its end. I knew it would happen this way eventually; I am just curious about how Fandango proceeds from here. Does he get a new partner or try his hand as a solo act?
I like Summer Rae, but even her enthusiasm couldn't make this very entertaining. However, I won't complain about seeing Layla and Summer dance together.
Guldust's Lucky Star
Goldust and Curtis Axel had a relatively average match. Cody played his role of Stardust well, but the bit with him blowing gold confetti into Ryback's face was a bit much.
Goldie and Axel did a decent job with just a few minutes, but Cody stole the show outside the ring with some of his antics.
I am still waiting to see what the long-term plans for Cody are with this gimmick, but I am having fun watching it unfold.
One and a Half vs. One Handicap Match
Bo Dallas took on both Diego and El Torito in a handicap match, but he told the crowd that all his Bolievers were his tag team partners.
Bo won the match pretty quickly, but he still chose to take out his aggression on El Torito by whipping him over the top rope into the ring by his horns.
This was all more of the same thing we have seen in recent weeks from everyone involved.
The Actual Clash of the Titans
The main event featured Reigns and Rusev having their first singles match on WWE television. This was the first time we've had a chance to really see what Rusev can do, and he delivered.
This was a classic battle of raw power against raw power. Reigns may be the more seasoned of the two inside a WWE ring, but Rusev controlled much of the bout.
The match ended when Orton attacked Reigns to cause a DQ. When it comes right down to it, there was no other way to end this one. Both men get to walk away without losing, and it opens up the possibility for another match between the two later down the line.
For some reason, Lana kept Rusev from continuing his attack on Reigns after the match. They left the ring, allowing Orton to come in and hit an RKO to a prone Reigns.
Some notes from the match:
- I haven't heard "Spear" chants that loud in a long time.
- Rusev's quickness and agility remind me a lot of Vader. Not a lot of guys with that kind of mass can throw their bodies around like Rusev does.
- Rusev is winning me over, but Lana is the one to watch. She could be one of the best managers WWE has ever had if used properly.
Final Thoughts and Predictions
This was a solid week for SmackDown. Jericho and Orton easily had the best match of the night, but Rusev and Reigns put on a great show in the main event.
Summer Rae and Layla seem to have simultaneously made peace and gone their separate ways from Fandango, The Funkadactyls are heading toward a big showdown and the feud between AJ and Paige continues to grow more and more interesting.
It's rare to see three different feuds involving Divas at the same time. The division is definitely getting better as new talent mixes in with the existing roster.
It felt strange not seeing Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose on SmackDown, but they deserve a rest. Battleground has some intrigue to it. Hopefully, WWE delivers another good show.
- Fandango will try and fail to recruit a new dance partner.
- Jericho will turn out the lights during one of Wyatt's matches to get him back.
- O'Neil and Slater will not be teaming together again.
- Sheamus will create a lot of buzz about unifying the U.S. and IC titles.
- Rusev and Reigns will have at least one more confrontation before Battleground.
- Miz and Ric Flair will join forces on Raw.
- Brock Lesnar will return at Battleground or on the following Raw.
What did you think of this week's SmackDown?
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