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WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 18

The Doctor Chris MuellerFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2014

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 18

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    Credit: WWE.com

    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.

    This was the very last show before Battleground this Sunday, and WWE did a good job of addressing all the storylines before the pay-per-view.

    Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose's feud dominated the night with the opening segment, a midshow segment backstage and a main event match, but the intercontinental title also received quite a bit of attention during two of the bouts that featured participants from this Sunday's Battle Royal.

    One thing that made this show great was that we did not have to sit through a million video packages, which tends to happen on the SmackDown right before a PPV.

    Let's take a look at what went down on this week's SmackDown and also try to provide a few predictions for Battleground on Sunday.

Ambrose Gets More Than He Bargained For

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    The show opened with Ambrose talking about the attack he suffered at the hands of The Authority on Raw. He showed the clip of the fight before calling out Rollins.

    Rollins comes on the big screen and said he would love to, but he tweaked his knee on Monday and he's not medically cleared. Ambrose said Rollins was scared, and Rollins told him he was in a match against Kane in the main event.

    Kane hit his pyro from backstage, but Ambrose stood his ground. This was a solid opening segment, and it's great to see the feud between Ambrose and Rollins being given a major push right before the PPV.

    Grade: B

    Some notes from the segment:

    • I normally don't care for the WWE-produced entrance music, but the one it gave Ambrose works so well.
    • Ambrose should have a WWE shirt that simply says "Is that all you got?"
    • I can't wait to see what Ambrose does after his feud with Rollins. He is going to be such an intriguing character once he is completely past the whole Shield situation.

Guinness and Harp vs. Wine Coolers and Zima

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    Miz continued his losing ways after recently returning in this tag match that saw him team with Fandango to take on Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler unsuccessfully.

    It was all pretty standard until the last minute of the match when Ziggler got the hot tag and went on a tear against both of his opponents.

    All four of these men will be in the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal on Sunday, but only the two men who won the match look like they have a chance of walking out with the title.

    Grade: B

    Some notes from the match:

    • My favorite part about this match is that it was Ziggler who got the win.
    • Miz was really playing up the "Money Maker" gimmick by protecting his face.
    • Do they even make Zima anymore?

Big Red vs. Big Crazy

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    Nikki Bella served as the special guest referee during this ruse of a match. It started off like any Divas match, but after about a minute, Eva Marie and Alicia Fox attacked Nikki, making it clear this was all set up by Stephanie McMahon.

    It was what it was. Eva Marie was sloppy, Foxy was animated and Nikki was the victim. Just another week of Stephanie punishing Nikki for what Brie Bella did.

    Grade: D

    A note from the match:

    • Eva Marie hits like a little kid who is pretending to hit a friend. She needs to step up the aggression.
    • I could buy Foxy and Eva as a team, but Eva would need to really improve in just about every way so she didn't bring Fox down.
    • I liked when Foxy had hair like Eva Marie. I wonder if she was told to stop coloring it because of Eva Marie and her role on Total Divas.

Starrrrrrrrrr-Dust

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    Goldust and Stardust delivered another one of their obscure and entertaining promos. It's just a shame that they haven't had more ring time recently, because these two are hilarious together.

    The best part was when Stardust blew some gold confetti at Goldust as he was talking and got it right in his mouth, prompting a very weird exchange of strange looks from both men.

    Considering this is a time when more realistic gimmicks tend to be the most common, these benefit by really standing out more as strange characters.

    The only issue I have is that the transition from Cody Rhodes to Stardust came out of nowhere, and there really didn't seem to be a reason for it. Other than that, he's won me over.

    Grade: B-

That Was My Lucky Shirt!

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    Luke Harper and Chris Jericho had a very entertaining match after Bray Wyatt delivered a short promo directed at Y2J.

    Harper controlled a good portion of the match, with Jericho doing a great job selling for the big man. It was nice to see Harper get some time alone in the ring against a big star to show just how good he can be.

    Jericho picked up the win with a quick roll up, but he didn't really get to enjoy it since he was attacked right away by Erick Rowan and Wyatt.

    The Usos made the save, which helped to push their match for the tag titles at Battleground. All around, this was a definite highlight for the night.

    Grade: B+

    Some notes from the match:

    • It was kind of cool how Jericho's jacket stood out among the sea of cell phone lights in the crowd during Harper's entrance.
    • Jericho's face was busted up bad from the attack on Monday, and Harper was sure to take a few shots right at the huge bruise under his eye.
    • Jericho tore Harper's shirt down the front. It would be kind of awesome if Harper just kept using it instead of getting a new one.

Red, White and Blue vs. Blue, White and Red

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    Zeb Colter gave a patriotic promo with Jack Swagger holding an American flag and standing like a silent beast waiting to be unleashed.

    Lana "Long Legs" and Rusev came out to the ramp and gave their typical response. Rusev tried to get a Russia chant going, but the crowd just chanted USA while Swagger and Rusev waved their respective flags at one another.

    This is the first time I have cared about a Rusev feud, and it's the first time in a very long time that I have had high hopes for Swagger's future.

    This program is playing out in exactly the right way, and their match on Sunday is going to be epic. Trust me.

    Grade: B-

    Some notes from the segment:

    • Colter is making sure to not do a total 180. He is still addressing his own criticisms of our government, but he is saying that it's his right as a free American to do so, which makes it a good government. It's really the only way this face turn could work.
    • Have I been saying "Russia" the wrong way all these years? Why did Rusev say it in a weird way?
    • I want the name Lana Long Legs to catch on. Make it happen.
    • WWE did not upload this to YouTube, so instead you get this week's JBL and Cole Show featuring Shawn Michaels!

Mexico vs. Ghana

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    This was another match featuring participants from the upcoming Battle Royal to crown a new IC champion, and it's also a matchup we have seen dozens of times before.

    These two have styles that work very well together. Both of them work a quick pace, but Kofi Kingston takes it to the sky while Alberto Del Rio works a better ground game.

    Even though it gets boring seeing Del Rio beat Kofi just about every time they have a match, it never really gets old actually watching them wrestle.

    What was really interesting is the way Del Rio picked up the win. He didn't use his normal cross armbreaker of kick to the side of the head. Instead, he stomped Kofi into the mat from the top rope while Kofi was hanging in between the second and third ropes.

    Grade: B+

    Some notes from the match:

    • Kofi came very close to messing up the SOS. He almost landed right on his head.
    • Just once, I want to see Kofi get a decisive win over Del Rio. Del Rio, despite how he has been booked in recent months, never seems to lose more than once out of every 10 matches.
    • I really like how they keep the IC title at ringside on a velvet cloth. It makes it seem important.

Greasers vs. Socs

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    Fandango approached Layla and Summer Rae backstage before the match to wish them luck and tell them they should all put what happened behind them. The ladies were not very receptive.

    Bo Dallas popped in and gave Fandango some sage words about women, and Fandango actually seemed to take the advice to heart.

    It came as no surprise whatsoever to see Paige and AJ pick up the win in this match, but I am still a little shocked that Paige didn't turn on AJ right before their big showdown at Battleground, especially after AJ tagged herself in to win the match right at the end.

    It was an average Divas match. Not terrible, but not that great. AJ and Paige hugged after the match to show how they were BFFs now.

    Grade: C-

    Some notes from the match:

    • I was a little surprised at some of the offense Layla had in this match. She showed a little creativity I haven't seen from her in a while.
    • One thing that would really surprise me is if Paige never turns heel during this feud. All the signs are there for a heel turn, but WWE has a lot of heel Divas right now.
    • The Usos were featured in a backstage plug for Sonic Drive-In. Hornswoggle came in and got a brain freeze from drinking their drinks too fast. At least we still don't have a big Slim Jim logo in the middle of the ring...yet.
    • It used to be common to have one Divas match in a week and only half the yearly PPV events featuring a Divas title match. Nowadays, thanks to some better management of the division and better talent from the Divas, we get to see them a lot more often.
    • If you don't get the title of this slide, then go read The Outsiders. Or see the movie. Both are good.

Two Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

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    Ambrose attacked Kane as soon as he hit the pyro, but when he tried to hit a suicide dive, he was taken out by a big elbow from the Big Red Monster.

    The pace was good for most of the match, and both men kept up their aggression throughout the contest. It only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was a good main event to cap off a decent go-home episode of SmackDown before a PPV.

    I was a little disappointed that the match ended when Rollins hit Ambrose with his briefcase, but I get the reasoning behind the decision. Both Ambrose and Kane have big matches on Sunday, and either man taking a clean loss would lose momentum.

    Grade: B

    Some notes from the match:

    • Ambrose had two bandages on his face and one on his shoulder. It's like he gets injured and then the injuries actually keep affecting him the next week. What a novel concept.
    • I hope it was clear, but if it wasn't, that last point was a jab at how WWE Superstars never seem to sell an injury after the night they get hurt unless it's real or a big part of a storyline.
    • Why Kane chokeslammed Ambrose on the mat when there was a perfectly good set of steel steps in the ring is a mystery. At least Rollins used them to Curb Stomp Ambrose.

Final Thoughts and Predictions

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    All in all, this was a pretty entertaining episode of SmackDown. None of the non-wrestling segments dragged on longer than they should, most of the matches were average or above and every single feud heading into Battleground was addressed in one way or another.

    Sunday's PPV event is likely going to have a few highlight-reel moments like any PPV, but we could end up seeing a few surprises that make it more memorable due to the way a few storylines are set up.

    Since Battleground is this Sunday, all the predictions this week will be about match outcomes or other things that will probably happen at the event.

    Predictions:

    • AJ will retain against Paige, and then Paige will freak out and attack her.
    • Harper and Rowan will win the tag titles from The Usos.
    • Wyatt will defeat Jericho.
    • Naomi will defeat Cameron.
    • Ambrose will defeat Rollins, but then he will get beaten up after the match by The Authority.
    • Swagger will defeat Rusev.
    • Cesaro will win the IC title.
    • John Cena will retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

    What did you think of SmackDown, and what are your predictions for Battleground? Also, make sure to check out the official B/R Battleground predictions video above.

     

    Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.

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