WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 15
As WWE continues its march to SummerSlam on July 30 in Nashville, the company presented an episode of SmackDown Friday night that featured new women's champion Liv Morgan facing the always tough Natalya in singles competition.
The underdog titleholder's first in-ring appearance with the blue brand was just one announced segment for a show that also included the latest in the rivalry between The Street Profits and The Usos over the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships as well as Mr. Money in the Bank, Theory, squaring off with one of the competitors he defeated for that honor, Madcap Moss.
Who left this week's show with momentum on their side ahead of one of the most important premium live events of the year? Find out with this recap of the July 15 broadcast.
- Angelo Dawkins vs. Jimmy Uso
- Announcement of the special referee for the Street Profits vs. Usos SummerSlam match
- Non-Title Match: Liv Morgan vs. Natalya
- Madcap Moss vs. Theory
Pat McAfee Kicks Off SmackDown; Liv Morgan vs. Natalya
After missing last week's show following a sneak attack suffered at the hands of Happy Corbin at Money in the Bank, Pat McAfee kicked off Friday's broadcast with an in-ring promo in which he ran down the history between him and Corbin.
McAfee was his normal, animated and charismatic self, sucking the audience into his promo and nearly getting a "Douchebag Corbin" chant going before the former King of the Ring interrupted.
He predictably refused to join McAfee in the squared circle, leaving the color commentator of the A-show to introduce new SmackDown Women's champion, Liv Morgan, for her match with Natalya.
The Queen of Harts put the titleholder on the defensive, forcing her to fight from underneath if she wanted to score the victory. She did, overcoming a late German suplex and sit-out powerbomb to deliver ObLIVion for the pinfall victory.
In a post-match promo, Morgan made it clear that she is not intimidated by Ronda Rousey and intends to retain at SummerSlam.
Natalya is the perfect opponent for Morgan in this spot. She can have a solid match with anyone, and that was the case here, but she is also incredibly knowledgeable and the type of veteran competitor you want a young star working with as she finds her footing in a new role.
Morgan is consistently developing, growing and evolving as a performer, and showings like this will only earn her the trust of management. Whether said trust will be earned quickly enough for those in power to resist the urge to give Rousey her title back remains to be seen, but Morgan has done everything right early in this title run.
Morgan pinned Natalya
- "As soon as he stepped foot in WWE, he became an insufferable douchebag who would do anything for a dollar!" McAfee said of his former teammate with the Indianapolis Colts.
- "That's not monkeypox. That's Happy Corbin being allergic to being great," McAfee said in response to his rival's excuse for not joining him in the ring.
- "You know, you're doing a great job. Better than Kayla," Paul Heyman said as he interrupted Megan Morant's backstage interview with the youngest Mr. Money in the Bank in WWE history, Theory.
- "You know, and I know, that I'm responsible for the biggest break of your career," Heyman told Theory, recalling his days as the head of Raw creative and briefly bringing the young star to the main roster.
New Day Mocked The Viking Raiders
Answering two weeks of ass whuppings by the NEW, VICIOUS Viking Raiders, New Day's Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods hit the ring dressed like the heels and wasted little time making fun of them.
The New (Day) Viking Raiders<a href="https://twitter.com/TrueKofi?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TrueKofi</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AustinCreedWins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AustinCreedWins</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/96lFPfzniY">pic.twitter.com/96lFPfzniY</a>
This understandably brought Erik and Ivar out, and after a brief, uninspiring promo, they marched to the squared circle for a third consecutive assault of the popular tandem.
That was until Jinder Mahal and Shanky jumped them, themselves determined to get revenge for a beatdown that left them lying as well. Erik and Ivar bailed to the floor, and the babyfaces (and Mahal) stood tall to close the segment.
This was...fine, but none of it was any better than what we have seen already. The Viking Raiders are new and vicious but are seemingly struggling even more to connect with audiences as generic brutes than they were when they were having fun as part of the 24/7 Championship nonsense a year or two ago.
None of this really helps anyone involved, except for Mahal, who may be the most over babyface on the roster in a month when he finally lets down his guard and dances with Shanky.
Until then, expect more "meh" out of this program.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton caught up with Gunther, who cut a promo in which he denounced the idea of failure and chopped Ludwig Kaiser again for losing to Shinsuke Nakamura last week.
Word of advice: do not disappoint <a href="https://twitter.com/Gunther_AUT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Gunther_AUT</a>...<a href="https://twitter.com/wwe_kaiser?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@wwe_kaiser</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/nw3immtmrq">pic.twitter.com/nw3immtmrq</a>
Gunther chopping fools will always be a win.
C+ (chalk the '+' up to Gunther's unabashed brutality)
- Woods keeping the continuity of being god-awful at accents running was much appreciated.
- The cameraman shot Gunther from an angle to help make him look even taller than he is. They could have shot him head-on and he would have been enormous standing next to Braxton.
Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans...or Not; Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus...or Not
Lacey Evans again lashed out against the WWE Universe for their decided lack of respect toward her and her history as an American hero. She repeated much of the same rhetoric from a week ago before walking out on her scheduled match with Aliyah, this time with no physical interaction between them.
It was fine, and Evans is clearly a better heel than she was a babyface, so there is certainly potential for her to establish herself as a force on Friday nights. This, like so many of the blue brand shows in their entirety, felt like repetition rather than anything fresh or interesting.
Hopefully, the creative team resists the urge to run this back yet again next Friday because if it does not, the fans will begin rejecting it and the jeers that greet Evans will not be the result of her great heel work but, rather, their indifference to the same old, same old.
Speaking of repetition, Drew McIntyre hit the ring for his match with Sheamus with a shot at the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at Clash at the Castle on the line. Like last week, The Celtic Warrior delivered another bait and switch
It did not catch McIntyre off-guard as the Scottish Warrior weathered a brief offensive from Holland and put him away with the Claymore for the win.
More of the same here. McIntyre won to set up the inevitable showdown with Sheamus, but the match was rather pedestrian, at best. The repetitive nature of all of this overshadows what had been some damn good matches between McIntyre and Sheamus a few weeks back, and that is unfortunate.
Evans vs. Aliyah never started; McIntyre pinned Holland
C for the whole thing
- "She is a special kind of specimen," McAfee said of Evans, saying he has never heard a military veteran talk about their history in the service, only for fans to chant, "you suck."
- "I have no idea what is happening, but I'm happy to be out here," McAfee, echoing the sentiments of the WWE Universe as a whole.
- McIntyre taunted Sheamus, delivering White Noise to Holland to set up the Claymore finish.
Madcap Moss vs. Theory
Prior to the match between Madcap Moss and Theory, Paul Heyman again attempted to manipulate young talent into acting in the best interest of Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns by approaching the former and teasing the idea of Moss vs. The Tribal Chief.
Moss turned down the special counsel and hit the ring for the match with the current Money in the Bank briefcase holder.
A highly competitive match came to a dissatisfying conclusion when a desperate Theory, on the receiving end of a surging Moss, used said briefcase to blast the babyface. Repeated shots followed before ring announcer Samantha Irvin announced Moss the winner.
"Who cares?!" Theory exclaimed before anointing himself the next Undisputed WWE Universal champion. This brought out Sami Zayn and The Usos, who forced Theory back to the ringside area, where Moss leveled him heading into the break.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/WWEUsos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWEUsos</a> have not taken kindly to <a href="https://twitter.com/_Theory1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_Theory1</a>'s recent attempt at mind games and send him running straight into the hands of <a href="https://twitter.com/MadcapMoss?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MadcapMoss</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/hhNUWxNfzo">pic.twitter.com/hhNUWxNfzo</a>
This was a surprisingly good match that highlighted two performers on the verge of stardom.
Theory is obvious. He has won Money in the Bank, shared the ring with Steve Austin at WrestleMania and worked alongside Mr. McMahon all year. He is the new chosen one and will be in the main event consistently sooner rather than later.
Moss, though, has gradually developed into a red-hot babyface who wins crowds over and has them firmly in his corner by the end of the match. His power, intensity and aggression is exactly what you look for in a top star of the future and he has yet to disappoint since breaking free from Happy Corbin and embarking on this run, even when WWE Creative did not necessarily have his back.
In fact, it could be argued that Moss was more impressive than the guy with the briefcase here and for those paying attention, that is not particularly surprising. Theory may find success first, but do not be surprised if Moss is the guy with the beefier resume when all is said and done.
Moss defeated Theory via disqualification
- Moss declining Heyman's business pitch made no sense in that it required him beating the hell out of someone he was quite literally getting ready to go do just that to.
- Cole and McAfee were repeatedly in awe of Moss' strength, which helped pique the interest of the viewer, forcing them to sit up and take notice.
- Theory dismissing the outcome of the match while addressing the future as if it is predestined is just a great work from a spoiled heel and the exact sort of thing that will keep fans jeering him well into the future.
Angelo Dawkins vs. Jimmy Uso
"Honorary Uce" Sami Zayn joined Michael Cole and Pat McAfee at the commentary position for the night's main event, a showdown between The Street Profits' Angelo Dawkins and Jimmy Uso. Montez Ford and Jey Uso accompanied their respective partners.
The relatively rushed match saw Dawkins benefit from a referee bump and the resulting woozy Charles Robinson to score the pinfall victory following the Sky High, despite Uso's right shoulder being off the mat at the time of the three-count.
After the match and the most recent referee controversy, Adam Pearce appeared and revealed that the special referee for the SummerSlam match between the two teams will be none other than Hall of Famer and six-time Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/RealJeffJarrett?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RealJeffJarrett</a> will be the Special Guest Referee at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/74f6MAvz9n">pic.twitter.com/74f6MAvz9n</a>
A brawl ended the show, but nothing could make up for the uber-awesome announcement of Jarrett's role at SummerSlam in Nashville. It just sounds right. Jarrett and Nashville go hand-in-hand, thanks to growing up in Tennessee and creating Impact Wrestling in the city.
His career is so closely tied there, and he has absolutely earned the right to appear on that stage and be a part of a match that could possibly be the best of the weekend.
The refereeing nonsense was a bit much for a match that only had a few minutes to work with as it was, but it got us to the Jarrett announcement before concluding the show with a wild brawl, so it can be forgiven for the most part.
Props to Zayn, who was phenomenal on commentary and helped create some fun, engaging banter with McAfee, who he plays off of very well.
Dawkins kinda, sorta pinned Uso for the win
C for the match, Double A for ensuring Double J gets on the SummerSlam broadcast
- "I have a history of shoulder injuries, I know a thing about shoulders, and that scapula was about a foot off the mat," Zayn said in a great line.
- McAfee compared the awful officiating of late to the NFL referees, saying this recent stretch might be worse.