WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 29

Erik BeastonJuly 29, 2022

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 29

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    Credit: WWE.com

    On the eve of WWE SummerSlam, the Superstars of SmackDown set the tone for the weekend with a Fox broadcast headlined by the high-stakes showdown between Drew McIntyre and Sheamus.

    The Irish Donnybrook Match will determine which man challenges for the Undisputed WWE Championship at Clash at the Castle on September 2 in Cardiff, Wales, giving it added gravity on a show that promised to provide the final hype for The Biggest Party of the Summer.

    Who took one step closer to achieving their title aspirations, and what went down on the final stop on the road to Saturday's premium live event in Nashville?

    Find out with this recap of the July 29 broadcast.

Match Card

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    • Irish Donnybrook Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus (Winner Challenges for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship)
    • The New Day vs. The Viking Raiders
    • Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans

A Good, Old-Fashioned Donnybrook

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Sheamus attacked Drew McIntyre during The Scottish Warrior's entrance, kicking off the Irish Donnybrook Match with the sort of physicality that would ultimately define it.

    The leader of The Brawling Brutes dominated the competition early, going as far as to utilize a shillelagh on the eye of McIntyre. The babyface overcame his opponent's ruthless attack and fended off interference from Ridge Holland by tossing the former rugby player through a table.

    When he finally appeared to have the match in hand, McIntyre found himself the recipient of an attack by Butch. A Claymore put down the artist formerly known as Pete Dunne, but McIntyre fell prey to a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. It did not end his night, though.

    The former WWE champion recovered, caught his opponent in a powerbomb and drove him through a table. One last Claymore, this time to the defiant heel, earned McIntyre the hard-fought victory.

    WWE @WWE

    .<a href="https://twitter.com/DMcIntyreWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DMcIntyreWWE</a> is going to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWECastle?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWECastle</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/KBnq8QJbmi">pic.twitter.com/KBnq8QJbmi</a>

    This match looked at tomorrow night's SummerSlam card and essentially dared everyone involved to try to top it. McIntyre and Sheamus beat the hell out of each other in a pay-per-view quality match won by the former while simultaneously setting the bar almost impossibly high for the rest of the weekend.

    McIntyre winning was the right call. The guy had his WWE Championship reign forever linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the company's ThunderDome era and has repeatedly been heated up for a run at the gold before inexplicably taking a backseat to the part-time wrestlers he has been vocal about in recent weeks.

    Who knows if he will be the guy to dethrone Reigns, make it 2-0 against Brock Lesnar, or silence Theory, but he has absolutely earned the right to go to Cardiff, Wales, and compete in a high-profile, potentially historic premium live event marquee match.

    He will do just that, thanks to a signature win in a fantastic match.


    Result

    McIntyre pinned Sheamus


    Grade

    A+


    Top Moments

    • Sheamus' chest and body were beaten red early, putting over the physicality of the contest.
    • "A shillelagh is a very aggressive weapon," said Pat McAfee, Irish weaponry expert.
    • Theory attacked after the match, laying McIntyre out with repeated shots from the Money in the Bank briefcase before being booed out of the building by fans in his own hometown of Atlanta.
    • After the break, Happy Corbin followed up his taunting of Pat McAfee by jumping the guardrail and delivering a low blow. 

Aliyah vs. Shotzi

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Backstage, Theory denounced the idea that he was WWE's punching bag and vowed to cash in Money in the Bank, win the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, and go to Cardiff to face Drew McIntyre. Interestingly, Paul Heyman pulled him aside for a chat that cameras did not pick up.

    WWE @WWE

    πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”<a href="https://twitter.com/_Theory1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_Theory1</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/HeymanHustle?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HeymanHustle</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/RZjtQO1ogc">pic.twitter.com/RZjtQO1ogc</a>

    With Lacey Evans not medically cleared to compete this week, Aliyah rekindled her rivalry with Shotzi in one-on-one action. Her quest for a win that would catapult her into title contention eluded her once more, though, as Shotzi scored the pinfall victory.

    Instead of a hint of a renewed push for the Ballsy Badass, though, it set up former SmackDown Women's Champion Ronda Rousey rushing the ring and rag-dolling her around the squared circle.

    WWE @WWE

    Welp, sorry Shotzi. <a href="https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RondaRousey</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/LccNjC61eG">pic.twitter.com/LccNjC61eG</a>

    We get it: Rousey is The Baddest Woman in the World and she is in a bad mood. Did Shotzi immediately have to have her legs taken out from underneath her? Could she not just benefit from a win, then give way to the following tag match?

    By booking the Rousey beatdown, the Shotzi-Aliyah match was ultimately deemed useless. Fans have no reason to care or believe in either competitor because Rousey came out and wiped the mat with the winner.

    It is backward booking and something Triple H and the creative team he puts around him will have to work on as they get their feet under them moving forward.


    Result

    Shotzi defeated Aliyah


    Grade

    C-


    Top Moments

    • Michael Cole at least brought up the history between Shotzi and Aliyah from earlier this year, giving purpose to the seemingly thrown-together match.
    • By trying to come across as more real and true to who she is, Rousey is strangely more unbelievable every time she touches the mic.

Ronda Rousey and Liv Morgan vs. Natalya and Sonya Deville

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    Credit: WWE.com

    A backstage confrontation set up a tag team match pitting SmackDown Women's Champion Liv Morgan and the aforementioned Rousey against Sonya Deville and Natalya.

    The heels weathered an early offensive by the opposition to down Morgan and cut her off from Rousey, forcing her to fend them both off if victory was to be had. The confident champion, looking to prove she could win without her partner, foolishly stayed in the match longer than she should have.

    Finally, Rousey exploded into the match and tossed Deville around. Morgan delivered ObLIVion to Natalya while her No. 1 contender tapped The Pride Fighter out to an ankle lock. A tense staredown between champion and challenger ended the segment.

    WWE @WWE

    Tonight, they get the win as a team. <br><br>Tomorrow, they meet each other for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> Women's Championship.<a href="https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RondaRousey</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/YaOnlyLivvOnce?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@YaOnlyLivvOnce</a> <a href="https://t.co/oQFCGdrhBW">pic.twitter.com/oQFCGdrhBW</a>

    This was a perfectly acceptable match that did what it set out to do: build tension between Rousey and Morgan.

    To this point, Rousey has said and done everything right. She has been gracious in defeat, despite having to be seething over the idea of Morgan taking the SmackDown title away from her.

    She has taken her anger out on everyone else she has encountered except Morgan. If she loses Saturday in Nashville, do not be surprised to see the UFC Hall of Famer make the heel turn so many have been pining for since her return to the company.

    Morgan is such a great babyface champion and still has so much room for growth in that role. Assuming, that is, she gets to continue her journey beyond Saturday night in Nashville.


    Result

    Morgan and Rousey defeated Natalya and Deville


    Grade

    B-


    Top Moments

    • The mounting frustration on Rousey's face as Morgan refused to tag may have been the best part of her performance.
    • Speaking of facial expressions, they have long been the most underrated part of Morgan's performance, and the look she shot Rousey right after the tapout told the story of someone frustrated that her plan to go it alone did not play out the way she expected.

Referee Instructions with The Usos and Street Profits; New Day vs. The Viking Raiders

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos met The Street Profits in the ring for a segment described by the commentary team as "referee instructions." The teams took turns asking Jeff Jarrett if certain behavior will get them disqualified Saturday night. After some goading by the official, the champions and challengers brawled.

    Jarrett ate a superkick in the melee before the Profits cleared the ring of the heels and asserted dominance ahead of the hotly anticipated rematch.

    The segment was fine for what it was, but really, at this point, the match is as built as it is going to get. The teams tore the house down in Las Vegas and stole the show out from underneath the Money in the Bank ladder matches. They may do the same again Saturday, come hell or Double J.

    WWE @WWE

    I don't think <a href="https://twitter.com/RealJeffJarrett?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RealJeffJarrett</a> is going to forget that kick come <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a> tomorrow. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/LDV7RbQJkW">pic.twitter.com/LDV7RbQJkW</a>

    Staying in the tag division, New Day and The Viking Raiders did battle in the continuation of their feud.

    Erik and Ivar dominated the match for the majority, overpowering and wearing down Kofi Kingston. A hot tag to Xavier Woods, though, sparked a babyface comeback that saw the G4 host wipe out both men with one slide through the ropes.

    The monster heels overcame Woods' fiery assault, though, and put Kingston down to score the decisive victory. After the match, a defiant Woods rushed at the victors, only to be flattened by their shields. They proceeded to Pillmanize Woods, crushing his previously injured foot in a steel chair.

    WWE @WWE

    The Vicious <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VikingRaiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VikingRaiders</a> earning their name tonight as they viciously attack the already injured achilles of <a href="https://twitter.com/AustinCreedWins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AustinCreedWins</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a>! <a href="https://t.co/BSKDUf6sWP">pic.twitter.com/BSKDUf6sWP</a>

    A good, competitive match, this did more to put over the Viking Raiders than any segment of television that preceded it over the last month. They beat a Hall of Fame tag team, then brutalized Woods in his hometown of Atlanta, where Friday's show emanated from.

    While this still does not feel like an act destined to take the Raiders to the promised land of tag team championships, this was a significant booking improvement over what they had been recipients of over the last month.


    Result

    The Viking Raiders defeated New Day


    Grade

    C+


    Top Moments

    • The usually confident McAfee being audibly nervous as Erik and Ivar locked eyes with him helped put over the imposing nature of the heels.
    • The ankle injury angle was great and should write Woods out for a bit so he can fulfill any obligations he has away from WWE. Or, at the least, provide the two teams with emphasis for the continuation of their feud. 

Special Counsel Address

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Paul Heyman took to the squared circle to address Saturday's SummerSlam main event, in which Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns defends against Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing Match.

    The special counsel to the champion claimed Lesnar will only dethrone The Tribal Chief and end his 700-day run atop WWE over his "damn dead body."

    The Beast sought to test that claim, interrupting the promo and stalking toward the squared circle. Before he could damage the man he once called a friend (and advocate), Theory attacked with the Money in the Bank briefcase.

    It went about as well as last week. Lesnar brutalized the young star with suplexes and briefcase shots.

    WWE @WWE

    Welcome to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SuplexCity?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SuplexCity</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/_Theory1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_Theory1</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/BrockLesnar?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrockLesnar</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CowboyBrock?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CowboyBrock</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/iWocUB6nN6">pic.twitter.com/iWocUB6nN6</a>

    Theory escaped but ate a Claymore by McIntyre, who ended the show by staring down Lesnar, a callback to their previous rivalry and a potential preview of the Clash at the Castle main event.

    The sheer number of people looking to kick Theory's ass right now has become a social media joke, but creatively, it has made for a more interesting product. The young star has been the topic of discussion since winning Money in the Bank, with some loving his increased exposures and others...well, not so much.

    WWE @WWE

    Familiar foes meet again. <a href="https://twitter.com/DMcIntyreWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DMcIntyreWWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BrockLesnar?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrockLesnar</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/sOIiwyyxf8">pic.twitter.com/sOIiwyyxf8</a>

    Regardless of where one stands, there is no denying that Theory is already the centerpiece of creative efforts. Win or lose when he finally cashes in, he is the competitor around whom the WWE Universe revolves right now.

    Add McIntyre to the mix now and the uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of the title, and who will actually compete for the gold in Cardiff, breeds excitement that has not existed for quite some time.


    Grade

    C+


    Top Moments

    • Heyman meekly attempting to hand over the microphone to Lesnar after talking copious amounts of crap on him was the type of character excellence only the godfather of extreme is capable of at this point. A true master.
    • McIntyre obliterating Theory to close out the show was fantastic. The show could have easily gone off the air with Lesnar standing tall, but teasing the WrestleMania 36 rematch was a great way to put over the numerous moving pieces in the world title picture.
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