WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Analysis from August 12

Erik BeastonAugust 12, 2022

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Analysis from August 12

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    Karrion Kross and Scarlett address their shocking return to SmackDown Friday night./Credit: WWE.com

    The SmackDown landscape changed forever with the returns of Karrion Kross and Scarlett, who did not hesitate to send a message loudly and clearly to undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns and top contender Drew McIntyre.

    What would Kross have to say about his return to WWE and what it means for the elite of SmackDown?

    Find out now with this recap of a show that also featured the latest in the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament and an Intercontinental Championship defense by the seemingly unbeatable Gunther.

Match Card

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    • Intercontinental Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Gunther
    • Contract Signing: Liv Morgan and Shayna Baszler
    • WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament: Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Shotzi and Xia Li

Women's Tag Team Tournament Match: Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Shotzi and Xia Li

2 of 7

    Credit: WWE.com

    The WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament kicked off Friday's show as Shotzi and Xia Li battled Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah for the right to advance in the competition for the vacant titles.

    The heels dominated coming out of the break, with Li cutting Aliyah off from her partner. A hot tag to Rodriguez sparked a comeback but Shotzi shut her down with Sliced Bread No. 2 for a near-fall.

    WWE @WWE

    Things are picking up between <a href="https://twitter.com/RaquelWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RaquelWWE</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Shotzi?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Shotzi</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/ivqQbDGoaZ">pic.twitter.com/ivqQbDGoaZ</a>

    A spear from Aliyah to Shotzi and the Tejada Bomb from Rodriguez to Li scored the babyfaces the hard-fought victory.

    The match was fine enough for what it was but, beyond the quality of the contest was the fact that the women's division was highlighted in the opening segment with neither Ronda Rousey nor Charlotte Flair to be found.

    Four NXT exports did battle in a high-stakes match, with Rodriguez again benefitting from the spotlight with another quality victory. She and Aliyah may seem like a makeshift tandem but given the brackets, as we know them, do not be surprised to see the babyface tandem make it all the way to the finals and, potentially, win the titles.

    Shotzi and Li looked solid here in defeat and should benefit from increased screen time and in-ring opportunities under the new regime.


    Result

    Rodriguez and Aliyah defeated Shotzi and Li


    Grade

    C


    Top Moments

    • Rodriguez and Shotzi set their differences aside and took out Sonya Deville and Natalya at ringside before brawling entering the break.
    • The near-fall off of Shotzi's Sliced Bread No. 2 was a strong spot.
    • Backstage, Karrion Kross cut an ominous promo and teased that he was within striking distance of Drew McIntyre at all times.
    • McIntyre entered the arena ahead of the commercial break sans his sword, Angela, and all was right with the world.

Drew McIntyre Promo

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Drew McIntyre hit the ring for a promo, in which he threatened to put Karrion Kross in the graveyard and reminded Roman Reigns that, as much as The Tribal Chief struggled to beat Brock Lesnar, he did so at WrestleMania 36 with his bare hands.

    Scarlett interrupted the proceedings and the distraction she caused allowed The Usos to hit the ring and jump the No. 1 contender from behind. The unified tag champs issued words of warning to Scarlett, who returned them in an ominous fashion.

    WWE @WWE

    The <a href="https://twitter.com/WWEUsos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWEUsos</a> send a message to <a href="https://twitter.com/DMcIntyreWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DMcIntyreWWE</a> AND <a href="https://twitter.com/realKILLERkross?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@realKILLERkross</a> on behalf of <a href="https://twitter.com/WWERomanReigns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWERomanReigns</a>.<a href="https://twitter.com/Lady_Scarlett13?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lady_Scarlett13</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/3GY198e9k6">pic.twitter.com/3GY198e9k6</a>

    Triple H and his creative team have done an effective job early on in creating this three-way feud for the world title. McIntyre is no-nonsense and picking fights with two heels, Reigns is staying out of dodge and Kross is hellbent on re-establishing himself as a harbinger of doom who will take his opportunities rather than waiting for them.

    Thus far, he has told a coherent story that, in lesser hands, could be bungled from the beginning. Introducing The Usos and utilizing Scarlett as more than just a voiceless sidekick were solid moves that prevent the overexposure of the central figures.


    Grade

    A


    Top Moments

    • "I will send you back to that dungeon you crawled out of," McIntyre threatened Kross.
    • "Gather 'round, look at the shocked faces: Roman's not at work!" McIntyre exclaimed.
    • "Tell your boy, Karrion Kross, that if he steps up to the Tribal Chief, The Bloodline will put his ass down!" Jey Uso warned Scarlett.

The Viking Raiders Beat Down Kofi Kingston; A Trip Back Down Hit Row

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Kofi Kingston's ill-fated sneak attack on The Viking Raiders proved costly as the former WWE Champion found himself beaten down and left in a heap.

    It was probably the right booking call given WWE Creative's recent efforts not to book repetitive matches. With that said, the feud is ice cold and Kingston could really be better utilized in just about anything at this point.

    WWE @WWE

    It started off well for <a href="https://twitter.com/TrueKofi?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TrueKofi</a>. Didn't end well though...<a href="https://twitter.com/Erik_WWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Erik_WWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Ivar_WWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ivar_WWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/Zj8YQzoSph">pic.twitter.com/Zj8YQzoSph</a>

    Speaking of tag teams...

    Hit Row returned to WWE Friday night in the latest of Triple H's make-rights.

    Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis, accompanied by B-Fab, received a big pop as they hit the ring for an enhancement match against local competitors.

    The energy was up throughout the sprint of a squash match and the charisma was in abundance as the three NXT exports addressed the crowd after the match. B-Fab labeled the three of them "3OG," no doubt in reference to the fact that AEW's Swerve Strickland is no longer with the company.

    WWE @WWE

    And if you didn't know, now you know. <a href="https://twitter.com/AJFrancis410?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AJFrancis410</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/tehutimiles?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tehutimiles</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TheVibeBri?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheVibeBri</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/mWoplvoHOE">pic.twitter.com/mWoplvoHOE</a>

    Considering the lack of depth in the tag team division, Hit Row is a welcome addition and has the potential to turn into a hugely popular act for the company given its athleticism, charisma and energy they bring to every performance.


    Result

    Hit Row defeated Trevor Irwin and Brandon Scott


    Grade

    C for the Viking Raiders beatdown; an admittedly partial 'A' for Hit Row's return


    Top Moments

    • Kingston sneak attacked the Viking Raiders and still managed to get beat down. 
    • Backstage, Drew McIntyre jumped The Usos while Sami Zayn ran off.
    • B-Fab returning alongside Ashante and Top Dolla was a great redemption story for a performer who was unceremoniously cut before she could ever really make her presence felt on the main roster last Fall. 

Contract Signing: Liv Morgan and Shayna Baszler

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Before the scheduled contract signing between SmackDown Women's champion Liv Morgan and top contender Baszler, the suspended Ronda Rousey jumped the guardrail and cut a promo. Before she could say much, security ushered her up the ramp, where she came face-to-face with friend Shayna Baszler.

    Baszler quickly signed the contract for her showdown against Morgan and vowed to beat her at Clash at the Castle. The champion hit the ring next, and vowed to beat Baszler after referring to her as a "Ronda Rousey ripoff."

    Physicality reigned supreme, with Morgan shaking off an attack on her injured arm and driving her upcoming challenger through the table with a bulldog.

    WWE @WWE

    Fighting through the pain <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> Women's Champion <a href="https://twitter.com/YaOnlyLivvOnce?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@YaOnlyLivvOnce</a> puts <a href="https://twitter.com/QoSBaszler?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@QoSBaszler</a> through a table! <a href="https://t.co/MIoIUluHCJ">pic.twitter.com/MIoIUluHCJ</a>

    This was a surprisingly strong segment.

    Rousey showed more personality here than she has in every one of her promos since returning at Royal Rumble and the fans responded accordingly. They were overwhelmingly in her favor, to the point that she was clearly one of the more over competitors on the show to this point.

    Morgan continued to flirt with heeldom, emphatically reminding everyone that she beat Rousey twice while insultingly referring to Baszler as a ripoff of her bestie. Turning Morgan heel would seem like the wrong move given her underdog climb to the top but the fans may demand it, especially if Rousey remains as over as she has been to this point.

    Of interest is the interaction between Baszler and Rousey. Might The Baddest Woman on the Planet help The Queen of Spades rediscover her edge and championship ways? Or will Baszler turn on Rousey and ignite the rivalry that seemed like a sure thing not all that long ago?


    Grade

    B


    Top Moments

    • "Being The Baddest gets expensive but I can afford it," Rousey said, spreading money across the contract table.
    • Baszler to Rousey: "You have to play by the rules." Rousey responded, reminding The Queen of Spades, "you used to be a killer."

Drew McIntyre and Madcap Moss vs. The Usos

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Following a backstage attack by The Scottish Warrior, The Usos challenged Drew McIntyre to a tag team match. The No. 1 contender to the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion wasted little time rushing the ring but quickly found himself on the end of a numbers disadvantage.

    Madcap Moss hit the ring, evening up the sides but found himself on the receiving end of the tag champions' onslaught coming out of the break.

    McIntyre exploded into the match off a hot tag from his former rival and unloaded on Jimmy and Jey. The Usos benefited from a late distraction from an interfering Sami Zayn but McIntyre kicked out of the top rope splash and delivered the Claymore to Jimmy for the win.

    WWE @WWE

    What are you doing <a href="https://twitter.com/SamiZayn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SamiZayn</a>?!<a href="https://twitter.com/WWEUsos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWEUsos</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/DMcIntyreWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DMcIntyreWWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/NYJE3x8iq1">pic.twitter.com/NYJE3x8iq1</a>

    After the match, McIntyre laid out Jey and Zayn before standing tall with Moss.

    This was a high-energy tag match that allowed McIntyre to shine ahead of Clash at the Castle and provided Moss a little of that main event rub, courtesy of the red-hot babyface and the equally as over Usos.

    There will be some who denounce the idea of McIntyre and a random partner beating the tag team champions and they would be right. The Usos are a historically great team and dropping a match to McIntyre and Moss is a curious choice for sure.

    Unless it is designed specifically to plant seeds of a breakup of The Bloodline or the inevitable beatdown of Zayn by Jimmy and Jey.


    Result

    McIntyre and Moss defeated The Usos


    Grade

    B


    Top Moments

    • McIntyre and Moss exchanged the slightest look of distrust in what is one of those little things that pays respect to their previous feud and catapults things forward. Hopefully, we get more of those as Triple H entrenches himself as the undisputed creative lead in WWE.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Gunther

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    Credit: WWE.com

    After much hype throughout the night's broadcast, Intercontinental champion Gunther defended against Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event of SmackDown.

    A motivated Nakamura targeted the arm of his opponent, looking to take away his trademark powerbomb finisher while also setting up an armbar submission. Gunther answered with his ferocious power, overwhelming the challenger at times.

    Nakamura rocked The Ring General with a knee to the face and appeared to have the win in hand but the tough champion kicked out. The Artist balked in the face of Ludwig Kaiser at ringside and set up for the Kinshasa, only for Gunther to turn him inside out with a clothesline for two.

    WWE @WWE

    This match is already physical 😳<a href="https://twitter.com/ShinsukeN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShinsukeN</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Gunther_AUT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Gunther_AUT</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/YAHEmdjh4v">pic.twitter.com/YAHEmdjh4v</a>

    A sleeper and dropkick to the back of the head allowed Gunther to deliver the powerbomb and stack him up for the pinfall victory.

    The chants of "this is awesome" were well deserved as Nakamura and Gunther tore the house down to end the show. It was a hard-hitting, physical encounter that reminded fans that beyond the mannerisms and entrance, The Artist is still a damn fine in-ring performer when he is motivated.

    Gunther continued his streak of superb in-ring performances but it was Kaiser staring at the IC title on two different occasions in the post-match moments that proved most interesting. Might the mouthpiece of The Ring General have championship aspirations of his own and could Gunther's greatest challenge eventually come from within the remnants of Imperium?

    That a seething Nakamura stared down Gunther as the show went off the air suggests their issues are far from over.


    Result

    Gunther pinned Nakamura to retain


    Grade

    A


    Top Moments

    • Prior to the main event, Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark cut a pre-taped promo ahead of their SmackDown debut next week in the Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament. Little things like this help familiarize the audience with talent and prevent dead silence when they finally take to the squared circle.
    • Backstage, Happy Corbin attacked Ricochet during an interview with Kayla Braxton.
    • The clothesline by Gunther that rocked Nakamura was rough and set up a great near-fall.
    • Nakamura stared down Gunther to insinuate a rematch may be on the horizon. 
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