WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 7
As the march to SummerSlam continues, WWE's SmackDown brand delivered another strong show that emphasized the rivalries that will culminate in matches at the summertime spectacular.
Daniel Bryan took the fight to The Miz, AJ Styles addressed Samoa Joe, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch's friendship was put to the test and new challengers to The Bludgeon Brothers' tag team titles were determined.
Who won the night's in-ring action, how did each segment grade out and what might it mean for WWE's blue brand moving forward?
Find out now with this recap of Tuesday's broadcast.
Randy Orton Promo
Randy Orton kicked off Tuesday's show and wasted little time addressing his attack on Jeff Hardy from last week. He vowed to become violent to the point that fans would rather change the channel than witness what he does to their heroes.
He promised to erase every hero the fans have and take respect since he has not been given it.
Orton again dropped the mic to end the promo and walked off to a chorus of boos.
Orton is so into this character, and it shows with every performance. The material he's been given has motivated and inspired him. The result is significantly better television than he has been involved in since his run as The Authority's chosen champion.
A great opening promo that shined a spotlight on him at a time when fans are still adjusting to booing him.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte vs. The IIconics
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce cut an antagonistic promo prior to their match with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch and almost immediately regretted it, finding themselves on the receiving end of a beating as the show headed to commercial break.
During the break, the Aussie-born IIconics seized control of the match, working over Flair's head, neck and shoulders. A headlock grounded the second-generation star. A collision spot gave way to Lynch and Royce tagged in.
Lynch unloaded on her opponent, delivering a flying forearm at one point.
Kay broke up an attempt at a Dis-arm-her, and Flair tagged in. Moments later, she applied the Figure Eight to Royce and scored the win.
Carmella raised her title to taunt her SummerSlam opposition as the segment ended.
Flair and Lynch defeated Kay and Royce
The point of this one was to show that Flair and Lynch are on the same page heading into SummerSlam, and it accomplished that much. The match was fairly standard and the outcome predictable, but the energy of the babyfaces more than made up for it.
It would be nice to see Kay and Royce better utilized soon, but for now they are admirable opposition.
AJ Styles Addresses Samoa Joe
AJ Styles addressed Samoa Joe's statements about his role as a father and husband from last week.
He said leaving family at home while traveling the world is the sacrifice they make. It pisses Styles off the most, he said, that Joe knows his wife. That he has a history with The Phenomenal One and that he threw it all away in a matter of moments.
"At SummerSlam, you'll be lucky to walk out at all!" Styles ended his promo emphatically as Joe was shown backstage, amused by his August 19 opponent's words.
This is as fired-up as we have seen Styles in months. He struck the right tone here, and the result was a fiery promo that set the stage for an intense match between him and Joe at SummerSlam.
Bringing up their past and establishing Joe's connection to his family was exactly what Styles needed to do to put over the emotion of this match and make it as anticipated, if not more so, than the Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.
Lana vs. Zelina Vega
Prior to the match, Aiden English asked for, and was granted, forgiveness from Rusev and Lana for his many mistakes in recent weeks.
Lana wasted little time, taking the fight to Vega from the opening bell. Vega answered, delivering a nasty forearm that only served to infuriate The Ravishing Russian. Back inside, Vega used that aggression against Lana, seizing control of the bout and working a rear headlock.
A knee to the midsection and a suplex, followed by a series of elbow drops, allowed Lana to fight her way back into the match.
A distraction by Andrade "Cien" Almas brought about interference from Rusev as Vega delivered a jawbreaker in the middle of the ring. A Machka Kick from Lana had her set up for a win, but a spear by an interfering English to Almas caused her to fall from the top rope.
Vega capitalized and scored the win.
Vega defeated Lana
The effort was certainly there, and while the match was not spectacular by any means, the storytelling fueled it.
There is a schism between English, Rusev and Lana that will likely lead to the end of their relationship, and rather than burning through the story, the company is taking its time and letting it breathe. The result is much better television that will mean so much more when the breakup comes.
Letting Vega score some wins and get heat for herself and Almas is another great decision that will only help their act stay over as WWE Creative contemplates the next feud for the former NXT champion.
Byron Saxton Interviews The Miz
Byron Saxton interviewed The Miz, who appeared on the video screen.
Saxton repeatedly asked about Miz's match with Daniel Bryan, which was added to the SummerSlam card earlier Tuesday. Miz, like a great heel, downplayed the match, instead promoting his reality show.
After incessant questioning by Saxton, Miz finally went off on an impassioned rant on Bryan.
That is, until the bearded Superstar exploded into the scene from out of nowhere, unloading on Miz until security pulled him away.
No, The Yes! Movement is still nowhere near the intensely emotional level it was in 2014, but if anyone can help Bryan regain momentum and popularity, it is The Miz.
The best heel in the business, he is an insufferable ass who loves him some him. In many ways, he is the Terrell Owens of WWE, a villain fans want to see silenced and humbled.
That only makes him that much more unlikeable—and an even more valuable asset to the company.
R-Truth vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The product of a backstage confrontation, R-Truth battled United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match.
Truth delivered a headscissors and a heel kick to stun Nakamura early. A big splash in the corner and a hip toss had the veteran competitor rolling.
A scissor kick attempt by Truth was answered by a kick to the back of the head by The Artist, who trapped him in the triangle for a submission attempt.
Truth made it to the ropes, though, forcing his opponent to break the hold.
The Kinshasa finished Truth moments later as Nakamura continued to roll.
Nakamura defeated Truth
Truth looked genuinely stunned following the kick to the back of the head, which probably hurt the overall quality of the match.
Otherwise, this was merely a showcase for Nakamura, whose match with Jeff Hardy at SummerSlam is one of those that could be really strong and maybe even steal the show if both Superstars are at their best.
The Bludgeon Brothers in Action
The Bludgeon Brothers were in action in a Three-on-Two Handicap match. The opposition? Julio Rivera, Pavel Kozlov and Akila Lee.
Harper and Rowan dominated and scored the win in mere minutes.
The Bludgeon Brothers obliterated Lee, Kozlov and Rivera
Been here. Seen this.
The Bludgeon Brothers continue to roll and get nothing out of squashing nobodies.
The New Day vs. The Bar
The finals of the tournament to determine the No. 1 contenders to the SmackDown Tag Team Championships pitted The New Day against The Bar.
Sheamus and Cesaro dominated the opening moments of the match, wearing the smaller Kofi Kingston down.
Big E made the hot tag and tore through the opposition, his strength and fury being New Day's greatest asset at the moment.
Using a quicker pace to wear out their heavyweight opponent, The Bar regained control of the bout.
Kingston re-entered the match off another hot tag and delivered his trademark Boom Drop to Cesaro, but Sheamus broke up his pin attempt.
The action broke down late in what was an action-packed main event. Eventually, Kingston and Big E delivered Midnight Hour to Cesaro, cashing New Day's ticket to SummerSlam and securing a date with The Bludgeon Brothers.
New Day defeated The Bar
The New Day and The Bar have wrestled each other countless times, and every time the match is simply superb. This was no different. The action, the drama and the psychology added up to a phenomenal wrestling match that properly spotlighted SmackDown's outstanding tag team division.
Of course, Sheamus and Cesaro would have made better opponents for Harper and Rowan, if only because their physicality matches up. As it stands, The New Day will have an opportunity to use its speed and smarts to try to knock off the seemingly unbeatable Bludgeon Brothers.