WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 16
Following up on Sunday's action-driven Extreme Rules, the July 16 edition of WWE SmackDown Live focused on the fallout as well as building toward SummerSlam.
Shane McMahon called for a town hall meeting so wrestlers could voice their displeasure with WWE management. Kevin Owens was certain to attend, but Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, The Miz, Elias and more all had to make sure their voices were heard.
Daniel Bryan promised his own announcement following his devastating loss to The New Day. He was going to announce something career-altering, taking himself in a direction he had never gone before.
Unlike Raw, SmackDown Live did not immediately set the stage for the next challengers at SummerSlam, and Kofi Kingston and Bayley were still waiting for new opponents to emerge.
Two major matches were announced ahead of the night, building from recent weeks. The IIconics were set to defend their tag team championships against worthy contenders in The Kabuki Warriors. Meanwhile, Ember Moon got her chance at revenge on Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose with a mystery partner.
Tuesday night needed to push the blue brand in a fresh direction. SmackDown has been stuck too long in neutral, and SummerSlam is approaching on August 11.
Shane McMahon Hosts Town Hall Meeting to Hear Out WWE Superstars
Shane McMahon told Kevin Owens as he entered the building that he was being given the night off and would not be allowed to attend the town hall meeting.
Roman Reigns was the first man to step up in the meeting, immediately stating that no one respected Shane-O-Mac.
Charlotte Flair tried to suck up to Boy Wonder, but Liv Morgan interrupted as the two called each other fakes. Buddy Murphy used his opportunity to state he didn't need Owens' help to stand out. Apollo Crews and Andrade got into an argument that led to Zelina Vega setting up a match for later.
Elias tried to back McMahon, but The New Day cut him off before Kofi Kingston demanded everyone get a chance to succeed. Shane-O-Mac cut his mic and ended the segment. Cesaro then came out of the crowd to request a rematch with Aleister Black, which he was granted.
Owens appeared behind McMahon to hit him with a stunner.
It was nice to see Morgan and Murphy getting a chance to speak, but this segment did nothing for anyone involved. Each wrestler barely got in two sentences before shuffling off to the next angle.
While the story made sense as McMahon offered an open forum but did not want to hear the truth, the execution lacked in every aspect. It was forgettable up until the end when he badly botched taking the stunner.
Aleister Black vs. Cesaro
In his second shot at Aleister Black, Cesaro tried to ground down the dangerous striker.
However, The Dutch Destroyer was ready for the new strategy and once more sealed the victory with a Black Mass.
Black def. Cesaro by pinfall
This was not quite the incredible sprint they had at Extreme Rules, but it was still another strong outing from two of the smoothest workers in the company. From the technical transitions to the fast striking, it was a showcase of how good both men can be.
While it would be great to see what they can do together with more time, both would be better off moving past this rivalry since Cesaro isn't defeating Black.
The Dutch Destroyer is a star on the rise, and it will be fun to see who he knocks out next on his road to the top.
Charlotte Flair vs. Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan had Charlotte Flair on her toes early in this fight. However, the pink-haired rookie was outmatched by the veteran.
The Queen caught her with a powerbomb, and she then locked in the Figure Eight for the submission victory.
Afterward, Morgan ripped the headset off of Corey Graves and declared Charlotte was right in calling her fake and promised a change.
Charlotte def. Morgan by submission
While this match barely got going before it was over, it made the most of its time. Morgan kept Charlotte on her toes early while still falling as expected. It was a good way to force a change for one of the most underused wrestlers on the roster.
Morgan has a unique look, but she has been established as enhancement talent. A full rebranding should help her shed that label.
Ember Moon and Bayley vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Ember Moon revealed her new tag team partner, Bayley, and the two dominated Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
The heels barely even got going before The Hugger took out Deville with a Bayley-to-Belly, and The War Goddess hit The Eclipse to seal the win.
Afterward, Bayley was interviewed about who she wanted to face next, and she set the challenge to Moon.
Bayley and Moon def. Rose and Deville by pinfall
It feels shortsighted that WWE continues to not give Rose and Deville actual time to perform. This could have been a good tag team match, but it was more of a squash. The many weeks of build should have led to more.
It did work to establish a potentially excellent title clash, though. Despite her limited spotlight, Moon is one of the best female wrestlers in the company. She and Bayley could steal the show at SummerSlam.
The New Day vs. Samoa Joe, Elias and Randy Orton
The New Day intercepted Daniel Bryan's career-defining announcement to pre-emptively accept The Planet's Champions' challenge for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
The Beard was not happy with the joke the trio made of him, and he decided not to make his announcement and left the stage. Samoa Joe took the opportunity to challenge the WWE champion, followed by Elias and Randy Orton.
While each man wanted a world title opportunity, New Day instead challenged them to a six-man tag match. The Viper refused at first, but Kingston goaded him into it.
The heels managed to outmaneuver the faces, and The Apex Predator caught the champion with an RKO to win.
Orton, Elias and Joe def. New Day by pinfall
While this segment went a bit long and had more than a few sloppy moments, it set the stage for a great next challenger for Kingston's title. Orton is the perfect heel to push him to the next level, especially given their tumultuous history.
New Day should not have lost the night after they won all the gold, especially to a makeshift alliance. However, Orton RKO'ing Kingston was the perfect jump-start to their feud, which should not include Elias or Joe.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions the IIconics vs. The Kabuki Warrior (w/ Paige)
The IIconics could not get anything going against Asuka and Kairi Sane, but Billie Kay saw her opportunity and ran, taking a count-out.
Afterward, The Kabuki Warriors laid out the champions, hitting a spinning kick into the diving elbow on Peyton Royce.
Kabuki Warriors def. IIconics by count-out; Royce and Kay retain the WWE Tag Team Championships
As always, WWE refuses to take this women's tag title feud seriously. The company rushed past the entrances and barely gave the teams a chance to compete. The count-out makes sense for The IIconics but fails to get to the root of the problem with this rivalry.
This was a courtesy appearance for the division. Hopefully, the teams get better soon. A full match between The IIconics and Kabuki Warriors would make up for much.
Andrade vs. Apollo Crews
Andrade went after Apollo Crews before the bell, but he did not do enough. Once it rang, Crews quickly snuck in a roll-up to steal an upset victory.
Crews def. Andrade by pinfall
It may help Crews to get a pinfall victory over a bigger star, but it would help him more to be able to wrestle against one of the best in the business. A two-minute surprise roll-up isn't a real match, it's a segment that will likely lead to nothing.
El Idolo should not be losing right now unless it means something. This rivalry has barely developed despite a month of development. Let these two compete at their best.
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler convinced Shane McMahon to give him a second chance to put down Kevin Owens.
The Showoff lasted longer in this main event, but Shane-O-Mac had to come out with a crowd of heels to distract KO just to keep him in the match.
Owens hit Ziggler with a stunner, but Boy Wonder pulled KO out of the ring. Owens hit Shane-O-Mac with a stunner and ran out of the arena to avoid all the heels chasing him.
McMahon then declared he would make KO pay.
Owens vs. Ziggler goes to a no-contest
This was a flat segment to end the night. Owens and Ziggler had a fine match for a few minutes before McMahon took over. In the end, it was all just to get another Shane stunner. This feud has no excitement behind it despite KO's best efforts.
The sooner Owens hits the stunner that sends McMahon backstage for good, the better. He's on a roll as a babyface right now, but there's only so much he can bring to an overplayed rivalry that began with two other men.