WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 30
There's only so much time to hype a pay-per-view, and WWE is running short. The July 30 edition of SmackDown Live promised to set the stage for SummerSlam 2019 with big matches and moments.
AJ Styles ventured to the blue brand alongside new Raw tag team champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to take on Kofi Kingston, who had SmackDown tag team champions Big E and Xavier Woods in his corner. This main event promised a massive high for the end of the night.
The rest of the show was built around SummerSlam on August 11. Perhaps no segment was bigger in that regard than the appearance of Trish Stratus to "The King's Court." While there was no announced reason the WWE Hall of Famers would be conversing, the promise of a huge return from Stratus was excitement enough.
As Finn Balor prepared for SummerSlam, he got a warm-up battling the arrogant Dolph Ziggler and looked to do what Seth Rollins couldn't on Raw by shutting up The Showoff.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross also headed to the blue brand to battle longtime rival Bayley and her SummerSlam opponent, Ember Moon. As always, The Goddess looked to sow dissension between title challengers.
This show's promise was a night that would set the scene for The Biggest Party of the Summer. If it delivered, it would help set up SummerSlam as a turning point for WWE.
Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre
Shane McMahon announced in a pretaped video he would not be appearing on SmackDown this week. Kevin Owens celebrated in the ring until Drew McIntyre interrupted and declared he was wrestling The Prizefighter next before laying him out.
The Scottish Psychopath punished Owens throughout this match, but KO refused to stay down. He caught McIntyre with a stunner on the announce table and then hit a superkick into a stunner in the ring for the win.
Owens def. McIntyre by pinfall
It's rare any WWE show opens with a match this competitive. McIntyre and Owens worked well together and put on a match worthy of a PPV spotlight. The crowd was electric for a contest with haphazard build thanks to the work of the two stars.
It's a shame this will likely be far better than whatever KO and McMahon are able to do at SummerSlam. Hopefully, this isn't the last encounter between these two men.
The downside here is McIntyre keeps taking losses. At this point, it would take a world-title reign for him to reclaim his early momentum, which isn't out of the question.
Bayley and Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Bayley warned Ember Moon in the locker room that she would regret trying to go for a cheap shot again like last week. That miscommunication made it easy for the heels to take advantage.
Alexa Bliss knocked The War Goddess into the steel post and then hit Twisted Bliss for the win.
After the match, the SmackDown women's champion planted her challenger with a Bayley-to-Belly.
Bliss and Cross def. Bayley and Moon by pinfall
While the tag team match itself was fine, the outcome of this segment was a miss. Moon should not be losing right now, especially to Bliss, who has been beaten multiple times by Bayley recently.
Much like Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, this feud has quickly devolved into generic brawling. These supposed friends have lost track of their relationship because rivals for a title apparently cannot get along for more than one week.
Charlotte Flair Challenges Trish Stratus to a Match at SummerSlam
On "King's Court," Jerry Lawler asked Trish Stratus if she had ever considered competing in one last match. The WWE Hall of Famer was not interested, but Charlotte Flair interrupted.
The Queen taunted the legend before challenging her to a match at SummerSlam, which Stratus accepted.
This was a predictable segment, but it delivered where it mattered. The stage has been set for an exciting clash of eras.
Stratus made an impact on the industry that no woman will be able to match in the same way, but she may be stepping into the ring with the first woman in a decade who can equal her ability inside the squared circle.
The Queen is one of the best wrestlers in the company, and it would have been a shame for her to miss another major event. She should bring as much as possible out of the retired Stratus.
It's smart of WWE to commit to three big singles matches from the women's division at SummerSlam, all of which have the potential to steal the show.
Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler
In the latest edition of the "Firefly Fun House," Rambling Rabbit praised Finn Balor and his bravery but warned he had made a grave mistake.
An overconfident Dolph Ziggler could not sustain offense against The Extraordinary Man in their match, but after Balor stopped his Sweet Chin Music with a Slingblade, the lights went out.
Bray Wyatt appeared in the ring and quickly disappeared. The distraction allowed The Showoff to sneak up and connect with a superkick for the win.
Ziggler def. Balor by pinfall
While Ziggler and Balor can certainly have a better match together, this segment was booked well looking forward to SummerSlam. The Showoff got back in the win column, while the Irishman continues to fail thanks to the specter of The Fiend.
Wyatt has been built perfectly for his return to the ring against Balor.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ali
In a return match from Smackville, Ali showed he learned from his loss to Shinsuke Nakamura.
He countered the Kinshasa again and again until he managed to stack up The Artist for an upset victory.
Ali def. Nakamura by pinfall
This was rushed and sloppy, but it told a perfect story for the time it had.
Ali and Nakamura did not waste a second and sold the story of the former 205 Live man, who refused to lose twice.
He countered the move that lost him his first opportunity at The Artist and pulled out the win.
Kofi Kingston (w/ The New Day) vs. AJ Styles (w/ The OC)
Randy Orton talked about his history with Kofi Kingston in a pretaped interview, revealing he intentionally stopped the WWE champion from reaching the top in 2009.
The Viper said he did not see the New Day man as being worthy of a top spot then and still couldn't view him as a true world champion now.
Inside the ring, The O.C. helped AJ Styles take an early edge over the WWE champion, but The Phenomenal One found out firsthand that Kingston is on another level right now.
Big E and Xavier Woods brawled with Gallows and Anderson outside the ring while Kingston turned the Phenomenal Forearm into Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Kingston def. Styles by pinfall
Even with frequent interference, this match was a fantastic showcase of two of the best in the business. Hopefully, it was only the beginning.
Kingston and Styles bring the best out of each other, and they have teammates who can make sure both sides fight fair.
If anything, this might have been a waste of potential, as The New Day and The O.C. have more or less taken over their respective brands. Keep these two trios away from each other until the time is right.
Roman Reigns' Interview Is Delayed by Stage Collapse
Kayla Braxton was set to interview Roman Reigns about who he wanted to face at SummerSlam. However, as The Big Dog walked to the interview, the stage fell on him.
He barely managed to escape, and a frazzled Reigns walked away and was unable to make his announcement.
It is hard to grade such a bizarre segment to end the show. It will matter how WWE delivers, though.
If this was setting up a new rival for Reigns, it might work, but it could easily just be the same collection of heels trying to hurt The Big Dog because they cannot beat him.
What was particularly confusing was WWE delaying announcing Reigns' SummerSlam opponent, as that will likely be a big draw for The Biggest Party of the Summer.