WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from August 6
We now know who perpetrated the career-threatening attacks on Roman Reigns. Also, Shane McMahon and Dolph Ziggler built heat for their respective matches, and Trish Stratus interrupted a vocal Charlotte Flair. In all, WWE SmackDown presented a wildly more effective hype show for Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view than Raw just 24 hours earlier.
The blue brand advanced storylines, wrapped up others and provided fans with a highlight reel of the Superstars and matches that will go a long way in determining the ultimate success of The Biggest Party of the Summer.
Who tried to run down Reigns, how did Ziggler and McMahon stand tall, and what finishing touches were put on Kofi Kingston's rivalry with Randy Orton over the WWE Championship?
Find out now with this recap of the August 6 episode.
Charlotte Flair Kicks Off SmackDown Live
"The Queen of All Eras" Charlotte Flair kicked off the August 6 episode of SmackDown Live just days before a defining matchup with Trish Stratus at SummerSlam.
Flair told the fans they were witnessing greatness, something they never could be because they quit the moment things get challenging. She ripped on Stratus, claiming today's athletes are greater than any the Hall of Famer ever faced.
She threw to a video package that was supposed to feature highlights of her own career. Instead, it showcased Stratus' accomplishments while audio clips of Michael Cole, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler put over the Torontonian as arguably the greatest ever.
Stratus appeared to a pop seconds later. She said she aired the video as a reminder of why Flair is even here and why she has received the opportunities she has. Stratus quoted the late Harley Race while justifying the bout, saying she wants the match for herself more than anything.
Flair vowed to beat down Stratus. The Hall of Famer responded with a slap to bring the segment to a close.
It was a welcome change of pace to see the women kick off the show, and Stratus portraying the veteran who is as much driven by the wrestling bug as she is for proving she can still go was a nice touch.
However, last week's "King's Court" interview segment already touched on everything that was said or established here.
Stratus and Flair have done a solid job of setting the stage for their generational contest, but they were let down from a creative standpoint in what amounted to a retread.
Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph ZIggler
In the wake of the announcement that he will face Goldberg on Sunday night, Dolph Ziggler mocked the Hall of Famer's entrance, drawing a chorus of boos as he arrived for his match with Rey Mysterio.
The Showoff delivered a breakout performance against The Master of the 619 a decade ago at The Biggest Party of the Summer, making this a nice tip of the hat to SummerSlam history.
Before the match could get started, The Showoff blindsided Mysterio, dropping him with a superkick on the arena floor. The official called for help as an aggressive Ziggler stomped around ringside.
The former world champion grabbed a mic, ran down the legends who keep "crawling" back to WWE and promised he is not next. Instead, Sunday is Goldberg's last.
Ali's music played, and the high-flying phenom hit the ring, wiping out Ziggler as the show headed to break.
A more aggressive Ziggler and a short, sweet promo helped elevate this portion of the show.
Mysterio is a legend with enough built-up respect among fans that a cowardly attack on him still elicits a reaction.
Ziggler's confidence after such an assault is great for building heat, while Ali being the defender of Mysterio's pride fits his character and sets up what should be a solid match between the two competitors.
Ali vs. Dolph ZIggler
During the commercial break, Ziggler seized control of the impromptu match with Ali. Back from the timeout, though, Ali created separation with a dropkick and a rolling facebuster.
A big lariat clothesline halted the babyface's momentum, though. An attempt at Sweet Chin Music nearly cost The Showoff the victory as Ali rolled him up for two.
However, a second attempt at Shawn Michaels' trademark superkick allowed Ziggler to pick up the win.
Ziggler defeated Ali
This never had time to develop into a match befitting the talent involved.
It was a showcase for Ziggler ahead of a defining pay-per-view clash with Goldberg, but it came at the expense of Ali, who was building momentum as a top contender to Shinsuke Nakamura's intercontinental title just a week ago.
The company wonders why it struggles to create buzz or excitement for those championship programs when, in reality, it is so quick to sacrifice the talent involved in matches and angles involving competitors further up the food chain.
Roman Reigns Addresses Recent Incidents
Roman Reigns joined interviewer Kayla Braxton to discuss the recent incidents that have threatened his well-being.
The Big Dog said he has already been through so much this year, but he at least knew what was threatening him. He doesn't have that same comfort right now.
Reigns said the events have been affecting his livelihood. He then apologized to Samoa Joe for dragging his name through the mud since it is now clear he had nothing to do with the attack.
He vowed to get to the bottom of things by the end of the night.
When Reigns is allowed to be himself without the confines of an overly scripted promo, he is engaging and likable in a way few can claim to be. That was on full display here, as everything from his sentiments regarding the attacks to his apology to Joe came across as genuine and real.
The promo may not have solved the whodunnit, but it did set The Big Dog on course to find out who is targeting him and eventually build to a match.
With that in mind, it earns a strong "A." That it was short and did not overstay its welcome enhances the grade.
Ember Moon vs. Natalya
Just five days before they compete for their respective brands' women's championships, Ember Moon and Natalya squared off in singles competition.
An intense Nattie attacked her opponent from the opening bell, backing her into the corner and unloading with hard rights and lefts. The fight spilled to the arena floor, where Moon delivered a shotgun dropkick that sent her opponent into the guardrail.
Natalya regained control and applied the Sharpshooter to The War Goddess on the floor. SmackDown women's champion Bayley made the save to end the segment.
It has been a long time since WWE Creative has so ineptly booked a No. 1 contender to any title as it has Moon.
First, she was handed a title shot without earning it; then, she ate a pinfall loss to Alexa Bliss. This week? She needs to be saved by the champion she is supposedly a threat to Sunday at SummerSlam.
A talented performer between the ropes, with an aura that used to have fans invested during her days in NXT, Moon has been mismanaged and poorly utilized since her main roster call-up, this being the most blatant example.
'The Kevin Owens Show' with Shane McMahon
Kevin Owens wasted no time in demanding Shane McMahon join him in the ring for "The Kevin Owens Show."
KO admitted that since he agreed to put his career on the line against the prodigal son, fans have asked why McMahon's career isn't also at stake.
The self-proclaimed "Best in the World" blamed Owens' ego for him being in the position he is in now. He declined the challenge.
Owens claimed McMahon has no balls, to which the former SmackDown commissioner said he had balls and brains.
Elias hit the ring, but Owens did a solid job of fending off both him and McMahon, including a stunner to the musician on the announce table.
Seizing an opportunity, McMahon tripped Owens up, dropping him back- and head-first on the table. He proceeded to turn the table over on KO, leaving the antihero pinned with nowhere to go.
McMahon got a few cheap shots in before trapping him head-first in a steel chair. A basement dropkick concluded the beatdown, while some last-minute trash talk from Shane-O-Mac brought the segment to an end.
For the first time since Owens' babyface turn, McMahon got the best of him in an angle that had to happen before Sunday's PPV.
A babyface who constantly gets the better of the heels, despite an obvious numbers disadvantage, ends up with the crowd's resentment rather than its support. Owens is an antihero, a red-hot character that the company must keep rolling but not at the expense of logical storytelling.
Owens needed to experience a beating so that vengeance can fuel him and his triumphant victory can mean more than if he steamrolled his way there.
Aleister Black vs. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn hit the ring to denounce Aleister Black's silence in regard to his challenge, only to have the former NXT champion reveal their bout will not take place at SummerSlam. Rather, it will take place right there and then.
Black rode his striking ability to an early advantage, but Zayn seized control during the commercial break. The Underdog from the Underground worked over his opponent, but another flurry of strikes allowed The Dutch Destroyer back into the competition.
With the heel stunned, Black delivered the jaw-jacking Black Mass to score the pinfall victory.
Black defeated Zayn
Did this match live up to its potential given the Superstars involved? No, but it did continue to present Black as an ominous threat to the roster, thanks in large part to a burning desire and a wicked finisher.
After a bumpy start to his main roster career via his tag team with Ricochet, Black has rediscovered the aura that makes him one of the most must-see and biggest breakout stars on the roster.
Wins like this, over a credible competitor like Zayn, only lend him credibility while building him for bigger and better things going forward. Simple, yet effective, booking.
Kofi Kingston Responds to Randy Orton
A week after Randy Orton presented his side of the story, Kofi Kingston responded to his SummerSlam opponent, telling his version of events.
The WWE champion worried less about the past and more about the opportunity he has to inspire fans in his role as one of the company's elite.
The video ended with the last bit of hype for his match with The Viper on Sunday.
These video packages have been superb and have put the WWE Championship match over more than any overbooked or underthought segment or angle ever could.
The dichotomy of the competitors' mindsets has been really interesting. Orton has lived in the past, putting over moments, matches and accomplishments of a bygone era, while Kingston continues to look to the future and what his title reign can still mean to the WWE Universe.
Fans can relate to that, with many of them begging WWE to look at the future rather than living so much in the past. It should make for a red-hot title clash and, hopefully, the right outcome.
The New Day vs. The New Daniel Bryan and Rowan
Daniel Bryan and Rowan lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships to The New Day's Xavier Woods and Big E at Extreme Rules on July 14. In the main event of this week's show, the heels had the opportunity to exact some revenge against the fun-loving babyfaces.
An intense Bryan jumped Woods from the opening bell and proceeded to isolate him, working with Rowan to keep the trombone-playing mouthpiece of the trio from tagging his partner into the bout.
Big E did finally receive the hot tag and exploded into the match. He unloaded on Rowan but found his previously injured knee a target for Bryan. Using his superhuman strength, the New Day man powered out of the LeBell Lock and powerbombed the former WWE champion for two.
A tag to Rowan halted the babyface comeback, but Woods was still able to delivered a massive elbow from the top rope for a near-fall. Big E, throwing caution to the wind, speared Bryan through the ropes and to the floor.
Sensing the end was nigh and not in their favor, Rowan used the ring steps to flatten New Day and draw the disqualification.
Bryan and Rowan beat down the tag team champions after the bell, relentless in their assault of the popular duo. The Iron Claw from Rowan put down Woods, while the running knee from Bryan downed Big E.
Backstage, Roman Reigns cleared the locker room of everyone but Buddy Murphy. He then interrogated the former cruiserweight champion regarding the events of the last few weeks.
A beatdown of the Aussie concluded with him revealing it was Rowan who perpetrated the attacks on The Big Dog.
As the show came to a close, Big Red and Bryan watched Reigns from the squared circle.
The New Day defeated Bryan and Rowan via disqualification
The match itself may feel like an afterthought of sorts in the wake of the show-closing angle, but New Day has an established rivalry with Bryan and Rowan, so keeping it alive in this manner will make for continued excellence from the teams when revisited down the line.
Reigns not-so-delicately coercing a confession from Murphy and then coming to the realization that the real perpetrators of his nearly career-ending assaults were two Superstars he never considered made for an excellent cliffhanger.
Now, fans can tune into SummerSlam, eagerly anticipating Reigns' retribution, if any.
Why did Rowan attack Reigns? What role does Bryan play in it? How awesome will the matches between The Big Dog and WWE's resident environmentalist be?
Those are all questions that will keep fans invested and thus coming back to watch or throwing down $10 per month for a WWE Network subscription.