Roman Reigns' Attacker Reveal Fizzles Out and More WWE SmackDown Fallout
Failed execution was the name of the game for the August 20 edition of SmackDown Live. This episode certainly delivered on promises, but it didn't do so in a way to get people excited.
Daniel Bryan revealed who he had found to be the true attacker of Roman Reigns, and it was far from the exciting climax of this long-running storyline.
At least Buddy Murphy benefited as a distracted Bryan was no match for the motivated star. The Best Kept Secret not only showed he could stand with a former world champion, but he also beat him and hopefully set his own path to gold.
Another man on a mission for deserved gold is Andrade, who showed why he should be considered a King of the Ring favorite by defeating Apollo Crews. No one should sleep on the potential of El Idolo to go all the way.
Sami Zayn found his new calling by revealing he is stepping back as a wrestler to become the manager for Shinsuke Nakamura.
The strange move is still better than what Elias has been going through. He may have advanced in King of the Ring, but Shane McMahon is the one taking all of his spotlight.
This week's show was not light on moments. It changed many perspectives, but it's hard to say if it was for the better.
Daniel Bryan Reveals Roman Reigns' Attacker Was a Generic Rowan Lookalike
Daniel Bryan waited until the end of the night to deliver on his promise to Roman Reigns. He led The Big Dog to a man he had captured, revealing the attacker to be a Rowan lookalike.
This story gets more ridiculous by the week, and it's hard to take it seriously anymore. Clearly, The Planet's Champion was the one behind the attacks and refuses to admit to it until the time is right. Extending that with moments like this makes it all comical.
Bryan has always been good at comedy, but this isn't a story that is trying to be comedic. Repeatedly showing video packages of these many weeks of stories, WWE is positioning this as a massive storyline that will define the blue brand.
No one is going to be impressed or shocked when the heels turn on Reigns. No one is going to take any of it seriously. Bryan and The Big Dog will put on great matches, yet it won't mean as much now the former WWE champion has carted out a fake Rowan to throw his rival off his scent.
Luckily, one man has benefited from this ridiculous storyline, and he just pulled off the biggest win of his career.
Buddy Murphy Is Finally Getting His Due
Buddy Murphy spoke to Roman Reigns backstage and stated he may have seen Rowan during the accident but was not sure.
This frustrated Daniel Bryan who attacked the Australian during their match. However, The Best Kept Secret held on and managed to connect with Murphy's Law to win.
This was a defining victory for Murphy, who has always been great but has been waiting too long for an opportunity. His time in 205 Live should have instantly led to a big push, but it took a random inclusion in a major storyline to give him any attention.
WWE has clearly noticed his work since he was forced into the spotlight. Defeating The Planet's Champion clean is a career-defining victory. Bryan is one of the greatest performers in WWE's history and a star no matter what he does.
However, only a select few have truly gone over Bryan like this. It came off like Murphy was on the same level as a multiple champion in WWE. It is especially impressive given Bryan is moving into a feud with Reigns, arguably the biggest rivalry on SmackDown right now.
While Murphy may not have been able to top his performance from last week against The Big Dog (though he got close), he made an even bigger statement. He announced to the world he is worthy of recognition among the absolute best.
It will be interesting to see how this builds to King of the Ring. Murphy and Ali should both be considered among the biggest stars on SmackDown, but only one man can make it to the quarterfinals.
King of the Ring Should Be Andrade's Crowning Even If He Does Not Win
Andrade continued to build impressive momentum in the first round of the King of the Ring tournament. While Apollo Crews pushed him, a timely distraction stopped him just enough to set up a hammerlock DDT that sent El Idolo to the quarterfinals.
Few men have earned the opportunity to even be in the conversation of the best wrestlers in the world, but Andrade has been there for years now. He's great at everything in the ring with speed, technical acumen and powerful striking.
El Idolo may not be a great mic-worker as English is not his first language, but he has held his own when needed. He is also the rare performer who has the perfect manager in Zelina Vega to talk for him.
It is easy to see star power in Andrade. There likely isn't a single person who does not want to wrestle El Idolo. Every match he is a part of matters even when he's thrown in haphazard feuds.
King of the Ring was made to build stars. Drew McIntyre and Andrade are the two heels most ready for the crown, and there are pros and cons to each taking the tournament victory.
Regardless, both men need to come out of this tournament looking better than they did going in. There is no excuse for Andrade leaving 2019 without gold.
WWE Shows Surprising Lack of Respect for Sami Zayn by Making Him a Manager
Sami Zayn requested time on "Miz TV" to address his recent losses.
The Critic of the Critics revealed he had decided to change his focus, working to better the stars of SmackDown Live, starting with Shinsuke Nakamura. He spoke for The Artist and let him attack The A-Lister.
Before he turned heel, few were held in higher regard in the ring than Zayn. He was putting on great performances with everyone. However, his change of personality led to losing ring time steadily until he was more or less getting squashed by top guys.
While he has been cutting strong promos in this role, his credibility has been shot. It makes sense to transition to a non-wrestling role for that reason, but Zayn is better than he has been allowed to show in this role.
He should bring a new energy to Nakamura, who has needed a manager for years. The Artist is better letting someone else speak for him alongside his devastating kicks. However, taking one of the best performers in the business out of the ring is a mistake.
I hope this is not a long-term role for Zayn. Perhaps he will work as a wrestler on Raw and as a manager on SmackDown. I just hope the plan isn't to surround him with talent who all are not as good as he is in the ring so that he can speak for them and not compete.
Elias Is Stuck in the Middle of a Story Where He Cannot Stand Out
Kevin Owens again implored Shane McMahon to reconsider the massive $100,000 fine he levied last week, and "The Best in the World" seemed to be listening.
However, during KO's King of the Ring match with Elias, Shane-O-Mac revealed a referee uniform and fast counted the win for The Living Truth.
It is a wonder how little Elias has stood out in recent months. One of the most entertaining stars in the business, he has been barely noticeable despite being heavily used in the McMahon segments.
Somehow, Elias is 24/7 champion and made it to the second round of the King of the Ring tournament, yet none of these stories feel like they are about him; it's all about Owens and Shane. The Living Truth even came out to a generic entrance theme this week rather than performing.
Many have suffered from being associated with McMahon, but Elias may have it the worst. The Miz and Roman Reigns have put it behind them, and Drew McIntyre quietly slipped away to return to being a destroyer. KO has actually gotten over through this storyline. It's just Elias who cannot escape.
Until Shane-O-Mac fully steps away, Elias will remain his stooge, and no one benefits from the role of stooge especially a star driven by his own individual style.