Buddy Murphy Wins Despite Roman Reigns Loss and More WWE SmackDown Fallout
The post-SummerSlam episode of SmackDown Live wasted little time living in the past, instead positioning underutilized and mismanaged talent in high-profile situations Tuesday night on USA Network.
Buddy Murphy was at the center of the Roman Reigns mystery attacker storyline, but it was his in-ring performance against The Big Dog that had the wrestling world buzzing. The Revival, former tag team champions whose excellent in-ring work has been repeatedly diminished by mediocre booking, arrived on the blue brand with their eyes set on The New Day's tag team titles.
Add further excellence from Charlotte Flair and questionable creative regarding Shane McMahon and you have plenty to dive into from the August 13 episode.
Buddy Murphy Breaks out Despite High-Profile Loss to Roman Reigns
Had Buddy Murphy defeated Roman Reigns Tuesday night on SmackDown Live, it would have had Twitter buzzing. However, follow-up would have been key, and expectations would have been almost impossibly high.
In losing to The Big Dog but turning in the quality performance that he did, Murphy has the opportunity to build momentum and fanfare more organically.
Murphy spent so much time in obscurity as part of NXT and 205 Live, really earning that Best Kept Secret nickname. Beating Reigns would have been the start of a forced push that fans would have immediately seen through.
Its transparency would have diminished Murphy rather than allowing him to build momentum naturally, with hard work and respect the foundation of his relationship with fans.
That Murphy has been at the center of the whodunnit storyline with Reigns, Daniel Bryan and Rowan only helps get him over in a way that just being a really good wrestler never would have.
At a time when WWE Creative is maligned for not being able to properly utilize the expansive roster at its disposal, Murphy finds himself ready to break out. More performances like the one against Reigns and further television exposure will only make it more likely.
Shane McMahon's Appearance Lessens Effects of SummerSlam Loss to Kevin Owens
They just could not write an episode of SmackDown Live without Shane McMahon, could they?
The prodigal son interrupted Kevin Owens, booked him in a match with Samoa Joe and levied an enormous $100,000 fine on The Prizefighter for striking an official at SummerSlam. In the process, anything accomplished by Owens' win Sunday night was rendered irrelevant.
As WWE Creative has done so frequently over the last five or so years, it failed miserably to allow a major angle or moment to breathe before delivering its followup. Owens' win over McMahon should have written the SmackDown boss off television for a few weeks at the very least.
Instead, McMahon returns as if nothing happened, eager to avenge the defeat and essentially continue the same story we have been exposed to for the last month between oppressive authority figure and antihero.
The win should have propelled Owens forward. Instead, he remains tangled in the McMahon web.
Charlotte Flair Again Proves Why She Is the Measuring Stick in Women's Wrestling
When you can look up and down the women's roster in WWE and say with unabashed certainty that a high percentage of the Superstars on it have had their best matches with Charlotte Flair, it stops becoming coincidence and sparks the conversation on the second-generation star's greatness.
The Queen of All Eras may be a fancy nickname designed to splatter on T-shirts, but every superb performance inches her closer to living the gimmick.
Tuesday, she wrestled a match with Ember Moon infinitely better than the subpar SmackDown women's title match between Moon and Bayley at SummerSlam. At that same pay-per-view, Flair wrestled a show-stealer against a Hall of Famer who had not been a full-time in-ring performer in some 13 years in Trish Stratus.
Take into consideration the fact that Becky Lynch's best matches came against Flair and The Queen managed to get engaging performances out of Carmella before that and you have woman who is a top-five performer and one of the in-ring MVPs of Vince McMahon's sports-entertainment empire.
To suggest that she is anything but the measuring stick for women's wrestling on a grand scale in 2019 would be to admit ignorance for the matches, moments and performance she has been at the center of since her main roster call-up four years ago.
SmackDown Live Represents Fresh Feuds, New Opportunities for The Revival
The Revival unexpectedly popped up on this week’s SmackDown and inserted themselves in the tag team title hunt, thanks to a backstage promo and main event victory over The New Day.
Their usage on the broadcast amounted to the highest-profile role the team has played on television since their union with Shane McMahon, Elias and Drew McIntyre inexplicably disintegrated a month or so ago.
Arguably the best tag team in the industry, their continued excellence has earned them a more significant role on television. If that comes on SmackDown Live, where there are fresher feuds and different writers who may value the tandem more than the Raw crew, then so be it.
Of course, the question becomes whether or not they are a merely a placeholder to fill out September's Night of Champions pay-per-view or if there are plans to transition them from Raw to SmackDown in hopes of providing the opportunity to shine as the true top team in a division.
Things got off to a great start this week. As is so often the case, it will be up to both the performers and the writing team to build momentum.