Ali and Buddy Murphy's Stocks Rising and More WWE SmackDown Fallout
The August 27 episode of SmackDown Live featured the latest battle between Ali and Buddy Murphy, another show-stealing and breakout performance from two Superstars whose stocks are rising higher and higher with every opportunity they have to showcase their abilities.
Their King of the Ring bout highlighted Tuesday's show, which also featured the latest in The Revival's newfound partnership with Randy Orton and Lacey Evans' return to the squared circle, where she battled Bayley in another strong match.
Dive deeper into those three topics with this recap of Tuesday's USA Network broadcast and find out what they mean for the Superstars involved.
Ali and Buddy Murphy Fuel Pushes with Continued In-Ring Excellence
Ali and Buddy Murphy again stole the headlines and captivated audiences this week with an extraordinary King of the Ring match that saw the former pick up the win to advance to the next round of the competition.
The Superstars were no strangers to each other, having earned rave reviews for their work together on 205 Live, where they produced a show-stealing No Disqualification match.
Ali's victory Tuesday was a bit of a surprise given the high-profile role Murphy had enjoyed in recent weeks, which put the Australian front and center in the Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan and Rowan storyline. Even in defeat, though, Murphy was a winner thanks to the strength of his performance.
A Superstar for whom there were zero plans until he accidentally ended up in the background of the initial near-accident for Reigns and management was forced to address it, he has made the most of every opportunity presented to him.
Ali looked to be on his way to an Intercontinental Championship feud with Shinsuke Nakamura before that program was inexplicably scrapped, so the brand's creative team clearly had significant plans for the former cruiserweight star, too.
What those two have accomplished between the ropes has not only elevated their status within the company and earned them opportunities previously unexpected, but it has also given WWE Creative confidence to find roles for other 205 Live exports, including Chad Gable and Cedric Alexander, both of whom have seen their profiles enhanced in recent weeks.
Ali and Murphy are still the stand-bearers, though, and will continue to see opportunities on SmackDown Live the more they can get fans to invest in their work through the awe-inspiring athleticism and drama they are able to create with every passing match.
Thankfully for them, the blue brand is (and always was) open to providing the nontraditional Superstar opportunities they may not have gotten elsewhere in the company. Look no further than Rey Mysterio, Matt Hardy and The Hurricane, all of whom thrived on SmackDown over the years.
The Revival Represents the Latest in Randy Orton's Evolution
Without former world champions Triple H and Ric Flair taking him under their wing and elevating his star through mere association, Randy Orton may never have become the generational Superstar he is today.
Now a former world and WWE champion, with countless pay-per-view victories and WrestleMania bouts under his belt, he has the opportunity to do for others what was done for him.
Right now, it is The Revival benefiting.
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder have seen their stars enhanced in recent weeks by working alongside The Viper in his feud with The New Day's WWE champion Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods. It was Big E who experienced the wrath of the united trio, falling prey to two RKO assisted by The Top Guys.
Dawson and Wilder have experienced an up-and-down main roster run. For every tag title reign, there is an inexplicable loss, creative frustration or professional disappointment. They have had injuries halt what looked to be significant pushes and then had storylines revoked for no reason that was ever explained.
They even appeared to be on their way out of the company for brighter pastures and still may be.
What they need, and have always needed, was creative consistency and a rub from a high-profile Superstar. They needed someone to believe in them and to get them over with audiences beyond what they were able to do themselves with the material given to them.
They are now in a position to benefit from Orton's star power, something the third-generation Superstar is all too familiar with.
As long, that is, as WWE Creative stays focused and invested in the trio long enough and does not simply drop it at the sign of something newer and shinier for The Viper to do.
Lacey Evans Remains a Prominent Star in Women's Division
Lacey Evans returned to action in non-title singles competition against Bayley this week and delivered what may have been the best performance of her young career.
Her style appeared to mesh with Bayley's better than it ever did Becky Lynch's on Raw, and the result was damn fun: a hard-fought and competitive match that did much to help Evans' credibility with audiences.
Even in defeat, Evans came out of the match looking like the star of the future WWE has been pushing her as since she made the jump to Raw and SmackDown.
Furthermore, she got significantly more offense in on, and a longer match out of, Bayley than current tag team champion Nikki Cross did Monday night. That is indicative of the way management views The Sassy Southern Belle in relation to her peers.
Evans may not be the most traditional in-ring performer, but she has complete control of her character and continues to improve with every passing week.
The more she gets the opportunity to work with the original Four Horsewomen of NXT—the real measuring sticks of women's wrestling in WWE—the greater the opportunity for her to develop as an in-ring performer and match the superb character work she already has going for her.