WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 21

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 21

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Welcome to the WWE ThunderDome. WWE promised a massive state-of-the-art spectacle where fans could virtually interact with the show live, debuting on the Aug. 21 edition of Friday Night SmackDown.

    Establishing just how momentous this occasion would be, Mr. McMahon was ready to open the show. He wanted to personally reveal this latest WWE marvel to the WWE Universe.

    The main event of this big show building toward WWE SummerSlam 2020 was AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. After calling out The Phenomenal One, The Charismatic Enigma planned to shut up the champion with a definitive victory.

    Another title match on the card was a tag team bout as SmackDown tag team champions Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro put their titles on the line against Lucha House Party. Kalisto returned to give Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado a big advantage in this fight, but the champions have been unstoppable lately.

    Big E has been working to prove he can fight on his own. His latest challenge was a former world champion in Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior has run his mouth against everyone, but he had to just fight this time against the motivated New Day member.

    Braun Strowman wanted to make one final statement ahead of SummerSlam. He unveiled his new look after a brutal Wyatt Swamp Fight, but no one knows what to make of this new Monster Among Men just yet.

    This show had the potential to be a game changer or another failed attempt to change up the format of WWE. It was all down to just how WWE handled its new technology.

Retribution Ruins Braun Strowman's Chance to Attack The Fiend

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    Vince McMahon opened the show with a smile on his face. He introduced WWE ThunderDome only to be interrupted by "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt. Braun Strowman came to the aid of McMahon. However, before the SummerSlam brawl could start early, Retribution arrived.

    The Fiend disappeared, leaving The Monster Among Men to get beat down. The SmackDown roster came out to make the save. After Retribution backed off, Strowman attacked Drew Gulak and Jey Uso out of frustration.






    This was a messy overbooked segment, but it was certainly a memorable open. Rather than lingering on McMahon as expected, the story shifted to Wyatt vs. Strowman. The two almost coming to blows made for a fantastic tease.

    Retribution is growing too large for its own good at this point. There is no way WWE will manage to sufficiently establish this group with this many members. At least they didn't get beat down by Strowman.

    The ThunderDome will take plenty of time to get used to. It is not a complete eyesore, but it is such a distraction from the action. There's too much happening to keep a clear focus.

Sheamus vs. Big E

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    Big E and Sheamus got into an argument after fighting off Retribution, leading to their match starting early. The Celtic Warrior showed why he is a former world champion by wearing down the big man, focusing on fast repeated strikes.

    However, Big E refused to fall even after a devastating bicycle knee. Wrestlers surrounded the ring throughout to protect against Retribution, leading to King Corbin attacking Matt Riddle. The action distracted Sheamus, allowing Big E to roll him up for three.



    Big E def. Sheamus by pinfall.






    The distractions at ringside coupled with acclimating to the ThunderDome made it hard to focus on the action. However, Sheamus and Big E worked extremely well together. This was expected given their tag team past, but it is nice to see what New Day's heavy can do one on one in a longer match.

    It feels like Big E is on a path to gold. It is just a matter of continuing to win. If he can keep the streak going, he should get major opportunities sooner rather than later. The Celtic Warrior has struggled to pick up wins, but he is putting over his opponents in good matches every time.

SmackDown Tag Team Champions Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro vs. Lucha House Party

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    Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura attacked Lucha House Party from behind as the trio headed toward the stage.

    While Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik recovered once the match started, they were not quite fast enough to keep up with the SmackDown tag team champions.

    Nakamura beat down Dorado for a while, even nearly losing to a pair of moonsaults, but Cesaro got involved. The Swiss Cyborg caught Dorado with a sunset flip reversal of a Canadian Destroyer to steal the victory.

    Afterward, Kalisto and Dorado got into an argument that Metalik barely stopped from turning into a brawl.



    Cesaro and Nakamura def. Lucha House Party by pinfall to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.






    How this managed to go five minutes is inexplicable. After weeks building to the title match, Cesaro and Nakamura stole a win before the action truly started moving. While the talent in this contest is immense, the short run time heightened the focus on one awkward botch in the match.

    The hint of Kalisto turning against Lucha House Party brings up an important idea for the future of this trio. Kalisto was once a much bigger star on his own. He might thrive away from Dorado and Metalik rather than working as a cheerleader.

Beat the Clock Challenge: Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Naomi

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Corey Graves interviewed Bayley and Sasha Banks, clearly attempting to stir up trouble between the WWE women's tag team champions. Neither champion could decide who should go first against Asuka at WWE SummerSlam.

    Naomi arrived to challenge both women to a Beat the Clock challenge where the winner got to go second against The Empress of Tomorrow.

    The Glow came out in a flurry against The Legit Boss, but Banks was too crafty for her. The Boss twisted Naomi into position for the Bank Statement, forcing a tap out at 3:39.

    Bayley usually takes her matches slow and careful, but she was rushing to the finish to beat Banks' time. This allowed Naomi to hit the Rear View and pull off a surprise win in less than two minutes.

    Asuka arrived and promised to become The Empress of Every Title. She took out Banks on the ramp, and then caught The Role Model in the ring with a sliding knee. Bayley bailed and ran right past Banks hurt on the stage.



    Banks def. Naomi by submission in 3:39; Naomi def. Bayley by pinfall.






    The content of this segment shined over the minutes the women were given. Banks and Bayley continue to work in an uneasy alliance where both women are too self-centered to play fair with their titles on the line. It seems a break-up is inevitable.

    Naomi could have easily lost both of these matches, and it would have been the same-old story. Instead, The Glow defeated Bayley. The Role Model should never lose in less than two minutes, but at least Naomi didn't lose twice in less than seven minutes.

    The Glow brought her best to these matches. Her athletic and smooth offense looked better than she often has in the ring. Hopefully, she gets a future title shot at Bayley after The Role Model likely escapes SummerSlam with her title.

Sonya Deville Promises to End Mandy Rose's Career

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Mandy Rose asked Sonya Deville to put this whole feud behind them and get back to standing together as friends. Deville refused to answer backstage and slapped Dana Brooke for showing sympathy for the former MMA fighter after recent events.

    After arriving on the stage, Deville laughed at the idea that God's Greatest Creation wanted to escape the fight right before it happened. She promised that the loser's career would end at SummerSlam, turning their match into a No Disqualification Loser Leaves WWE match.

    Nikki Cross was asked about Alexa Bliss. She showed her concern for The Goddess, saying that Bliss was not the same after her encounter with The Fiend.






    Deville has nailed every single promo since her heel turn. This was no different. From her loud slap of Dana to her nonchalant laugh at the idea that Rose wanted to go back to the way things were, she added even more fire to this feud.

    Whatever is happening with Bliss will be heartbreaking from Cross. It will be best for both if they go solo, but The Goddess' best friend sold how hard it will be to lose her partner to the aura of The Fiend.

WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy

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    During the opening brawl with Retribution, AJ Styles kicked Jeff Hardy in the back of the right leg. Trainers had to look at The Charismatic Enigma, who was barely cleared for action. He hobbled to the ring with a knee brace.

    The Phenomenal One went after the knee of Hardy from the start. While Hardy could barely move at times, he refused to tap out to the Calf Crusher. A cocky Styles set up a Styles Clash only for Hardy to blast him with his knee brace.

    The shot with the brace dazed Styles, allowing The Charismatic Enigma to connect on the Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb for the win. Afterward, Charly Caruso interviewed Hardy and explained that this was a dream come true for him.

    The Phenomenal One lost it backstage when Caruso interviewed him. He yelled at Joseph Park, who was not sure what to do.



    Hardy def. Styles by pinfall to become the new WWE intercontinental champion.






    The Phenomenal One and The Charismatic Enigma worked well together here. While Hardy limped through the match to sell his injury, he did not change his move set much. He should already be trying to protect his knees in every match after all these years.

    It was a good title match with a somewhat surprising finish. Styles has been such a big part of SmackDown week to week as champion. Taking the title off him for Hardy, who is now a five time IC champion, does not add much to the blue brand.

Braun Strowman Attack Bray Wyatt in the Firefly Fun House

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    Bray Wyatt talked about Braun Strowman's romance with Alexa Bliss. He reminded everyone that love is dangerous, and it's best for everyone involved that he stopped it. As he was talking, The Monster Among Men entered the Fun House and knocked out Wyatt, dragging him back to the arena.

    The brawl continued into the backstage area where The Monster Among Men yelled at Wyatt for messing with his head. He chokeslammed his rival onto concrete. Left unconscious, medical personnel stretchered Wyatt into a nearby ambulance.

    As the ambulance was driving away, it suddenly stopped and backed up. Emerging from the ambulance, The Fiend stood tall, laughing at the camera.






    While it would have been a better crowd-pleasing ending for AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy to close off the night, this go-home show needed to end with a SummerSlam sell. Wyatt vs. Strowman is SmackDown's biggest selling point, so this brawl was the best bet to convince fans to tune in on Sunday.

    The ending added to the horror aesthetic that has been a staple with The Fiend. While Wyatt is vulnerable, The Fiend revels in pain. He is an embodiment of pure evil beyond wrestling. It will be fascinating to see how WWE books his match with The Monster Among Men.