Retribution Meets Resistance, ThunderDome Reaction, More WWE SmackDown Fallout

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

Retribution Meets Resistance, ThunderDome Reaction, More WWE SmackDown Fallout

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    Ever since WWE stopped being able to have fans in attendance in March, Raw, SmackDown and pay-per-views have been filmed at the Performance Center. That all changed with the introduction of The ThunderDome.

    WWE has taken over Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, and turned it into a brand-new type of fan experience. Screens surrounded the ring, showing fans watching from home, and crowd noise was piped in to make it feel like there was a live audience.

    This was the first time WWE has tried this, and reactions on social media ranged from "I love it" to "this is the worst thing ever."

    Some enjoyed having fans back in some capacity, while others felt the experience was jarring and took them out of the show completely.

    For the time being, this is the new normal. WWE will also hold Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view and all future TV tapings in the ThunderDome until it is able to bring back fans to see the show live. With more time, WWE may find ways to improve and refine its new venue.

    Let's take a look at everything else that happened on Friday's SmackDown and what it means for the future.

Retribution Attacks Braun Strowman, WWE Roster Steps in

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    SmackDown opened with WWE CEO Vince McMahon delivering a speech to the WWE Universe, but he wasn't alone in the ring for long. He was soon joined by Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman.

    The two rivals stared at each other before Retribution surrounded the ring. The Fiend disappeared while the group attacked the universal champion.

    As more than a dozen people beat down Strowman, most of the locker room ran to the ring to take out the invaders. Strowman showed a lack of gratitude by attacking Drew Gulak and Jey Uso.

    It took months before the WCW roster united against the New World Order back in the day, but WWE only waited a few weeks. This could have something to do with an upcoming pay-per-view.

    Survivor Series is scheduled to take place November 22. This gives WWE time to plan out this storyline to create a couple of elimination matches between the new stable and the rest of the roster.

    This would be the perfect event to give Retribution more meaning. WWE needs to use the next three months to build it up so that each win at Survivor Series makes the group stronger.

Will Kalisto Crash the Lucha House Party?

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    Lucha House Party has had a good few weeks. Kalisto returned from injury, Gran Metalik received a shot at the intercontinental title and the team earned a Tag Team Championship match on Friday's SmackDown.

    Unfortunately, Metalik and Lince Dorado came up short against Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. The usually supportive Kalisto was enraged by the result. The former U.S. champion proceeded to yell at Dorado for losing, and it led to Metalik having to get between them to prevent a shoving match from turning into a fight.

    This creates the possibility that the trio will break up soon, and while it would be an interesting storyline that would lead to some great matches, this is not a good idea.

    Lucha House Party is one of the more established groups on the roster, and WWE can't afford to lose any tag teams right now. Kalisto turning heel would also be a mistake because he would still be the underdog in almost every match.

    Nothing about breaking them up makes sense. Let's hope this was just a bump in the road and they work through their issues to finally win the tag titles in the future.

Naomi Gets a Big Win

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    Bayley and Sasha Banks were in the ring talking to Corey Graves when Naomi came out to issue a warning. This turned into a Beat The Clock challenge, with Naomi helping to determine which champion had to face Asuka first on Sunday.

    Banks scored the win in the first match, but when it came time for Bayley to face Naomi, the Role Model came up short, giving The Boss the right to have the second title match at SummerSlam.

    Not only did this cause a small rift between Bayley and Banks, but it also gave Naomi a clean win over the SmackDown women's champion. No matter who leaves with the belt on Sunday, the Queen of Glow has an argument for why she deserves a title shot.

    After Bayley lost, Banks could be seen smiling at the result. She was probably just happy she won the challenge, but it also plants the seeds for the former Hugger to cost The Boss her Raw Women's Championship on Sunday, which would be detrimental to their friendship and their reign as women's tag team champions.

Loser Leaves Town

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    Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose were set to meet in a Hair vs. Hair match at SummerSlam before Daddy Deville changed the stipulation Friday.

    She said she didn't care about losing her hair and only cares about never seeing Rose's face again. In a moment of rage, she challenged The Golden Goddess to up the ante to a No Disqualification match with the loser leaving WWE for good.

    This is a huge adjustment, and there are a lot of reasons for this tweak. One possible catalyst could be what happened to both women when a man broke into Deville's home with the reported intention of kidnapping her.

    An incident like that would affect anyone, and it's possible either Rose, Deville or both asked for some time off after SummerSlam so they can have time to process the event. The fact that either woman showed up Friday speaks to their commitment and drive.

    Whatever the reason for the change is, it should make their upcoming showdown feel even more personal. This has been one of the strongest storylines on SmackDown in recent months, and they deserve to close it out on their terms.

And New Intercontinental Champion...

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    During the melee between the WWE roster and Retribution, AJ Styles took a shot at Jeff Hardy's knee that almost prevented him from competing in their Intercontinental Championship match.

    Hardy was able to get himself cleared, and after delivering a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb, he pinned Styles to win his fifth IC title.

    The Charismatic Enigma has been on the road to redemption for the past few months, and this feels like the apex of this storyline. After overcoming his demons and beating Sheamus, Hardy is back on top of the world.

    His feud with Styles won't end here. The Phenomenal One is going to claim Hardy cheated by using his knee brace as a weapon to get a rematch at some point, possibly at Payback on August 30.

    Holding another PPV one week after SummerSlam is weird, but if it gets us another bout between Styles and Hardy, people will tune in.