SmackDown Live continued with its descent towards Hell (in a Cell) as some poorly put together stories developed around the main story of Daniel Bryan and the Miz. Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review.


– Daniel Bryan defeated Andrade “Cien” Almas.

– Naomi made short work of Peyton Royce.

– Rusev Day beat The Usos and SAnitY.

– R-Truth defeated the Miz (yes, you read correctly).

It’s a YES from me:

Despite having my issues with the direction of the story, Samoa Joe cut yet another intensely scathing promo on AJ Styles, or should I say WEEEEENDY. This storyline has allowed for the entertainment side of the show to come through just like old times and adds to the raw emotion that is boiling over between these two each week. Styles, enraged by Joe’s words, eventually came out and attacked him, with the pair eventually being separated by officials as Paige ordered Styles to the back.

Rusev Day, SAnitY and The Usos took to the ring for a triple threat tag team match for the chance to face The Bar on next week’s show with the potential for a SmackDown Tag Team Championship opportunity against The New Day, presumably at Hell in a Cell. You’d have been forgiven for thinking The Usos would walk away with this one but, in a fresh change to proceedings, it was Rusev Day who would be victorious with management seemingly finally seeing the potential of the popular team. The only downside to this match was that SAnitY once again continues to be booked as the ones to take the fall as Rusev smashed Eric Young with a Machka Kick for the win.

Throughout the show, the cameras followed R-Truth in his quest to claim a title opportunity. He finally tracked down Carmella – or so he thought – as he actually confronted Maryse and challenged her to a match for the night’s main event. This was swiftly rejected by Mrs Miz who told Truth to go away. Eventually, Truth found the real Carmella and he informed her that fake Carmella (Maryse) had some less than kind things to say about the former SmackDown Women’s Champion. This actually led to a match between Truth and the Miz where the former Awesome Truth duo went one on one in the main event. Amazingly, Truth controlled the early stages of the match but not before Miz could steal some more of Daniel Bryan’s offence, hitting the ‘It Kicks’ on his once tag team partner. Yet, it would be Truth that would claim the win with a roll up on a distracted Miz when Daniel Bryan’s music played. The reasoning for the force-fed match between Bryan and Almas became clear as El Idolo and his manager attacked Bryan and Brie allowing Miz and Maryse to escape. Bryan and Brie then turned the tied by applying tandem Yes Locks on the Almas and Vega.

Ah hell no:

The show opened with Daniel Bryan and his wife, Brie Bella, cutting a promo on the Miz and his wife, Maryse. This is all part of the build-up towards their mixed tag match at the Hell in a Cell PPV but, in the meantime, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and his not wife, Zelina Vega, are being shoehorned – nay, fed – to Bryan and Brie in an impetuous attempt to give them airtime. They’re all wrestlers who are there to do a job (some more literally than others) so just announce the damn match and have no forced angles, please. Bryan won the match with a running knee because he can’t lose to the Miz and the second top heel on SmackDown, right?

The IIconics continue their poor run on the main roster as Naomi squashed Peyton Royce in singles competition. The Aussie duo did manage to launch an attack on Naomi after the match, but Asuka was there to make the save. Tom Phillips rightly reminded the audience that Asuka’s first defeat on SmackDown was because of the IIconics, which sets up a match for the Super Showdown in Australia between the two pairs. Not really the homecoming people would expect but at least they’re involved in some capacity.

Looking forward:

Coming away from SmackDown and, subsequently, Hell in a Cell, all of the mixed tag partnerships are beginning to form for the next Mixed Match Challenge. But before then, there will be the all-important matches from the blue brand at Hell in a Cell on 16th September.

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver