After last week’s excitement of not only CM Punk returning to wrestling on AEW Rampage but SummerSlam and NXT TakeOver, it has been quite a lot to digest. Punk arguably stole the headlines for AEW but we had two high-profile returns at SummerSlam in Becky Lynch and Brock Lesnar, both making their statements towards SmackDown talent. Lynch shocked the world in defeating Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship while Lesnar returned after Roman Reigns successfully defended the Universal Championship and Paul Heyman looked like he’d seen a ghost. With so many questions left unanswered, let’s get right into the action and see if we can get any of those answers.
The Man Speaks
Oh, Becky. They chanted for you and you came like a gift from the Gods. But for all the joyous applause because The Man came back, there was shock all over the world at how she walked in and took that title from Bianca in around 25 seconds. Is that really what we all wanted from a Becky Lynch return? Why didn’t she go after the RAW title that she had to vacate? Why did they do Belair dirty like that? It was such a crazy moment that I still don’t know how I feel about it. Bianca had a historic moment at WrestleMania and has been working hard on top since. To see her lose the title like that really wasn’t something I saw on the cards but here we are.
In her first words back on SmackDown, Becky seemed pleased to be back and more confident than ever with no regrets for what she did. Belair quickly made her way to the ring to try and get the rematch she feels she deserves but predictably got interrupted – first by Zelina Vega and then Carmella. Oh, how original. Thankfully, the last interruption was Liv Morgan who hasn’t appeared nearly enough recently. After some back and forth bitching Bianca simply challenged Becky for an immediate rematch but The Man said no and walked off while the other four women decided to beat each other up. We know how this ends.
Fatal Four Way Elimination Number One Contender’s Match: Bianca Belair vs Zelina Vega vs Carmella vs Liv Morgan
Okay, so we could probably do without Zelina Vega or Carmella because what have they actually done to deserve being here? Nothing. Absolutely nothing whatsoever. At least Liv Morgan is someone different to shake things up a bit and, of course, Bianca deserves to be there. But can we stop with having Vega and Carmella as the only two heels that can cause problems here? It’s getting pretty ridiculous. And the more you have them lose the more pointless it becomes. Carmella and Vega tried to work together for a bit but, of course, that fell apart too and ended up with Vega being the first to be eliminated. Definitely made the right decision re-signing with WWE.
As beautiful as Carmella is, apparently that doesn’t matter much in the ring because she was the next to be eliminated surprise surprise. For once the crowd actually got what they wanted with Liv and Bianca being the last two and having a competitive match with the other girls out of the way. Audiences always seem to enjoy Liv and get behind her so it’s quite strange that she never seems to get a sustained push on the roster. I know she’s not quite there in-ring compared to some of the girls but you would think that would get better with more exposure and opportunity. It would be nice if they got behind her at some point. The final two both looked fantastic this week and there were parts where Liv looked like she might pick up a shock win but Bianca stayed focused and outsmarted Morgan with some good reversals and a KOD for the 1-2-3. Good to see Belair back where she belongs and Liv certainly deserved the spotlight this week.
Chad Gable (with Otis) vs Cesaro
Two of my favourite wrestlers on the SmackDown roster. And Otis. No, in all seriousness for everything I’ve said about Otis over the last year or so, this is absolutely his best form in his WWE career by far. It’s a shame I can’t say the same for Chad Gable who has had his ups and downs for sure. I will always yearn for the American Alpha days because he seemed like the future of WWE at that point. I felt like he could be the next Kurt Angle with the way he was looking in the ring but, obviously, things haven’t quite gone that far yet. Same with Cesaro – so many think he’s underrated and he never quite gets to the top. I don’t even know where he’s been lately. Hanging around with Liv Morgan in catering maybe.
This wasn’t the match I was hoping it would be. Cesaro got to deliver some impressive uppercuts and Gable showed off his amateur wrestling skills but this didn’t last nearly as long as I wanted it to. You just knew that with Otis on the outside things were going to take a turn for the worse in the end and they certainly did. With Gable primed for a Cesaro Swing, his Alpha Academy student came to the rescue and clotheslined Cesaro into a strong German suplex from the Academy leader. With Gable’s opponent left on the floor in agony, Otis took flight from the top rope and flattened him and then put his grumpy intense face on once again. At least they didn’t wrestle the Street Profits this week.
Viva Las Vegas
If you’ve not been following Corbin on Twitter or any of the WWE socials, then you really need to. We’ve all seen how sad Baron has been since losing his King status. He was dumped by his wife and became poor and lived in that one stinky shirt the whole time. But over SummerSlam weekend his luck finally changed and he apparently won loads of money. So now we get Happy Corbin with a swanky new car and new banging music and he’s even had a shave and wears nice clothes. What a transformation. He clearly got inspiration from Cameron Grimes over on NXT but he probably isn’t going to be buddies with Ted Dibiase anytime soon.
After some humble bragging in the ring, Happy Corbin got to the point – he may be a lot happier these days with his wife taking him back but there’s one thing he’s missing. He called out Big E and made various monetary offers to him for the Money In The Bank briefcase. Big E turned down $100,000 so good for him. I probably would’ve taken it. Instead, Big E took the opportunity to joke around and throw some plushie in the crowd and generally wind up Corbin a bit. Thankfully he’s Happy these days so he just left with a smile on his face. I get the feeling this storyline isn’t over quite yet.
King Nakamura and Rick Boogs vs Dirty Dawgs
With Pat McAfee out due to Covid, the Nakamura and Boogs’ entrance was a little more subdued this week. Get well soon, Pat. I do enjoy the crowds chanting along with Boogs and then singing Nakamura’s theme too. It’s great to see enthusiastic reactions to the team as Nakamura deserves that especially. The Dirty Dawgs haven’t been up to much lately so this feels like a fairly fresh matchup for a change. I still think Robert Roode has more to do as a singles guy on the main roster but that doesn’t seem to be on the cards anytime soon, unfortunately.
All credit to WWE in that the past few weeks have really done wonders for Boogs beyond the distractions and guitar playing and singing. He’s been able to show off some impressive power moves and athleticism in the ring and hasn’t been made to look like the useless sidekick whatsoever. This week he got another win alongside the King, delivering a pump handle slam to Ziggler and defeating the former world champion. That’s certainly a solid victory to be picking up some early on in his SmackDown career. It’ll be interesting to see if they have any long term plans for him but he’s got all the momentum at the moment.
Dominik Mysterio vs Sami Zayn
Before the match, Rey took his son to one side and told him that it was time he went out alone and proved himself as it hasn’t been going so well as a tag team. Apparently, he convinced management to give Dominik a match but against a mystery opponent. Would it be someone from NXT or Adam Cole or… oh wait, it was Sami Zayn. What was the point of the mystery opponent thing? I have no idea. And that’s coming from someone that loves Sami Zayn. Just announce him. Imagine you’re in that crowd and you’re hoping for Cole or Brock Lesnar or someone exciting and you get Sami. Sometimes I think WWE deliberately set themselves up to fail.
Moving past that stupid decision, Zayn and Mysterio actually had a pretty good match all things considered. The wily veteran taking on the young upstart who now has to go it alone. Zayn obviously didn’t give Dominik any sympathy, instead, he used his pent up frustrations and took a few cheap shots along the way. The younger Mysterio has a lot of heart and kept the fight up with Sami but a 619 attempt failed when his opponent pulled down the rope and Dominik went crashing to the floor. That was enough for Rey to come out and check on him but sadly that didn’t make any difference. Despite putting up a great fight against Sami, Dominik fell victim to a Helluva Kick in the end and left angry and disappointed. Rey tried to console his son but it didn’t work. Things are heating up again in the family and I don’t think they’re going to end well.
Celebrating The Bloodline
Throughout the night seeds were sown as to potential dissension within the Bloodline with Paul Heyman being locked out of their room by The Usos. Do they still trust Paul now that Brock Lesnar is back? Did Heyman know about it? No one really knows. Before they went out to the ring Roman told Paul that he loved him and that he’s family so for now it looks as though everyone’s staying together. Chances are Brock doesn’t work Friday nights anyway so they’re safe for a while. Not only did Reigns keep his Universal Championship at SummerSlam but The Usos still have the SmackDown Tag Team Championships too so The Bloodline are absolutely on top at the moment.
Roman via Heyman tried to get the crowd to acknowledge him and they did… sort of? As much as they probably wanted John Cena to win, no one really wants someone taking the title and not returning until WrestleMania. With Reigns keeping the title Finn Balor came out and decided to remind everyone that he got screwed out of his opportunity and he’s coming to claim what’s his. He’s sat back and listened to Edge and Seth Rollins and seen Brock Lesnar try to jump the queue so he issued a challenge for next week’s SmackDown for the Universal Championship. The numbers game would soon catch up with Finn as he got attacked by The Usos and Roman. Thankfully the Street Profits were watching backstage and came to the rescue, leaving The Bloodline pretty angry to close the show. If we’re getting Profits vs Usos and Balor vs Reigns then I’m very happy with both of those.
The best of SmackDown
- Happy Corbin – easily the best thing about the show this week
- Becky Lynch – a huge star to have back on SmackDown
- Bianca Belair – no sulking around and right back to business
- Finn Balor – taking his shot and now has a huge opportunity
- Naomi – only in a backstage segment but she deserves a chance
The worst of SmackDown
- Dominik Mysterio – cracks appearing in the family
- Zelina Vega – another disappointing week
- Cesaro – getting squashed by Otis is never a good night
Despite Brock not making an appearance, this was a decent follow-up to a successful PPV. Becky Lynch is every bit the star that she was before she left and seems to have a little more edge this time around. Let’s hope Lynch working with the newer stars like Bianca and Liv Morgan etc will help bring the division up much and build a future together beyond the Four Horsewomen. They certainly have the talent there. And in other areas, we’ve got some great matches coming up like Finn Balor’s title opportunity and who knows what’s next for Happy Corbin? It’s a fun time to be a SmackDown fan.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE