Considering the real world issues within WWE at the moment, it feels kind of weird to just plug right along watching its weekly television programming with any kind of critical eye. It’s kind of hard to watch it at all, actually. I’m grateful, at least, that Vince McMahon didn’t respond to more reports of his allegedly awful behavior behind-the-scenes by flaunting his presence on Friday Night SmackDown this week.
Who knows what the future holds, but we do have a job to do here with reviewing this here show, so let’s just go about doing it.
One of the absolute lamest things WWE does, and it’s something that happens far too often, is advertise matches they never have any intention of following through on. I don’t care if they only advertised it for a couple of hours before showtime, it’s a practice that needs to stop.
They did so here when they announced Drew McIntyre would take on Sheamus in the main event of the show in a match to determine who would challenge for the WWE Universal championship at the upcoming Clash at the Castle event on Sept. 3 in Cardiff, Wales. This would mark something like the third time the promotion has outwardly done some kind of tease of McIntyre scoring a challenging spot for the top title on that particular show. He’s verbally challenged Reigns, he’s attempted to win the Money in the Bank contract, and now he was going to get a singles match for it.
As my complaints gave away, they didn’t actually go through with the match here. Instead, Sheamus complained about a cough and needing to get tested for COVID. So instead of a number one contender match, we got McIntyre vs. BUTCH with zero stakes.
That was the main event of the show.
McIntyre won a laughably short match, then tried to murder Sheamus with his sword, swinging it at him hard enough to cut the top rope off. For reasons no one could possibly explain, Kane’s pyro came out of the posts after the rope was cut.
This was all bad. We all know McIntyre is headlining that show challenging for the title, so just announce the damn match already and knock it off with all this nonsense.
It sure was good to see Roman Reigns back on television. I can admit that his absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder but I still wish he were around more. He was back to formally begin the hype of his Last Man Standing match against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in a few short weeks in Nashville.
They’ve done this so many times, there are only so many ways to promote the match. Paul Heyman did his best, cutting a promo that laid out the idea — Lesnar is going to have to basically lose his ever loving mind and fully give in to all his animal instincts and tear Reigns apart. Roman, for his part, is going to have to get as violent as he ever has to retain his title.
Heyman is a master at this, but even he can only do so much to give us any kind of intrigue.
So what’s the little bit of extra?
Following Heyman’s hype job, Theory’s music hit and he circled the ring, a not so subtle metaphor that the sharks are indeed circling, eager to take advantage of the wounded. Theory was never cashing in here, he was simply giving Reigns something more to think about going into his title match.
It’s at least a bit more intrigue for SummerSlam, but I’m not sure how much interest there is in a Theory vs. Reigns game. I suppose the looming possibility of a cash-in will have to do.
All the rest
- The Vicious Vikings put the boots to Jinder Mahal & Shanky, winning an impressively short match before The New Day showed up with a couple of “ass beating” tickets. Instead of beating ass, however, they got their ass beat. It wasn’t sanctioned, though!
- Happy Corbin and Corey Graves actually did a solid impression of Pat McAfee for Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance. I was sports entertained. Nothing beats Pat Mac, though.
- Nakamura was out to blast GUNTHER for not actually doing an open challenge for the Intercontinental championship — hey, even more false advertisement — and instead challenging Ludwig Kaiser to a singles match. The idea was to make him a top contender to GUNTHER’s title. Sure enough, Nakamura beat Kaiser with relative ease, and he’s likely next for the big fella. Before all that, though, GUNTHER was shown to be a vicious, violent leader. He subjected Kaiser to three chops that sounded like gunshots as punishment for disappointing him in the aforementioned match against Nakamura. I quite like this new wrinkle. It’s not enough that he’s a dominant champion, he’s also a brutal bastard you can feel great about hating for stuff like this.
- WWE has done great job of putting over Liv Morgan’s title win as a joyous occasion, despite her supplanting a babyface champion. It was a happy moment for someone it’s incredibly easy to be extremely happy for. Easy peasy. We should enjoy this while it lasts, because it probably isn’t going to last long. Indeed, Ronda Rousey will be getting her rematch at SummerSlam after she beat Natalya despite her knee still being banged up after Money in the Bank this past weekend. The match was bad, and didn’t give much hope for Morgan vs. Rousey either.
- I was entertained by Max Dupri and his Maximum Male Models last week. Not so much this week. I just don’t know what the hell any of this has to do with pro wrestling. A tennis collection? Why are we doing this? Who is this for?
- WWE finally got around to paying off the Lacey Evans heel turn. She didn’t get the response she felt she deserved, so she kept going to the back and coming out again to solicit a better one. Finally, she hit the ring and grabbed a microphone to call the audience fat and express how disgusted she was with the lack of cheers for her despite telling her sad life story to everyone. Using that story to make her babyface felt gross, but it’s incredible to use it to turn her heel with.
- The Usos beat Los Lotharios before Kayla Braxton interviewed them about stealing a win over The Street Profits at Money in the Bank. There will apparently be a rematch, and there may be a special guest referee for it. Rumors suggest as much, apparently.
It was good to see Reigns back but this wasn’t much of a show overall, and the false advertisement stuff is really lame.