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WWE Smackdown! - August 19, 2022

by DocAllen

Roman Reigns

Live from Montreal, Quebec. Our hosts are Michael Cole and Pat McAfee.

Ronda Rousey jumps into the ring, and hold on, SHE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE, SHE'S SUSPENDED! She feels that she should be reinstated after paying her fine. Adam Pearce and security arrive. Pearce doesn't have the authority to reinstate her, so Ronda wonders outloud who does (good question). Ronda chooses violence and beats up the male security officers with ease. Pearce summons some fake cops, and Ronda allows them to cuff her. As the police escort her out, Roman Reigns pulls into the arena (to a gi-normous pop).

Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament:
Natalya and Sonya Deville vs. Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne)

Pat McAfee marks out over Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky showing up in the front row. Toxic Attraction are representing NXT 2.0. Dolan puts Natalya into a head scissor and steps over her after a head wrench, Natalya nearly pins her by surprise. Deville tags in and hits a shoulder block and spear. Deville and Dolan botch whatever rana counter they were looking for, and Jayne tags in to get knocked around by Deville. Toxic Attraction gain control just in time for commercials. Back from break, Deville is still getting worked over by Dolan's bronco buster and Jayne's cannonball. Jayne tries a Sharpshooter, but Deville slips away for the hot tag. Natalya gets a decent home-country pop as she runs wild through Jayne. Dolan slows her down with a TKO, but Deville breaks the pin. Jayne throws Deville down in front of Bayley and friends. Meanwhile, Natalya hits a roaring elbow, but Toxic Attraction make a blind tag. The confusion allows Jayne to break up Natayla's sharpshooter and pin her at 9:57. Haha, for a moment I thought they were going to let Natalya win a match in Canada, I'm so precious. I think the first tournament for these titles had 10 minutes of action in the first round, so I guess change is in the air. This got a lot better after the commercials, but Toxic Attraction had quite a few "deer in the headlights" moments in this one, *½. Winners: Toxic Attraction

Sami Zayn cautiously knocks on Roman's door and finds the champ lounging inside. Sami complains that Jey Uso has been mean to him lately, despite all the dirty work he's been doing for Bloodline. Sami lets it slip that Jey is ungrateful, but to his relief, Roman seems to agree with him. Sami is left alone with Roman's phone, and sees that Jey is calling him. Sami answers and passes along a message that Jey is stuck at the border. Since Sami is here and Jey isn't, he should go win the IC title on behalf of Bloodline. Roman wants to know if Sami is still cool with Kevin Owens, and wants him to give him a message, as if this conversation isn't airing live on FOX. Vince might be gone, but the invisible camera remains.

Last week, Gunther won a war against Shinsuke Nakamura, and is still Intercontinental Champion.

The Maximum Male Models are in the ring. The wrestler FKA Eli Drake is their mouthpeace and this gimmick feels like a dead end. They're quickly interrupted by Hit Row, who were promptly rehired by Triple H last week. Hit Row don't take kindly to being told they aren't Maximum Model Material and they clear the ring. They "entertain" us with a truly horrific hip hop performance. I guess this is what casual viewers want. Seriously, did they rehearse this in the arena earlier? Did no one with any authority hear it and think better?

Spooky Karrion Kross video package. It comes across as a House of Black vignette, but with unnecessarily slick production values. Kross has his sights set on Drew McIntyre. He might as well just come out and say "I'm interfering in your match at Clash at the Castle" and get it over with.

Sheamus vs. Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin vs. Ricochet vs. Sami Zayn

The winner gets Gunther at Clash at the Castle. Sami gets a hero's welcome from his hometown fans, so you know he's getting pinned tonight. Sami enjoys the "ole" chants but eats Ricochet's rana. Corbin chokeslams Ricochet, but 3 guys break the pin. 60 seconds in, and it's time for commercials. Back from break, everyone is brawling outside. Moss backdrops Sheamus over the rail, and rushes in to get dominated by Corbin. Ricochet finds an opening for a hot streak, but gets booed by the fans for not being Sami. Ricochet hits Corbin with the standing SSP for a good nearfall. Moss decapitates Ricochet with a clothesline. Sheamus returns with backbreakers and takes his turn being in charge. Zayn makes a comeback and takes out Sheamus with a dive. Blue Thunder Bomb on Ricochet gets 2. Moss interrupts the Helluva kick and also takes a Blue Thunder Bomb. Sami gets caught on the top rope by Sheamus for a super White Noise. Sami sells an arm injury and rolls out. Meanwhile, the other four hit drive-by attacks and take a breather heading into a second break. They're back with Moss hitting Sheamus with a super fallaway slam. Ricochet hits Moss with a springboard moonsault. Fans chant "We want Sami." Corbin hits a Torture Rack neckbreaker on Ricochet for 2. Sheamus and Corbin duke it out but I'm distracted by the dreaded quick camera cuts. Moss runs into Sheamus' knee for 2. Moss blocks the Brogue Kick, but Ricochet flies in for a Codebreaker. Ricochet hits a proper SSP on Sheamus, Corbin breaks the pin. Sami limps back into the match and the crowd wills him on. Sami hits Ricochet with an exploder suplex and helluva kick, but Corbin drags him out of the cover. Corbin knocks Sami's bad shoulder into the post, but eats a Brogue Kick, giving Sheamus the win at 22:27. I know Sheamus vs. Gunther makes sense for the PPV, but this win feels pretty flat since the crowd only cared about Sami. The action here was fine, but felt long winded, **¾.
Winner: Sheamus

Somewhere, in a well lit forest, the Viking Raiders cosplay with a priestess in a war paint ceremony. They respect the New Day, but their time has passed, so they set some New Day merch on fire. This feels a lot like 2020-era cheese, and not in a good way.

Last week, Shayna Baszler smashes Liv Morgan's bad arm into a table, but Morgan had the last laugh by putting Shayna through the table with a bulldog. Tonight, in a backstage interview, she's refusing to play it safe and will compete. Shotzi thinks Liv is overly emotional and plans on breaking her arm again.

Smackdown Women's Champion Liv Morgan vs. Shotzi Blackheart

Morgan favors her good arm in a brawl and dropkicks Shotzi into the buckles for a dropkick. Shotzi answers with an enziguri and presses her against the ropes for 2. Missile dropkick by Liv, but Shotzi answers with a DDT onto the ring frame. I smell some commercials! Back from break, Liv counters with a crucifix bomb for 2. Shotzi fumbles but ultimately hooks the arms for a double underhook suplex. Shotzi attacks the bad arm, but Morgan hits her patented DDT to win anyway at 6:08. Morgan did well selling her arm throughout, otherwise this was an average match that mostly happened off-camera, *¾.
Winner: Liv Morgan

Shayna Baszler attacks Liv after the match. She has the opportunity to break Liv's arm now, but would rather do it at the PPV.

WWE/Universal Champion Roman Reigns (with bad CGI effects) comes to the ring for the main event talking segment. While there are some boos, overall these fans ADORE Roman. Since he's not here every week, people (ie, Drew) are saying stupid things. Roman declare himself the face of the company and the only man carrying WWE on his back. This promo is such a stunning improvement over the material he was getting in 2015, it's almost shocking in hindsight that they (Vince) got him so wrong before. Drew McIntyre joins Roman to offer up his rebuttal. He doesn't think Roman deserves to represent the titles or be champion (booo!!!). Drew claims he sees fear in Roman's eyes and promises to tear him apart at the PPV. They start brawling, and Drew hits an overhead throw. Drew goes for a Claymore, but Sami Zayn steps in to take it (that's not going to endear Drew to these fans). Roman roars for a spear, but runs into another Claymore, and Drew gets to stand tall tonight. This segment does make me more interested in seeing their match at Clash at the Champions, however it feels like such a foregone conclusion that Karrion Kross is going to sabotage Drew it doesn't matter much.

Final Thoughts: Well, this was certainly watchable (assuming you click the ‘mute' button for the HIt Row performance) and everything made sense, and had a purpose to it. That kind of feels like damning with faint praise, but that's where the bar is currently set for WWE. I can see that the Triple H era is about incremental change, and that might be a smart path to take in the long run.

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