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August 07, 2015

WWE SmackDown rundown: Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt make it official for Summerslam

Wrestling WWE
080715_smackdown_wwe WWE/Smackdown


Thursday Night SmackDown led off with another video tribute to the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, but I don’t think anyone would have had it any other way. There’s never enough time to spend reflecting on the life and career of Piper, and WWE puts together some great video tributes, so I can watch them at all times. Rest easy, Hot Rod.

With SmackDown following up Raw from the West Coast in the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, CA, at least this episode felt more on its own than just a second version of Monday Night Raw. We saw some good matches, especially including the Divas, and a really good main event that pitted two monsters against each other.

Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:

Roman Reigns opened up SmackDown with a promo on Bray Wyatt, and the crowd was 100 percent fully behind Reigns – even more so than usual. The cheers were loud and boisterous, which is only good for Reigns. He’s bounced back very well from his character demise heading into WrestleMania and immediately after, so there’s no doubt in my mind WWE will still make him the superstar of the future.

Rusev interrupted Reigns’ promo, with a Bulgarian flag and Summer Rae in tow, only to run into a buzzsaw of words from Reigns. Calling Rusev a “sexist freak” due to the way he not only treated his ex-girlfriend, Lana, but also now Summer Rae, Reigns sounded a lot more natural on the mic when delivering that line. The main event was set, and it would end up being a good one.

Rusev ate the pin, which I expected, and I’m not entirely upset at the outcome here. It’s a SmackDown main event and I don’t think protecting Rusev was that important here, mostly because we’re in status quo with his storyline until Ziggler returns to television.

As an aside, we saw Lana completely go insane and attack Summer Rae, unprompted, saying she won’t be bullied anymore and to not mistake her kindness for weakness. Good promo here. Good character development, too, for now.

Wyatt came on the Tron after the match and accepted Reigns’ challenge to a tag team match for Summerslam, so it’ll be Wyatt and Luke Harper against Reigns and Ambrose.

The Divas revolution looked to hit a bit of a snag on Thursday night, but it was by design, as a rather unimpressive singles match turned into a tag team affair. Naomi and Charlotte wrestled in a rather, for lack of a better word, blah, match. But the referee then booked a tag team match directly after, something The Authority instructed him to do through his earpiece. Why not?

Charlotte and Becky Lynch took the loss in the tag match against Sasha Banks and Naomi, which can be considered a good thing. Even though Charlotte was pinned, I don’t think she’ll lose any momentum. The “Ric Flair’s daughter” angle means she’ll have some spare chances, and it’s important for the Divas that were already on the main roster to show they still belong there and they won’t be supplanted by the new blood.

I think Charlotte and Banks is the next big Divas feud whenever one of them beat Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship, and hopefully soon. Seeing Charlotte’s and Banks’ matches in NXT makes me think WWE would be stupid to not put those two together in a singles program down the road.

Right now, the new Divas are still being groomed for the audience, and it’s hard to tell when WWE will finally just release them to the wolves, so to speak, and give them more mic time and a shot at the Divas Championship. There are rumors swirling that the company will introduce Divas Tag Team Titles, which I think is a great idea. It’ll give more reason to watch the Divas division on television and special events, even though the division is still a little thin.

But with how the company is now treating the division and seeing as how the division has actual talented women’s wrestlers, it would be awesome for them to give the Divas something new for which to strive. They already give the Divas at least two segments on Monday Night Raw in the span of three hours, so adding in Tag Team Titles would make that even more important.

Speaking of Tag Team Titles, I’m rather unimpressed with the Prime Time Players’ reign with the championships thus far. They barely defend them on television, and at special events, the matches leave a lot to be desired for me. I love the acts, especially with The New Day being the antagonist to the PTP, but I need more development on television from week-to-week to make me care more about the belts. Hearing Titus O’Neil and Darren Young on commentary can only do so much for me week to week, especially when The New Day is continually coming up with ways to make the audience hate them. And matches like these six-man tags don’t do much for me, either. Let’s have some title matches every other week on television, along with at special events. Then maybe I’ll start caring a little bit more.

Big Show gave a pretty good promo on Intercontinental Champion Ryback’s injury, and I got to admit, I laughed a little bit. Hey, it’s wrestling. Show pretty much confirmed there’s a Triple Threat Match scheduled for Summerslam for the title, with Ryback defending his championship against Show and The Miz, which was originally scheduled for last month’s Battleground event.

Match rundown

     • The Prime Time Players (c-Tag) and Mark Henry d. The New Day by pinfall after Henry pins Kingston via the World’s Strongest Slam. Nice finish here, seeing Titus O’Neil throw Kingston to Henry via a fallaway slam, ending in the World’s Strongest Slam.

     • Charlotte d. Naomi by disqualification after Sasha Banks interferes and attacks Charlotte. Referee Mike Chioda then makes a tag team match, per The Authority.

     • Sasha Banks and Naomi d. Charlotte and Becky Lynch by pinfall after Banks pinned Charlotte with a small package.

     • Stardust d. Zack Ryder by pinfall via the Queen’s Crossbow.

     • Roman Reigns d. Rusev by pinfall via a spear. Wyatt accepts Reigns’ challenge to a tag match at Summerslam as the show goes off the air.