Carmella, Charlotte Flair, & Becky Lynch come face-to-face
What Happened: Five days before SummerSlam, Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair met in the ring, and while there were no physcial punches thrown, there were certainly some verbal ones. Carmella tried to pit Flair and Lynch against one another, but neither one was taking the bait. The Irish Lass Kicker confessed that she didn’t want Charlotte involved in the match due to her exemplary prowess. The Queen, meanwhile, ripped into the Smackdown Women’s Champion, saying that she was “a Diva living in a women’s era.” Before the Princess of Staten Island could get a word in edgewise, General Manager Paige arrived on the scene, reminding Carmella that both Becky and Charlotte earned a title shot by defeating her, and as such, earned the opportunity to compete. Which they would be doing, next.
My Opinion: To me, Charlotte’s Diva comment was a bit heelish. It was another way of saying “you’re not on my level.” I also find her comment ironic, seeing as she is the last recorded Divas Champion.
Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch def. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
What Happened: As far as Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville are concerned, Paige has shown nothing but favoritism towards her former Team PCB teammates since becoming Smackdown General Manager and leaving her former Absolution teammates in the dust. Paige refuted Rose’s Twitter claim, stating that Charlotte and Becky had earn every opportunity afforded to them during her tenure as General Manager. She did, however, grant Rose and Deville an opportunity for themselves: a chance to knock the “favorites” in question in tag team action. Eager to prove their superiority, the former Absolution came out hard and fast. But as hungry as they were, they just couldn’t match the hunger of Lynch and Flair as Rose tapped out to the Dis-arm-her.
My Opinion: For all tbe talk of a Lynch heel turn, it sure seems to me like that is nowhere in the SummerSlam blueprint. If it is, it needs to be scratched because I see no logical basis for it.
The New Day def. SAnitY
What Happened: With the daunting task of defeating the Bludgeon Brothers ahead of them this Sunday, the New Day took on the equally daunting task of defeating the chaotic trio known as SAnitY. Despite having been put down by Young, Dain, and Wolfe multiple times already, Ya Boys stuck it to their rivals tonight, powering through and speeding past them before an emphatic Midnight Hour to Killian Dain to send the Purveyors of Positivity to SummerSlam on a high note.
My Opinion: The Bludgeon Brothers won the tag titles at the last Big Four pay-per-view Wrestlemania. At this one, I think it’s about time they lose them, reset, repackage, or be gone.
Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Aiden English
What Happened: After costing Rusev and Lana a quartet of matches, including Rusev’s loss to AJ Styles at Extreme Rules, Aiden English took the only option left available to him to make things up: challenging Andrade “Cien” Almas directly. The Drama King was relentless in his attack, leaving El Idolo reeling. But when English made of the mistake of overpursuing his opponent, Almas took advantage, planting the songsmith with the Hammerlock DDT. After the match, Almas and Zelina Vega promised that after SummerSlam, all calendars would officially be cleared of Rusev Day. Never ones to take threats against their own personal holiday lightly, Rusev and Lana returned fire warning their foes that they will be crushed.
My Opinion: When Simon Gotch was released in 2017, I was confused as to why English was retained. His role in the Rusev Day gimmick has been huge, but if he is in fact being pulled out of that role, I’m not sure if he has a future remaining in WWE.
Jeff Hardy def. Shelton Benjamin
What Happened: Ever since Extreme Rules, Jeff Hardy has had to keep an extra set of eyes on Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura, especially with a United States Championship match against the latter coming up this Sunday. But for tonight, it was veteran-vs.-veteran as the Charismatic Enigma took on Shelton Benjamin. The Gold Standard looked to capitalize on Hardy’s weakness from the torment he has suffered over the last month, but Jeff would not have it, picking up the victory with a Twist of Fate. After the bell, Shinsuke Nakmura tried to ambush his SummerSlam opponent again, but his eyes were wide open, dodging the Kinshasa attempt and putting Nakamura down with a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb, all while Randy Orton looked on from the stage.
My Opinion: Going into tonight, I believed that SummerSlam would be when Brother Nero finally appeared in full force. But with Matt Hardy’s WWE future in question due to injury and likely some personal matters, it may be that Nero will be a zero in WWE.
Samoa Joe sends AJ Styles over the mental edge
What Happened: From the word go, Samoa Joe has played mind game after mind game with AJ Styles, putting the WWE Champion in a dangerous place mentally. Tonight, Styles declared that he would no longer allow Joe to play with his mind due to a promise that he made to his wife Styles. That promise lasted all but a matter of minutes as the Samoan Submission Machine appeared with his most sinster and personal mind game yet. Building on his contention that the Phenomenal One cared more for his career than his family, Joe read aloud a letter claiming that Styles never wanted a family to begin with and that the writer was hoping that Joe would defeat Styles in order to force him to pay more attention to his family. The WWE Champion should laughed Joe’s letter away at first, until his challenger alleged that the letter was written by none other than Wendy Styles herself. While Styles didn’t take any immediate action, he tried to get after Joe when Smackdown went off the air, chalking up yet another point in the mind games department for Samoa Joe just days before the Biggest Event of the Summer.
My Opinion: To me, this storyline has brought out some of Samoa Joe’s best work. To this point, WWE has only really been using Joe for his power and aggressive nature, but it is his microphone skills and ability to sell a promo as if it’s real that really completes the character.
Just as RAW’s Go Home Show was better than most other recent ones, Smackdown’s was on the downside to that. A lot of storylines were left lacking a Final Blow of sorts, particularly the Miz-Bryan feud, which wasn’t even featured tonight. Tonight’s show left me wanting more, but in the sense that I felt the show was severly lacking.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Segment of the Night: Due to the lack of excitement tonight in the other segments, tonight’s closing segment was the best of the night, even more so if you include the WWE.com exclusive that happened after the show went off the air.