Date: August 7, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
We are less than two and a half weeks away from Summerslam and that means…well not much actually, but tonight we might find out some more about the Fiend attacking Alexa Bliss last week. That is the kind of thing that could be interesting, but given that it is modern WWE, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the Swamp Fight, including Alexa Bliss appearing to tempt Braun Strowman, plus the whole murdering thing. Then Bray Wyatt said Fiend wanted the Universal Title, so Fiend attacked Bliss using the “follow the flying fingers” technique to set up the Mandible Claw.
It’s time for the Firefly Fun House, with Bray saying everyone has been sliding into his DM’s over what happened last week, but it was all Braun’s fault. See, Braun has something that HE wants and HE will be here tonight, with someone Braun cares about. Braun should just give HIM what HE wants, or we’ll see what HE is capable of.
Matt Riddle vs. Sheamus
Riddle goes for the grappling to start and Sheamus has to go to the ropes to get out of a choke. Sheamus muscles him down with a headlock takeover but Riddle is back up with the striking. A knee to the ribs takes Riddle down though and we hit the armbar. That’s reversed into a Fujiwara armbar with Riddle cranking on the fingers for a bonus. That’s broken up as well and Riddle sends him to the apron, with Sheamus snapping the back of Riddle’s neck over the rope. There are the ten forearms to the chest but Riddle knocks him off the top and we take a break.
Back with Riddle fighting out of the chinlock but walking into a trio of Irish Curses. The chinlock goes on again but Riddle comes up with a kick to the head and the running forearms in the corner. The suplex out of the corner sets up the Broton for two but Riddle has to bail out of the moonsault. White Noise gives Sheamus two The Brogue Kick is countered into a rollup for two and Sheamus misses a charge into the post. Riddle kicks at the chest on the floor but gets sent hard into the barricade. Cue Shorty G. to jump Riddle from behind for the DQ at 12:20.
Rating: C. It was nice to have a hard hitting match but as soon as you remember that this is a stepping stone towards a King Corbin match, the interest falls away. Riddle getting to work with some bigger names helps a lot and as long as he beats Corbin at Summerslam (egads), he’ll be fine. Sheamus is a good choice as the heel gatekeeper and it worked here.
Post match Riddle fights back and sends G. into the announcers’ table. A whip into the step sets up a big kick to the chest and G. is left laying as Sheamus is annoyed. Riddle leaves so Sheamus Brogue Kicks G. twice for costing him a match. This seems like the “HAHA YOU THOUGHT GABLE WAS GOING TO BE SOMETHING!” moment.
Post break, Corbin is talking to a woman named Sarah when Sheamus comes up to complain about Corbin’s goon costing him a match. Corbin doesn’t like the threat and offers to cave in his skull later.
It’s time for the Dirt Sheet, with John Morrison saying he is more underground than anyone else around here. We see a clip of Sonya Deville attacking Mandy Rose last week and cutting her hair. Back in the arena, Miz and Morrison’s mics start going out, with Morrison saying Retribution isn’t booked tonight. Anyway, they have a special guest tonight, as Mandy Rose’s hair joins us via satellite. And yes, it is a wig with googly eyes.
Miz and Morrison handle the voices, talking about how the hair never left Mandy’s head before, but lately it has had to deal with Otis’ ham fingers. Miz and Morrison: “Can we get a HAIR YEAH? HAIR YEAH!” The hair has an agent now and that’s it for her. Cue Sonya Deville as the in-person guest, and she gets to rant about doing what she promised to do by making Mandy as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside. Sonya yells at Mandy to come out here and prove her wrong and isn’t surprised when no one comes out.
Now, it’s true that Mandy has talent, because she won a Bumpy Award for making out with Otis. Yes, she won an award for making out with a dude. Sonya agrees that they are starting to look like a couple, with Morrison saying it’s a couple of ogres. Cue Heavy Machinery to clear the ring in a hurry. The Sonya stuff was good as she continues to be very solid on the mic, but that hair thing is the latest entry in the “HOW MUCH DID FOX PAY FOR THIS?????” sweepstakes.
Lince Dorado vs. Cesaro
Cesaro wastes no time in throwing him around and hitting a hard clothesline. Dorado snaps off a headscissors though and Cesaro heads to the floor as the lights flicker. Graves thinks it’s Retribution, but maybe it’s that you’re in the same building that had power issues four days ago? A running flip dive is pulled out of the air by Cesaro and it’s a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to keep Dorado in trouble.
The jawbreaker gets Dorado out of a chinlock and the Golden Rewind (which Cole didn’t know) sets up the Super Crazy trio of moonsaults. The third is broken up but Dorado settles for a hurricanrana into a near fall. Cesaro has had it though and hits the Neutralizer for the pin at 4:17.
Rating: C-. Not the worst power vs. speed match but I’m not sure if this is the best way to get us towards the House Party vs. Cesaro/Nakamura for the Tag Team Titles. That being said, I didn’t need to see Cesaro lose to Dorado to get there, so at least they are letting the champ look strong for a change.
Otis shakes some things in the back but has to stop to answer a question about his match with Miz and Morrison tonight. He likes jokes, but Miz and Morrison’s have crossed the line. Tucker says Miz and Morrison can’t let it go, but disrespecting Mandy is too far.
And now, the Fiend. After his entrance and a break, we see Alexa Bliss sitting in front of him and looking scared. Fiend goes to the corner and crawls over to her, with Bliss rubbing his face. Strowman’s voice comes up to pull the Fiend away and he pops up on the screen. Strowman says this wasn’t going to work because all he cares about is destroying the Fiend. He tried to fight it but gave into the evil within and is fulfilling his destiny. Strowman is the thing that nightmares are made of and he is the monster. Fiend can have whatever he wants because at Summerslam, he is facing the monster. Strowman says let him in.
As usual, Strowman cannot talk to save his life and might as well be reading off the cue cards. I’m not sure if this was the end of the Bliss aspect of the story, but if that is the case, it feels like another case of setting something up and then changing their mind AGAIN, possibly because it could have been interesting and that cannot happen.
Jeff Hardy vs. King Corbin
Hardy forearms him in the head to start and hits the basement dropkick into the splash for two. The Twisting Stunner is countered and Corbin hits a hard clothesline for his own near fall. Corbin starts mocking the fans before taking his time sending Hardy outside. Hardy gets beaten over the announcers’ table for two and the chinlock goes on. Back up and Corbin does the slide under the corner but Hardy cuts him off and sends him into the Plexiglas. That just earns Hardy the Deep Six for two and a hard knee puts Hardy back on the floor. Cue Sheamus to kick Hardy for the DQ at 5:27.
Rating: C-. The match was fine enough but it goes to show you how Corbin continues to not be able to do anything above just ok most of the time. That was the case the whole time here, as Hardy is the kind of person who can draw some good stuff out of anyone, but give him someone to work with here. It wasn’t the worst, but it was just there and forgettable.
Yelling ensues post match.
King Corbin vs. Sheamus
Yes it’s the rare MORE CORBIN show as we get two Corbin matches in a row! Joined in progress with Sheamus knocking him down and hitting a knee to the ribs. The ten forearms to the chest connect and Sheamus knocks him to the floor. Sheamus sends him into the announcers’ table a few times as Corbin is rocked around the ring.
Back in and Corbin grabs a side slam for two and it’s time for the right hands to the head. Corbin knocks him into the corner and the chinlock goes on again. Sheamus muscles him up but can’t hit White Noise. Instead it’s a clothesline but here’s Matt Riddle for a distraction, setting up the Brogue Kick to finish Corbin at 5:20.
Rating: C. I liked it better than the previous match, though I’m not sure where this is going. Unless it’s a four way to get the next Intercontinental Title shot, or if Corbin finds another goon, it kind of leaves things in a weird place with three people who don’t like Sheamus and Riddle and Hardy. That being said, I can go with a bunch of people wanting to beat up Corbin, as long as Corbin isn’t around that long.
Bayley and Sasha Banks aren’t sure about Asuka, but Banks calls Bayley her role model. That has to be put on hold though as they are summoned to the ring for a video confidence with Stephanie McMahon.
Big E. talks about all of the wacky things that he has done and now it is time to see what could have been. He will give this all he has and gets Kayla Braxton to say NEW DAY ROCKS.
Bayley and Sasha are in the ring and Stephanie joins them via video conference. Stephanie congratulates them for winning all of the gold, minus NXT. They’re thrilled with this and just wanted to be role models for little girls, like Stephanie’s daughters. Stephanie doesn’t like some of the things they have done, but the two of them have gotten attention, including hers.
Stephanie wants to see them be challenged though, and that’s why Sasha will be defending the Raw Women’s Title at Summerslam. But against who? Well it could be Asuka, but we’ll see about that later. As for Bayley, she gets to defend against the winner of next week’s Triple Brand Battle Royal, with women from all three brands fighting for the title shot. That’s what’s best for business, much like hearing Stephanie’s theme song as her video ends.
Miz and Morrison aren’t sorry for what they said because sometimes, good comedy offends. It’s called gamesmanship and facing Otis is like playing chess against a pot bellied pig. What’s he going to do? Eat them?
Miz/John Morrison vs. Heavy Machinery
Sonya Deville is here with Miz and Morrison. Tucker takes Morrison down to start and rides him without much effort. A big clothesline takes Morrison down again and the lights flicker some more. Otis comes in for the Ode to the Bushwhackers and Tucker adds the Cannonball off the apron as we take a break. Back with Miz kicking Tucker in the face and handing it off to Morrison for some forearms to the head. Otis offers a distraction but Tucker gets DDTed by Miz anyway.
Morrison gets in another shot to the face as Sonya has walked all the way over to Otis’ corner before realizing she needs to go back a bit. Tucker gets in a quick sit onto Miz though and the hot tag brings in Otis to clean house. Morrison gets tossed around and there’s the Caterpillar for two with Miz breaking things up. A missed charge sends Tucker into the Plexiglas but here’s Mandy, now with shoulder length hair, which somehow confuses Cole, to brawl with Sonya. That’s enough for a no contest at 8:45.
Rating: D+. Otis continues to feel so out of place with the briefcase and if the Fiend winds up as champion, I can’t even imagine how weird that is going to be. The match was your run of the mill Smackdown tag match with a lame ending, but at least the people not in the match got in the ring to call for the ending this time. Sonya continues to be more of a star than anyone else, and the hair vs. hair match, or whatever they have, could be a good use of Summerslam time.
Post match the brawl stays on with Sonya spearing Mandy down and continuing to look like a far bigger star.
Post break, the women are being held back but the lights go out again. In the arena, here’s Retribution with a bunch of weapons and they all stand in the ring. Commentary gets chased off and one of the masked men gets in the cameraman’s face, shouting that it’s their house now. The camera crew all runs off and Retribution goes beyond the Plexiglas and beats up some NXT wrestlers, including grabbing a woman by the leg and surrounding her.
A kick to the ribs (from a Retribution member who appears to be a woman with long red hair) takes the woman down and they head back inside, still shouting that this is theirs. They turn over the announcers’ table and bust out the spray paint, which they put all over the Plexiglas. The Smackdown log on the ring skirt is covered up and they all celebrate in the ring. The fifth member whips out a chainsaw and they cut the ring ropes up to end the show. It was quite the moment, but they didn’t have any ties or matching colored shirts so it could only be so chaotic and violent.
Overall Rating: C-. The Retribution deal at the end was certainly something to catch your attention, but it came on the same show as Strowman ranting off cue cards and the wig with the eyes. I do like the four way feud (or whatever it is) though as it gives some people something to do. Tie in the Intercontinental Title somehow and you have something.
What matters here is that while they had a few things to try and shake things up, it felt more natural than Raw. It is a little better to have some wrestling matches and a little different kind of feud than a random underground fighting club. Then again Smackdown has a tendency to be more of a wrestling show than a storyline one, but having more than half of the matches end in a DQ or no contest isn’t the best idea. Not the worst show, but the two big bad parts really hurt things.
Matt Riddle b. Sheamus via DQ when Shorty G. interfered
Cesaro b. Lince Dorado – Neutralizer
Jeff Hardy b. King Corbin via DQ when Sheamus interfered
Sheamus b. King Corbin – Brogue Kick
Miz/John Morrison vs. Heavy Machinery went to a no contest when Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose brawled
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:
And check out my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at: