BRM Reviews the 7/17/2020 Smackdown (GREAT! WATCH THE BRAUN STROWMAN SEGMENT NOW!)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 7/17/2020 Smackdown (GREAT! WATCH THE BRAUN STROWMAN SEGMENT NOW!)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 19th, '20, 15:06

OPENING VIDEO PACKAGE- good
We got little promos building up all of the key points on tonight’s show: AJ vs. Riddle for the IC Title, Alexa Bliss! has a special surprise guest on A Moment of Bliss, John Morrison faces Braun Strowman, and Big E faces Cesaro with the winner getting to choose the stipulation for the tag title match at Sunday’s PPV. I think there was supposed to be a Firefly Funhouse on this show, too, but they didn’t mention it, so maybe I’ll be lucky and it got cancelled.


WINNER GETS TO CHOOSE THE STIPULATION FOR SUNDAY’S WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Cesaro (w/Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Big E. (w/Kofi Kingston)- 5.5/10
I’m fine with this as a general concept, but showing us a clip of last week’s show where the heels put the babyfaces through a table, the choice the winner is offered tonight is going to be between a tables match and a cage match, well… it kind of makes the eventual choice obvious no matter who wins, doesn’t it? And that doesn’t just kill the mystery, but also makes the actual winner feel irrelevant. It would have been better to have each team grab a different weapon last week and then have this match be to determine if it will be a tables match or a chairs match (or whatever other the other team found), so that it feels like the winning team is at least getting to pick a stipulation that gives them the advantage.

They had a good little match, doing the best they could with the time they were given. Nakamura interfered to help Ceasro win.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
The heels went to get a table but Kofi dove onto them. The babyfaces set up to put Cesaro though a table but Nakamura pulled him to safety.

Can we PLEASE get rid of the camera in the crowd thar focus on individual fans? It’s hokey. I know they have this at stadiums, but they never cut to it DURING THE ACTION.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS BARON CORBIN-
She asks him who he thinks will win the IC Title match. Corbin was pretty decent here. Whoever wrote this segment needs to learn how to write an interview, though. It felt like Kayla was leading Corbin in a direction where she was trying to stir up sh*t, and Corbin had to be the one pulling back, telling her that no, he doesn’t think Riddle’s previous win over AJ “counts for nothing” (a phrase she brought up, not him). The babyface interviewer should not be purposely trying to stir up sh*t. He or she should be a wholesome, honest reporter asking the tough questions. Stirring up sh*t are what heel talk shows or the occasional heelish interviewer is for.

NAKAMURA & CESARO REVEAL THEIR CHOICE OF STIPULATION- It’s a tables match. Shocking, I know. This was entertaining, but the whole thing was a waste of time because we all knew the answer.

A MOMENT OF BLISS WITH A SPECIAL MYSTERY GUEST-
We start off with a painful of the anniversary of the “Divas’/Women’s R/Evolution.”
Alexa predicts a victory for Riddle tonight and for Nikki at the PPV. Nikki cuts a promo saying that she will win at the PPV. Nikki thinks she’s the mystery guest. She’s not, because that would be dumb. Alexa wanted to bring the guest out but Sasha and Bayley came out instead. They were over the top and annoying. They, too, had to talk about the Divas’/Women’s R/Evolution. They talked some smack about their PPV matches.
Alexa then brought out the real mystery guest; Asuka, who I guess is using one of her Brand-To-Brand Invitational appearances. The heels started attacked Alexa and Nikki before Asuka could get to the ring, but Asuka joined in and the heels retreated. Alexa then proposed a tag match.

DANIEL BRYAN PROMO FROM HOME- He talks up AJ and Riddle. They seem to be going somewhere with the idea of AJ turning babyface so he can “be one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time,” as Bryan keeps saying.
Bryan also teased that Drew Gulak would be working with Riddle before tonight’s match.

SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. ASUKA & NIKKI CROSS (w/Alexa Bliss!)- 7/10
This was surprisingly good. Not that these women aren’t talented, but it’s a go-home show tag match on Smackdown. Nikki was a great babyface in peril. Bayley won via illegal leverage on a pin. While having the champion pin the challenger going into the PPV is a bit odd, it does prevent you from having this non-team earn a tag title shot, and I thought Cole’s framing of the finish (essentially, ‘what does it tell you about Bayley’s confidence level that she feels the need to cheat to win here’) did a fantastic job of actually building Nikki up even though she took the pin.

Crap. That Firefly Funhouse episode actually is happening.

MIZ & MORRISON BACKSTAGE- very funny
They’re both scared of Braun but won’t admit it to the other.

FIREFLY FUNHOUSE- This was just a regular Bray Wyatt promo. It’s probably the best one he’s ever cut. Promos like this were what I hoped Bray Wyatt would be. Someone whose words actually had meaning behind them.

BRAUN STROWMAN PROMO- F*CKING AMAZING!
Also, if you are one of those people who was supporting the “The Fiend’s power comes from people being afraid of him and doubting themselves against him” theory, this was some pretty strong ammo for you.

BRAUN STROWMAN vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)- no rating, NEARLY PERFECT segment
This is a perfect example of when it’s okay to squash an upper-midcarder. Morrison was beaten so badly that the medical personnel wanted to stretcher him off. The purpose of this was to get Braun over as a that big scary monster he was as a heel, and this succeeded wildly. Using that head-and-arm choke he had used in his early days in the Wyatt Family was a good touch, and the evil gravelly tone in his message to Bray after the match “I’m coming home” was tremendous.
Cole and Graves did a GREAT job of putting over that this was different, and Miz and Morrison almost came off as babyfaces when they were on their way up the ramp. The only thing stopping this from being perfect was the inexplicably stupid decision to have Lacey Evans come out while Miz and Morrison were coming up the ramp, doing her smiley entrance like we hadn’t just seen something terrifying and someone almost seriously hurt.

LACEY EVANS PROMO- terrible
She said “after tonight, Naomi’s glow will be a little sparkle.” Not only has Lacey randomly turned heel, but she seems to have completely digressed as a character to those terrible, scripted day one attempts at bad writers trying to write zingers for a stereotypical southern belle.

LACEY EVANS vs. NAOMI- 2/10
This was a dull match. Lacey won pretty much cleanly. Yes, she tied Naomi’s hair to the ropes, but people wrap others up in the ropes all the time.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS JEFF HARDY- GREAT!
Jeff cut an excellent babyface promo to build up his bar fight with Sheamus. Kayla asked him for a prediction for the IC Title match, at which point Jeff- in a very natural way- reminded us that he was taken out of the tournament because he was framed for drunk driving by Sheamus, planting the seeds for Jeff challenging for the title. Sheamus then attacked Jeff from behind and cut a promo on him.

KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS SASHA & BAYLEY- started off good but went on for too long.

ALEXA BLISS! & NIKKI CROSS BACKSTAGE- bad
Holy sh*t! Wrestlers just watched a segment on a TV… and WWE didn’t feel the need to show us the TV there!
Nikki is having a crisis of confidence after her loss to Bayley earlier. Alexa tries to give her a pep talk but Nikki isn’t buying it. Suddenly, Nikki sees Sasha and Bayley, who have apparently conveniently paused in front of an open door with their backs to the room Alexa and Nikki are in. Nikki, like a total heel, attacks Bayley from behind. Sasha tries to pull her off but Alexa shoves her away… and then pulls Nikki off herself. Not only did I not like Nikki attacking people from behind (again), but I also really didn’t like Nikki having a crisis of confidence after a non-clean loss.

We got a replay of AJ and Riddle’s promos from the beginning of the show.

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: AJ Styles(c) vs. Matt Riddle- 7.5/10
This was a great back-and-forth match, but I think the fact that I had the result spoiled for me made it a little hard for me to really get into things. Either that, or maybe the lack of a real crowd. There were just spots in this match that felt like they should have gotten that big “WHOA!” that didn’t have it. I did like AJ winning clean here, as I love a good, strong, heel champion.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- interesting
AJ offers Riddle a handshake after the match and Riddle accepts. Riddle is then immediately jumped from behind by Corbin. AJ looked like maybe he was considering helping Riddle but didn’t. Is AJ turning babyface, or was he in on it with Corbin and the handshake was a distraction?
(For anyone complaining that it’s silly that Corbin would take his crown with him to attack Riddle, remember that the last time he left it in the back, Otis stole it.)


For a WWE go-home show, this was shockingly good. The Strowman stuff in particular surprised me. If it wasn’t for the fact that this was going to be a cinematic match, I would be totally psyched for their Swamp Fight (though not as psyched as I would be if they told me what the hell the rules would be).


STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Ceasro did a Big Swing, and Graves asked to “imagine this taking place inside a steel cage.”
It’s a Big Swing. I don’t think it’s going to be any different if there’s a cage around the ring.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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