Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar have a long history, the kind of history you can draw on to tell a simple story en route to another big game between the two. That’s more or less what we got on the site of the main event of Friday Night SmackDown this week in Atlanta.
Paul Heyman was accused of saying a few words, but he didn’t have to say much. This is the kind of competition that sells itself.
Instead, they went with everything around it, just enough to add some intrigue. Theory attacked Lesnar from behind before he could get his hands on Heyman, and Brock absolutely destroyed the poor man because Vince apparently forgot to teach him that you don’t attack Lesnar in the back, but him in the crotch.
Right on the biggest weakness, kid.
As Theory tried to run away, Drew McIntyre arrived on the scene to lay him down with a Claymore before staring at Lesnar. That could very well be what the future holds. Probably not, but maybe!
It was a little strange to have this show without Roman Reigns, but that’s a reality we just have to get used to at this point. The part-time status of the executives is going to be a major topic of conversation for McIntyre, so we’ll have to deal with it.
A while ago, there were reports that Vince McMahon wanted Ronda Rousey to smile more. If you thought that more or less went against everything that always made Rousey interesting, you were one of many.
They may be correcting their course now that McMahon is out.
That’s definitely how it felt on this show where Rousey was her very pissed off self again, looking for some ass and some names to take. After all, she is the “worst woman on earth”. The main goal should always have been to always make the badass look really badass, while also finding new and interesting ways to make that clear.
Here they accomplished that by letting Shotzi try to brag about getting a win over Aliyah and Rousey came on the scene to tell her to get out of the dodge. When Shotzi came back with “oh, hey Ronda” and tried to pack a punch, Ronda easily put her on her ass and smoothly replied “Hello, Shotzi.”
She picked up the microphone and stumbled over her words a bit as she understood how angry she was, which is clearly a step back, but she made up for it by saying to a random man in the crowd, “Shut up, and your mother has let you down.”
Also pretty tough.
You don’t have to be a Rousey fan to support this simply because it’s not so much Rousey, but rather a sign that there are now creative minds who understand how to actually use someone like Rousey. This is good!
It all led to Rousey teaming up with her opponent on SummerSlam, Liv Morgan, in a match against Natalya & Sonya Deville. They also told a good story with the match, with Morgan repeatedly refusing to tag Rousey because she was so eager to show she could win alone and she didn’t need Ronda.
Finally, Morgan got close enough for Rousey to just tag herself, after which she went wild on Deville and tapped her with the ankle lock while Morgan looked after Natalya. It was striking that Morgan only won after Ronda came in.
This was a great way to build up to their title match at SummerSlam.
- WWE opened this show with Drew McIntyre and Sheamus finally having their good old fashioned donnybrook match, presumably because they wanted to set up the next top contender on September’s PPV at the start of the show so that by the end of the show they could build to tomorrow night’s PPV. They still ended this segment with Theory attacking McIntyre, because I think Theory should have their hand in no less than 50 percent of all segments in any WWE show right now. Anyway, the match itself was a fun gimmick-up brawl that was well received by the fans in the arena. No surprise that McIntyre is getting that headline spot in Cardiff.
- I really enjoy Pat McAfee and hope they let him work a few more shows while he’s at WWE, but it would be great if they could come up with better creatives for those shows than “a guy who doesn’t like him, harasses him/ attacks while trying to do his commentary work.” This time it was Bum Ass Corbin yelling from behind him from the crowd – apparently he bought a ticket for this – as they ran a full ad for the SummerSlam Map. It was extremely annoying, and not in a good way. It also got in the way of what’s actually interesting here, that he held up a sign with a photo of McAfee’s mugshot from his 2010 arrest for public intoxication. The problem is, there are probably a lot of WWE fans, probably the vast majority, who don’t even know that much. They never bothered to explain it in any way. Just used it for a cheap place and left it unexplained to an audience that almost certainly needs that explanation. The segment ended, of course, with Corbin jumping on the rails and putting McAfee in the nuts.
- We were supposed to have an Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans, but the latter was not medically cleared as we were told, and instead we got Aliyah vs. Shotzi. In the end, Shotzi scored the win with a muffled answer.
- The Usos and The Street Profits got together with Jeff Jarrett to review the rules for the tag team title match at SummerSlam. He made it clear that his only job is to count to three when someone has their shoulders down, but that’s at SummerSlam and if they want to fight here, go for it. They did and, inevitably, Jarrett was absolutely destroyed by a super kick to the face of Jey Uso. He apologized repeatedly, but Jarrett seemed reluctant to forgive him and the segment ended with The Street Profits standing up straight. A nice bit of extra intrigue, I guess, not that this match needed it.
- After all, Max Dupri is still here! He showed up with Maxxine to help debut the Beachwear collection in a backstage pre-recorded segment that you may have missed if you blinked during the second half of this show. His beard is starting to grow back in and he seemed a little more relaxed, but there wasn’t much to get out of such a short pre-tape.
- The Vicious Viking Raiders beat The New Day and I can’t help myself with this. The game was fine, I’m just not very involved in this whole thing. After the game, they ran an injury corner on Xavier Woods, using their shields to knock him down and a chair to hurt his ankle.
This was a pretty good show overall!