25th Jul2018

WWE Smackdown Live – July 24th 2018: Results & Review

by Nathan Favel

smackdown-2018-logo

Welcome to this week’s Smackdown Live review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we have lots to cover tonight, so let’s do so.

Match #1: Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Rusev

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

In one of his biggest challenge on the blue brand, Andrade “Cien” Almas squared off with Rusev on SmackDown LIVE after the two had a tense exchange backstage earlier in the evening. Counteracting Zelina Vega being in Almas’ corner was Lana, but notable in his absence was Aiden English, who it appeared The Bulgarian Brute was still at odds with after his WWE Championship defeat at WWE Extreme Rules.

Squaring off for the first time ever, Rusev and Almas went tit-for-tat in an evenly matched contest that saw momentum swing several times. As the fight continued, Vega and Lana got into a heated altercation at ringside. Vega slapped Lana, and The Ravishing Russian tackled Vega, prompting The Mozart of Mayhem to hit the scene to separate the two. However, Vega jumped on his back, causing English to fall into Lana and sending all three to the ground. With The Super Athlete distracted by the ruckus at ringside, Andrade took advantage by dropping his opponent with the Hammerlock DDT for the win. In the backstage area after the match, English and Lana were pointing fingers over who was to blame for the defeat before Rusev interjected to imply that maybe neither English or Lana was good for Rusev Day.

My Take: These two had a good match to open the show. This was quite the nice pairing, one that I would like to see more of.

Match #2: Samoa Joe def. R-Truth

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Looking to avenge his buddy Tye Dillinger against Samoa Joe, R-Truth brazenly took on The Samoan Submission Machine, and although Truth put up a valiant fight, Joe straight bulldozed his opponent before taking him out with the Coquina Clutch for yet another victory.

My Take: In a better promotion, these two would have been a main event match, but since Vince is not a big fan of replicating the success that his wrestlers have had else-where, you get Joe squashing Truth instead. I’d still pay to see these two have an actual match of proper length.

Match #3: Asuka def. Billie Kay

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With the first-ever women’s pay-per-view WWE Evolution coming this October, Asuka and Billie Kay looked to put on a show for the WWE Universe in the wake of Monday’s historic announcement. Of course, Kay and her IIconics cohort Peyton Royce did themselves no favor when they recalled how they technically were the first Superstars to beat Asuka on SmackDown LIVE several months ago. This trip down memory seemingly motivated The Empress of Tomorrow, and even with Royce lurking at ringside, The Empress of Tomorrow took down Billie with a barrage of brutal kicks for another impressive victory.

My Take: This match had the right winner, as Asuka is a big star for the WWE and one of the best wrestlers in the world.

Match #4: Becky Lynch def. Carmella to earn SmackDown Women’s Championship Match at SummerSlam

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With her lackey James Ellsworth having just been fired by Paige, SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella would now have to go it alone as she attempted to prevent Becky Lynch from gaining a title opportunity at SummerSlam by defeating her tonight.

With Lynch entering the bout on an incredible winning streak, it appeared momentum would be on her side. Never one to come into a fight unprepared, Carmella pulled out every trick and tactic at her disposal to try to put out the Straight Fire, even using the ropes for leverage during a pinfall attempt, but the seemingly unstoppable Irish Lass Kicker took down Princess Mella with the Dis-arm-her for the submission win to earn the chance to regain the SmackDown Women’s Title at SummerSlam.

My Take: If there is any-one who has read my reviews recently and seen me extoll the skills of Lynch a little more than Charlotte Flair or Asuka, just watch this match. Lynch got more out of Carmella than any-one else has in the WWE so far and made this into a fine bout.

Match #5: Main Event – The New Day def. SAnitY to advance to the finals of the SummerSlam Tag Team Championship Tournament

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With Paige having announced a four-team tag team tournament to decide who would challenge The Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, two of the blue brand’s best, The New Day and SAnitY, kicked off the high-stakes tourney. Adding even more pressure was mutual rival of both teams (and fellow tournament entry) The Usos, watching from ringside as guest commentators and adding their unique takes on both squads.

Hungry to continue proving their mettle on Tuesday nights, SAnitY took control in the early goings with brute strength and dynamic offense of Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain. Having weathered many storms, however, The New Day withstood the onslaught and battled back. In the match’s pivotal moments, Eric Young attempted to interfere, but Kofi Kingston (who was also at ringside in support of his team), was able to fend him off, allowing Big E and Xavier Woods to hit the Midnight Hour to advance to the finals of the tournament.

The New Day’s celebration would be short-lived, however, as it seemed like The Usos would have some words for the victors. However, The Bar then hit the scene to declare that they would defeat The Usos next week en route to becoming new SmackDown Tag Team Champions at The Biggest Event of the Summer.

My Take: This was a nice change of pace having a tag team match as the main event match for the night. There was a time in 2002 when there was an excellent tag team tournament that featured such great tandems as Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, Edge and Rey Mysterio, as well as Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero, to name but a few. That tournament yielded a few months of fabulous wrestling that propelled the under-card to new heights, even though it all fell apart four to five months later, due to a change in bookers (Paul Heyman was transferred from the job after sustaining an injury from one of Brock Lesnar’s F5s). I mention this, because I always hold that as the standard for the kind of quality you should have from any modern tournament of any kind, especially tag team. This match would prove to be a match in the mold of those earlier tag bouts, with a good pace and lots of action. This was one of the better fights of the week.

News of the Night:

  1. James Ellsworth was fired.
  2. Rusev is teasing firing his wife Lana and his friend Aiden English.
  3. Becky Lynch will challenge Carmella for the Women’s title at Summerslam.
  4. Daniel Bryan and The Miz are building to a match, likely at Summerslam.
  5. Randy Orton has proclaimed that he is going to destroy the indy darlings of wrestling. Randy did bring up the “Dive” controversy he caused last year and he is going to use that in this angle as well.
  6. Samoa Joe will fight AJ Styles at Summerslam for the WWE World Heavyweight Title.

Final Verdict: This was a good episode with a solid card that made for a fine night of action. I wish the roster would get more time on the show, but at least Smackdown feels like a place where the wrestlers can get rewarded for their troubles, as opposed to RAW.

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