Friday, 20 August 2021

WWE SmackDown Highlights 20 August 2021

 

WWE Smackdown Live 8/20/21 August 20th 2021





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WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 20

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    One night before invading Las Vegas for the annual SummerSlam spectacular, the Superstars of WWE SmackDown hit the Fox airwaves looking to put an exclamation on the pre-event hype.

    John Cena and Roman Reigns exchanged words one last time before their titanic clash for the Universal Championship Saturday night, Edge returned to confront Seth Rollins before they battle for supremacy in Sin City and The Mysterios and Usos jockeyed for position before they compete for the tag team titles.

    Who emerged from the broadcast with momentum on their side and what does it mean for their stock entering the summertime spectacular?

    Find out now with this recap of the August 20 go-home show.

Lineup

1 OF 10

    Announced for Friday's show are:

       

    • John Cena and Roman Reigns' final remarks ahead of their SummerSlam clash
    • Rey Mysterio vs. Jey Uso
    • Edge returns to SmackDown just 24 hours before his showdown with Seth Rollins

       

    Coverage begins at 8 p.m.

Edge Kicks Off The Show

2 OF 10

    Credit: WWE

    "You think you know me" sounded over the sound system and Edge made his way to the ring to kick off this week's show, accompanied by another superb video recap of his ongoing feud with Seth Rollins.

    Edge recapped the moment, seven years ago, when Rollins had the opportunity to end him with a single stomp. He admitted that Rollins is taking him to a dark place; a place where blood runs black. He vowed to burn Rollins down tomorrow night in Las Vegas.

        

    Grade

    B-

        

    Analysis

    The promo probably would have had a greater effect had we not heard something similar just a few months earlier prior to WrestleMania. Then, Edge credited Daniel Bryan with making him revert to his rated R ways and made similar claims to what he did here.

    The result that night? He lost, humbled by Roman Reigns as he was stacked along with Bryan and pinned in the most definitive finish in event history.

    So why should fans be quick to believe that all of the threats and disturbing close-ups of The Rated R Superstar spells doom for Rollins?

    If anything, shouldn't The Architect suddenly feel more confident given the last time someone elicited that sort of emotion from Edge, he was beaten in an embarrassing fashion?

    Sure, there's probably a fair amount of overthinking in that logic and WWE routinely repeats the same stories, promos and angles. Still, it was so relatively fresh that it really does make one wonder how that made it past the creative team. 

    With all of that said, Edge is still one of the best promos in the business and he killed it here, even if the material was disappointing. 

Rey Mysterio vs. Jey Uso

3 OF 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    The long-running feud between The Mysterios and Usos brought us the night’s first in-ring action as Rey battled Jey in singles competition. Dominik accompanied his father while Jimmy seconded his twin brother. A back-and-forth exchange early gave way to Mysterio delivering a springboard moonsault to the floor. During the break, though, Uso gained the upper hand and worked a headlock coming out of the commercial.

    Mysterio delivered a hurricanrana off the top rope for a dramatic near-fall, fighting his way back into the contest. Uso cut him off with a side suplex into a neckbreaker for his own two-count. Moments later, during a sunset flip, Dominik tried to cheat on behalf of his father. Referee Charles Robinson sent him to the back and the distraction allowed Jey to level him and deliver the top-rope splash for the win.

         

    Result

    Uso defeated Mysterio

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    We have seen so many of these Mysterio vs. Uso matches that they are beginning to lose their effect. Of course, the in-ring action was solid, as one would expect considering the talent involved. The real takeaway here, though, was what led to the finish.

    Dominik has been second-guessing Rey of late and his attempt at an underhanded victory only further suggests there is a split between father and son in the very near future. Whether it is too early for that given the fact that they were just best buddies as tag champions as late as two months ago is a question that will be answered as the story progresses.

Kevin Owens vs. Baron Corbin

4 OF 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    A week after absconding with the Money in the Bank briefcase, Baron Corbin made his way to the ring for a showdown with Kevin Owens.

    After several minutes of action, Big E’s music played, bringing a sudden halt to the match. The real Money in the Bank winner stomped to the ring and bowled Corbin over, seemingly retrieving his property. As he turned his back, Corbin sent him into the ring post and took off with the briefcase.

    Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed SmackDown women’s champion Bianca Belair. The EST said she is done playing nice and at SummerSlam against Sasha Banks, she will prove to be the meanEST and nastiEST.

        

    Result

    Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin fought to a no contest

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    Slimy Baron Corbin, affectionately named “Bumass Corbin” by Pat McAfee on commentary, escaping with the briefcase after all of that was a great touch and will only add to his pathetic persona. He has been phenomenal of late and this storyline with Big E should only continue that trend.

    Furthermore, it gives an otherwise directionless Big E something to do.

    The promo from Belair was great and gave her that edge she has desperately needed after months of playing the smiling babyface champion. Her match with Banks should be straight fire, especially if she embraces a more aggressive side.

Shotzi and Nox vs. Natalya and Tamina

5 OF 10

    Credit: WWE

    Women’s tag team champion Natalya returned to the ring Friday alongside partner Tamina for a Championship Contenders Match against Shotzi and Nox.

    Natalya and Shotzi did most of the ring work for their respective teams and after escaping a Sharpshooter attempt, the ballsiest woman in WWE rolled The Queen of Harts up for the upset victory.

        

    Result

    Shotzi and Nox defeated Natalya and Tamina

       

    Grade

    D

        

    Analysis

    There was nothing to this one and that is unfortunate because Shotzi and Nox were on a roll until the feud with Natalya and Tamina came to an abrupt halt due to Nattie’s ankle injury. She was back here but appeared to be less-than 100-percent.

    Shotzi outwrestling her for the win was a nice touch and adds further credibility to the idea that her and Nox are the worthy contenders. 

    Still, the entire ordeal felt like filler, an excuse to highlight the feud without doing much to advance it.

Edge's Message to Seth Rollins

6 OF 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    “Drip King’ Seth Rollins made his way to the ring for his retort to Edge’s promo from earlier in the night.

    He mocked his SummerSlam opponent’s words and told him there is no shame in trying to find the darkness that once guided him. Without it, Edge cannot get on Rollins’ level.

    The Brood’s music played, the arena became engulfed in red and Edge appeared on the video screen. “Beware, take care, because the freaks come out at night. You’ll never see it coming,” he warned before black blood spilled from the ceiling, coating Rollins and turning his white suit black.

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    Somewhere between last week and tonight, this feud went off the rails. What had been a great build between a Hall of Famer and a former world champion seeking to prove he was anything but a cheap rip-off devolved into Edge spouting off about black blood and reverting to his days with The Brood to send his SummerSlam opponent a message.

    It was unneeded and made little sense. It was escalation for escalation’s sake and anytime that happens, the product usually suffers. Hopefully, these two can recover and payoff what has been a relatively great promo otherwise because the fans and performers alike deserve the opportunity to see the dream match live up to expectations.

Montez Ford vs. Otis

7 OF 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    Alpha Academy’s Otis sidelined Montez Ford over a month ago. This week, the feud between the Academy and The Street Profits continued as the big man battled Ford in singles competition while Chad Gable and Angelo Dawkins watched from ringside.

    Otis overwhelmed Ford with his size and fury and finished Ford off in short order with a Vader Bomb.

        

    Result

    Otis defeated Ford

        

    Grade

    D

        

    Analysis

    This was certainly a thing that happened.

    Michael Cole framed this as a shot at redemption for Ford after he was previously injured by Otis, only for Ford to go down in defeat in what amounted to a squash. What was the point? To enhance Otis as a heel monster? Was that not the intention of the injury angle in the first place?

    Sure, now the big man looks like a threat but does he look like any more of a threat than he did entering the show? No. Does Ford look less credible for being beaten the way he was? Yes

    Not exactly the best way to tell a story or build stars.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs vs. Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez

8 OF 10

    Credit: WWE

    Rick Boogs made his in-ring debut Friday night, teaming with intercontinental champion King Nakamura for a tag team match against former titleholder Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez.

    The charismatic guitarist entered the match late and, as Nakamura teed off on Azeez, downed Crews to earn the victory.

        

    Result

    Boogs and Nakamura defeated Crews and Azeez

        

    Grade

    C-

        

    Analysis

    Remember back to the beginning of the year when Crews felt like one of the breakout stars of 2021 thanks to a heel turn and strong feud with Big E over the Intercontinental Championship? That feels like an eternity ago now as he and Azeez are very clearly on their way out of prominence on SmackDown. Never was that more apparent than tonight when Crews was decisively defeated by a guy wrestling his first match on the main roster.

    Boogs is over and hella entertaining but it will be interesting to see if he can back it up between the ropes. This was a fine first showing, but they kept it both simple and short for him. The answer to the question will be more apparent the more he gets the opportunity to compete.

Bianca Belair vs. Zelina Vega and Carmella

9 OF 10

    Credit: WWE

    Just 24 hours before defending her SmackDown women’s title against Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair battled Zelina Vega and Carmella in back-to-back singles matches.

    She overcame an onslaught from a game Vega, including a sunset flip bomb, and put her away with the Kiss of Death. 

    Carmella attacked immediately after the bell and controlled the second match throughout the commercial break. She halted any attempt by The EST to fight her way back into the match until Belair caught her and drove her to the mat with a spinebuster.

    The Kiss of Death ended it as The EST went 2-0 on the night.

       

    Result

    Belair defeated Vega and Carmella

        

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    In theory, strengthening your women’s champ the night before a title defense is a great idea. When it comes at the expense of two of the only remaining potential challengers to her title, thus devaluing the division as a whole, not so much. 

    Belair has now beaten Vega and Carmella so often that the idea of them presenting a credible challenge to her title is nonexistent. Who does that leave outside of Banks? Toni Storm, who has not been seen since debuting back in July? Liv Morgan, who has been conspicuous in her absence since Money in the Bank? Shotzi and Nox, who are busy chasing tag team gold, or current tag team champions Natalya and Tamina?

    All would be great challengers and present a fresh match-up but WWE doesn’t seem inclined to head in that direction, making the usage of the talent that is on TV every week that much more questionable.

Cena, Reigns Face-to-Face

10 OF 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    Universal champion Roman Reigns hit the ring, followed by John Cena, for their final interaction ahead of the SummerSlam main event.

    After Reigns called Cena out for saying stupid stuff last week, the franchise star responded by telling Reigns he was brought back to demote The Head of the Table, suggesting there was a conspiracy in play. He reiterated that it will take just “1, 2, 3” for him to win the Universal Championship, take it to Hollywood and leave Reigns an embarrassed mess.

    The Tribal Chief upped the stakes for the SummerSlam main event, vowing to leave WWE if he doesn’t win the match Saturday night. He tried for a sneak attack on Cena but the challenger rolled him up for a quick three count, reminding the world how quickly he can achieve a record 17th world title.

        

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    Cena and Reigns have killed it this summer with these promos, thanks in large part to how naturally they come off. Perhaps it is the leeway they are given as trusted main event stars or their ability to adjust on the fly but their promos are so much more engaging than the majority of the scripted shlock elsewhere.

    Did they need to go the route of introducing the Reigns stipulation? No, because it all but kills any suspense surrounding the match. He’s not going anywhere, that much we know. Regardless, the match is going to be awesome because Reigns and Cena can will it there out of sheer desire. 

    Reigns will win, Cena will go away and WWE’s top star will be stronger for it.

    Whether the company has anyone strong enough in their own right to step up and challenge him in the wake of the event is the real question

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