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WWE SmackDown Live results, recap, reactions (Aug. 8, 2017): Impartial

In the service of furthering an issue between two sides, WWE will often do things that make very little sense. Take, for instance, inserting Shane McMahon as special guest referee in the AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens United States championship match at SummerSlam.

It's dumb!

This week's episode of SmackDown Live in Toronto perfectly illustrated why.

Shane O'Mac couldn't even effectively referee a segment designed to assert his authority. Both participants exerted very little effort proving Shane is without question the wrong man for the job, including video footage showcasing his history of utter failure at impartiality.

There's also the matter of his being able to, you know, actually officiate the match itself? As soon as it got physical, he failed to prevent Owens from punching Styles and then got kicked in the face.

Everything about this segment screamed "SHANE MCMAHON IS AN INCOMPETENT REFEREE." If they taught us anything here it's that his presence will have the opposite of its intended effect, and there's are far greater chance we'll get an unsatisfying conclusion with him there.

All this in service of getting us closer to Shane vs. Owens.



Someone go pick up Baron Corbin's soul, I'm pretty sure John Cena just snatched it from his body.

That's hyperbole, of course, but this felt like one of those promos where the trash talk will stick with the receipent for the entirety of his career. Corbin may not ever be able to outrun being called a "skinny fat loudmouth overrated dumpster fire."

Even if they just latch on to those last two words, it feels like a devastating blow to his ability to be thought of in any other way. That's especially true if it ends up that he can only be what he currently is, and while it's too early to put him in that box just yet it's not unfair to think he's something of a one-trick pony.

That said, it's damn good trash talk to build to a match that was only just even hinted at a week ago. Somehow I'm looking forward to Cena vs. Corbin more than half the matches previously scheduled for SummerSlam.

That's why he's been the franchise for the past decade, I suppose.

When Randy Orton pinned Jinder Mahal clean in the middle of the ring, my initial reaction was "oh." It just felt ... I don't know ... wrong.

Thing is, it's exactly right.

Yes, it would seem an odd decision to spend an entire feud putting the WWE champion over only to have him lose a non-title match at the end so the challenger is ultimately the guy who goes over (he just doesn't get to take the belt with him). It's also strange to pin Mahal so close to SummerSlam, where he's defending his title against an opponent, Shinsuke Nakamura, who only got an interview segment for this show.

But they've been consistent in their story the whole way, and it's quite simple: Mahal can't win on his own.

He won the title with help from the Singh Brothers, kept it with their help, and then kept it again with an assist from The Great Khali. None of them were around to assist him this time. So it should come as no surprise, then, that he was defeated. Orton gets to prove his point before moving on to fight Rusev, who reminded him of that fact with a painful post-match attack. Mahal gets to keep his title because he cheated just enough to beat Orton just enough times to justify not giving Randy another title shot (only a grudge match).

It works.

It may not feel the best, but it works.

The rest

Charlotte def. Lana: We should stop saying "Lana is what Eva Marie was supposed to be" because I'm confident in saying Eva is a significantly better wrestler. This was a painfully bad match. The gimmick appears to be that actually good wrestlers just laugh at how bad Lana is and then beat her up, sometimes while getting their bare ass exposed to the world because that's just how bad Lana is. Let's hope she improves, and quick, because she's an electric personality who could probably do some good things if she can start putting even competent matches together. For now, pivoting to her assisting Tamina is a good idea.

Fashion Peaks: I am not at all aware of Twin Peaks, so this didn't connect with me in the way it almost certainly did with everyone who is aware of said show. However, Fandango and Tyler Breeze are so good I was still thoroughly entertained. Also, we got Arn Anderson admitting to destroying Tully the Horse because they named it "Tully" instead of "Arn." Then he stole two donuts. What a legend.

Ellsworth returns: The Money in the Bank contract sucks because it creates so many failures in basic reasoning. James Ellsworth returned just in time to help Carmella defeat Naomi in a non-title match, then Carmella, for reasons we will never know, decided not to cash in her contract after literally just pinning the champion. It's just bad.

The Usos def. Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger: It turns out Zayn and Dillinger are actually a fun tag team and I wouldn't mind seeing them have a little run there, even if it means doing jobs for The Usos to put them over on their way to a title shot against The New Day. That crew, meanwhile, has needed the mean streak they showed last night. Don't be surprised if they tear the house down at SummerSlam.

Power of love: Not so powerful after all?

A fine show this week.

Grade: B

Your turn.

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