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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Aug. 21, 2018): Explain yourselves

WWE’s finishes picking up the trash and cleaning up the joint after the Biggest Party of the Summer with one last show at Barclays in Brooklyn.

The Headliners

We’ve got a title match and a showdown of legend Superstars, but most of our attention is going to be on some talking segments, how they break down into pro wrestling chaos, and what comes next.

The WWE Championship went from playing second fiddle to red hot last week. A lot of folks scoffed at the “Wendy letter”, saying the mind games Samoa Joe used against AJ Styles was to reminiscent of something TNA would have done. But it payed off with a hot, somewhat controversial angle at SummerSlam. That the two long-time rivals and real-life friends tore it up in the ring didn’t hurt.

In the aftermath of Joe’s mindgames leading to a disqualification loss and an upset wife and daughter, Styles apologized to his family and vowed not to lose his cool again. But how will that work given that Joe isn’t likely agree to a psychological cease fire, and there’s a pay-per-view (PPV) called Hell in a Cell less than a month away?’s official preview for this episode promises to dive into that during an exclusive interview with AJ.

That’s probably not even the explanation we’re looking forward to the most, however.

After Charlotte Flair pinned her in this building on Sunday night to become Women’s Champ, Becky Lynch snapped. It resulted in a pretty wild scene in Barclays, as fans cheered what was booked like a pretty traditional heel turn. A lot of people (myself included) are really invested in the Lasskicker’s journey, and there’s a lot riding on her explanation for her SummerSlam actions.

It’s not that Lynch can’t do rudo. For much of her indie career and part of her NXT run, Becky played a great villain. I just don’t know if WWE fans who’ve become attached to her fighting babyface character will buy it, especially against Charlotte who... let’s face it, despite a justifiable position and likeable real world persona, wrestling audiences a pre-programmed to boo Flairs.

There’s a lot riding on Lynch’s promo and the champ’s response.

The Title Scene

SmackDown’s Tag Titles are actually riding on the no DQ rematch between Bludgeon Brothers and The New Day tonight. Harper and Rowan took the loss and kept their belts when they ended a hot match with Xavier Woods and Big E by breaking out the prop hammers. We’ll see if Kofi Kingston subs in for a storyline beat-up Woods, and if Rowan’s rumored shoot injury leads to the belts changing hands.

Nothing announced for United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura after he retained the red, white and blue strap against Jeff Hardy, but the Charismatic Enigma will get a chance to deal with Randy Orton one-on-one. The Viper chose not strike after Hardy took a gnarly back bump on the apron and a Kinshasa on Sunday night, just like WWE’s chosen to not take him off TV while they investigate old hazing allegations against him.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Coming out of Miz’s brass knuckles-assisted win at SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan was pissed and The A-Lister was gloating. Not surprising. It also sounds like there aren’t any big surprise moves coming in DB’s future as his WWE contract negotiations just involve ironing out the last few details at this point, so look for this feud to continue.

- Aiden English did as he was asked on Sunday and stayed backstage while Rusev and Lana were beaten by Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega. Maybe the Russian/Bulgarian power couple could take it easy on the poor guy now?

- Online bickering might be setting up a Peyton Royce/Naomi match. Would be nice to feel the glow from somewhere other than catering...

It’s the SummerSlam fallout show!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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