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WWE SmackDown Live recap & reactions (Aug. 21, 2018): Good luck with that heel turn

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WWE SmackDown Live returned last night (Aug. 21) from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. You can find all the results at the best live blog evaaaah right here.

Good luck with that heel turn, WWE

WWE and Becky Lynch are going to have their work cut out for them if they want to sell the Lass Kicker as a heel.

Because Brooklyn LOVED her tonight.

She cut a promo talking about how she scratched and clawed and suddenly Charlotte stole her spotlight. To confirm this was a heel turn, she then blamed the fans for not having her back (though we did) and said she’s going to do things for herself from here on out.

This is a hardcore destination crowd so maybe more casual crowds will follow heel/face dynamic of the story more. But it’s going to be hard. Because despite Becky being in the wrong and Charlotte in the right, it’s still easier to empathize with Becky.

Lynch is the scrappy, passionate underdog who has to struggle to find success. Charlotte is the daughter of a Hall of Famer who has the pedigree and just seems to have it easy. While there’s no arguing that she put the work in, it’s just easier to identify with the underdog than the person who has the natural gifts and is the daughter of a legend. Most people are more Becky than Charlotte in their lives.

That was evident at SummerSlam when the crowd erupted for Becky when she finally had it. If we empathize with her struggle, then we definitely empathize with her snapping after she had enough. They built up her journey so we’d all connect with her. Unfortunately for their heel turn intentions, we still connect with her. We understand the desire to just let it out when the obstacles won’t stop.

They’re going to have their work cut out for them. Maybe they will find the beat to make it work. But if crowds continue to respond like they are, they’re going to have to settle for awesome badass instead.

Now that doesn’t mean this was a bad segment. Quite the contrary. It was awesome.

After Becky delivered her “It’s all about me now” promo, Charlotte walked out, held up the title, and emotionally shouted “For this?!?” clearly upset that Becky threw away their friendship because of the title. This was a great moment by the champ, relaying her frustration and disappointment regarding how everything went down.

Charlotte then stormed the ring and these former friends tried to tear each other apart. Paige had to empty the women’s locker room to try to keep these two apart. The locker room was not very successful.

That’s right: PULL APART BRAWL!

The story is still very good and that’s great. But I have my doubts that they’ll be able to get crowds to consistently boo Lynch in her future matches against Charlotte.


Fantastic

SmackDown kicked off the show with an absolutely fantastic opening segment.

It started with the Miz, who really, we don’t deserve.

But he wasn’t gloating. No, both he and Maryse were somber. In fact, the Miz looked like he had been crying. Surely this was going to be a ruse, but the Miz is good enough that it drew me in nonetheless.

Of course, it was a ruse. With legit tears in his eyes, he announced that he was retiring... from ever facing Daniel Bryan again.

Again, we don’t deserve the Miz.

This brought out an angry Daniel Bryan, who slowly marched to the ring saying one word. “Coward.” Miz is a master on the mic, but Bryan is very good too. In fact, since his return, he’s been better than he had been before he left. His anger and frustration with the Miz shined through in his facials and his words.

Then Maryse stepped in and told Daniel he should just go home. In fact, he should change his name to Daniel Bella.

Bryan didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. Brie’s music played and she marched to the ring. Maryse immediately bailed... so she punched Miz in the face instead!

That’s when Bryan announced that Paige already told him that Bryan and Brie will face Miz and Maryse at Hell in a Cell.

This was a great segment that was another worthy installment of a very good feud. I appreciate how the theme of a punch has threaded the most recent incarnation of this story. From Bryan trading for the Miz so he could punch him in the face to Miz winning with a loaded punch on Sunday so he could gloat about the best punch in the business. (Seriously what a great heel.) And tonight, Brie Bella decked the Miz in the face.

While I would love for them not to touch each other again for months and build up again to a WrestleMania match, this is WWE, and that’s just not how they do things. But at least they forewent their likely urge to do a one on one match inside Hell in a Cell and went with a mixed tag instead. While it’s a rematch, it’s different enough.

Two other notes from this segment:

  • Brooklyn is a crowd that absolutely respects the Miz. But this time they were mainly behind Daniel Bryan. Miz still had his cheers, but they played their part and it added to the segment by getting behind the Beard.
  • Maryse is going to wrestle five months after having a baby? Bad. Ass.

New Champs!

The tag scene was the main event again this week, a title match between the New Day and the Bludgeon Brothers, and a street fight at that.

Despite the New Day taking the majority of the punishment, the match never seemed to drag. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods (Big E’s ribs were too hurt from Sunday) fired up enough to keep the crowd interested in it.

In the end, Rowan tried to run a hammer into Kofi against the barrier but Woods pulled Kingston aside before Rowan crashed hard through the barricade. Harper tried to finish things off by powerbombing Xavier through a table but then it was Kofi who made the save, nailing Harper with one of the hammers. He then held Harper on the table as Woods delivered a flying elbow for the win.

There’s a rumor that Rowan is hurt, which could be a reason for the quick change, and that would suck for Rowan and Harper. Hopefully that’s not the case or if it is, it’s not a long absence. But this was a fun match.


Had Enough

Jeff Hardy finally snapped. In a one on one match against Randy, Orton once again shoved his finger through Jeff’s piercing hole. (Still disgusting.) Jeff fought back and was about to execute the spot where he holds his opponents legs, shouts the name of the city, and drops the legs. But instead, he thought about it... and just stomped Orton’s junk.

This led into a straight up beating from Hardy to Orton, getting a measure of revenge for all of the terrible things Randy did over the last month. It ended with Hardy delivering a Swanton off some equipment through Orton on a table. Because that’s what a normal person does when their back is messed up.

It was a very cathartic segment after watching the Charismatic Enigma brutalized by the Viper for so long now.


Still Going

The WWE title feud was a short segment, confirming what we already knew: That this feud is continuing and Joe is a mean dude.

AJ did an interview with Renee Young on the entryway saying he wasn’t proud of how things went down, but if Samoa Joe talked about his wife again, he’ll rip out his heart and show it to him. Nice.

Joe attacked the man from behind, choked him out while children in the crowd told him they loved him. Then he got on the mic and talked more trash to AJ’s wife.

Nothing was really added here. Just reminding us where we left off.


Finally Gets it Right

Aiden English finally got it right this week. Rusev and Lana took on Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega in a SummerSlam rematch. When Almas tried to introduce a chair, Aiden English ran in from the crowd and took the chair away. Rusev then hit his Machka Kick for the win.

Aiden didn’t stay to celebrate with them but Rusev seemed happy about it. Is Rusev Day going to be OK? Please?


The Return

Good news: Naomi finally returned to SmackDown, after being pretty much absent since WrestleMania.

Bad News: She lost to Peyton Royce.


This was a very good fallout episode.

Grade: A

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