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WWE SmackDown Live recap & reactions (Aug. 28, 2018): Anti-Hero


WWE SmackDown Live returned last night (Aug. 28) from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can find all the results at the live blog that is the best medicine right here.

Red Hot

There’s been a bunch of talk about whether or not Becky Lynch is a heel and whether or not we should boo her if that’s the intent. We’ve written a good handful of posts about it here and our comment sections are busy will people discussing it. It’s a hot topic.

But when it comes to the television product right now, it doesn’t really matter.

They’ve done a good job framing the story that we don’t have to hate Becky and love Charlotte for it to work. They’ve built the story well enough that the motives of both women are understandable and the characters are fleshed out that it still clicks. It continues to be a great story and entertaining TV.

This week, after Charlotte successfully retained her title against Carmella in a solid main event bout, Becky attacked Charlotte from behind and told her she’s taking her title at Hell in a Cell. She then added “you bitch” for that extra punctuation.

And the crowd loved it.

Hell, they were chanting for Becky in the middle of the match. This crowd was white hot for her. But it didn’t take away from anything. We’re all watching a transformation of a character that was done well. It’s up to us right now whether we like who she’s become. They didn’t play her as a heel trying to insult the crowd tonight and as long as they aren’t trying to book things to specifically manufacture boos, it’ll work.

Right now, it looks like they’ve successfully created a white hot anti-hero. Serious, angry Becky is even better than full of heart, punny Becky. She’s delivering her promos with absolute conviction and carrying herself like a woman who’s going to kick some ass and not give a damn what anyone has to say about it. Heel or face, this has elevated her character.

We’ll have to see next week how the less hardcore crowds respond to her (so far our only sample size is Brooklyn and Toronto) but if the last two weeks are any indication, creative is going to have to accept she’s not going to be booed by everyone.

As long as they understand that, it won’t be an issue.

Damn the Mizanins

We got a little surprise treat this week with Andrade Almas vs. Daniel Bryan.

It was set up when Almas and Zelina Vega interrupted Bryan and Brie Bella. Not too much of note except for Vega calling herself “The breathtaking, deal-making la muñeca.” (I looked it up and la muñeca means “The Doll” but it was also the alias of a high end drug trafficker which makes it even cooler for her to use.)

The match was made after Paige ran from the other end of the building to officially book it. (That was a fun little bit.)

The match was good and these guys showed hints of chemistry that could make a future prolonged feud really good. But we didn’t get to see that tonight because of those damn Mizanins.

Maryse attacked Brie ringside while Miz eventually attacked Bryan in the ring, resulting in the DQ. (Once again, Almas was protected from taking a submission/pinfall L, meaning his only legit loss is still to AJ Styles.) Then the Mizanins attacked Brie and Bryan while making the other watch. It was a good heel formula that had the hardcore Toronto crowd booing them pretty uniformly.

Full Saxton

The New Day and Booker T King Booker opened the show to share the fact that they’re both now five time... five time... five time champions.

It’s was really goofy stuff. Booker knighted the New Day. Big E used the phrase “going full Saxton.” They all did spinaroonies (though Big E needed assistance.) It was all pretty ridic but I found myself smiling and laughing the entire time.

This was dumb fun done right.

All the Rest:

New Dad: Joe continues to antagonize AJ Styles by trying to be part of his family. This week, he called Wendy Styles and in the end, wanted to make sure the parent teacher conference time hadn’t changed. They already announced their second rematch at the Super Show-Down so don’t bet on Joe at Hell in a Cell.

Bar None: The Bar defeated both the Good Brothers and the Colons to advance in the mini-tag title tournament. They’ll face the winner of next week’s triple threat between SAnitY, Rusev Day, & the Usos. I like what they’re doing with these #1 contenders matches. It keeps the talent of the tag team division on display.

Cell Match: Jeff Hardy, wearing face paint featuring the letters RKO, claimed he was reborn and rebroken last week. Randy Orton claimed he’s going to destroy this version of Jeff Hardy. And they’ll meet up in Hell in a Cell. I suppose this match is personal enough to be a cell match, but I also feel that Joe/AJ and Becky/Charlotte both may have a better claim to it. There will probably be three Cell matches, so that WWE title feud could still get the nod. Becky/Charlotte is white hot right now, but probably too soon for the big gimmick match.

IIconic: Naomi continues to have issues with with the IIconics, taking an L to Billie Kay this week. The next step is likely for her to find some backup next to help neutralize the numbers advantage.

This was a solid episode, though many of the segments only slightly advanced stories if at all, leaving it with a tad of a filler feel. But the women’s story continues to entertain whether or not Becky is heel and we got a glimpse of Almas/Bryan.

Grade: B-

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