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WWE SmackDown Live recap & reactions (Aug. 7, 2018): That One Friend

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WWE SmackDown Live returned last night (Aug. 7) from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Find all the results at the stupendous live blog here.

Friendship Dynamics

I feel I short changed the Becky Lynch/Charlotte story last week.

I pretty much write these recaps as I watch SmackDown, edit it the next hour, and then I’m done. It’s an instant reaction. So those stories that grow on me after I sleep on them get short changed.

This story was one of them.

By Wednesday evening, I realized how good this story is.

We’ve spent over a year watching Becky down on her luck, losing any time it was even close to counting. Then we spent the last couple months watching her finally turn it around and eventually earn a chance to reclaim the title she won years ago.

Then Charlotte, who’s almost always on top, waltzes in after some time off and earns the same right the same night. This is obviously a hindrance to Becky’s journey to the top.

The fact they’re friends makes it even better. Because it’s super relatable.

Who hasn’t had that friend who just seems to have it easy? Who doesn’t have to try as hard to get the same opportunities. The one that no matter how hard you try, you always seem in their shadow in one way or another. I know I have.

It’s not easy to always be happy for that friend, especially when it starts stepping on your toes. That’s what Becky is experiencing. It probably wasn’t easy for her to watch Charlotte on top all last year while she was on a skid. It’s even harder now that Charlotte’s time in the spotlight is directly hindering Lynch’s long journey.

The friends teamed up to pick up a win over the IIconics this week. Becky took some damage so Charlotte tagged in and picked up the win with the Figure Eight soon after. As Lynch watched in the corner, it seemed like she wasn’t too thrilled to watch Charlotte get the win even though it meant her team won. And while they celebrated together, Becky’s smile didn’t seem 100% sincere.

It’s only been two weeks, but this has been a great story about the dynamics of this friendship, with one friend who always seems to have it easier than the other.


Missing Chapter

This week, the Miz cut another great promo on the set of Miz & Mrs., masterfully running down Daniel Bryan until Bryan attacked him from out of nowhere. (It was a great surprise attack.) Miz hit Daniel in the head with a flower vase and bailed.

This has been a very good story, and they teased it out since Bryan’s return very well. All that said, I’m going to gripe now.

Last week, they ended the Bryan/Miz segment with Miz emphatically saying that he would not face Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam because it was beneath him. He reiterated that online this week.

Then today, the match was made on Twitter.

But why?

The storyline driven aspect of me is annoyed they skipped that part of the story. If they’re going to build last week’s segment to highlight that Miz won’t accept the match, they need to do more than gloss over the resolution via a “negotiation” with Paige.

The story has been really good, but they pretty much skipped a part between last Tuesday and yesterday. It’s like reading a book that goes from chapter five to chapter seven. We want to know what connected the two, despite how good the five & seven have been.


Family

The WWE title program hasn’t been fancy. After it was announced, we had Joe cut a promo one week and AJ this week.

But it’s been working.

Last week, Joe cut a promo specifically designed to get under the champ’s skin, talking about how AJ is a bad father because he’s never there. And it worked.

This week, the champ talked about how this job makes it hard to be a family man. He’s not there to see little league games and recitals. He admitted that his wife is pretty much a single mom. Joe focused on an already presented wound to get Styles to pick at it.

It angered Styles, which was likely Joe’s intent. It was effective enough to throw away the friendship they had for years though. Now AJ is going to come into SummerSlam angry. Is that what Joe wants? Or is that going to bite him in the ass?

While I’ve enjoyed the build so far, they really need an electric main event segment next week to really complete the build.


Violence

Have I said prior that heel Orton is the best Orton?

Yes, multiple times. But it remains true.

Much like a few weeks back, Randy opened the show with another explanation of his actions. Last time, I said that I felt that the “fans don’t respect me” didn’t seem to fit with Orton’s general personality. But at the same time, what he’s saying isn’t wrong. He’s one of the most decorated wrestlers currently if not all time. And fans still don’t really give him that due. He’s criticized for being bland or boring. And while there is merit to that, it doesn’t mean all his accomplishments aren’t there.

But the more important thing is how well he’s selling it in these promos. It’s simple but he says it like he means it. And he’s promising violence to repay our disrespect. He’s going to target all of our favorites until we learn our lesson. And it’s not just going to be physical violence. He’s going to erase their very identities.

I’m one of those people who have felt Orton has been bland in the past. But if there’s another title feud for RKO in the future (and he’s spoken about wanting to work AJ in the past), this is the Viper I want there.


Main Event

The main event this week was a 30 minute tag team match between The Bar and The New Day to decide who faces the Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam.

It was fan-friggin-tastic.

These teams pulled out all the stops until Big E stood up with a Cesaro Crossface still locked in to tag Kofi in, power Cesaro onto his shoulders, and with Cesaro struggling the entire time (I loved that detail), they delivered the Midnight Hour for the win.

This is one of those matches that my analysis is “Go watch it.”

Everyone played their part well, including Xavier Woods, who was just on the outside cheering his boys on. But even just in that role, Woods is able to help sell the emotion of the match.

While I was rooting for the Bar because I really wanted to see that war, I can’t be mad with either outcome tonight. The tag team division proved that when they’re actually given time on WWE TV (and that’s not often), they deliver.

So how about we give the tag team divisions more time on WWE TV, eh?


That Slow Breakup

Aiden English continues to trip over his own feet trying to endear himself to the rest of Rusev Day.

Lana and Zelina Vega had a rematch this week, this time with Rusev in Lana’s corner. When Rusev and Andrade Almas got into it, Aiden English (who Rusev asked to stay in the back after accepting his apology) ran out to get involved, but ended up shoving El Idolo into the ring post. That knocked Lana off the top rope (a couple moments after impact).

Rusev Day is slowly dying, and it’s sad to see. Fans still enjoy the gimmick. We’re pretty much all Aiden English here, wanting them to stay together but powerless to stop the break.


The Rest:

Truth Rules: Shinsuke Nakamura defeated R-Truth in a short match. The more entertaining part was the backstage segment where Truth felt the only way to get a shot at Shinsuke’s title is to pin Carmella, and only decided to fight Nak when the US champ said something to him in Japanese that he didn’t know. Truth still has it.

Squash: The Bludgeon Brothers won a 3 on 2 handicap match against some enhancement dudes.


This was a really good episode this week. Let’s get the tag division time like they got this week more often, WWE.

Grade: A

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