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WWE SmackDown results, recap, reactions (July 17, 2020): Destroyer of monsters

Bray Wyatt has officially reverted back to the Eater of Worlds.

I absolutely loved the Firefly Fun House music transforming into the old Wyatt gimmick quick cut.

In the dark, creepy swamp, Bray said that Braun was a lost sheep looking for a home. Bray gave him purpose and created him. But Braun never lived up to being the monster that he created.

Once you enter the swamp, you can never truly leave. And there’s a part of Braun that’s still living there. Braun isn’t capable of handling the gift that Bray gave him. So it’s time for Bray to destroy the monster he became.

I really liked this promo. I wish that they started this angle this way, because originally having them face each other on the pretense that Braun left the Wyatt family all of a sudden on his own doing was silly. Bringing it back to the origins of Braun’s run in the family however, was great. It helped establish why Bray was a force to be reckoned with as the eater of worlds.

Braun later, before his match with John Morrison, cut his own intense promo that I was partially sold on. He said a man has to grow up and face his fears, and he’s ready and willing to walk through the gates of hell and slap the devil himself in the face. The last thing he wants is for Bray to turn into the Fiend, because even he knows that the Fiend is evil’s existence.

It was a decent promo but Braun still has work to do with his delivery. As I’ve always said, Braun is best as a no nonsense ass kicker with fewer words spoken. He certainly did that with Morrison! Keep him this way, WWE. The monster among men isn’t always menacing. The Swamp Fight is intriguing as it will most likely be cinematic, so all bets are off for this.

Bro ain’t running the show

Matt Riddle’s blessing as a great performer and more unique gimmick will end up being his curse in WWE. The “bro” stuff is great and really put Riddle on the map, even in the indies. I first saw Riddle perform in Progress’s very first NYC show back in 2017 and was captivated by his style. (Fun fact - he faced WALTER for the Atlas title and my goodness was his chest purple after that!)

So when WWE finally signed him up, I was really excited. He did great in NXT and then the call up came.

Immediately, I knew where this was going.

“Bro that runs the show” was cool the first time. The second time it was kind of cool. Now - it’s a crutch given to him by WWE and will likely last for the rest of his damn career. It will be on his shirts, it will be in damn near every promo, and announcers will beat it into the ground. *Whispers* Hey WWE, he doesn’t need it, m’kay?

So, anyhoo! The match between him and AJ was great. His Bro to sleep/powerbomb/running knee strike was a great combo. Later, AJ had one of the smoothest transitions into a calf crusher I have seen and Riddle countered into the Bro-mission, but Styles rolled him for the win. After, Styles showed respect for Riddle and shook his hand.

And then Corbin (not Borebin this week and I’ll explain why) blasted him from behind. Styles dipped because he already showed his respect and Corbin hit a nasty End of Days which Riddle sold like a champ. Corbin is not Borebin this week because I actually enjoyed his usage on this show. Before this match, he cut a promo backstage and said that Bro was just a boy who couldn’t remember to put his shoes on. He called Riddle’s run thus far a “honeymoon phase.” It was actually a really good promo!

Now will this positivity carry on next week? Possibly not, but at this current moment, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, I’m… interested in this new feud.

Please WWE, just let Corbin be serious, and not the bow down bullshit artist.

The Rest

Bayley and Sasha Banks def. Asuka and Nikki Cross - We started off with Alexa Bliss’s “A Moment of Bliss”, where Bliss said a mystery guest would send shockwaves through the SmackDown locker room. Cross assumed it was her and thanked Bliss for her consideration, but after being told it wasn’t her, Bayley and Sasha came out and said that the women’s evolution truly started because of them. Then the REAL surprise guest showed up… Asuka! Bayley and Sasha attacked BlissCross and Asuka made the save, which then led to a match.

Asuka loves her hip attacks doesn’t she? She got a few in on Banks early on. Cross tagged back in, as did Bayley, and Cross got her in the ring apron. Cross hit a crossbody and then hilariously, she and Asuka danced on the announce table. But that rascally Bayley got her legs up on the rope to assist herself in a win for her team.

I have really liked the consistency in the booking between Bayley and Sasha being scared of Nikki Cross. She’s a force to be reckoned with, after all. Cheating to win makes all the sense in the world here and definitely something a delusional heel would do after claiming to be the best champion. One thing I noticed was there hasn’t been any special Extreme Rules stipulations announced for either women’s title matches on Sunday. Why tho? Gimme stips! Bayley and Nikki certainly deserve one after that backstage brawl post-match!

Cesaro def. Big E - Cesaro and Shinsuke also subscribed to one of Eddie Guerrero’s methods, didn’t they? There was a really cool Stretch Muffler into a Cesaro Swing moment. Big E’s belly to belly is never not smooth. The cheat moment was Nakamura knocking out Kofi and taking advantage of a distracted ref, assisting Cesaro in getting the win. Later, they announce that they will do a Tables match for the SmackDown tag team titles.

This makes sense as tables were the big thing for the past two weeks. I don’t know, though. I kind of feel like seeing a gimmick match on a pay-per-view that already has its own gimmick pay-per-view later in the year is cheap. I would save tables, ladders, and chairs for… Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. Extreme Rules should be for no DQ, No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere type deals. I’m sure the tables match will still be great though, given who will be in it. What say you, Cagesiders?

Lacey Evans def. Naomi - No surprise here. Lacey Stole a win and also not surprisingly, didn’t get DQ’ed after literally tying Naomi’s hair onto the second rope in front of the ref. She then took advantage with a Women’s Right when Naomi, with said ref’s help mind you, got her hair untangled. Bad reffing, ref! Naomi deserves better than this. I really didn’t like Lacey’s heel gimmick and I’m not happy it’s back. Turning heel because of a loss in a karaoke contest? Really?

Braun Strowman def. John Morrison - Basically a squash to show off Braun’s newfound intensity going into Extreme Rules. Morrison took his beating like a champ though.

Sheamus finally showed up - After weeks of being on the tron in his home, presumably, Sheamus attacked Jeff Hardy from behind as he was being interviewed about why he chose to accept Sheamus’ challenge. The most intriguing part about this was the revelation that the bar fight between them will be next week on SmackDown, and not on Extreme Rules this Sunday. I think I honestly prefer that.

Sonya, Mandy, and Otis are very much missed, y’all. This damn COVID-19 era is straight evil.

While I generally enjoyed the show, a couple of sour spots irked me. This “surprise” on A Moment of Bliss was just hype to get people to tune in, which I get sure. But after this whole week of promoting the women’s revolution, WWE should have expected fans to assume an important announcement possibly regarding Evolution 2 would be coming. And the other sour spot was Naomi’s continued mishandling. Naomi deserves better, and that’s not just my point of view - it’s currently trending on Twitter. Naomi is much more talented than WWE would have you believe. It’s a damn shame.

Grade: B

What were your thoughts, Cagesiders? Give me your Extreme Rules predictions!

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