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WWE SmackDown recap & reactions (July 15, 2022): A special referee

This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown wasn’t built with any kind of theme in mind. There was a main event, but almost nothing during the show itself led up to said main event. If anything, they spent more time on Theory and his nonsense.

Feel how you’d like about that.

I make mention of this because I think there’s something to be said about WWE not putting together shows with a clear narrative and the diminishing quality of said shows directly related to that fact. It’s especially baffling here because it could have been a fun story to tell throughout the evening!

The show was always going to end with Adam Pearce announcing a special guest referee for the WWE tag team title match at SummerSlam later this month. Fans love a good mystery angle. Why not use that throughout the night to keep interest?

Instead, we got yet another Uso vs. Street Profit singles match that ended in a pinfall that wasn’t really a pinfall because, yet again, someone’s shoulder was up. We already knew a special guest referee was coming, they didn’t need to book this to add yet another reason for it.

Furthermore, doesn’t this just showcase how pathetically bad WWE referees are at their job? How the hell is it possible Jeff Jarrett is the “perfect” candidate for the job over full time officials?

Enjoy, Nashville!

I guess.


Yes, I’m going to give a whole section to Pat McAfee, because this guy is genuinely one of the most entertaining performers to come through WWE in a long while.

He just signed a new contract with the company, and after missing last week they rolled out the red carpet for him to start this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown. He promptly opened by saying “Orlando, I’m so glad to be in you.”

Hey, it’s silly and juvenile, sure, but it’s just so damn nice to have someone talk like a normal human in WWE. That includes later calling Bum Ass Corbin a “douche bag” and referencing that they aren’t TV-14 yet but it’s the best way to describe ol’ Bum Ass.

He makes it fun. What’s more, he makes it sound like a dude talking shit about another dude he’s about to get into a fight with.

Corbin, who we hate, which makes him pretty good, really, because that’s the point, showed up on the Titantron and went full sports entertainer performer guy. He came across so much like an actor doing a reading than a real live person. The thing about that is it works here because it’s such a leap from what we get with McAfee, who we love.

All the more reason to pick that side.

Then, because he’s just that damn good, McAfee ended the segment by giving one hell of an introduction putting over the new SmackDown Women’s Champion, Liv Morgan. The guy truly can do it all.


All the rest
  • Liv Morgan and Natalya had an awkward match that almost seemed to be intentionally awkward. Perhaps the point was to play off what happened at the recent house show where Nattie appeared to get upset about something and no sold a finish in a match with Morgan. They definitely wanted to create the appearance that they were working stiffer. In the end, Morgan won the match clean. It was a bit sloppy but Morgan hasn’t had a lot of time to be featured in this way and putting on decently long TV matches like this on a consistent basis. After, Kayla Braxton worked her new confrontational interviewer gimmick and asked about Morgan not being dominant and Liv acknowledged being the underdog at SummerSlam but she’ll fight to keep her title.
  • Theory showed up for an interview this week and ran into Paul Heyman, who did his best to talk Theory into scheduling his Money in the Bank cash-in so that it’s a regular match both can prepare for and be promoted for ahead of time. Theory, of course, didn’t go for it but did say maybe he would offer Heyman a job as special counsel when he wins the title. The problem with all this is neither of these two are babyfaces. Who am I supposed to be rooting for here? I suppose it’s interesting to see the pieces move around the chess board but there’s no emotional investment. Later, Theory had a match with Madcap Moss that went a bit too long considering it was always headed for a disqualification. After, Theory quite literally got on the mic and said “no one cares” cause he’s still Mr. Money in the Bank. Yeah.
  • The New Day dressed up as The Vicious Viking Raiders and tried to do some comedy but it wasn’t all that funny. Erik & Ivar showed up and actually got the chance to speak, but it was cheesy. In the end, it proved to be one big setup, with Shanky and Jinder Mahal launching a sneak attack and helping New Day fend off the Vicious Vikings. It was all very underwhelming.
  • Using trauma for clout is a genuine issue in our social media obsessed society, so I absolutely love that WWE has a character who is fully transparent about using her trauma/accomplishments despite said trauma for just that. It genuinely makes it feel good to hate her. She gave a lame apology this week and when the fans saw through it, she told them to “go to hell” and walked out on her planned match once again. This is fantastic.
  • For whatever reason, WWE went back to the false advertisement well, only this time they did it like one commercial break before the match they were never going to deliver on. Yet again, it was Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus for the right to challenge for the WWE Universal championship at Clash at the Castle. Yet again, Sheamus didn’t wrestle, with McIntyre beating up one of his henchmen, this time Ridge Holland. This whole thing stinks.

This was an okay show.

Grade: C+

Your turn.