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SmackDown recap & reactions (Aug. 18, 2023): Edge’s last ride

This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown was all about Edge coming home to Toronto for what he said would be the last match on his WWE contract and what could ultimately be the final match of his professional wrestling career.

WWE commemorated the occasion by having various wrestlers — like John Cena, Charlotte Flair, Sami Zayn, and more — speak on the impact Edge has made on the industry. They also put together one hell of a video package for him:

They really don’t miss with videos like this, do they?

Finally, it was time for the match and Edge had his wife, Beth Phoenix, and their children ringside, themselves visibly emotional as he made his entrance. The crowd hit him with “you still got it” chants and I’ll be damned if he didn’t do his best to prove them right.

They had what was undoubtedly one of the better TV main event matches I’ve seen in quite some time. To my surprise, Edge came out on top too, pinning Sheamus after a Spear.

The industry isn’t what it used to be, certainly, but I’ve always liked the idea of the time honored tradition of going out on your back. If this was truly Edge’s last match, for WWE or otherwise, he goes out a winner, and that’s cool.

But there’s something special about losing in the end. Not because you have to lose for it to be the end, but because it means giving back to the business that gave so much to you.

Either way, this was done really well. Edge seemed to indicate he didn’t want them to go over the top and they struck just the right balance with how this show was put together. They paid tribute to him, made clear how much he has meant to WWE, and let him go out on a win after a great match with a wrestler who was sure to give him one.

Everybody won here.

Your LA Knight segment of the week:

While Austin Theory was arguing with Adam Pearce about getting his United States championship back, the Megastar hit the scene to create an opportunity of his own — a number one contender match with Theory.

He was well on his way to winning that match too, when The Miz got involved and provided enough of a distraction to help Theory score the roll up pinfall victory. It’s a pretty lame way for Knight to lose a top contender match but it’s hard to feel too upset about it, considering he really shouldn’t be focused on a title like that anyway.

Plus, hey, it means more TV time for him, seeing as he’ll surely be booked for future episodes of Monday Night Raw while this feud with The Miz continues.

It’s also worth pointing out that later in this show, Paul Heyman was sure to mention Knight in a hugely negative way, echoing the talking points The Miz has been hitting each week. We’ll have to wait and see if that means anything more but I’m cautiously optimistic.

All the rest

  • Rey Mysterio won the United States championship from Austin Theory last week and followed it up by opening SmackDown as a special guest alongside Santos Escobar on “The Grayson Waller Effect.” Noted shit stirrer Waller did his best to stir it up by calling Mysterio a thief for taking Escobar’s opportunity and wanting to take all the glory for himself. Santos never took the bait, though, instead standing by his friend and mentor. That’s when they went into your LA Knight segment of the week.
  • Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair were tasked with teaming up to duke it out with Damage CTRL, and they were actually pretty great together! They were a cohesive unit and that teamwork ensured they scored the victory, with Belair pinning Bayley. Iyo Sky may be women’s champion but it hardly feels like it the way they’ve been booking her since she became champion a couple weeks ago. As a follow up, Sky and Bayley attacked Belair backstage when she was being interviewed, taking a chair to her previously injured knee.
  • The Street Profits, with a new look and feel to them, got to wrestle for the first time since joining forces with Bobby Lashley. They scored a win over The O.C. in a fairly straightforward match that was designed to get them just that, a win. After, Lashley showed up to put them over for their victory and Toronto seemed to be loving it. Commentary won’t stop talking about how much potential exists here, and this was just the latest step in that process.
  • In a rarity for the blue brand, we only got one segment related to The Bloodline — Paul Heyman having fun messing with Kayla Braxton before taking a phone call and telling us Jimmy Uso will be back on SmackDown next week. Okay then!

This was a pretty slow show in points but it was dripping with emotion thanks to everything related to Edge.

Grade: B+

Your turn.

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