Randy Orton Addressed His Attack on Jeff Hardy
Although this was along the same lines as his show-opening promo from two weeks ago, he was still given good material to work with and I enjoyed what he had to say. Either way, it's very apparent that Orton is much more comfortable in the heel role than he ever was as a babyface, especially on the microphone. I'm interested to see whether this heel turn means he'll be more aggressive in the ring than he was before, too.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch def. The IIConics
The IIconics are merely background players at this point and I assume that will continue to be the case until the rumored women's tag team division comes to fruition. This was a decent match, though, that largely existed to show that Flair and Lynch are on the same page, at least for now. Lynch wasn't exploding with excitement after Charlotte picked up the victory for their team, but I really hope it's Charlotte who ultimately turns heel and not Lynch.
WWE Champion AJ Styles Responded to Samoa Joe
After the Styles vs. Joe rivalry took a personal turn last week when Joe mentioned Styles' family, I was happy Styles responded with intensity and by bringing up their history together. Obviously, the initials "TNA" were never named, but they're playing up the story that they were friends for over a decade before Joe threw that all away. Styles' delivery wasn't the best, unfortunately, but I'm digging this program on the whole and it's great WWE is giving casual viewers a reason to care about it.
Zelina Vega def. Lana
Vega and Lana actually impressed me with their outing last week, but that isn't to say it was anything above average. In fact, this was equally abysmal and the interference from Andrade "Cien" Almas, Rusev and Aiden English was more of a distraction than anything. If nothing else, their feud was furthered with this match, but English costing Lana the win for the third straight week was way too predictable. What's the endgame here?
Daniel Bryan Attacked The Miz
I've said it countless times in the past, but Miz is simply on another level right now when it comes to his promos. His back-and-forth with Bryan last week was wonderful, but Miz just going off on Bryan works just as well and it makes me want to see Bryan get his hands on him that much more. As it turned out, that's exactly what happened here when Bryan "crashed" the set of Miz & Mrs. to ambush his archrival. Their SummerSlam match has the potential to be an instant classic and, better yet, the outcome could truly go either way.
United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura def. R-Truth (Non-title)
Nakamura has been somewhat of an afterthought in the current Hardy vs. Orton feud, so it was wise to give him some shine for a change by showcasing him against an enhancement talent in Truth. There wasn't anything overly special about the bout whatsoever, mind you, but it was successful in giving Nakamura a clean victory ahead of his next schedule title defense against Hardy at SummerSlam.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers def. 3SK in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match
It's been a while since we've seen a squash with The Bludgeon Brothers, so this was a nice way to remind everyone of their dominance and ruthlessness. They made short work of their unknown opponents and it was fun for what it was (the Bludgeons killing dudes will never not be a blast), but otherwise, I find the champs to be a bit boring. I wouldn't mind them dropping the tag titles at SummerSlam to a team with better character development.
The New Day def. The Bar in the Finals of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament
I was a fan of the series of matches these two teams had with each other on Raw two years ago and it's awesome that the outstanding chemistry they share is still there. In addition to be allotted a ton of time, which was appreciated, they were allowed to go all out and produce the barn-burner of a bout they were capable of. The crowd was into everything they did and I loved the energy that this had from start to finish. New Day going over was a genuine surprise if only because they were chasing the championships no less than six months ago, but the SummerSlam match with The Bludgeon Brothers should at least be entertaining.
While this wasn't as strong of a show as last week, this was still a solid effort from SmackDown Live as they lock more matches in for SummerSlam, all of which I'm looking forward to. The main event was excellent and by far the best thing on the entire show, but the promos once again made for compelling television and the four other matches served a purpose. The blue brand is light years better than Raw nowadays, so if you're torn between the brands and which to watch, sticking with SmackDown would be the smart thing to do.