WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 7/30: Stratusfaction in King Lawler’s Court, Balor vs. Ziggler, It’s a New Day for Drew & Elias, The Viper Slithers into SummerSlam


PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

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JULY 30, 2019

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

Smackdown Viewership Last Week: 1.56 (.01 Increase from the previous week)

Arena and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Smackdown returns to the FedExForum in Memphis, TN. after appearing last June. The arena is the home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and has been open since September of 2004. WWE events started rolling in and out of here in 2005 with Smackdown being the first. Numerous PPV events have been hosted here including 2007’s Unforgiven and the inaugural pre-WrestleMania event Fastlane in February of 2015. That night saw Roman Reigns defeat Daniel Bryan to maintain his #1 contendership to the then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. Many cite Reigns winning that year’s Royal Rumble and defeating Bryan as the catalyst for the mixed-to-negative reaction Reigns received through the years until his leukemia announcement last October.

We continue to get ready for SummerSlam which is just under two weeks away. A lot of the show started to take shape last week as we learned of the following matches, as well as the U.S. Championship match on Raw last night:

Kofi Kingston to defend WWE Championship against Randy Orton
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon: Kevin quits WWE if he loses
A.J. Styles to defend U.S. Championship against Ricochet

Here’s what WWE.com is advertising for the show thus far:

Matches & Segments:

“The King’s Court” returns as Jerry “The King” Lawler welcomes Trish Stratus
Finn Balor is out to teach Dolph Ziggler some respect
The New Day to go head-to-head with Drew McIntyre & Elias

Storyline Follow-Up:

Randy Orton to address WWE Championship match
King’s Court: WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler with guest and fellow HOF’er Trish Stratus

Whenever WWE pulls into Memphis, Tenn., there’s always the possibility of Jerry “The King” Lawler appearing. There is no exception tonight, as Lawler brings back his long-lost King’s Court that originally ran from 1994-’95. He had several Hall of Famers including Shawn Michaels, Diesel (Kevin Nash), and Bob Backlund on multiple occasions.

Tonight, Lawler welcomes Trish Stratus. Multiple reports have Trish facing fellow multiple-time women’s champion Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam in Trish’s hometown of Toronto. Charlotte dropped a red herring in her promo last week where she said she was the “Queen of all Eras”:

Frank’s Analysis: If Lawler doesn’t say “puppies” during this segment, what’s the point? I’m somewhat kidding. At any rate, Charlotte facing Trish at SummerSlam is fine if it comes to fruition. It keeps Charlotte occupied with something meaningful while not being involved in the championship picture. I don’t think beating Trish gives Charlotte the “rub” everyone probably thinks it does as Trish is expected to do the job, but I understand why the thought process is as such and it’s overall fine. I’m just calling a spade a spade.

Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler

Dolph Ziggler’s attack on WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels seems to have affected a few people. Last night on Raw, as a result of said attack, Seth Rollins took of Ziggler. This ultimately led to WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar coming out to attack Rollins which lead to a vicious (and ridiculous) beatdown.

Tonight, it’s Finn Balor’s turn at Ziggler. They went at it numerous times in various matches throughout 2018 when Ziggler was aligned with Drew McIntyre. Balor worked a program with McIntyre towards the end of the year. Ironically Balor teamed with Rollins against Ziggler & McIntyre, and at one point teamed with Braun Strowman. They add another chapter to their rivalry tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: Nobody seems to have an issue with Bray Wyatt attacking WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, huh? On paper this should be a good match but come on now. Like we’re not expecting the lights to go out and Wyatt to interrupt? This all should make Balor angry enough to be the demon at SummerSlam, shouldn’t it? If Andrade can push him to that limit for their match at Super Showdown, surely a fiend can do the same.

Non-Title Match: Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. Drew McIntyre & Elias

Last week on Smackdown, New Day was on guest commentary joining Tom Phillips and David Otunga, since you can’t have just two people calling a match anymore for some odd reason.

Anyway, despite having issues with Kevin Owens earlier in the year (like three months ago), New Day expressed their support for Owens in his recent troubles with Shane McMahon. Owens was to have a match with Roman Reigns, but it turned into a beatdown by Shane, Elias, and Drew McIntyre. Shane was serving as the guest ring announcer, Elias was the guest timekeeper, and Drew was the special guest referee. Like we didn’t know where this was all going. Owens and Roman overcame the beatdown and Owens reiterated he would kick Shane’s ass at SummerSlam.

Tonight, New Day “pays for their sins” as they have a non-title match against Shane’s henchmen these days of Drew McIntyre and Elias.

Frank’s Analysis: With Francesca II and Elias’s guitar, they can totally get a mini-concert going. Why have a match? I’m only half-kidding. There’s not much to expand on here as you expect Shane and to get involved on behalf of his guys. I would be curious if Owens helps New Day and how that dynamic plays out given Owens’ feud with Kofi earlier in the year. By the way, why didn’t New Day help Apollo Crews after a post-match beatdown from Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura?

Randy Orton to Address WWE Championship match at SummerSlam

This is not advertised on WWE.com, but it was mentioned during a Smackdown commercial last night.

We learned last week on Smackdown that Kofi Kingston will defend his WWE Championship against Randy Orton at SummerSlam. It certainly isn’t the first time Orton will around the world title picture at the big summer event. Who can forget him becoming the youngest World Heavyweight Champion at SummerSlam 2004 when he defeated the late Chris Benoit.

Last week Kofi and Orton talked about their history especially Kofi when he cited an encounter from 2009. Here’s another where Kofi defaces Randy’s car:

Here’s Kofi in a WWE exclusive talking about preparing for Orton:

Orton has not been WWE Champion since dropping the title in 2017 to Jinder Mahal at Backlash. He attempts to regain the title at Summerslam and addresses that tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: I like how they’ve brought history into this feud. Even though it was years ago, they did a nice job tying it into today and makes me want to invest in the match. It remains to be seen whether or not Kofi retains but my early inclination is that he does so. The imminent FOX debut does play in and the question is does WWE see Kofi as the champion they want to present once the show gets off and running.

Other Match Results and Segments from Last Week

Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura def. Apollo Crews in a non-title match.
Ali discussed his missing out on the WWE Championship earlier in the year when he got injured. He failed to capture the Intercontinental Championship from Shinsuke Nakamura at Smackville this past Saturday.
Ember Moon def. Charlotte in one minute due to a distraction by Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston wrestled Samoa Joe to an unannounced decision due to outside interference by Randy Orton.
Bray Wyatt, talking from the Firefly Fun house, officially accepted Finn Balor’s challenge to a match at SummerSlam.
Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville had that weird segment where Sonya made the assumption they were getting a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match next week (tonight), and if they win, they earn a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match. Yes, this is all correctly typed.

Overall Thoughts on Tonight’s Show

We still haven’t heard Daniel Bryan’s announcement which was to shake Smackdown to its core. This had been advertised for the last two weeks. Maria as the new 24/7 Champion could cross over into tonight. We’ll see how they handle a pregnant woman being champion. Other than that, we can expect more build-up towards SummerSlam. The Intercontinental and Smackdown Tag Team Championships will likely get matches. We could get some #1 contender decisions tonight or at least over the next two weeks. After an action-packed Raw, you’ll likely get a similar feel tonight.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!

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