WWE SmackDown Live results, recap, grades: Shane McMahon takes advantage, The New Day reunites
McMahon took a break from Roman Reigns to make The Miz's life miserable again
Days removed from Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia and just two weeks out from Stomping Grounds, WWE finds itself in a peculiar booking situation with multiple pay-per-view shows booked so closely together. With most of the feuds that populated last Friday's card continuing on to the next show, Tuesday's episode of SmackDown Live felt like it was in a bit of a holding pattern from the standpoint of big reveals and exciting escalations.
While this certainly wasn't a bad episode of the blue brand or anything comparable with the troubling decline on Raw over the past few months, things still felt a bit too formulaic and safe, which has been a recurring theme for creative in the two months since WrestleMania. Save for a few inside jokes on the microphone from The Miz and The New Day involving booking and the scripting of promos, this one lacked that fresh feeling that anything could happen.
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Shane McMahon sends message to The Miz
"Miz TV" welcomed Drew McIntyre as a guest, with McMahon and Elias in tow. The segment devolved into trash talk from both sides until McMahon challenged Miz to a match later in the evening that he accepted, even with the stipulation that he must first defeat Elias and McIntyre in order to get to McMahon.
The Miz def. Elias via pinfall: After a badly missed elbow drop for Elias from the top rope, Miz found an opening to hit a Skull-Crushing Finale for the pin.
Drew McIntyre def. The Miz via pinfall: Outside distraction from McMahon quickly became a theme, and eventually cost Miz the match. Miz turned his back on McIntyre long enough to eat both a Glasgow Kiss and a Claymore kick for the 1-2-3. Despite Miz's loss, McMahon still called for the match and attacked Miz's prone body.
Shane McMahon def. The Miz via submission: Despite a rally from Miz to fight his way back, McMahon escaped a Skull-Crushing Finale attempt and landed a kick to the face. He quickly applied a head-and-arm choke to force the tap out.
WWE remains at an interesting crossroads regarding the gratuitous amount of key television time given to Shane McMahon over the past month on both Raw and SmackDown. In one sense, it's working considering McMahon has appeared reborn on the microphone following his heel turn ahead of WrestleMania. On the other hand, it has bordered on gratuitous since McMahon is somehow currently involved in major feuds with both Roman Reigns and The Miz. The first half hour of this week's SmackDown was the perfect microcosm as McMahon turned somewhat illogical booking (Miz agreeing to three matches in one night simply to get his hands on him) into a fairly entertaining start to the show.
The solution might be a more focused level of storytelling centered around a can't-miss trope that WWE has seemingly done its best to avoid of late: naming McMahon the face of an organized heel faction. Given he already has the muscle of McIntyre and the comedy of Elias by his side, adding The Revival (which was certainly teased on Monday following their Raw tag team title victory) seems like a no-brainer. Imagine a modern-day Four Horsemen meets Evolution, with McMahon in the role of Ric Flair. Not only would McMahon thrive in the role, but it would certainly justify how much screen time he has received during a time when WWE's bloated roster has led to so many being underutilized. Grade: C+
What else happened on SmackDown?
- Heavy Machinery def. AJ Kirsh & Dave Dutra via pinfall after Otis and Tucker accepted the challenge by SmackDown champions Daniel Bryan and Rowan to replace them in this match. Bryan had humorously referred to the initial match as a tag team title unification, thanks to the local enhancement duo showing up with cardboard tag team belts with "Yolo County Champions" written on them.
- R-Truth got shipped out and avoided a 24/7 title defense. Truth, who told Carmella that the anxiety caused by being champion is ruining his life, attempted to hide in a road case from the rest of the locker room while Carmella headed to the ring for her match. But Truth's cry for help due to a lack of oxygen was heard by Jinder Mahal. After being unable to open the case with a crowbar, Mahal learned Truth's case was being shipped to Los Angeles for next week's Raw, so he ordered a referee to travel with him to LA.
- Sonya Deville def. Carmella via pinfall in a match that was dominated by Mandy Rose's constant interference. Despite Carmella taking out both with a suicide dive, a late distraction gave Deville the opening for a step-up knee to the face and the 1-2-3.
- Aleister Black cut another nonsensical backstage promo which ended with him asking a member of WWE staff off camera to open up a door. Black then screamed, "The door is open! Will somebody pick a fight with me?" Considering Black has already debuted on the main roster and had a run opposite Ricochet as a multi-brand tag team title challenger, these weekly promos have felt oddly timed and a step in the wrong direction for his character.
- Bayley def. Nikki Cross via pinfall in a non-title match designed to hype up Bayley's SmackDown championship defense against Alexa Bliss at Stomping Grounds. Bliss had manipulated Cross to take the match backstage by telling her Bayley liked social media messages from angry fans trolling Cross. Bayley not only made quick work of Cross in the match, she pointed at Bliss before hitting her elbow drop finisher and stared Bliss down during the pin.
- Apollo Crews was issued stern warning by Zelina Vega during a backstage interview. Crews, who referenced Andrade's intercontinental title loss to Finn Balor in Saudi Arabia, was threatened by Vega not to provoke Andrade or he will pay. Meanwhile, Chad Gable cryptically took notes over Crews' shoulder on the same night he would go on to debut on 205 Live.
- The New Day def. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler via pinfall in a six-man tag team match. An earlier in-ring promo segment saw Ziggler and company rip both Kingston and the crowd for betraying themselves and accepting handouts from others. The match, which marked the return of Big E following injury, came to a close as Ziggler accidentally superkicked Zayn, allowing Kingston to hit Trouble in Paradise on both of them before pinning Zayn.
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