WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Daniel Bryan seeks the truth as Roman Reigns mystery grows


WWE wrapped up four nights of action in Toronto with a fourth consecutive highly-entertaining show. SmackDown Live closed out SummerSlam weekend with a strong focus on in-ring action while still advancing storylines, even if no real new ground was broken. There were no shocking returns like Sasha Banks on Raw the night before, but the story involving Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Rowan and Buddy Murphy is starting to find its legs. And there were several matches that were given time to breathe and develop into something compelling.

Let's have a look at how the landscape changed (or didn't) on the post-SummerSlam edition of SmackDown Live.

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Daniel Bryan and Rowan expose a 'lie'

Bryan and Rowan cut a promo from the entrance midway through the show, maintaining they had nothing to do with the recent attacks on Reigns. Anyone would give a name in the position Murphy was put in by Reigns, and everyone running with it as fact is what's wrong with the world. They vowed to prove their innocence during the show.

Roman Reigns def. Buddy Murphy via pinfall with a spear. This was a tremendous television match, with Murphy being given a ton of offense and some exciting near falls. Reigns was too much in the end, but this was a legitimizing performance for Murphy in a big match. Give talented wrestlers time to showcase what they can do, and good things happen. There's no denying both Murphy and Reigns are true talents inside the squared circle.

Later in the show, Bryan and Rowan confronted Murphy backstage, roughing him up when he refused to admit he lied about Rowan attacking Reigns. Eventually, he relented rather than face further punishment, only to be attacked again for saying he had lied because Bryan "hates liars." Poor Murphy can't even enjoy his big-match moment. The show went off air with Reigns ready to confront Bryan and Rowan, only to have Bryan reveal they found the culprit and will bring him to Reigns next week.

There have been some stumbles in trying to get to this feud between Bryan and Reigns, but they hit the right notes tonight. Bryan was in full supervillain mode in his attempts to prove Murphy only lied because he was threatened and used the same tactic Reigns used to get the truth to "expose" the lie. And the match between Reigns and Murphy was pure wrestling joy. Grade: B+

Shane McMahon won't leave Kevin Owens alone

In front of a wildly supportive crowd of fellow Canadians, Owens was in full babyface mode. After putting the McMahon situation to bed, Owens said he'd shifted his focus to the upcoming King of the Ring tournament. "Winning the King of the Ring tournament would mean just as much to me as winning any of the titles I have already won," Owens said. "Who wouldn't want their name on that list with legends like Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Edge, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Owen Hart and so many more? I am adding my name to that list."

Of course, no one truly leaves a McMahon in their wake, leading to the necessary (but not really) interruption from McMahon who immediately called Owens' SummerSlam win "tainted." McMahon showed stills of Owens scoring the low blow that set up his victory, then saying Owens will go through his whole life known as a cheater. McMahon said Owens would be in competition later in the night before stating his attack on Elias during the SummerSlam match -- as Elias was a WWE official at the time -- would result in a fine of $100,000. Samoa Joe was the man tapped to do McMahon's in-ring dirty work, stating he, not Owens, was "the badass" around SmackDown. Of course, Elias was there for the match as special guest enforcer.

Samoa Joe def. Kevin Owens via pinfall following the world's fastest fast count by Elias. This was the physical brawl you'd expect for a bit. Eventually, Elias stopped the referee from the counting three and handing Owens the win. Once Elias took over as ref, it was only a matter of time until Joe had Owens pinned for the fast count.

I think the WWE Universe as a whole was ready to move on from McMahon vs. Owens after SummerSlam. That isn't happening, and it looks like the McMahon/Elias alliance is going to continue being a thorn in the side of Owens for the foreseeable future. Owens is versatile enough to make it work, but it still feels like there are so many better options for him. Joe's character is also one who should feel unsatisfied with such a cheap win, but little character touches like that tend to get lost in the shuffle, and he was just a means to an end in the situation. Owens' ability to sell the frustrations inherent to being on the bad side of a McMahon and a sympathetic crowd lifted these segments this week. Grade: B-

What else happened on SmackDown?

  • Charlotte Flair def. Ember Moon via submission with the Figure Eight. The two women put on a tense, enjoyable match for over 10 minutes with Moon giving as good as she got before ultimately coming up short to "The Queen." Interestingly, Moon is now 2-3-1 in singles action on TV and PPV this year.
  • The Revival cut a backstage promo laying out the distraction of the 24/7 championship in preparation for their match with The New Day later in the show. The New Day cut their own backstage promo later in the night, including WWE champion Kofi Kingston explaining his need to "do what he needed to do" when Randy Orton antagonized his family which led to the DQ loss at SummerSlam.
  • The Revival & Randy Orton def. The New Day via pinfall following a Shatter Machine to Xavier Woods. Orton cut a promo before The New Day's scheduled match with The Revival, saying Kingston "ran away in front of his family." Orton said one day his children would ask why he "ran away from the scary man," and he'd have to admit he knew he couldn't beat him. Orton then joined up with The Revival to make the match a six-man tag. Post-match brawling ensued with Orton hitting RKOs on every member of New Day. The segment got the job done to move all issues involved toward Clash of Champions.
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