WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Daniel Bryan's reveal disappoints, Buddy Murphy shines again
Murphy had another amazing showing, but a big storyline misstep ended the show on a sour note
During the course of 90 minutes on Tuesday night, SmackDown Live was yet another strong TV effort from WWE, something that's become a pleasant trend in recent weeks. Unfortunately, this week's payoff to the ongoing saga involving Daniel Bryan, Rowan and Roman Reigns was a big letdown to close the show.
Let's have a look now at everything that went down on an uneven -- but mostly good -- edition of SmackDown Live on Tuesday night.
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Daniel Bryan's truth is a lie
At the conclusion of last week's edition of SmackDown, Bryan promised to deliver the culprit behind the mysterious attacks on Roman Reigns in the lead-up to SummerSlam. Early in the show, it appeared they were ready to do just that, placing a hooded man in a chair backstage.
Buddy Murphy def. Daniel Bryan via pinfall after hitting Murphy's Law. Rowan got involved on the apron which set up two near-falls for Bryan, but Murphy reversed momentum, hitting a knee and his finisher for a stunning but impressive victory. As Murphy was about to give a post-match interview after the commercial break, he was attacked by Rowan and Bryan who declared Murphy was a coward, a liar and a piece of trash who did not deserve his spot on the roster.
The closing shot of the show, with little time left, saw Reigns meeting with Bryan and Rowan only for the payoff of the hooded man revealed as an older Rowan lookalike. The show faded to black on that major down note.
The match between Bryan and Murphy was, as one would expect, excellent. Murphy simply being in a camera shot turned into involvement in the story, and he has made the absolute best of it with two weeks of stellar matches on SmackDown -- first with Reigns and now with Bryan. While you can't ask for better opponents, Murphy was as big a part as either man in making these contests special. Unfortunately, the final shot of the show was such a brutal disappointment and dragged the grade as a whole down from an easy A. Grade: B-
Kofi Kingston isn't stupid
When it comes to fighting back against the tactics of Randy Orton, revenge is a dish best served out of nowhere. One night after Kofi Kingston was forced to watch as Orton directed The Revival to destroy the knee of New Day teammate Xavier Woods, "The Viper" explained the situation was the result of Kofi being "stupid." In very WWE fashion, this led to the inevitable karmic moment of Kingston sneaking into the ring and surprising Orton with Trouble in Paradise.
Following the kick to Orton's face, Kingston brought back images of SummerSlam by laying Orton out and attempting to wrap a chair around his leg before Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson tried to make the save. The Revival took the brunt of the beating while Orton was able to make the escape.
Kingston needed to show some serious fire after the attack on Woods, and that's what we got. It's simple storytelling, to be sure, but simple can be effective. Giving Orton a taste of his own medicine was a nice touch and keeps things moving along nicely toward their rematch at Clash of Champions -- if not a battle at Hell in a Cell. Grade: B
What else happened on SmackDown?
- Kevin Owens talked to Shane McMahon backstage, saying he realized how bad the $100,000 fine he'd been handed last week was for his family and asking McMahon to reconsider. McMahon said he'd take Owens' appeal under consideration. Later in the show, McMahon said he was reconsidering his judgment and the fine, but would fire Owens should he ever lay his hands on another WWE official.
- King of the Ring First Round -- Andrade def. Apollo via pinfall after a hammerlock DDT. He advances to the second round of the King of the Ring tournament to face the winner of next week's first-round match between Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin after a fine opener.
- Charlotte Flair was the guest on this week's "A Moment of Bliss segment. Flair took shots at Bayley, saying "Bayley may be the champion, but I am the brand." This brought out the SmackDown women's champion to fire back and eventually accept what she took as a challenge from Flair before shoving "The Queen" off her chair.
- The Revival def. Heavy Machinery via pinfall after a schoolboy pin. Before the match, The Revival challenged New Day for a match at Clash of Champions. The challenge, at least for this week, went unanswered
- Chad Gable cut a backstage promo about his underdog status in King of the Ring. His first-round opponent, Shelton Benjamin, snuck a "You must be this tall to participate in the King of the Ring tournament" sign on the door behind him.
- Sami Zayn was the guest on "Miz TV" where he addressed his losing streak and the "parasites" in the crowd. "I realize any success I've had in my life is because I fought for something bigger than myself," Zayn said. "I fought for causes, I fought for what is right. I realized the path to redemption for Sami Zayn is through altruism. There are so many people on SmackDown who need my help." This brought out intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura. After a bit of back-and-forth banter, Nakamura laid out The Miz with multiple Kinshasas.
- King of the Ring First Round -- Elias def. Kevin Owens via pinfall following a fast count by McMahon, who came to ringside in the middle of the match to eventually insert himself as the official. After stopping Owens from attacking Elias on the outside, McMahon removed his shirt to reveal a striped referee top. He eventually slid into the ring and took over officiating duties. Of course, this meant a fast count on a roll-up to give Elias the win and advance him in the tournament to face the winner of next week's first-round matchup between Ali and Murphy.
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