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WWE Smackdown! - August 5, 2022
Live from Greenville, South Carolina. Our hosts are Michael Cole (no longer with Mr. McMahon screaming at him through a headset) and Pat McAfee.
Bloodline arrives at the arena with their championships safely in tow.
Pat McAfee is incredibly proud of himself for kicking Happy Corbin in the balls at Summerslam, despite them being a small target and all. The Smackdown locker room finds it very amusing too, which leads to Ricochet challenging Corbin to a match.
Ricochet vs. Happy Corbin
Corbin is too eager to hit End of Days and Ricochet easily dumps him out for a soaring dive. Corbin dodges a flying crossbody and throws a mean clothesline. Corbin immediately slows the tempo and builds heat with a hard Irish whip. The fans chant for McAfee instead of booing Corbin. Ricochet makes a quick comeback with some head kicks, but Corbin elevates him into the ring post to send us to commercials. We're back with Ricochet stuck in a chinlock. The fans have switched to chanting "Bum-ass" at Corbin, which seems like a double negative to me. Corbin hits a high elevation back body drop, but loses focus to make a face at McAfee. Ricochet comes back with a back handspring elbow, flying clothesline, and standing SSP for only 2. Corbin counters into a torture rack neckbreaker. Ricochet blocks a chokeslam and nearly finishes with a sunset flip. Corbin counters with Deep 6 for only 2. They fight on the top rope until Corbin throws Ricochet neck-first onto the ropes. McAfee distracts from commentary, allowing Ricochet to crotch Corbin. Ricochet hits Total Recall and then a SSP to win at 11:47. Crowd loved all of this, and it was a decent WWE formula match that we've seen many, many times, **¾.
McAfee and Ricochet celebrate by playing catch with a football.
Sami Zayn happily knocks on Roman Reigns' door. He waits through a commercial before the Usos greet him. He'd like a word with Roman, but now is not a good time.
We get our third recap of Liv Morgan pinning Ronda Rousey, despite simultaneously tapping out to her armbar at Summerslam.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ludvig Kaiser (with Intercontinental Champion Gunther)
Kaiser is the former Marcel Barthel, Gunther is the former WALTER, and they're stuck with their Vince-given names for a while longer, it seems. The fans chant for Nakamura while Kaiser targets his head. Nakamura makes a quick comeback and hits a double knee drop for 1. Nakamura knees Kaiser off the top rope but runs into a gut wrench slam. Back from commercials, Gunther looks really concerned because Nakamura is making a second comeback. Nakamura hits a sliding German but takes a break to confront Gunther, which allows an ambush dropkick for Kaiser. Nakamura answers with a running knee to the face, but runs into an uppercut for 2. Kaiser hits a suplex for another nearfall, blocks an armbar, but Nakamura kicks him down for Kinshasa to win at 8:40. This followed all the same story beats as the previous match, but they had the crowd with him for the finish, **½.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura would love to face Gunther now, but settles for mocking his mannerisms.
Last week, the Viking Raiders turned evil when they smashed their shields against poor Xavier Woods.
Megan Morant interviews Kofi Kingston, who looks far too jubilant for someone who recently suffered a hideous beatdown. Kofi says that no matter what, it's another NEW DAY, and now it's up to him to make the Vikings pay.
The Usos ask Sami for help, and he's more than willing to grovel for them.
Kayla Braxton hosts Smackdown Women's Champion Liv Morgan in the ring. She gets a mixed reaction because some of the fans resent the way she won at Summerslam. Morgan addresses the "You tapped out" chants by stating that she appreciates the fans for calling her out on her sh(bleep)t. Sonya Deville interrupts to accuse Morgan of being disingenuous.
Sonya Deville vs. Aaliyah
The winner faces Morgan at Clash at the Castle, so Morgan sticks around to scout her competition. Sonya gets a hot start, choking Aaliyah in the ropes. Deville hits a spinebuster for 2. Aaliyah breaks a chinlock with a stunner and hits a Thesz press. Springboard crossbody by Aaliyah gets 2, but Sonya pulls her tights for a snake eyes. Sonya hits the Deville's Advocate to win at 2:20. Man, I hate the way WWE books gauntlet matches, DUD.
Winner: Sonya Deville
Sonya Deville vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Sonya is ready for Raquel and chop blocks her knee. Sonya works a chinlock while some fans chant for Morgan. Rodriguez breaks out with a side slam and hits a spinning elbow splash. Chokeslam by Rachel ends it at 2:17. I still hate this, DUD.
Winner: Raquel Rodriguez
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Shotzi Blackheart
We join this match in progress. Shotzi seems to have victory in her sights with an abdominal stretch. Raquel reverses into a fallaway slam and then a twisting elbow drop. Powerbomb by Rodriquez ends it at 5:09. Only about 60 seconds of this was televised, but it felt like they had a good groove going, *.
Winner: Raquel Rodriguez
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Xia Li
Li gets a hot start with a kicking sequence. Li takes out Raquel's knee and plants her for a nearfall. Li applies a half crab and then stomps Raquel's knee into the canvas. Raquel doesn't care for Li's open hand slaps and answers with a mean headbutt. Fallaway slam by Rodriquez and then the twisting elbow drop. Raquel finishes with a Tahana Bomb at 2:25. This chapter was productive, they added an injured body part into the mix, *.
Winner: Raquel Rodriguez
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya
Natalya goes right for the bad knee, but can't get a sharpshooter. Natalya settles for a clothesline to the knee and leg wrench. Raquel rolls into a dead lift vertical suplex for a 2 count. Natalya answers with the Sharpshooter, but Raquel gets the ropes. Raquel powers into another Tahana Bomb and wins at 2:22. Good enough, *½.
Winner: Raquel Rodriguez
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Shayna Baszler
Can Triple H resist the temptation to book an Iron Woman through a gauntlet match only to lose to a capitalizing heel? I think we'll find out in about 90 seconds. Back from break, Shayna is working a leg lock. Raquel survives, so Shayna dismantles her in the ropes to fill some time, and switches to a hammerlock. Raquel answers with a snapmare and corner splash. Shayna blocks the twisting elbow and applies a tight sleeper. Raquel seems to fade, but floats over for a pinning predicament, but Shayna reverses and wins at 6:05. Really tired and predictable gauntlet match. This averages out to ¾*.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Sami lets the Usos know that he got the production truck ready for Roman's entrance, but they still won't grant him audience with the Tribal Chief.
Viking Raiders (Hanson and Rowe) vs. Jim Mulkey and Tommy Gibson
I know it's been like 4 years, but I still can't be bothered to learn the Raider's new names. They kill the jobbers like they should and win with the Viking Express at 1:33. Suitably one-sided victory.
Winners: The Viking Raiders
Kofi Kingston ambushes Hanson with wild kendo shots, and enjoys a measure of revenge.
Kofi Kingston vs. Rowe
I guess we need to have a logical match for next week right now. Rowe kicks Kofi out of mid-air and knees him in the face. Kofi fights out of a chinlock, but Rowe knocks him down and reapplies the hold. Kofi escapes for a flying crossbody. Rowe nails a uranage for 2. Rowe hits a full nelson knee to the head. Kofi clears the ring and nails a trust fall dive. Hanson misses a kendo swing, and Kofi rolls up Rowe to win at 3:45. Lively match, casual viewers will probably eat this up, **.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
The Women's Tag Team Championship tournament will finally start on the next Raw. Take that, Vince.
WWE/Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Raw/Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos come to the ring for the main event talking segment. They are so over that they can spend several minutes standing around listening to the crowd react to them before busting out the "ACKNOWLEDGE ME" catchphrase. Roman hates Brock Lesnar, respects him, but ultimately hates him because he tried to kill wise man, Paul Heyman. They're interrupted by Drew McIntyre, who calls Roman a "tribal queef" and refuses to let him talk until they're off the air. Drew would like to fight now, but he's interrupted by the spooky music and graphics of the returning Karrion Kross (with Scarlett). Kross jumps Drew from behind and beats him into the ring steps while Roman casually watches. Scarlett sets their hourglass into the ring to let Roman know that the clock is ticking. Roman keeps his composure.
Final Thoughts: You know, I can't pretend to be excited about Triple H bringing back Karrion Kross right out of the gate and inserting him into the WWE title picture, but I can say that it was a monumental sign of dysfunction for the old regime (Vince) to spend all that time developing Kross in NXT and then sabotage his main roster debut and cut him ASAP. It seems like Triple H actually wants WWE to work as a functional wrestling promotion, and that is good news. Otherwise, this Smackdown had some decent, yet formulaic matches, but was dragged down by the predictable gauntlet match that only served to burn through several TV segments. I'm not sure that I'm willing to become a regular WWE TV viewer again, but I definitely care enough to keep an eye on things from afar.
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