WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Aug. 14

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In the process of hyping SummerSlam, Tuesday’s WWE SmackDown closed off one of the pay-per-view’s potential paths.

    Jinder Mahal vs. John Cena ended in a shocker when Baron Corbin forced his way into the action, cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, only to stumble. Suddenly, Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at Sunday’s event doesn’t have the suspense born from a possible cash in surrounding it.

    Elsewhere on the go-home show Shane McMahon stepped into an AJ Styles-Kevin Owens fight, taking a kick to the head for the second straight week. Carmella lurked near Natalya and Naomi with her Money in the Bank briefcase in hand.

    Randy Orton offered Rusev of his potential future at the PPV.

    SmackDown underwhelmed in its attempt to build up some bouts. With others, it used foreshadowing and bad blood to power toward SummerSlam.

    The following is a breakdown of the full show, grading, recapping and analyzing the night’s matches and promos.

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    Mahal kicked off the show with The Singh Brothers at his side.

    He celebrated Indian Independence Day by welcoming a live band to the ring. A singer belted out the Indian national anthem as the crowd booed.

    Mahal promised to beat Cena more convincingly than Nakamura did. He ranted in Punjabi until Nakamura interrupted. The King of Strong Style claimed he would take the WWE title from the champ.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • “The jingoistic people of Providence won’t appreciate this.”—Mahal.
  • Nakamura sings his promise to take the WWE Championship.

Grade

C-

Analysis

The spectacle surrounding Mahal was great to watch. Nothing about it pointed to him being a villain, though.

His character is an anachronism from an older era.

The exchange with him and Nakamura was mild, offering little in added incentive to see them fight. WWE has a short time to hype Mahal vs. Nakamura and has only done a so-so job of taking that task on.

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    Naomi sat in on commentary as Natalya and Becky Lynch clashed.

    Lynch frustrated Natalya early. It wasn’t until the action moved outside of the ring that Natalya took over.

    The Irish Lass Kicker battled back, nearly taking out her foe with a fiery offense.

    A missed diving leg drop spelled her doom, though. Natalya pounced and clamped on the Sharpshooter for the win. After the bell, Natalya put Lynch in the Sharpshooter again until Naomi chased her off. 

    Carmella emerged to say good luck to both Naomi and Natalya at SummerSlam, implying that she would cash in her Money in the Bank contract whoever won that night.

    Result

    Natalya wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • Natalya hurls Lynch into the security barricade.
  • “I’m prepared as I can be.”—Naomi. 

Grade

B

Analysis

A solid warm-up match for Natalya. She got a win over a former women’s champ, making her tap out no less. Plus, she showed off her viciousness with the post-match attack.

Carmella’s appearance was a smart way to plant the idea of her cashing in. Her presence elevates the SummerSlam title match. Any victory could quickly be erased at The Princess of Staten Island’s hands.

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    Rusev blasted Chad Gable with heavy-handed strikes to open things up. He threw Gable around the ringside area, ignoring the referee’s 10-count.

    The Bulgarian Brute continued the attack after the bell.

    Before Rusev could gloat on the microphone, Orton appeared and issued an RKO. The Viper posed as his SummerSlam opponent lay out cold on the canvas.

    Result

    Match ends in a double count-out.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • Rusev flings Gable into the ring steps.
  • Rusev throws Gable over the announce table.

Grade

B+

Analysis

Rusev looked like an absolute beast against Gable.

This was no classic match clearly with it being so short. It was more of a showcase of the heel’s brutality. That is until Orton showed up.

Rusev should charge into SummerSlam incensed because of this latest RKO and pay back Orton with a dominant win. Orton winning after having the upper hand to this point in the feud would be quite a deflating result for The Bulgarian Brute.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    McMahon told Styles he didn’t need to apologize. The U.S. champ wondered if McMahon would use the accidental kick last week as a reason to screw him over. They talked of what would happen if Styles hit McMahon at SummerSlam.

    Owens stepped out to put himself into the conversation.

    He offered to shake Styles’ hand but got a shove instead. McMahon tried to break up the ensuing fight. He took a superkick to the head for his troubles. 

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • “If you put your hands on me again, I’ll put mine all over you.”—McMahon to Styles.
  • Owens superkicks Shane-O-Mac.

Grade

B

Analysis

While much of this repeated last week’s confrontation, there was a lot of intriguing teases of what could happen at SummerSlam. 

Styles and McMahon may reignite their feud. Owens may look to manipulate the situation and get Styles and McMahon. Whatever happens, it’s clear something big is on the way involving Shane-O-Mac.

That’s a welcome use of the guest referee angle, making him a game-changing X-factor.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Usos joked around with SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan backstage. He told the brothers Big E and Xavier Woods will be representing The New Day against them at SummerSlam.

    In the ring, the tag champs welcomed The Usos to take them on anywhere.

    Jey Uso soon found himself taking punishment from Kofi Kingston and Woods. The New Day’s speed had the heels reeling.

    The Usos recovered and took turns beating on Kingston.

    Woods’ high-energy response preceded a chaotic part of the bout. The Usos were able to take advantage, hurting Kingston’s leg and knocking him out with a kick. 

    Result

    The Usos win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • “They are sick, man. They are sick.”—Bryan on his beats and rhymes.
  • “You can catch these hands at the Source Awards.”—Big E.
  • The Usos smash Kingston into the ring post.
  • Woods and Kingston both nail Jimmy Uso with superkicks.

Grade

B+

Analysis

The Usos and The New Day’s chemistry shone again here.

The challengers look crafty via scouting which two members of The New Day they will face at the PPV. They got a chance to show how dangerous they are here, leaving Kingston seeing stars.

Even though The Usos will be facing a different configuration of the trio, it’s a bit odd to do this match just days away from SummerSlam. But that’s been the theme of the week starting with Raw’s “SummerSlam come early” tagline on Monday.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Fandango recalled being abducted by aliens. He claimed to be able to see the future.

    He and Tyler Breeze dug through a pie for evidence.

    After finding a cryptic note, Fandango revealed something big is on the horizon for the tag team division.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • “We live a gluten-free lifestyle!”—Viktor.
  • A graphic says Breezango will return in 25 years before changing it to two weeks.

Grade

C

Analysis

Not one of Breezango’s best efforts. WWE went to the Twin Peaks well one too many times.

These segments need to rediscover their focus and this all needs to lead to more in-ring action. For the moment, Breezango lives in a separate world from SmackDown proper.

More melding of those worlds is key to moving this winning comedy act forward.

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Mahal and Cena began their showdown with a test of strength, an exchange where The Maharaja came out on top. 

    A cheap shot from The Singh Brothers helped Mahal maintain his advantage.

    The referee saw more interference from the cronies and ejected the brothers from ringside. With no Singh Brothers to worry about, Cena charged back.

    Corbin rushed in to cut the bout short after Mahal took an Attitude Adjustment from the top rope. He cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, but distracted by Cena, he lost to Mahal in seconds.

    Result

    Match ends in a no-contest. Corbin loses his cash-in match against Mahal.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • The Singh Brothers drag Mahal out of the ring and out of warm’s way.
  • Mahal kicks out of the Attitude Adjustment.
  • Corbin tears up the announce desk after losing.

Grade

D

Analysis

Cena and Mahal’s styles didn’t mesh well. Their clash was mostly wooden and rote.

The big story here, though, is Corbin’s failed cash in.

What a way to undercut a rising heel. Corbin looks like a fool here. Using that moment to up the animosity between him and Cena is a mistake.

And SummerSlam WWE title match lost its subplot as a result.

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