WWE SmackDown Summary & Feedback (July 22, 2022): A New Era

We have to start by talking about how strange it all felt in the wake of Vince McMahon’s announcement of his retirement. The circumstances surrounding it – its timing is most notable, considering the ongoing investigation by the WWE Board of Directors over the payments – cast a long shadow and completely affect the overall feeling about it. It’s hard to have a lot of sympathy here.

Having said that, it seems strange living in a world where Vincent Kennedy McMahon doesn’t run WWE. His long reign as the strongest man in professional wrestling is over. His daughter, Stephanie, will serve as co-CEO alongside Nick Kahn, so the family name will remain in the company, with all the power that comes with it. But it is not the same.

It will never be the same again.

To start this new era off right, Stephanie McMahon started this week’s episode of Friday night smackdown. She’s been there to say goodbye to her dad, and she’s doing it in front of a WWE audience so they can also know and understand that we’re really moving forward without him. Despite everything, fans showered him with chants of “Thank you, Vince.” She told him she loved him.

This was it.

Street earnings hit the scene right after that, with their music suggesting the show will go on, as always, like them, they definitely wanted to let us believe here, and they always will. Yes, Vince is gone, but WWE is staying, and it’s still worth watching. This is what he will do after all.

Here we go to new days.


What an unbelievably pro wrestling story, Brock Lesnar’s entire story turned out, right?

McMahon is retiring, and reports immediately surfaced that Lesnar was so unhappy about this that he left the show. It wouldn’t be the first time in recent memory that a wrestler had done this, and it wouldn’t be the last. But since it’s the main event of our next PPV that we’re just over a week away from, WWE has to try their best to get it back.

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As it turns out, they were able to sort things out, using whatever means they did, and Lesnar got back in the ring just in time for the main event appearance which ended up having much more impact, if only because no one really expected it. Because of all the reports.

Hell, the comment even mentioned it without explicitly mentioning it!

This is the kind of place that professional wrestling can be, where you’re not sure if what you’re seeing is business or reality. This could be the result of a secret deal where Lesnar used some leverage to get a better arrangement for himself, or maybe Vince himself was about to talk to Brock, or Lesnar just came to his senses on his own and came back to get the big payday he would surely get. For the stadium, it shows he’s about to make headlines. It could be any of these things!

It’s also possible at least that this is a well-organized act of interest, although I doubt very much. It hardly matters if that’s the case. The fact that this is at least possible is what makes this industry so unique, one that gives us jaw-dropping moments when a man appears on a show that has always been advertised to appear on it.

Fabulous.


I really like how they did this.

I’m not crazy about taking these two into a face-to-face behind-the-scenes meeting that lasted for two minutes, but they accomplished a hell of a lot in that short amount of time.

Liv Morgan’s victory in the SmackDown Women’s Championship was a feel-good moment, sure, but it would always lead to the question of how to handle what comes next. This ‘next’ is always going to be Ronda Rousey’s rematch and what will the show look like between these two?

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They kept it simple, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work out.

Rousey somewhat scoffed at the idea that this was worth the time because, I mean, she’s Ronda Rousey and Liv Morgan is Liv Morgan. Let’s be real here, it’s a one-way landslide.

Morgan responded the only way she could – by admitting that she’s at a very disadvantage but actually has all the passion Rhonda has always had for her and because of that she wants her more. Sometimes that’s enough to win the day.

That’s about as good as they can do with this, and they’ve both been very good at getting them to here.


all the rest
  • Ludwig Kaiser defeated Shinsuke Nakamura, but only after Gunther got involved and hit the latter with a big forearm in the back of the head. Kaiser was on his way to another defeat, and Gunther wasn’t happy with how he played it, so he did his chop routine. He faked like he wouldn’t, then put Kaiser with him anyway. Not sure how well this works. Kaiser doesn’t sympathize at all but you still really hate GUNTHER for what he’s doing to the second guy.
  • Boom S Corbin attacked Pat McAfee at ringside, leading the colored commentator to chase his opponent and the two brawling backstage. Then, McAfee cut another promo on him, setting up his match perfectly by saying “When that foot hits your ugly-looking head, I’m putting your big ass to take a nap forever. See you in Nashville, you bitch.” Fighting words for them!
  • Vicious Viking Raiders defeated Jinder Mahal & Shanky by count. Brains appropriate to the force was the message they were trying to send. I’m not buying any of this yet.
  • Sheamus wants to ban Drew McIntyre’s big ass sword and you know what? he is right! It must be banned! There is no payoff from McIntyre to wave it. Sounds cool, sure, but it’s not like he’s going to break up with someone one day. Just get rid of it. Fortunately, they will do so next week in an old-fashioned Donnybrook match as they finally settle on who will top Clash at the Castle.
  • Sonya Deville continued to take on Adam Pierce’s bad side, so he booked her a match with Raquel Rodriguez. They had a surprisingly strong television match which saw Deville get her punishment. There’s not much to say about it, but I enjoyed the match they put together and it’s clear they could do more here with both of them if he picks it up later.
  • Lacey Evans no longer pretends to be good. Boston took it upon itself, saying it has accomplished more today than they have all accomplished last year and “no wonder Tom Brady” left the city. Aaliyah was there again, demanding the match she had been about to get to weeks ago, and Evans did as usual, hitting it with a cheap knockout and losing it. There are only so many times they can do this, so we’ll see what comes next soon enough.
  • Just me or is Jeff Jarrett starting to look a bit like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler but with shorter hair?
  • Maxxine Dupri’s big debut was a pre-tape where the artist formerly known as NXT’s Sophia Cromwell said she’ll be back with another group next week, this one for Beachwear. It was as frustrating as it gets.
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I don’t even know what to think of any of this after all.

B-grade

Your turn.

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