Tranquilo (They Actually Listened) – Smackdown Live Recap and Reactions – 7/17/2018

Amid a lot of complaints (A LOT OF COMPLAINS) about Extreme Rules in spite of it really not being a bad show, one resounding complaint that the show got was the WWE is already seemingly wasting one of the most incredibly talented guys on their roster, Andrade Cien Almas, in another match against Sin Cara and stuck in a four minute time slot on the kickoff show.  So as the Blue Brand rolled into somewhere in Pennsylvania, GM Paige must have actually been listening, because following a Jeff Hardy soft open, the first match of the night was Almas getting a shot (non-title), against AJ Styles.

So here’s your quick hits for the evening:

  • Jeff Hardy opened the show using words like “broken” and “obsolete”.  I’m putting some pieces together on this whole Nakamura, Orton, Hardy thing, but I’ll withhold my all too obvious prediction in hopes they make use of these three guys in a logical and legitimate way.
  • AJ Styles defeated Andrade Cien Almas via the Calf Crusher.  Make no mistake, they let Almas look absolutely fantastic in this one, and he was on offense for the majority of the match.  AJ just rolled into the Calf Crusher and pulled off a big win here.  They shared a stare down after the match, but from Almas that almost seems like a show of respect, and if you’ve followed Almas at all, he doesn’t do that to a lot of people.  Was a damn good televised match, much like Almas-Sin Cara from last Tuesday when they were given enough time to really work their history together.
  • Aiden English asks Lana to apologize to Rusev on his behalf.  She questions whether he is good for Rusev going forward.  Aiden has a lot to think about.
  • Becky Lynch defeated Mandy Rose with the Disarmher.  It was an ok match, but a really short one.  Bex got a microphone and cut one of her adorable Irish promos afterwards, calling out Carmella and vowing to pick up the Smackdown Live Women’s Championship again.
  • Paige with Carmella in the backstage area discuss the promo.  Mella is money here, and she plays this obnoxious role so well.  Paige puts Carmella in a match against Becky for next week, and if Becky gets the win, she’ll get a title shot at Summerslam.
  • They didn’t forget Tye Dillinger exists, but Samoa Joe chokes out The Perfect 10 with the Cochina Clutch.  This is a continuation of the weird pre-Smackdown attack seen on WWE social media last Tuesday night, but begs the question: what in the living hell are they doing with these two?  This match was like 50 seconds long.
  • Eric Young defeated Kofi Kingston with some help from Killian Dain.  Another solid match here.  Sanity-New Day is a solid feud if they’ll give it enough work that you care about it.
  • They finally got to the Daniel Bryan-Miz feud, as Miz held an enjoyable Funeral service for Team Hell No.  Bryan came to the ring out of the crowd to avoid being stopped by the pallbearers who had wheeled a mannequin head with a Kane mask on it to the ring.  We’re on the road to seeing this match at Summerslam and they are apparently going to let Miz do what he does best in telling the story, and Daniel Bryan capitalize on the crowd marking the hell out for him every time he takes a dump.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura retained the United States Championship via DQ as Randy Orton pulled Hardy out of the ring when he had the match won and beat the hell out of him.  Orton showered the lifeless Hardy with ominous statements about our answers coming in due time.  Orton as a heel is definitely the preferred Randy Orton, and this is two appearances devoid of an RKO so he’s trolled two crowds straight.

Not a bad episode, and aside from the bogus DQ ending to the main event, there were three pretty damn good matches in here.  Young and Kofi work so well together, you’d think they’d been doing it as long as Sin Cara and Almas had.  Almas didn’t even need the assist from AJ to look good in this one, though it never hurts, and Jeff Hardy laid it all out there (which makes sense for him to go big and take a beating before he goes on hiatus to heal up a bit more).  I can’t complain.  It was enjoyable.