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The August 7 edition of SmackDown Live was always going to be defined by its main event, a clash between The New Day and The Bar for a shot at the SmackDown tag team champions The Bludgeon Brothers at WWE SummerSlam.
In the end, Kofi Kingston and Big E battled through the best shots from Sheamus and Cesaro in an excellent tag team clash to capture a tag team title shot. Now, they return to title contention after four months of waiting.
This show also hinted at some interesting developments in the women's division. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch work well together as friends, but their relationship is growing more contentious by the week with a possible match coming. Zelina Vega also continued to prove her worth as more than just a manager.
The big promo segments of the night showed just how important simple storytelling can be in WWE. From Randy Orton's heated promo on Jeff Hardy to The Miz's taunting of Daniel Bryan, SmackDown's biggest stories are all driven by pure hatred.
These moments defined another strong night for SmackDown Live as the brand gears up for an impressive SummerSlam.
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In the main event, New Day battled their long-time rivals Sheamus and Cesaro in what might be the two team's best match together, going almost 25 minutes. In the end, Big E survived Cesaro's sharpshooter and crossface and managed to set up the Midnight Hour that sealed the victory.
Over the past few years, New Day have dominated the tag team division. From their record-breaking title reign to their series of classics with The Usos, Kofi, Big E and Xavier Woods have been dominant and entertaining throughout.
These past few months though, the trio had been phased out of the tag team scene, hinting that they might try to work as singles stars. With this latest win though, it is possible they could return to the top of the mountain, getting their first one-on-one shot at Harper and Rowan.
With The Bludgeon Brothers showing more offensive weapons lately, this tag team title match should be great. While it might struggle to match up to the main event this week, it could easily steal the show at SummerSlam.
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To show their solidarity despite questions abound, Charlotte and Lynch teamed up against The IIconics with Carmella watching from commentary. While The Irish Lass Kicker did much of the heavy lifting, Charlotte had to tag in when Lynch went down and got a quick submission with the Figure Eight.
Backstage, the tension continued to rise as the best friends played nice but readied themselves for a fight. This triple threat was a disappointing move only because it took the spotlight away from Lynch. WWE clearly understands this as it has become an integral part of the story.
With Evolution approaching, WWE has to be thinking about what big women's matches can headline the show, and one easy answer would be Charlotte vs. Lynch. These two have had great matches before including their fantastic clash at Royal Rumble 2016.
For this tension to matter, there must be some payoff. Bayley and Sasha Banks have shown how bad a story can get if it never develops. This potential match would especially be interesting if one of the two women defeat Carmella at SummerSlam.
If Charlotte wins the championship, she would be taking away another opportunity from Lynch, and it would only be fair for her to repay her friend by offering her a one-on-one title opportunity at the historic event in October. This might even result in one of these two top stars on SmackDown turning heel.
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Rusev promised to be in Lana's corner this week in her rematch with Vega, but he still could not make the difference. As he was struggling with Almas, Aiden English ran in to try and help only to accidentally knock Cien right into Lana. Vega used the distraction to hit running double corner knees for the win.
Once again, the manager of El Idolo brought more out of the Ravishing Russian than anyone has before. She highlighted Lana's move set and sold well for her throughout. The match turned out better than anyone could have expected.
It would be interesting to see what she could do with better competition. To Lana's credit, she is clearly improving lately, but her delivery is often sloppy. Vega may be around primarily to back up Almas as a manager, but she could probably have great matches with Charlotte, Asuka or Lynch.
There is no doubt El Idolo is one of the best workers in the company, but Vega has helped highlight him as a character. If she is also regularly working in the women's division, she may become one of the biggest recent call-ups by WWE, perhaps even trumping her own client.
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In a series of promo segments, the major men's feuds for SummerSlam became more personal. Orton mocked an "erased" Hardy. AJ Styles promised he would hurt Samoa Joe for his comments about Styles' family last week.
Bryan ruined Miz's interview by assaulting him on his own set but was then laid out after The Awesome One smashed a vase into the back of his head. These simple segments continued to develop a series of strong stories with heated promises of violence to come.
Often, wrestling stories will get overly convoluted to be memorable. Raw's Universal Championship feud is both a story about how Brock Lesnar refuses to work any harder than necessary and Roman Reigns' conflict with authority to get his third straight world title opportunity.
SmackDown though has mainly keeps everything straightforward, and it works so much better. Styles vs. Joe is about two long-time rivals, who want to hurt each other. Orton vs. Hardy may not be a SummerSlam match, but it is easy to understand why the two would gladly wrestle each other at any time.
No feud though better exemplifies how good simple storytelling is than Miz vs. Bryan. The two have always hated each other, and Miz continues to talk his way into Bryan's head. Now, The Beard seems to have lost all sense of self-control in his pursuit of The A-Lister. This is what makes SmackDown worth watching.