About Last Night

WWE SmackDown 06/19/18: Destiny Arrives

SmackDown is highlighted by an excellent Gauntlet Match

by Owen Douglass | June 20, 2018

About Last Night is a quick reflection on the matches and segments, or random observations, from a wrestling show that sticks out to us the morning after we watch them. If you would like to get your comments featured, chime in below in our comments section or tweet us. You can also help support us on Patreon.

About Asuka...

Asuka was taken out pretty easily

Asuka suffered another loss at Money in the Bank, this time to Carmella with the help of a returning James Ellsworth. On SmackDown it looks like this isn't the end of the feud, as Carmella opened the show with a promo mocking everyone in the crowd and was interrupted by Ellsworth dressed as Asuka. This led to the actual Asuka coming out without her normal full entrance for the first time only to get laid out by a Carmella kick.

This was the first time Asuka just felt like a normal member of the roster. Gone was the aura and pedestal she was placed on previously, as she just walked out and got taken out relatively easily by Carmella of all people. Sunday's loss didn't help either, as she was easily distracted in the match by Ellsworth and then went down quickly. While this allows for a larger variety of stories for Asuka if she has flaws, the way they're handling it now is tarnishing all of the work the past couple years did to build her up. Asuka just kinda seems to suck now, and if they don't course correct soon it may be time to give up on her entirely.

About SAnitY...

They're still as rabid as ever

After two months, SAnitY finally showed up on SmackDown in their main roster debut. They picked a solid first opponent in The Usos since they're super talented and haven't had anything to do lately outside of watching Naomi's back. So the match was set and we got to see SAnitY's entrance in a larger arena, which totally still works. However, the match never really got started as SAnitY attacked The Usos before the bell and laid them out.

I felt like this was the right way to start them off. Beating The Usos immediately in a match would have damaged The Usos as a threat, and it would have been wasted on an episode of SmackDown with little promotion. Having them attack them starts the feud, and then we can have promos and squash matches to build toward a match at Extreme Rules.

About Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura...

The promos by Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura on SmackDown this week were some of the best parts of the show outside of the main event. Jeff has finally gone back to the super weird face painting thing and speaking a bunch of jibberish, while also incorporating a bit of Brother Nero. It's a good change of direction for his character as it was getting stale by being "hey, I'm Jeff Hardy and I'm gonna do some stunts!" I'm curious how far they'll go with it when it comes to the Brother Nero side, especially without Matt around. Shinsuke Nakamura on the other hand requested an interview with Renee Young and annoyed the hell out of her by saying he can't have lost if he's standing now, and he was confused by the referee not counting in Japanese. This heel turn has done wonders for bringing out his charisma, and Nakamura is really doing the best work of his WWE career right now.

I hope this leads to Nakamura winning the United States Championship, since the midcard title is being used for workhorses and he could put on a lot of great matches in SmackDown's midcard. Let him do this until AJ Styles drops the WWE Championship so we don't get those two fighting for another 5 straight months.

About Daniel Bryan, or The Miz Still Sucks...

The beginning of the end

The main event - and a majority of the second hour - was a gauntlet match to determine who would get a shot at the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules. The story of most of the match was Daniel Bryan starting off the match and trying to use his endurance to make it all the way to the end. First he took on Big E and found a way to counter his size and strength to still get the victory. Then he had to face a bigger and more vicious threat in Samoa Joe, who straight up dropped him on his head at one point in the match and terrified the hell out of me. To defeat him he used his wits and after Joe had gotten him into the Coquina Clutch on the outside, he was able to escape and get back into the ring before the 10-count for the count-out victory.

The problem is that Bryan had crossed paths with The Bludgeon Brothers on his way out for the match, and they apparently didn't like this. So they came out after Joe victory and destroyed Daniel Bryan, leaving The Miz to run in and pick up the scraps and eliminate him. This was a brilliant way of further delaying the program between Miz and Bryan until SummerSlam, as well as making Miz seem like an opportunistic shithead. Or maybe he hired The Bludgeon Brothers to do his work for him? It leaves some mystery and also eliminated Bryan in a way that made sense.

About The Happiest Rusev Day...

To be fair, that was a dick move

Speaking of the gauntlet match, The Miz didn't end up winning the match. Instead it was the last entrant, Rusev! This will be Rusev's first singles opportunity at the WWE Championship, and it seems like he'll even be a babyface during it. After he made Miz tap out in the match, AJ Styles came out and shook his hand. Aiden English put his hand out too, but then pulled it back to be a jerk, resulting in Styles decking him in the face.

This makes me actually worried about this match. Aiden English could end up turning on Rusev during this match and cost him the title, since he seems to still be a heel. Or he could "accidentally" cost Rusev the match an lead to their break-up. Either way, I believe this ends with Rusev without the title and this team falling apart. It's a shame, because I really like these two together.

What did you think of this week's SmackDown? Let us know in the comments!

About Owen Douglass

Owen Douglass is a co-founder of ProWrestling.Cool and one of the hosts of the Heel Turn podcast. With over 20 years of wrestling experience, there isn't much that shocks him these days.



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