The biggest winners and losers from last night's SmackDown (August 21)
Last night's SmackDown was a mixed bag, but it was still far better than Raw, as is customary at this point. A great first half hour gave way to a sagging middle with filler matches and poor segments. Thankfully, we got another great ending that saw new champions being crowned.
Over the course of two compact hours, it was a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs, but who emerged as the biggest winners from the post-SummerSlam edition of the blue brand?
Winner: Jeff Hardy
After failing to recapture the United States Championship from Shinsuke Nakamura, Jeff Hardy needed a new direction, and he got it rapidly. His match with Randy Orton, and especially the ending that followed it, were excellent. Orton's heel work is consistently a highlight of the blue brand, and the way Jeff Hardy finally struck back took the feud to the next level. It was nice to see the Viper get some measure of comeuppance after a month of vicious, dastardly attacks.
In this, SmackDown has a midcard feud that feels like it matters. It's bitter and it doesn't need a title to make it feel important, which isn't something WWE has been good at in 2018. If this keeps up, it could be one of the best feuds of the year.
With Hell in a Cell coming up, this feud definitely feels like it belongs in the monstrous structure, even if other matches will probably be preferred for it over this one. That begs the question though since the structure has already been built, why not have one more match than usual in there?
Orton's viciousness and Hardy's daredevil antics could easily make for one of the most memorable matches of 2018 if both were given some time inside Hell in a Cell.