The biggest winners and losers from last night's SmackDown (July 24)
Unsurprisingly, the blue brand destroyed its older red counterpart this week. All systems are go as we head toward SummerSlam, in contrast to Raw, where confusion and apathy still very much dominate the build on the road to Brooklyn.
With the exception of the unceremonious end of a James Ellsworth who just destroyed the credibility of the women's division, preventing a real payoff, everything about last night was great. All angles moved along, and the blue brand's card for the biggest party of the summer is something every fan should be looking forward to.
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With such a strong cast of characters, were there any real losers on last night's show? And who took the most from this fantastic episode of SmackDown?
Winner: Randy Orton
Randy Orton was dead as a babyface. You could see it not only in his subpar ring work, but in his very eyes. You could tell that he just didn't care.
As a heel, he's suddenly far less of the boring reputation he's cultivated for himself in recent years. Quite the opposite, actually. He looks alive, he expresses himself better, and he even has a drive in his eyes which was totally absent as a babyface.
In explaining his actions, he got a crowd which wanted to cheer him to do the opposite. He vowed he'd destroy Jeff Hardy before moving on to any other "indy darling" that suddenly has the fans' respect more than he does despite 16 years of dedicated service to entertaining them.
Clear, simple, crisp, and believable. This was easily Orton's best segment in well over a year. Heel Randy Orton is best Randy Orton, and while this currently leaves a shortage of top male babyfaces on SmackDown, it was the choice that should have been made a long time ago.