Unfortunately, there was a ton of filler on last night's SmackDown. While a few angles advanced, it often didn't feel like SummerSlam was two weeks away. The second hour was superior to the first, which definitely felt like it was mostly filler. Even a great promo by Randy Orton to start things off didn't advance anything in particular, as he basically said the same thing that he did a couple of weeks ago.
We get that Randy Orton is doing fantastically. Try and make him show it in yet another way!
SmackDown nevertheless did edge out Raw this week, but not by its usual margin, and it's very clear that the company is in a terrible creative rut in 2018. That this show was the best it could offer us two weeks before its supposed second biggest show on the calendar is yet more unambiguous evidence of its overall creative doldrums.
Nevertheless, the second hour was solid. Who managed to walk away with some wind in their sails as Brooklyn edges ever closer?
Losers: The IIconics
The IIconics were always going to be comedy jobbers. That was what they were on NXT, after all. Last night was worse to them than most, however, as the crowd chanted "boring" in response to their pre-match promo.
Clearly, the crowd understood that nothing that they said mattered and neither did the match. Maybe WWE should start listening, because these repetitive copy/paste tag team matches are among the worst offenders on its large palette of poor booking choices.
The match itself was standard filler fare. No tension between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair was visible. It will either come later or WWE will conveniently forget the hints of dissension ever happened en route to a predictable (and disastrous) Carmella title retention at SummerSlam.
Losers: AJ Styles and Samoa Joe
The WWE Championship has felt like a complete afterthought. The championship and its holder can't even main event his own show, let alone a pay per view. Something is terribly wrong.
Two weeks after the feud kicked off with a hot attack, Joe and Styles haven't shared the same ring with each other. AJ Styles delivered a decent promo, but Joe just stood there in the back watching him. The feud wasn't advanced at all in this way, and it again, feels like it's unimportant.
As I suspected it would, WWE is dropping the ball on this so far. It's hard to think why fans should have any dream matches or rivalries anymore.
Winners: Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega
Sure, there was no need to see this match repeated from just a week ago and it felt very much like the filler it was in terms of this overall story. The good news is that it continues to give Andrade "Cien" Almas TV time and a major storyline to be a part of. It will likely help him get to SummerSlam, and build up a further reputation on the main roster.
Bigger things await from there.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and The Miz
The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan was made official at SummerSlam this week. Bryan didn't want to wait until then. Ambushing the A-Lister on the set of his reality show, the Yes! man took it to the Miz.
This was a great way to make things feel more personal and heated between them as the heat gets slowly but steadily turned up. It's everything AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe hasn't been.
Perhaps ONE dream match and feud can be served at a time.
Losers: The Bar
The Bar's loss, albeit in an excellent match, meant more to them than the New Day's victory did to them. It was predictable, but with The Bar having been absent for so long, they really needed the win much more.
Seeing the New Day getting another shot at the Bludgeon Brothers, when so many more creative matches could have been made, is a letdown.