PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

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JULY 23, 2019

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

Smackdown Viewership Last Week: 1.55 (.15 Increase from the previous week)

Arena, Items Advertised by WWE, and Show Start Time

WWE remains in the sunny state of Florida they head southeast to Miami and the American Airlines Arena for tonight’s version of Smackdown. The arena opened in 1999 and has been hosting WWE events since hosting the New Year’s edition of Raw in 2000. One of the most memorable moments for me watching WWE in this arena was the return of Brock Lesnar and his attack on John Cena the night after WrestleMania in 2012. There are so few great returns anymore but that was certain one of them.

We continue to get ready for SummerSlam after having the Raw reunion last night. Here’s what WWE.com is advertising for the show thus far:

Matches & Segments:

Shane McMahon to address Kevin Owens on Smackdown LIVE
Kofi Kingston to issue a SummerSlam challenge
Ember Moon to collide with Charlotte Flair
Shawn Michaels to be guest commentator

Storyline Follow-Up:

Will Daniel Bryan make his announcement?

The arena website advertises a start time of 7:45 p.m. local time for the house with doors opening at 6:15 p.m. They show two matches:

Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre.

Shane McMahon to Confront Kevin Owens

Last week on Smackdown, Shane McMahon gave Kevin Owens the night off prior to hosting a town hall meeting that led to Cesaro challenging Aleister Black to an Extreme Rules rematch and Owens returning to give Shane a Stunner (was there anything else?).

Later on, Dolph Ziggler asked Shane to have a match with Owens later in the evening. He said he had the ability to get Owens back, so long as it was the main event of the show. He did so after getting Owens’ phone number from a ref (they don’t have each other’s number? They don’t follow each other on Twitter? They can DM….oh who cares.).

The match would go on to take place. About four minutes in, several heels would come out including Shane flanked by Drew McIntyre. As Ziggler attempted his signature Zig Zag, Owens countered with a Stunner. Shane would pull Owens out but get treated to a Stunner. Owens retreated, and Shane said that he would pay.

Shane confronts Owens tonight. Here’s Owens on a Twitter with a little trash talk, and a WWE exclusive in which he challenges Shane at SummerSlam:

You can try to get rid of me or squirm to get away all you want, I’m not going anywhere.

I will end you, @shanemcmahon.

— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) July 17, 2019

What a night!

Hit Shane with 2 Stunners (almost 3!), outran 17 dudes, found an episode of Kitchen Nightmares I’ve never seen before on Hulu and in a few hours, I’ll be back home with my family.

Things are great!

— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) July 17, 2019



Frank’s Analysis: They’re going to have a match at SummerSlam. That’s where this is going. Given how many times Shane has won matches since his heel turn it doesn’t give me a good feeling, but we’ll see. It almost feels like they are trying to recreate Austin vs. McMahon having Owens do the Stunner and of course Shane being Vince’s son. They have good chemistry, so it’s fine, but I can’t help make that comparison.

Kofi Kingston WWE Championship Challenge

Kofi Kingston rolls on as the WWE Champion. He has defeated Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn & A.J. Styles, Dolph Ziggler, and Samoa Joe in his title defenses. SummerSlam is upon us, and Kofi needs a challenger.

Last week on Smackdown, Kofi and his New Day brothers (Big E & Xavier Woods) took on Samoa Joe & Elias & Randy Orton. The match ended when Orton hit his RKO on Kofi and scored the pin for his team.

Tonight, Kofi lays down a SummerSlam challenge for his WWE Championship. Kofi was recently on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast. Randy Orton has been into it with Will Ospreay from New Japan Pro Wrestling, which obviously doesn’t relate to Smackdown but I thought I should include a sample of that interaction in this report:

Sounds like $ to me. I’ll ask Tuesday at #SmackdownLive since I’m not on the #RAWReunion #raw #wwe #wtf https://t.co/PP0opXnGab

— Randy Orton (@RandyOrton) July 22, 2019

Tonight, Kofi issues a challenge for SummerSlam.

Frank’s Analysis: Kofi vs. Orton has SummerSlam written all over it. Me personally I wanted to see Kofi vs. Brock, but that ship is halfway across the ocean. Orton is fine as a challenger. Does it give Kofi the legitimacy he needs as a champion? I suppose it does, but for me there’s something missing there. To me a win over Brock, Roman Reigns, heck bring back John Cena does it a bit more than Orton. It’s fine though, as there is some history between these two. The thing that’s really annoying is there’s no consistency as to how a #1 contender is determined. That has been well-discussed this past week on PWTorch podcasts, and thus I have nothing to add.

Ember Moon vs. Charlotte Flair

Speaking of random ways of determining a #1 contender, Ember Moon was anointed as such last week after she and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley defeated Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in a compelling two-minute match. Bayley was the surprise partner of Ember as we waited with baited breath for a week. 🙄

They did a post-match interview in which Bayley challenged Ember to a title match at SummerSlam. She wanted Ember because she has charisma and would be a proud champion should she win the title. Ember accepted.

Prior to SummerSlam, Ember will have to face Charlotte Flair, the woman from whom Bayley cashed in her Money in the Bank contractor become Smackdown Women’s Champion. She never received a rematch. We’ll see if she raises that issue tonight. Back to Ember, she keeps talking about this “A” on Twitter:

Frank’s Analysis: So, Bayley is okay losing the title to Ember? A champion should not say he/she wants the title in good hands should he/she lose. They should declare they have a hold on the title, and no one is taking it from them regardless of the relationship they have with the number one contender. Now, with Charlotte in the picture, who else sees a triple threat match at SummerSlam besides me?

Shawn Michaels Guest Commentator

Over the weekend it was announced that WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels would be a guest commentator on tonight’s edition of Smackdown. It will not be the first time the man known to us as ”HBK” will don the headsets. After he lost his smile in early 1997, he did commentary at that year’s WrestleMania which saw The Undertaker defeat Psycho Sid to become the WWF Champion. He would continue to be a guest commentator on Raw throughout that year. That lead to the feud he had with fellow WWE Hall of Famer Bret ”Hit Man” Hart, who declined the invitation to be on last night’s Raw reunion.

Speaking of the reunion, HBK came out with his long-time DX partner Triple H to assist Seth Rollins fending off The Club (A.J. Styles and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson). Tonight, he joins the broadcast booth.

I've had a lot of …ahem.. fun times on Monday Night #Raw, but I'm not just coming to #RawReunion to see some friends, ol' HBK is going to be joining commentary THIS Tuesday on #SDLive! #IveBeenPracticing pic.twitter.com/aYrzq2iiFZ

— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) July 18, 2019

Frank’s Analysis: I don’t know if this will be a regular thing, but it would sure be nice to get Corey Graves on just one show. More importantly, you wonder if this leads to something with Daniel Bryan who of course was trained by Shawn Michaels. Bryan has been talking about doing something he’s never done before. Perhaps challenging his mentor to a match is that something to which he’s referring?

Daniel Bryan’s Announcement

Speaking of Daniel Bryan, last week he said he would make a career-altering announcement that would shake Smackdown to its core. He ended up not making that announcement, even after being offered a tag team championship rematch by New Day, who took the titles from he and Rowan.

His mentor Shawn Michaels will be on commentary, SummerSlam is around the corner, and he’s been quiet in social media. We’ll see if that announcement is made tonight.

Frank’s Analysis: I talked in the previous section of Daniel Bryan’s announcement being related to Michaels’ appearance tonight. That could also be how WWE wants it to look, and they go in a completely different direction. He says he going to a place he’s “never been before,” so unless he’s going to 205Live who knows?

Not Advertised for Follow-Up:

Charlotte Flair defeated Liv Morgan in a quick match. After the match Liv grabbed a headset and said ”Charlotte was right, and when I come back I’m gonna he real!” Nothing is confirmed, but multiple reports have her getting re-packaged.
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) defeated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions The IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay) via count out, thus allowing the IIconics to retain their titles.
In a continuation of their feud, Apollo Crews defeated Andrade in two minutes.
Overall Thoughts on Tonight’s Show

After seeing all the legends last night, we should get back to business tonight and point more towards SummerSlam. I’m intrigued by Michaels on commentary to see where it goes and the situation with Kevin Owens. Even though I see Shane and Kevin as an attempted retread of Austin and Vince, I still think it should be fun to watch overall. Kofi’s SummerSlam challenge has me intrigued as well. Hopefully we don’t get two-out-of-three falls nonsense and ”resets and restarts.” I wonder if and when Eric Bischoff’s influence will start to take shape, if at all.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!

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