SmackDown Aug. 14, 2021: 3 things WWE got right

TOKYO,JAPAN - JUNE 28: Shinsuke Nakamura enters the ring during the WWE Live Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan on June 28, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
TOKYO,JAPAN - JUNE 28: Shinsuke Nakamura enters the ring during the WWE Live Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan on June 28, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Man, WWE really loaded up this episode of SmackDown with a lot of talking, didn’t they? Fortunately, the company didn’t waste that time with pointless jargon. Instead, we got some effective segments that hyped up the brand’s top matches for SummerSlam.

The bell-to-bell elements we did see weren’t too bad, either. Yes, WWE went to their usual bad of tricks for some of the matches, but for the most part, it didn’t overshadow the quality. Plus, there was a fun title change, so that helped a bit, too.

As you can see, there’s plenty to talk about for this week’s SmackDown, and since we don’t have the amount of time that Roman Reigns and John Cena received to exchange pleasantries, let’s pare this down to three correct decisions by the creative team.

These are the three things WWE got right on the Aug. 13 episode of SmackDown.

Roman Reigns and John Cena get plenty of time to talk

Given that their scheduled SummerSlam is roughly a week away, WWE decided that the best way to add some extra juice to the John Cena vs. Roman Reigns match was to let champion and challenger trade barbs for near half an hour.

Fortunately, this was Roman Reigns and John Cena receiving this leeway, and the took advantage of it with a compelling opening segment. Sure, much of it included a lot of the worked shoot “Reality Era” stuff that can get aggravating at times. We also got some cringey moments (the Nikki Bella line, for example). However, these two otherwise walked that tightrope without falling over.

In particular, Cena turned in some biting lines at the end. Fans will remember the references to Dean Ambrose a.k.a Jon Moxley and C.M. Punk, but let’s not leave out how well Cena tied everything into making this match about Reigns’ legacy (in a similar way to how he did with Punk back in the day).

Cena putting Reigns over by saying that he knows that “The Tribal Chief” will beat him up, but that he’ll endure it to secure the “1-2-3” also showed off his skill on the mic. Could this have shorter? Yes, but given the magnitude of this match and the material we got, it was fine.

Seth Rollins’ propoganda

Between Cena vs. Reigns, Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks, and Seth Rollins vs. Edge, it feels like all the hot SummerSlam matches are on the SmackDown side of things. Maybe it has something to do with these matches having some compelling backstories instead of, say, feuding over a sword or hotshotting a title onto a fluke champion to avoid booking yet another rematch.

Rollins vs. Edge, for example, is built around Rollins nearly putting “The Rated R Superstar” in a wheelchair and the career parallels the two share. WWE stitched more to those threads this past Friday, when Rollins presented a video package to “prove” that he has eclipsed the Hall of Famer as an in-ring performer.

(Side note: it was also nice to see them showing Rollins bullying the production crew into showing the video.)

Once the video concluded, Rollins kept the good heel work going by using some Yoda-level deductive reasoning to take credit for Edge’s in-ring comeback. “The Architect” received plenty of good heat for both parts of the segment.

Rollins will have his fans who will watch this and agree with much of what he said (he wasn’t entirely wrong, either), but he achieved his intended goal: rile up those who want to see Edge cut him in half with a spear.

The King takes back the Intercontinental crown

How about that? WWE actually gave the fans a satisfying payoff. After a perplexing disqualification finish last week that made Commander Azeez look dumb for basically gift-wrapping Shinsuke Nakamura an Intercontinental Championship match, the King and current champ Apollo Crews battled for said title this past Friday.

Once Azeez and Rick Boogs got tossed from ringside — thus removing concerns over another lackluster finish — the champion and the number one contender put together a good match that picked up steam in the closing moments.

Next. WWE SmackDown Results August 13th: Cena and Reigns face-to-face. dark

Of course, given what the subtitle is, you know how this ended: Nakamura connected with the Kinshasa to pin Crews and relieve him of his responsibilities as IC Champ. For Crews, hopefully WWE won’t toss him by the wayside now thet he’s no longer champion. As for Nakamura, we’ll see if this run as champion goes better than his first reign.