It’s another SmackDown In A Nutshell, and the way things have been going, we have one question: who’s returning this week!?
Considering who returned last week on SmackDown, asking who’s returning this week is absolutely a fair question.
And that isn’t even getting into all the rumblings about other impending or potential returns.
Now to be fair, this show is not purely wondering who’s returning this week.
We’ve got WWE Clash at the Castle in just a few weeks, so we can expect more hype for that…probably more matches too.
Coming into the show, we knew we would see an Intercontinental Championship match, Gunther versus Shinsuke Nakamura.
That will likely be our featured match, but there will be more. The women’s tag title tournament is ongoing, for one.
Liv Morgan and Shayna Baszler have a contract to sign, too.
And, we never know who else might show up. So with that said, it is time for…
SmackDown In A Nutshell: Who’s Returning This Week!?
Let’s crack open this Nutshell and find out!
Best Match of the night:
Without a doubt, the main event.
Crowd was into the match, which is always a plus…and also usually a good indication of quality.
It was a good match, and Gunther getting a clean win over a game Nakamura just helps further establish Gunther as a big time champion.
Also notable that, again, the “mid-card title” is getting elevated and a nice spotlight.
The prestige of the US & IC Titles have been presented so well in importance & relevance & valuable spotlights within Triple H’s era so far.
Love to see it. pic.twitter.com/KHjAqPfQQz
— Wrestle Ops (@WrestleOps) August 13, 2022
Right now, if things hold through the fall, we are eyeing a possible Lashley-Gunther champ versus champ match at Survivor Series.
That is, of course, if Triple H keeps that format…
Worst match of the night:
I could have said the one with the jobbers…but no.
Instead, I am going to say Kofi versus Ivar, because it didn’t happen.
Crowd Chants of the Night:
We had a few. Not going to remember them all, but the Carolina crowd seemed engaged.
Star of the Night
For me, Gunther.
Felt like that was another big test for the big Austrian, and he delivered.
Spot of the Night:
Kendo stick versus shield?
Kofi being launched into a shield?
One armed Liv delivering a bulldog through the table on Baszler.
Jobber of the Night:
Those two guys who had to face…a returning Hit Row.
Well, most of the group…Swerve is stuck in AEW…
Upset of the Night:
Nothing. Not in match form.
Jimmy and Jey were pretty ticked that Sami ran off while they got beat up by Drew though.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
A minor one, which was semi-spoiled a day or two back: Hit Row is back.
Reports popped up mid-week that AJ Francis (Top Dolla) and Ashanti Thee Adonis would at least be at the show.
Indeed they were, but they were also ON the show, in the ring, and joined by B-Fab too.
Now…if Swerve gets unhappy…
Or…could we see Hit Row give Kofi some backup next week?
Botch of the night:
Honestly cannot recall a botch.
Commentary of the night:
Not a line, but please, pretty please…more of Pat McAfee drawing all the lines on the screen.
Well, that and his line of “these two guys walked all the way up the Appalachian Trail for this” or something like that.
LOL Moment of the night:
And because of those lines…that is our LOL of the night.
How Pat McAfee described those two jobbers, including the number of poops they would drop when they learned of their mystery opponents (Hit Row).
— 0mied0 (@El_0_M) August 13, 2022
Hit Row was the big surprise return. Not as massive as Karrion Kross last week, but notable all the same.
Especially considering how they rapidly rose through NXT, got brought up via the WWE Draft, and were very rapidly released afterwards.
Also, Kross dropped a heck of a promo, vaguely alluding to his release and time away.
And then, he didn’t even show up in the ring…Scarlett did that.
Lastly, Ronda Rousey was back, “paid her fine, but double”, and had a very interesting exchange with Baszler.
It would have seemed like Baszler was acting the face in the exchange…but then she was an absolute heel a couple minutes later.
Not sure what could be going on here…new Maximum Male Models…or their first in-ring feud?
Not a knock, but I half expected to see Kross in the ring, either attacking during the Drew-Moss/Usos match, or even as Drew’s partner.
Hit Row wasn’t bad, crowd seemed into them, I just think Top Dolla needs some better ring gear.
Another week, another solid and watchable show.
They cannot always deliver massive returns, but getting Hit Row back could and should boost the tag ranks.
Baszler and Rousey could be building to something…could Baszler finally win gold and feud with Rowdy Ronda?
If Baszler was not deservedly in the title picture, I can’t help but wonder if WWE should have paired the two MMA alums together in the tag tourney.
After the final bell:
If I ranked shows-and I do not-I would say this show was a notch or two down from both this week’s RAW and last week’s SmackDown.
However, being a realist, we can’t always be wondering who’s returning this week….and every so often, you almost need a bit of a more run of the mill show.
Does not mean this one was bad-I don’t think it was.
We got some really good wrestling, good promos, wrinkles, story telling…another good example of life in the Triple H era.
Next week in Montreal might give us some interesting developments, however. The one item that most catches my attention?
There will be a Viking Funeral for Kofi.
That one SCREAMS big angle, or big return. Now, Xavier Woods could just come back and that would be it…but this feels to me like it will be something a bit unexpected.
We know it won’t be Big E, given that he cannot be cleared for several more months (April 2023) at the earliest.
Still, it is quite nice to be looking forward to each show again.