The most iconic video package of Daniel Bryan’s career was set to the Imagine Dragons song Monster. And that word describes him better now than ever before.
We’ve had countless video recaps of the Roman Reigns attacks for weeks now. And after Buddy Murphy blurted out the name of Erick Rowan with Reigns’s forearm pressed to his throat, Bryan instantly countered with a logical, well-reasoned argument: Do you really expect a person being interrogated through violence to give an honest answer? Bryan was out early in the show to condemn Reigns for his interrogation tactics and the crowd for taking the accusation as fact. Bryan also vowed to get to the bottom of these attacks.
Murphy called out Reigns for the assault and those two had a match this week, and I’ll get into that below because it was awesome. But Murphy’s night wasn’t done; Bryan came to collect answers.
And do you know how he did it? By using the exact same tactics that he condemned.
It was an eerie mirror to Reigns’s interrogation. Both Reigns and Bryan shouted for the locker room to scatter, and they did. Both demanded Murphy to stay put, and he did. And Murphy gave both of them a smirk before the beating began.
Both threatened violence...and both delivered.
Bryan never lifted a finger, of course. He lectured Murphy as he was getting pummeled and thrown all around the locker room, and with yet another forearm to his neck, he said the words his torturer wanted: He lied.
I love this, man. This is the sort of stuff I want from the wrestling shows I watch. His smug tease of revealing the true culprit next week was glorious; hell, he smiled right into Reigns’s face as he said it.
Bryan’s incredible. This is clearly the top story of SmackDown moving forward and I’m 100% here for it.
Psst. Want to know something? Buddy Murphy is a good wrestler.
Good doesn’t cover it, actually. He’s absurdly good. He reminds me of PAC, actually; his explosive speed and physicality are eye-popping. And when paired with the likes of Reigns, it becomes even more apparent.
The story here was that Murphy challenged Reigns to a match after how Reigns manhandled him in the locker room last week, which I quite like. Stand up for yourself, man!
The match was awesome. It might have been my favorite singles match of the entire weekend, actually. It featured some slick counters, nifty power moves from both men, and Murphy’s usual aerial excellence.
Go watch this match, if you’re able. Murphy looked every bit a legitimate contender for whatever title or accolade he decides to pursue. Credit to Reigns as well for making him look awesome.
So where Murphy goes from here. He was immensely impressive in his SmackDown debut, but what happens next for a midcard heel all on his own? If he’s gonna keep getting assaulted by the likes of Bryan and Reigns, I’d imagine he’d want backup.
Orton’s not finished
In the least shocking turn of events, Randy Orton’s not finished pursuing Kofi Kingston.
He came out before the scheduled New Day vs. Revival match to taunt the WWE Champion. He said that Kofi ran from a fight and was a terrible example for his sons, and that the truth is that he ran because he couldn’t beat Orton. Those two got added to the match to make it a 6-man tag.
The nice thing, however, was the progression towards Orton’s sadistic tendencies. It was noticeable through the match and afterwards that he’s getting further into it as the story goes. It’s the little things like pulling Kofi’s hair, considering another RKO before deciding to hit Kofi’s friends with one first. I’d still call this the secondary or possibly even tertiary storyline on SmackDown at the moment, which isn’t great, of course. But we’re moving in the right direction, at least.
A rough night for Kevin Owens – Hot on the heels of his triumph over Shane McMahon at SummerSlam...nothing changed. Shane came out to dock him $100,000 for hitting a referee and then saddled Owens with Elias as a referee again in his match against Samoa Joe.
And if you thought Elias would get physical with an official – without the fine, I’m sure – and quick count Owens...you’d be right!
Charlotte Flair def. Ember Moon – This is probably the right call at the moment. Moon hasn’t had a chance to really connect with the audience; after all, she got that match against Bayley for arbitrary reasons.
But with that said, this was the only women’s match of the night, which shows yet again the lack of depth we run into at the top of the women’s division. WWE needs to actually work towards building Moon going forward.
Aleister Black really likes receiving visitors – I know he’s not really saying much with these promos other than implying he’s waiting for his next challenger, but I dig the aesthetic. He also really emphasizes the hard “k” sounds of the word “knock,” as if he’s mimicking the sound of someone knocking. Like I said, I dig it.
I actually really liked this episode. It was much calmer than your usual WWE show. They didn’t try to sneak in a bunch of extra feuds, which really helped this one feel different. I really, really could do without Shane, who’s clearly going to cost Owens in the King of the Ring tournament, but other than that, this was fun.
Your turn, Cageside.