It took an already boisterous Toronto crowd only mere minutes to go into a state of delirium when Booker T, donning his cloak and crown, made a surprise appearance to assist in the coronation of the now five-time tag team champions, the New Day. The segment was entertaining, and at one point knee-slapping funny when each member of the New Day gave his best shot at mimicking Booker's Spinaroonie. Xavier Woods' attempt was solid, Kofi Kingston's was above average and Big E's ... Let's just say he needed some assistance from his teammates. It was a unique opening segment from King Booker, but the most notable story Tuesday belonged to a queen.
Charlotte defends her title, gets her clock cleaned
On one hand, the manner in which Charlotte successfully defended her SmackDown women's title, only to end up beaten and distraught by her bitter rival afterward was clichéd storytelling. Charlotte fended off Carmella in a terrific championship showdown, one in which the challenger dominated a majority of the bout. With a crossbody slam, ridiculous sunset flip from the top rope and an array of kicks and slaps, Carmella had plenty of chances to win back the title. Ultimately, Charlotte caught her with a Natural Selection and Figure 8, which forced Carmella to tap out. At that point, Becky Lynch attacked Charlotte from behind and beat her silly. Yes, we were expecting that. Still, the pummeling added even more heat to an already acrimonious relationship between former best friends. More importantly, the theatrics sent the crowd into another raucous and unrelenting cheer for the angry Lass Kicker.
- WWE (@WWE) August 29, 2018
Becky has garnered a Ricky Hatton-like following in recent weeks. She wants her title, and the fans crave for her to have it -- no matter how underhanded her tactics. Becky will have an opportunity at Hell in a Cell in a couple of weeks. Will creative give her the chance to hoist gold again? It's hard to say for sure whether she will have her moment at HIAC or in October at Evolution, the first all-women's pay-per-view, or ... if it will happen at all. Whatever the plans are, this is a rivalry with organic hatred, and it's only going to get nastier.
Daniel Bryan gets outwitted and overpowered again
Daniel Bryan became a sought-after member of the WWE universe years ago largely because of the loveable loser thing he had going on. Of course, Bryan became a perennial winner and main-event staple. Version II of Bryan appears to be closer to the loveable loser angle -- for now anyway. On Tuesday, his match against Andrade "Cien" Almas ended prematurely when The Miz and Maryse interfered, creating an all-out melee. After delivering impassioned words toward Miz, it was Almas' music that hit, and a match ensued. It was easily the best encounter of the night, with Almas showing he is ready to hang with the upper echelon in this business. But his performance was overshadowed by Miz, who leaped into the ring after a furious sequence in which Zelina Vega interfered, Brie Bella came to save Bryan's day and Maryse jumped Bella.
At that point, Vega and Maryse beat down Bella, while Almas and Miz eviscerated Bryan with a Hammerlock DDT, Yes Lock and Skull-Crushing Finale. The payoff to this feud will linger. Before Miz and Bryan renew their one-on-one rivalry, they'll go at it in a mixed tag team match at Hell in a Cel. As clever as their war of words have been, we saw once again that the real entertainment is what happens when they don't have a mic in hand.
The champs take a backseat
Once again, WWE champion AJ Styles was relegated to mind games and mic duty, while the United States title-holder, Shinsuke Nakamura, was a no-show Tuesday on SmackDown. For Styles, he demanded Samoa Joe get to the ring. But Joe was on the big screen playing more mind games, going as far as ostensibly calling Styles' wife in a creepy, depraved segment better served for "Law & Order." Styles had enough of the taunting and made a beeline backstage, but it was a futile attempt. Joe was nowhere to be seen, and Styles was left aghast.
Nakamura really hasn't had a memorable run since winning the title at Extreme Rules in mid-July. His feud with Jeff Hardy never really materialized, taking a backseat to the twisted beef between Hardy and Randy Orton. In one respect, it's too bad Styles and Nakamura aren't seeing more ring time, but on the flip side, it speaks to the quality of other SmackDown storylines taking precedence at the moment.
- WWE (@WWE) August 29, 2018
Hits & misses
Decent triple-threat tag team match in which The Bar beat Gallows & Anderson and The Colons -- yes the Colons! The Bar will face the winner of next week's other tag team triple-threat battle between The Usos, SAnitY and Rusev and Aiden English. Considering Rusev is out of both singles title scenes, perhaps this is the best short-term path for him.
I'll admit it, I didn't love the forced feud with Orton and Hardy, but I am beginning to respect the mind games. On Tuesday, Hardy came to the ring with the letters "RKO" painted down his face. Creepy, right? They'll face off in a Hell in a Cell.
Love R-Truth's humor, but it's hard to take Carmella seriously considering she spent a good amount of time with James Ellsworth and now with brief, nonsensical spots with R-Truth. Just team Truth up with Tye Dillinger. Hey, if the B-Team can run around with gold anything is possible.
I like the push The IIconics are getting. A week after Peyton Royce beat Naomi (with deceitful tactics), Billie Kay did the same. I just wish Naomi wasn't the fall person in this storyline. She's too important in the women's landscape to ever be considered a stepping stone.