WWE SmackDown 7/5/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "WWE SmackDown," the show where we care about the tag team division so much, we give away their PPV matches on free TV! And yes, the tag team title main event was awesome and yes, we are going to express our love for it here, but we still feel like this should have been a Money in the Bank match and we're going to be grumpy about the fact that it wasn't.


Anyway, this week's offering from the blue brand was a bit hit-or-miss overall, and of course, we'll be touching on both the hits and the misses. Not all of them, mind you — for coverage that comprehensive, you want our "SmackDown" results page — but the stuff that hit us hardest, or missed us by more than a mile. These are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 7/5/24 episode of "WWE SmackDown."

Hated: A six-man promo is just (and only) fine

The edition of "WWE SmackDown" before a multi-man match spectacle like Money in the Bank can only mean one thing: a promo segment where all of the participants of said multi-man match interrupt each other in quick succession, and a brawl breaks out. Typically, these promo segments are low stakes — they're fun, people usually make very specific digs at opponents they usually don't get on the microphone with, and old rivalries get revived all in one segment. Someone dives over the top rope, and we get a close-up on the last man standing, who we are prompted to believe is the strongest competitor going into the subsequent match-up.


With some of the most infamous mouthpieces the men's division has to offer, this segment should have been an electric opening to the go-home episode of "SmackDown." Instead, the segment clunked by, people stumbled on their words, and one is left to hope that the match won't be as painfully awkward to watch as Friday's war of words.

The whole segment was clunky. It felt like the Superstars were simply in uncharted waters, and were subsequently too careful with their choice of words. "Main Event" Jey Uso and LA Knight's "yeet"/"yeah" contest was awkward and a bit tense (not in the aggressive way, more like in the uncomfortable, "I don't know how long to drag this out" way). Carmelo Hayes was fairly comfortable on the microphone — and his suaveness was only more apparent when it was placed next to LA Knight's verbal stumbles and ill-placed pregnant pauses — but he could not even get five words in before being cut off by Chad Gable. Gable is in an incredibly confusing spot right now, between the abrupt dissolution of "Alpha Academy" and the speed-run into Wyatt Sicks territory, and his choice of words reflected that. Gable got the Hayes treatment, and hadn't even arrived to the ring before he was interrupted by Andrade El Idolo, who was just fine, in every sense of the mediocre description.


One would assume that Drew McIntyre's addition to the promo segment jungle juice would be enough to pull the whole thing together, but McIntyre is a certified CM Punk hater, not a miracle worker. McIntyre tried his best to somehow rope the entire segment together as he went down the line. His insults, however, went from juvenile (can't see "El Idiot" catching on, in all honesty) to ominous — good in vacuum, but not good enough to salvage this pervasively awkward segment. The brawl was just that — a brawl. The Canadian crowd got their "yeah"/"yeet"-off, but at the cost of a nonsensical attack from El Idolo onto McIntyre (really, did "El Idiot" strike a nerve that badly?) and an overall sense of confusion and passiveness from the other four men involved.

This segment felt safe, in the worst way. It felt ambitionless, like they were just going through the motions, and the men involved were too afraid to take risks, lest they not reap the reward. The six men involved in this match are visibly new with each other — afraid to step on the other guy's toes, and way too polite to assert themselves as the stand-out star or the leader. Being friendly and considerate is great, and it also makes a segment that is simply awkward to watch and impossible to immerse oneself into.


Hopefully, all six men can come together and find the collective inspiration to leave it all in the ring tomorrow night. Social conventions and politeness be damned — these men need to be truly ready to take risks and be bold, be "weird," if tomorrow's men's Money in the Bank ladder match is to work. This is a star-studded cast with a good mix of established talent and on-fire up-and-comers. They just need to find their chemistry, their groove, and be willing to be bold.

The spiciest thing from this opening segment was Hayes' shirt hanging off of his shoulder to show some cleavage. That should speak volumes to the passiveness of this segment.

Written by Angeline Phu

Hated: Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell are just jobbers now I guess

It was a good night for Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, who finally won main roster tag titles in a lengthy and exciting main event. If you were another former member of The Way, though? Not so much — and not just because Austin Theory is now a former tag team champion.


Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell just lost their third consecutive tag team match to Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill. Actually, neither of them have won a televised match since getting drafted to "SmackDown" back in April — in addition to the three tag matches, LeRae lost a Queen of the Ring tournament first round match, also to Belair, and neither woman was able to qualify for the women's Money in the Bank ladder match, losing their spots to Naomi and Tiffany Stratton.

I'm not saying LeRae or Hartwell should quit and go to AEW or something — they would likely get lost in the shuffle there, too. But it feels like there have to be better ways to use a 27-year-old workhorse like Hartwell and one of the greatest women's wrestlers of her generation in LeRae. Unfortunately, they're basically one of three women's tag teams on the blue brand (and Chelsea Green and Piper Niven aren't even bothering with the women's tag division right now) and it seems like even WWE's hypothetical one idea for them (re-form The Way) is on the shelf now that Dexter Lumis is cosplaying a demon buzzard. With the division this sparse competing for a title that moves between shows, somebody was always going to have to play the role of "people that get bodied by the superhuman Belair and Cargill." It just sucks that it has to be these two.


Written by Miles Schneiderman

Hated: Women's Tag Team Champions MIA before PLE

While I initially didn't mind Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn winning the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships in their home country of Scotland at Clash at the Castle, since then, their win has sent the women's tag team division into turmoil once again. Say what you will about Jade Cargill's in-ring ability, at least she and Bianca Belair would defend their titles often and they would always appear across both "WWE Raw" and "SmackDown." Sadly, I can't say as much for Fyre and Dawn. While this week, Cargill and Belair looked to get back in the rankings (whatever those are in this division anymore, if they even exist) to earn a title opportunity, defeating Candice LaRae and Indi Hartwell, the champions were nowhere to be seen. It certainly seemed to me that quite a few people decided to not turn up to work this show, a night before what has become a massively popular premium live event.


They didn't appear to stare down Cargill and Belair. They weren't shown backstage. Fyre and Dawn were just... nowhere, doing nothing, once again. For me, that's a problem, especially when the titles aren't being defended at Money in the Bank. I want to at least see the champions on a show, staring down their biggest competition. That's certainly what Belair and Cargill would have done if they were still champions.

Fyre and Dawn have only had one singular title defense since winning the gold at Clash at the Castle, and that came as a victory over the pretty lame, not-so-over tag team of Kayden Carter and Katana Chance back on June 24 on "Raw." They appeared on the red brand on Monday in an effort to help Zoey Stark qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match. They attacked Kairi Sane of Damage CNTRL... but, why? They haven't started a feud with any combition of Sane, IYO SKY, or Dakota Kai, since Sane's tag team partner Asuka is out injured. If they were looking to start a feud then, that was pretty lame. But, back to "SmackDown." The champions haven't been seen on the blue brand since winning, and that's where their biggest competition of Cargill and Belair call home.


I suppose Fyre and Dawn not appearing on "SmackDown" this week isn't a massive deal since the championships aren't on the line at Money in the Bank, but I still hated it for the lack of work they've been putting in since becoming champions. That's no fault of their own, of course, it's the booking decision of one certain Triple H, but if you're going to put the gold on them in their home country in a massive upset victory, at least let these women have a good run with them. Because, I'm thinking they drop the belts back to Cargill and Belair at SummerSlam. Frankly, I'd bet good money on it, and if not at the premium live event, as it's still only one night this year, possibly the go-home show the night before. I think it's necessary to get the belts back on Cargill and Belair, but it does suck for Fyre and Dawn overall, as this reign is going to amount to pretty much nothing when it's all said and done.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Loved: Kevin Owens carries emotional load to help go-home angle before 6-man tag

I didn't want to have to write yet another hated segment about terrible go-home angle to a premium live event this time around, so, I'm turning something into a bit of a positive. While I feel absolutely awful for what Kevin Owens is going through ahead of Money in the Bank, his impassioned promo about his mother "fighting like hell" in a hospital bed in Quebec pulled at my heartstrings and actually made me care a lot more about this six-man tag team match tomorrow. Because The Bloodline certainly did absolutely nothing to help things along.


I partially liked this segment because Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes took a backseat to what Owens had to say. Of course, he opened their promo segment and asked Toronto what they wanted to talk about and said a bunch of nice things about the city and its love for wrestling and yadda yadda, everything you'd expect Rhodes to say (which I personally say lovingly as a huge Rhodes fan), but then, he quieted down to let Owens steal the moment.

Owens spoke last out of the three men and explained that on Monday morning, he got a call from his father, who told him that his mother had been rushed to the hospital and Owens needed to get home to Quebec. He explained how special WWE shows in Toronto are for his family, because his kids get to see their grandparents, but that won't be happening at Money in the Bank. Owens said his parents wouldn't be there on Saturday because his mom is still in the hospital, fighting like hell. He also explained that his mom would have been the only person in the world mad at him for missing an episode of "SmackDown." He ended with one of the best lines I've heard so far in the feud, and it got me pretty pumped up, despite the awful, real-life circumstances.


"Bloodline, I'm the most serious I've ever been in my entire career," Owens said. "Win, lose, or draw, I'm going to do what my mom has wanted me to do for the last four years and that is not just kick the living hell out of The Bloodline, it's to beat their asses worse than ever before!"

While I'm not sure that's entirely true, I mean The Bloodline did take his best friend from him for awhile there, but I did, in the moment believe every word Owens said. The Bloodline couldn't be bothered to show up to the arena ahead of Money in the Bank and that was an annoying aspect to me, but in this sense, it worked, because they didn't interrupt Owens and we didn't have the usual go-home angle of a beatdown, which I honestly expected. Again, I feel absolutely terrible for Owens and all of us here at WINC wish the best for him and his family, but as a fan, I want to see him kick some Bloodline butt. He's right, even if Team Cody's Good Guys don't come out victorious, I want Owens to draw the first blood and really give The Bloodline hell.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Loved: Do it yourself (preferably in Toronto)

For the most part, the reunion of DIY on the WWE main roster has been decidedly "meh," which is not what you'd expect from a company run by Paul Levesque, who built multiple years of storylines in "WWE NXT" around the team and their eventual feud. They've never had consistent creative — even the reunion took way too long to happen, partially as a result of untimely injuries, which have always plagued these two — and by the time they got to their first-ever WrestleMania, they had been booked so poorly that it was only a mild disappointment when they won neither set of tag team championships in the six-pack ladder match for the titles. They weren't getting pushed, they weren't getting crowd reactions, and it was a minor miracle when they didn't break up on "Raw" a few months ago, which had seemed almost inevitable at the time.


But in contrast to the women of The Way, the move from Monday to Friday nights has been transformative for Ciampa and Gargano, who now suddenly find themselves tag team champions after beating Austin Theory and Grayson Waller in the latter's second defense. But it's not just the title win that makes DIY feel like they've never been more back (though the gold certainly helps). Friday night's tag title contest was the show's main event, lengthy and competitive, and it happened to take place in Toronto, where DIY defeated The Revival (now known as AEW's FTR) to win the NXT Tag Team Championship back in 2016, a critically acclaimed match generally considered one the best to ever take place in the era of Black & Gold. This WWE tag title match contained numerous callbacks to its 2016 counterpart, including Gargano and Ciampa hitting FTR's finisher, the Shatter Machine (which they actually hit on FTR in the NXT tag title match), and it essentially copied that match's finish, with Theory and Waller both locked in submission holds, grasping at each other's hands before finally being forced to tap out. It was clear that somebody had their mind on that other match eight years ago, and was looking to restore some of the aura DIY carried at the time — and credit where credit's due, the Toronto crowd responded vocally to the match, and to DIY's victory.


Friday night, Ciampa and Gargano went back in time, reaching into their storied history to try and recapture whatever it was that had previously made them a sensation. Did it work? Only time will tell, in the long term. In the short term, though, the Toronto crowd erupted as DIY mutually tapped out their opponents to claim a championship that had long eluded them, and for a few minutes, it really did feel like 2016 again.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Loved: No turning back now for the New Bloodline

In any endeavor upon which high stakes weigh, once you're all in, there's simply no turning back. A week after violently disposing of Paul Heyman, the Solo Sikoa-led version of The Bloodline did not appear in person in Toronto but instead closed "SmackDown" via a pre-taped vignette — yet another subtle but brilliant touch by WWE, really, because how could you top what they pulled off last week in terms of the absolute destruction of "The Wiseman" by all of Sikoa, Jacob Fatu, Tonga Loa, and Tama Tonga? Instead of even trying to, Sikoa appeared following the main event, surrounded by his underlings, displaying the ula fala symbolic of his assumption of the role of "Tribal Chief," in a video package that was shot to look very much like a scene from a mafia film. In a moment that he will absolutely not be able to walk back, Sikoa outright labeled Roman Reigns as "not man enough to defend our title," and taking it a step further, also "not man enough to defend our legacy." Cementing things even further still, he announced officially that Reigns is no longer able to call himself "The Tribal Chief" because that moniker belongs to him.


With the six-man tag match at Money in the Bank in the immediate future for The Bloodline against WWE Undisputed Champion Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton, and Kevin Owens, Sikoa seemed to reveal his direct involvement in the match, which has only been advertised as The Bloodline versus the babyface hodgepodge, saying that he was coming for Rhodes in that match, as well as his title soon after. Once again invoking Reigns' name, he said if he had a problem with that, he was welcome to come back and try to take it from him. And once again, we're in a toothpaste-out-of-the-tube situation that cannot be undone for Reigns' former enforcer. At this point, like it or not, Sikoa's Bloodline is looking more and more credible by the day and tomorrow at the premium live event, I expect that they will come out on top against Rhodes and Friends, likely in vicious fashion. But all of this is setting the stage for Reigns' eventual return, probably still much farther down the road, and even more chapters in a Bloodline saga that continues to roar on with little standing in its way.


Written by Jon Jordan