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SmackDown Live recap & reactions (Aug. 29, 2017): Try again later

Well this is new!

Don't adjust your sets, I've popped over from my full-service liveblog to fill in on the recap tonight. I feel a little naked without play-by-play to hide behind, but no matter, on with the (recap of the) show!

Killing Time

With the entire show bookended by the somewhat unlikely main event foursome of Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Jinder Mahal, and Rusev, you'd kind of hope we'd get SOMETHING compelling here, some bit of story development, or at least a pay-per-view match announcement out of the deal.

No dice.

That's for next week, where WWE have booked Orton and Nakamura against each other in a #1 contender's match for the WWE Championship. Instead we got a paint-by-numbers opening promo segment that was strangely fixated with the idea of Jinder representing all of Asia now (hey, I can be fair, maybe it’s just the Heat of the Moment) leading into a paint-by-numbers beatdown, and then a paint-by-numbers main event tag team match that fell apart at the end and the obligatory RKO OUTTA RIGHT NEXT TO YOU to cap everything off.


But it's not all bad-- imagine, if you will, taking the sentence "Randy Orton saved Shinsuke Nakamura from a beatdown at the hands of Jinder Mahal" back in time to 2014. Would be a hoot, right?

Baron Dorkin'

I'm a simple man, prone to positivity, but something about Baron Corbin getting dorked out week after week fills me with glee.

This week was no different, Corbin super pumped to become United States Champion... and Tye Dillinger of all people snipes the shot out from under him. But he didn't just snipe it out from under him, no way. First he beat the Lone Wolf in a shoving match in the entryway, and then he shrugged off Corbin's assault and knocked the wind out of him hard enough that he couldn't interfere until after the match.

Sure, Tye got taken care of in short order by AJ Styles, but he looked good taking it to the Champ That Runs the Camp while it lasted. And then, post-match, the piece de resistance, Baron getting dorked out one last time as AJ knocked him back with a single forearm, leaving him pacing like a caged animal, afraid to touch the bars again lest he get shocked a second time.

The best part, those nagging feelings that maybe just tossing a guy like Baron Corbin in the trash isn't the greatest booking decision are assuaged by the possibility of a feud with Tye. Why not, right? Either rebuild Corbin or use him as a stepping stone for the Perfect 10, and either way you're building somebody out of it. Book it!

Journey to the Center of Eternity

It's goofy as hell in a lot of ways, but I'm enjoying the newly expanded Kevin Owens-Shane McMahon feud. Like, yes, it's fundamentally ridiculous for KO to steal referee Brian Nguyen's jersey and put it on as if the power to officiate the match is held in the striped shirt. Even moreso when his idea of calling it down the middle involves hitting a pop-up powerbomb and handing the match to the winner with a fast count. And yes, Shane McMahon coming down and talking about Corbin being totally biased when in actuality he largely called it down the middle as guest referee last week as if we don't remember that is extremely silly.

But... the core thread of Owens becoming increasingly irate over slights, whether perceived or real, is good enough, and it's been just long enough since he's done the dance with Sami Zayn that the idea of the Underdog from the Underground getting pulled in to help tread water until Shane is ready to wrestle is exciting.

And hey, Nguyen used to wrestle, which affords us an interesting avenue should he decide to take formal offense to Owens literally taking the shirt off his back.

And the rest

World's Greater-est Tag Team: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin looked good out there in a debut victory over the Ascension, with nary a hint of the dissension teased last week. And really, whether they're staying together long-term or this is just a platform for a singles launch, it's probably for the best to let folks get invested before going one way or the other. And invested the folks of Little Rock, Arkansas were... in Shelton Benjamin.

Well, you gotta start somewhere, and hopefully the rising tide raises all boats. ...just, maybe without a shove-assisted Paydirt as their finisher.

Love Bites: Speaking of "in the trash" from earlier, Mike and Maria Kanellis, huh? When Mike appeared in the ring as Bobby Roo's opponent, I thought to myself "Oh, okay, this could be a cool feud", but nothing about the match suggests that it was anything more than one more stepping stone on the way to, ah... Glorious Domination.

The Zig-Man cometh: I have no idea where this Dolph Ziggler deal is going, and I cannot yet decide whether I'd like it more if he came out with a succession of ridiculous gimmicks or if he were to just keep delaying it week after week.

It's sore: With Xavier Woods in good spirits but unable to lend more than moral support to his teammates, it's a shame they couldn't bring a victory and the choice of stipulation that goes with it back to him. It's an even bigger shame that the match started as a commercial break was starting and was restricted to picture in picture for what must have been roughly half its duration, given the chemistry these guys have with each other.

What we got was better than fine, I just wish I could have seen the whole thing in its full glory. And maybe it would have been nice to get the announcement of the stipulation tonight, given how much got put off to later on the rest of the show.

How much for the women?: Not much, as it turns out. We got a short interview segment that set up matches for next week (Carmella vs. Natalya) and the week after (Naomi vs. Natalya, with the title on the line in their contractually mandated rematch), followed immediately by Lana's first showcase for the new-and-improved Tamina who is... basically the same as the old Tamina, just with Lana yelling "Crush!" through a microphone at ringside.

That's okay, I guess, with only so many segments in a show and the biggest roster ever, some storyline somewhere is getting shortchanged every week, but none of that makes me particularly interested in seeing what's next.

Fashion filed: As always, the Fashion Files is a joy to watch. This week (not starring Chuck Norris), Deputy Dango got fixated on the idea of crime never taking a vacation, Tyler Breeze got some fancy tech toys to play with (including a blacklight that found our boys in a variety of flattering colors including but not limited to blue their next clue), and after some detective work that would make Batman himself roll a tear, Aiden English is our next suspect.

I can't wait!

There you have it, folks

To wrap this bad boy up, let me dust off my recommendation scale that you'll be familiar with if you read my New Japan recaps. They’re not grades, as such, they make no claim about the quality of a given chunk of wrestling, merely whether or not you should watch it. A 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip, 3 is a show that's worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.

And so, SmackDown this week adds up to the near platonic ideal of a two-boy. It went down pleasantly enough, but there's not a whole lot here that you NEED to see, Cagesiders.

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