WWE SmackDown returned last night (Sept. 12) from Las Vegas, Nevada with a loaded show. You can find all the results at the live blog here.
One Bad Dude
This week’s episode threaded the promise of a Vince McMahon verbal showdown with Kevin Owens. KO opened the show cutting a promo about how his plans to sue the company are still intact. In fact, sooner than later, this really would be the Kevin Owens show.
He gave us an idea of what it would be like, such as firing Sami Zayn, canceling the Fashion Files, making Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips share one suit, and having Aiden English sing the opening theme of the show. (I’m down with that no matter what they do.)
But Vince popped that balloon when they went face to face in the closing segment. The Chairman reminded Owens who he was. If KO sued him, he’d surely lose. Vince claimed he has been in many courtroom battles and won them all. So if Owens wanted to sue him, he could go right ahead. He’d end up bankrupt and unemployed.
McMahon made it clear that he didn’t suspend his son for putting his hands on KO but not taking it far enough. Kevin insulted the McMahon family and the McMahon name. Vince wanted to see Shane make him pay.
And now he can. Because he booked Owens vs. Shane inside Hell in a Cell.
Owens knew his original plan was out the window so he agreed to the match. But he made the deal with a caveat: That he wouldn’t get fired for brutalizing Shane. That he wouldn’t get fired for unloading on a McMahon.
For a man who wins so many court battles, Vince surely wasn’t paying attention to wording when he accepted Kevin’s conditions.
Because after their handshake, Owens busted his boss open with a vicious headbutt.
Then KO continued to unload on him. This finished with a frogsplash on the Chairmain, leaving Vince bloodied and needing to be helped out of the ring. Stephanie even came down to check on her father and made sure to give Owens her death stare. But he wasn’t phased. He was in that zone where he’s just full of vicious rage.
All in all, it worked for me. I don’t think Vince will ever be a babyface in situations like this. McMahon is really forever a heel. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Kevin Owens still attacked his boss who happens to be a 72 year-old man. Even if Vince gets little pity from me, KO is still built as a ruthless bastard.
Plus it will make it all the more personal when Shane gets back and those two continue kicking this into high gear.
Most importantly, this continues to cement Kevin Owens as top level heel superstar in the WWE. He’s shown his mean streak in WWE prior, but when it’s at expense of the McMahons, it’s a big deal. Vince doesn’t take bumps like he used to back in the day so this is definitely meaningful. (I believe the last was a Superman Punch from Roman?) The image of KO busting him open with a headbutt is one that we’ll remember for awhile. Hell, this makes him feel bigger than when he was actually Universal champion.
While it’s tough to pity Vince, who’s been a heel in so many respects, this segment helped add fuel to the fire of this feud and help cement Kevin Owens as a big time heel in WWE.
The Usos and the New Day really do have some incredible chemistry. Normally, this hot shotting of the titles would become tiresome, but they’ve delivered every single match they’ve had together this feud and tonight was no different.
They structured the match so it always felt like 2 on 1 in the Usos favor, which makes sense because the Usos are the one who chose the stipulation. Woods was not ringside and it would have been nice for them to explain him away by even saying that was part of the Usos stipulation, but outside that, this match was fun like all the others. (Note: apparently the announcers explained that the New Day didn’t want to give the Usos any excuses, so they did address it. But that was just a nitpick anyway.)
The end was set up to call back to their last match. Big E took a series of superkicks and was down in the middle of the ring as the champs set up for the double splash that won them the titles at the last PPV. However, Kofi was able to recover after being knocked into the barrier outside to knock down one of the Usos. The challengers were then able to hit the Midnight Hour for the win.
And surely they’ll do it again. In Hell in a Cell maybe? I’m totally down. They can fight forever.
The first title match of the evening was AJ Styles vs. Tye Dillinger for the United States title. Baron Corbin got involved when AJ was setting for the Phenomenal Forearm. Corbin jumped up onto the adjacent apron and Styles delivered an impressive forearm to the Lone Wolf instead.
This allowed Tye to try to take advantage, attempting a rollup and even hitting a Tye Breaker, which Styles kicked out of. (Credit to Tom Philips who pointed out that Dillinger didn’t have time to pull down his kneepad, hinting that perhaps that’s why Tye’s finisher failed him.) Eventually, Dillinger tapped to the Calf Crusher.
After the match, Corbin attacked Styles and then the Perfect 10 when he tried to intervene. He told AJ that next week, the open challenge is meant for him.
Overall, it was a good much (are you surprised?), though one that spent most of the time in the commercial picture in picture. It was good use of Corbin in the interrupting heel spot. He didn’t interfere too much to take away from the match but enough to make us dislike him for it. They had me buying a possible title change after the Tye Breaker, and despite losing, Dillinger looked good coming out of this. Good stuff overall.
Natalya defended her title successfully against Naomi in what was really an underwhelming affair.
To start, the women didn’t even get their entrances, which immediately lessens the impact of a championship match. Much like the US title match, the bulk was it was picture in picture during commercials. And the focus really felt like it was more on Carmella at ringside. In fact, it was Naomi performing a top rope dive onto both Carmella and Ellsworth that pretty much directly led to her tapping to the Sharpshooter.
It was a disappointing rematch for Naomi, who has seemed to recede to the backburner after what looked to be a promising title run. Losing the title happens, but ever since she did, it feels like she became an afterthought.
Oh, and Ellsworth was being held by a leash by Carmella tonight. What a world.
All the Rest:
Same Ol’ Song
Jinder Mahal cut a dumb promo making fun of Shinsuke Nakamura’s weird faces. I’m sure Vince loved it. At first, I felt it was notable because it was going to be the first time he didn’t cut his normal “This is why Americans hate me” promo, but he ended up going there in the end anyway. The crowd didn’t seem to care either way.
The only part of the segment that I enjoyed was Singh brothers purposely over selling their laughing at his dumb jokes.
At this point, you’ve heard one Jinder promo, you’ve heard them all. (Though this one did have pictures.) Overall bland and nothing worth remembering. Which isn’t good when that’s being delivered by your WWE champion.
Dolph Doesn’t Get It
Ziggler did the same bit as last week but I still find it intriguing. The premise is that Dolph really doesn’t get understand why we like other wrestlers and we don’t like him. He thinks it’s because they have good entrances or flashy outfits.
He just doesn’t comprehend the connection that people like Ultimate Warrior, Bayley, Randy Savage, Shane McMahon, or Naomi have with the fans. So he assumes it’s based on the most basic and superficial aspects of those wrestlers. Zigs doesn’t realize that there’s an intangible and charisma that all these stars have that fans attach to.
So he keeps running his mouth claiming he’s the best, clueless that right now he’s the worst. I’m curious to see where this goes.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable defeated the Hype Bros in a quick match. It was a bit disappointing to have this as a throwaway match as these are the only other two major tag teams. But given the way Zack Ryder refused to shake hands after defeat like his tag partner, perhaps the break up of the Hype Bros is back on.
MIA this week:
Most of the women’s division, Breezango (though they showed up on 205 Live), Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode
It was a packed show that moved pretty well. The main angle set up a big Hell in a Cell match and is solidifying KO is a big heel. The Women’s title match felt underwhleming due to how it was set up, but the other two were enjoyable.
Pretty good show.
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