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WWE SmackDown Live results, recap, reactions (Sept. 26, 2017): All around the world

WWE has never been so rich with such diverse talent on its roster. They've brought together a truly special group of stars from all around the world. That shouldn't be a problem but WWE booking has made it one.

There is zero issue with a wrestler being proud of where he/she comes from, of course. The issue is WWE makes it their defining characteristic and in such a way that it's a negative.

Why can't we have a babyface Rusev who is proud of his Bulgarian roots? Why must they book segments where he accepts a key to his hometown and we're supposed to boo this because he's a bad guy who is doing this off a cheap win? In a vacuum it doesn't work, and even in context it doesn't do anything to make me want to cheer the babyface opposing him, Randy Orton.

Actually, Aiden English and Ruseve were so entertaining here, it felt bad when Orton wrecked the party. They make it too easy to forget why he's doing so, while focusing on all the wrong issues.

That's without even mentioning the fact that the WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal, cut such a racist promo last week the company didn't release any footage of it and had him apologize for it this week while not really changing much of anything about his presentation. He just made the same bad joke enough times that I think they want us to believe he's not actually a racist idiot, he's just an idiot who is really bad at comedy.

There should be layers to these characters, because there are layers to human beings. Tell me stories where they are influenced by their roots, like they are influenced in their daily lives, but not totally and completely defined by them. We've seen how brilliant Rusev can be when he's allowed to be something other than "guy who is proud to be from Bulgaria."

If only WWE would let him, and countless others, flex that muscle.

All the best to all the rest

- Kevin Owens feels a whole lot like the Kevin Owens of old, and that's at least in part because they smartly let him rekindle his rivalry with Sami Zayn to really drive home that he is a real piece of shit. He's violent, and nasty, and probably going to hurt Shane McMahon very badly. Zayn, meanwhile, greatly benefits because this was a reminder he is the purest babyface WWE has and if they play it right, he could very well find himself in the midst of a run that culminates with taking down his ruthless nemesis while all of us cheer wildly for the last great good guy. Meanwhile, Shane is just sort of there, and I'm not sure I can ever forgive him for running straight into a guy with a chair around his neck.

- Tye Dillinger's Perfect 10 stuff should be more gimmick, because it has the ability to be geniunely interesting in a way that's different from what WWE always gives us. What if he LOVED winning via count out and HATED losing that way? What if it became an obsession? Can you tell I'm having trouble caring much about this Baron Corbin-AJ Styles program?

- This entire title run of Jinder Mahal's has been a mess and WWE is better off if they get out of it sooner rather than later. I don't know that it will be much better with Nakamura, however, considering he looks worse off after this show. Interrupting a promo to do a full entrance after last week? Come on now.

- Remember when The Hype Bros said last week something had to change and they needed to take drastic measures to bring that about? I'm not sure how challenging The Usos to a match was that, but the way it really played out was Mojo Rawley tagging himself in and Zack Ryder getting upset about it and nearly getting hurt when it all backfired. A weird follow up but the breakup has a real chance to be interesting. Elsewhere, Big E eating popcorn in the crowd was maybe the best thing on this show.

- I lied, Rusev's happiness at Aiden English singing a song for him was the best thing on this show.

- Putting Charlotte in a match with Carmella makes sense here, considering the latter holds the briefcase so she can lose every match until the cash-in while Charlotte needs built up in advance of her title shot against Natalya while also servicing the idea that maybe Carmella will want to cash in later because of this. The match was fine but there's still a real problem with how little reaction Carmella is getting.

- Bobby Roode is the perfect wrestler to respond to Dolph Ziggler because he is essentially the embodiment of Ziggler's complaints. He's a guy who got over because he has great entrance music and an amazing entrance to go with it. Where Dolph is wrong is that Roode isn't on his level as a wrestler. This actually added a great layer to this story. Yes, Ziggler wants fans to love him and hates that they don't but this made it crystal clear the real problem is he just doesn't get it. Roode is style, yes, but he's also substance. He has the elaborate entrance but he's also a great wrestler who wins. Dolph has never been able to find that balance, never put it all together to be the star he always wanted to be. Now he's at the end of his career and deeply bitter. What a fantastic story.

Some real good stuff on this show offset by the usual WWE issues.

Grade: C

Your turn.

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