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WWE SmackDown Live recap & reactions (Sept. 18, 2018): Just call me Queen

WWE SmackDown Live returned last night (Sept. 18) from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You can find all the results at the live blog that’s way sexier than Ravishing Rick Rude right here.

Shut your face!

I can’t write enough superlatives about heel Becky Lynch.

Becky was given a championship coronation in the main event segment. After observing the lack of balloons and any other kind of congratulatory props, Becky started off by sarcastically thanking Paige for going out all for this hugely important ceremony. Soon after that she called Charlotte out, to rub the championship win in her face. Charlotte did a great job expressing respect for Becky’s accomplishment while warning that Becky will lose the title at Super Show-Down. Becky Lynch swiftly cut her off by telling Charlotte to shut her face.

Becky trolled Charlotte hard, telling her “You may touch the champ” and asking Charlotte to raise her hand and put the title around her waist. Charlotte wasn’t dumb enough to fall for that and instead turned her back to walk out of the ring. That’s when Becky crossed the line by saying she didn’t actually want Charlotte to do any of those things, she just wants Charlotte to “Call me queen...bitch!”

Charlotte lost control and attacked Becky, sparking a brawl outside the ring. Becky got the upper hand, taking out Charlotte with a Dis-arm-her and Bexploder.

Becky Lynch looked like a mega star here. This was a really strong segment, and their feud is still just as hot as it was before Hell in a Cell.

The fall of Rusev Day

They actually did it. They finally broke up Rusev Day.

This all started with a backstage segment where Rusev was being a jerk to Aiden, blaming Aiden for their loss at Hell in a Cell and saying that Aiden needs to do a better job of carrying his weight. I guess Rusev forgot that they never would’ve had that title shot to begin with if it wasn’t for English sacrificing his own body in multiple consecutive matches to save Rusev from disaster.

Rusev walked off and Aiden turned to some random employee backstage, ranting about how Rusev and Lana are nothing without him. Aiden angrily blamed all of Rusev’s failures on Lana. That’s when he awkwardly turned around to realize that Lana overheard everything he just said. She ran off to tell Rusev, but Rusev told her to wait until after his match because he wanted to be 100% focused on his US Championship match with Nakamura. Aiden and Lana accompanied him to the ring, full of tension.

This interesting set up planted the seeds for two possible scenarios in my mind. Either Aiden would help Rusev win the title, thus proving there is merit to the idea that Lana has been holding Rusev back. Or Rusev would fail, and Aiden would turn on him.

Late in the match, Rusev was in a strong position when Aiden grabbed a mic and shouted out, “Rusev, crush!” Aiden looked like an idiot doing this, and Rusev was understandably distracted, which led to a Nakamura win via roll-up. Aiden was shocked and upset by the loss, but then quickly realized that his alliance with Rusev would be toast as soon as Lana revealed his secret from earlier. So English immediately turned the mic upside down and smacked Rusev upside the head with it. He then repeatedly pummeled Rusev in the head over and over with it.

It’s sad to see Rusev Day split and it’s kind of mind-boggling that we had to deal with an absurdly boring Bludgeon Brothers tag title reign when we could have a blast with Rusev Day on top. Now we’ll never get that. And I definitely expect Aiden English will be a jobber by November. But as far as grading this episode goes, I’m not going to let those concerns drag down what was a great pro wrestling angle.

There must be a winner...but will the ref correctly identify him?

I have a few issues with AJ Styles’ promo discussing his tap out at Hell in a Cell.

I think a true babyface might consider forfeiting the title, but that thought didn’t seem to cross AJ’s mind. Even if that sounds a bit extreme, I think a babyface should at least express strong regret about the situation. But instead of doing that in a convincing manner, AJ basically shrugged his shoulders and said sometimes lady luck shines on you, and maybe it was just karma coming back to bite Joe.

This is a very similar situation to the Greatest Royal Rumble where Roman Reigns fairly defeated Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title, yet the referee missed the call. In that case, the babyface was the one that got screwed over. This time the heel was screwed over, but I guess that’s ok because of karma? Eh, that’s pretty weak in my opinion.

Then AJ goes on to hype up the rematch at Super Show-Down, talking about how there must be a winner because there will be no countouts or disqualifications. That’s great and all, but countouts and disqualifications had nothing to do with how Joe got screwed over at Hell in a Cell. How’s this stipulation going to stop these incompetent WWE referees from missing the next time AJ taps out in the middle of the ring?

Even though I just ranted a bunch about that promo, I quickly forgot about it because AJ Styles then went one-on-one with Andrade “Cien” Almas, and this match was amazing. Forget all the other matches on this card, this is the one you need to watch in full. As much as I ripped on the content of AJ’s promo, this match deserves twice as much writing in praise. That Styles Clash at the end just completely blew my mind. Almas and Vega continue to look great in defeat, and they are positioned to rise to the upper card really fast whenever the decision-makers decide it’s time. This was just great stuff right here.

All the Rest:

Creepy: Randy Orton was in the production truck, bullying the poor sap at the controls to show him images of the screwdriver going through Jeff Hardy’s ear. Orton says this is nothing compared to what he will do to his next victim. This was effective at conveying how creepy and disturbing Orton is. I just wish some other performer on the show was given this gimmick, because this is probably going to lead to yet another top of the card push for Randy Orton sooner rather than later.

Glowing: Asuka and Naomi are a team now, and Asuka tapped out Billie Kay in a singles match in less than three minutes. This was fine for establishing Asuka and Naomi as an allied unit going forward. Anybody got a team name for them yet before WWE comes up with something terrible like Team Glowsuka?

Selfies: Sheamus took ringside selfies while Cesaro defeated Kofi Kingston in a singles match. Cesaro really needed to win this match, because it didn’t really make any sense that The Bar suddenly became the number one contenders for the tag titles even though they just lost a number one contender’s tournament one week ago. Cesaro and Kofi seemed a bit off for parts of this one, but there was still Cesaro’s great running uppercut, as well as Kofi nailing Cesaro with a really cool “I don’t know what that was”, as described by Xavier Woods. What a maneuver!

Coward: Miz’s announcement about his match with Daniel Bryan at Super Show-Down was a little hurt by the fact that this match was already made official back in August. Maryse then feigned an injury during MizTV to try duping Bryan into a trap at the hands of Miz, but Bryan was still able to gain the upper hand and knock Miz out of the ring. This was ok, but their feud is losing steam and could use a more meaningful development than what was delivered here.

I thought maybe this show would end up in the B or B- range after the first 45 minutes, but the rest of the show was pretty great. There were two really compelling angles (Aiden turns on Rusev, Becky’s coronation), one terrific match (Styles vs. Almas), and most everything else was decent enough to keep me engaged.

Grade: A-

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