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WWE SmackDown Live recap & reactions (Sept. 25, 2018): That night in Milwaukee


WWE SmackDown Live returned last night (Sept. 25) from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. You can find all the results in your mom’s favorite live blog here.

A night in Milwaukee

In today’s SmackDown preview, my man Sean Rueter felt that the Rusev Day break up would be best served in shades of grey.

It looks like he got his wish to some degree.

Yes, it’s clear the heel is Aiden English and Rusev (and Lana?) is the face. But the fact that Aiden came out and spoke only the truth (until the end probably) landed this story in the grey zone.

It’s a heel move to take credit for a friend’s success, but English wasn’t wrong. Rusev was floundering in the midcard until Aiden started singing about him. Before English, the Bulgarian seemed lost. Afterwards, crowds were super hot for him. They still chant “Rusev Day” when they want to support the Bulgarian.

Is it the truth that Lana is the reason they broke up? Probably not. At least not fully. But it was clear that there wasn’t enough room in he world of Rusev for the both of them. (The fact that the crowd supported Lana by singing a song that Aiden wrote for her is also proof of how much he helped them in their time together).

So while Aiden is the heel here, and there’s little doubt about that, his motives are understandable. He did a ton of work for his friend and then got pushed out when his friend’s wife started spending more time with them. (And let’s not forget that months ago, Lana tried to get Rusev to drop Aiden.)

The final sentence is when Aiden resorted to some dirty tactics. He made reference to Lana not telling Rusev the truth about a night in Milwaukee (pronounced Mil-e-wal-que). We don’t know what English is referring to (though we can venture a guess at what he’s implying), and whatever it is, it’s meant to drive husband and wife apart.

Unfortunately for Lana, her night was only going to get worse.

Not up to par

Backstage, Lana was trying to convince her husband that Aiden was full of BS. That’s when the women’s champion entered the scene.

Becky Lynch made a couple cracks about Milwaukee before telling Lana that she doesn’t think the Ravishing Russian is up to par in the ring and is bringing the division down. And she went and got a match with Lana to prove it.

This was a heel move through and through, but at this point, it doesn’t matter if Bex is a full on heel or anti-hero or what. She’s clicking on all levels and that’s all that matters. If fans want to boo her being rough to Lana who is already having a bad night, that makes total sense. If they want to cheer her because they love the new attitude that evolved from her journey, that’s perfectly fine. It’s undeniable she’s something special now.

In the end, Lynch survived a couple nearfalls and tapped out Lana to the Dis-Arm-Her.

Is this the worst night of Lana’s life? Probably not. Let’s not forget she dated Dolph Ziggler for a little bit. But it’s surely up there.

Truth TV

R-Truth continues to absolutely kill it on SmackDown Live.

This week, he and his Mixed Match Challenge partner Carmella opened the show with their own talk show (Truth TV) with special guest Daniel Bryan.

This was more superb comedy from Truth (and Carmella, who meshes very well with him), including a spectacular seven second dance break inserted randomly into the show. This brought the Miz out, who thought it was all a travesty.

With Miz and Bryan both in the ring, this shifted to a Miz promo about their Super Show-Down match which actually added a nice wrinkle to things. The A-Lister stated that Daniel Bryan has too much integrity to beat him, claiming he’ll do whatever it takes. In fact, Miz claims that the only way Bryan can beat the Miz is if Daniel gives up that integrity and cheats, but that would be letting everyone down.

He was soon interrupted by another seven second dance break and was forced to face the ageless R-Truth to get his show back.

Another benefit about R-Truth being so good right now is it really sucks when the Miz beats him. With Daniel Bryan at ringside providing commentary (something he was very good at - putting the Miz over while reminding us why he hates him), Miz used a thumb to the eye and Bryan’s flying knee for the win, in essence canceling Truth TV. RIP.

The opening segment was mainly about the Daniel Bryan/Miz match at Super Show-Down, but using R-Truth to help tell that story made it much more entertaining.

Family Affair

Samoa Joe didn’t show up to the contract signing for the WWE title tonight. Instead, he went to AJ Styles’ house.

He spoke to AJ via video outside his house. It was unclear if it was supposed to be live or not (Joe didn’t seem to respond to any of Styles’ pleading). Joe told Styles that this feeling of helplessness right now will be the same thing he feels when he loses his title in Australia. Then the segment, and the show, ended as he rang the doorbell.

Really, for all intents and purposes, this is something that’s too silly to work. Off-site angles that involve families often don’t. But Samoa Joe is so good at being ominous that I’m willing to accept it.

Yes, there’s no way they’ll be able to follow up with what happened in any satisfying way next week. Did she answer the door and then call the police? Not answer at all? Invite him in for tea? That’s not to mention he didn’t actually sign the contract so he doesn’t actually have a match at Super Show-Down.

But with the way this story has been going, something along these lines had to happen. Joe had to take this next step. They kept it as simple as they could with just having him cut his promo outside the house while Styles tried to beg him off from far away.

Next week we’ll see how they explain what happened after it went off the air and how Styles responds.

Outta Nowhere

Randy Orton attacked Tye Dillinger of all people this week.

Dillinger was facing Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match. Things seemed to be going well when BAM! out came Orton to beat the ever loving hell out of him.

Is Tye going to get a program with Randy? Doesn’t look that way. Randy told Mike Rome backstage he just did it because he hates the ten chants. It’s probably something to do to buy time until Styles is done with Samoa Joe.

One question I do have: Is it just coincidence that Shinsuke Nakamura happens to be the benefactor from all these beatings or is there something more there?

Hoss: Sheamus and Big E matched up in a big man match ahead of the New Day/Bar tag title match at the Show-Down. The Celtic Warrior won the entertaining hoss fight, but the fact that he and Cesaro won their respective matches against New Day members two weeks in a row doesn’t have me loving their chances down under.

Empress of Glow: Naomi & Asuka defeated Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville as the IIconics watched on commentary. The team of Naomi & Asuka are fun enough, but I can’t help be a bit disappointed that this is the spot Asuka has found herself in on the main roster. At least she’s on TV, I guess.

This was another very solid episode of SmackDown Live.

Grade: B

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