This week’s WWE Smackdown Live was held in Glendale, AZ at the Gila River Arena.
Apparently matches didn’t matter very much to the writers of Smackdown Live. None of these matches had any urgency or consequences. They were all just vehicles to get someone to come out and talk, or for another match to be made.
What happened to good storytelling both in the ring and outside of it? My article will not recap the matches tonight with the good, bad and ugly format. I will instead just discuss what the matches were meant to make way for. Here we go.
After a video recap of the comments made by both Shane and Kevin Owens last week, Owens himself came to the ring to address what Shane had to say last week. His main point was that he respected and even liked Vince. So if he could do that to someone he liked and respected, what is he going to do to someone who he dislikes?
It seems that KO’s actions as of late were so out of control that even former friends are concerned about where this road will take him. Sami Zayn came down to the ring to try and talk some sense into Owens, but Kevin wasn’t having it.
Owens basically took this opportunity to dress down Zayn, saying that this wasn’t out of concern for him, this was Sami being jealous that Owens was once again out shining him in the WWE. Sami conceded that Owens has had more success than him in the WWE, but he got that success in a cheap and distasteful way. Sami told his former best friend that his time will come, and it will come the right way. He hammered home this point by saying that at least he will be able to look in the mirror and not see a piece of trash staring back at himself.
This was a literal mic drop moment as both men did just that and looked as if they were about to come to blows. Daniel Bryan’s music stopped the impending Canadian on Canadian violence. However it was just to make an official match later on that night. Violence postponed.
Tye Dillinger vs Baron Corbin – Winner: Baron Corbin
First match of the night was between two guys that I definitely think will hold the U.S. Title at some point. Like I said though, tonight wasn’t about good matches, it is about what happened after.
AJ Styles was at ringside for the match and near the end of the match Corbin threw water in the face of Styles. This obviously caused AJ to stand up and approach Corbin. Dillinger tried to take advantage but was thrown into AJ and couldn’t beat a “10” count causing Corbin to win.
After the match AJ tried to chase Corbin down, but the big man has quick feet and retreated up the entryway. Before leaving Corbin cut a decent heel promo, challenging AJ to a match at Hell In A Cell for the title. This was later confirmed as an official match.
I see Baron finally winning a title at this PPV. He is due. He is, in my opinion, right on the heels (no pun intended) of KO for the best heel in the Smackdown Live locker room.
Jinder Mahal Segment
A quote from the announce team said it all for me. “Seriously? More of this?” Unfortunately yes. This time though, we got a payoff for sitting through more of the forced laughter from the horrible comedy of Jinder Mahal.
Mahal was yet again making us groan from him making fun of pictures of Nakamura’s face. It would be the last photo though that would silence the laughter of the WWE Champion. As he and the Singh brothers roared in laughter at the still photo, the picture became not so still, as Nakamura’s hands began to move. It was indeed a live feed of Nakamura, and he was in the building.
The violins played and the crowd cheered. Nakamura came down to the ring only to be met by all three men. It seemed that the numbers game would overwhelm Nakamura as it has for so many other superstars, but Nakamura isn’t just some other superstar. After dispatching the Singhs, and countering the Khallas, Nakamura struck down the champ with the Kinshasa.
I truly hope that Shinsuke doesn’t get the Braun Strowman treatment at Hell In A Cell, looking incredibly strong going into the PPV only to fall short. Jinder has had his run, and the WWE didn’t get the payoff from Indian audiences that they had hoped. So get the belt off of him and replace the Maharaja with the King of Strong Style.
Usos vs Hype Bros – Winners: Usos
Once again a match involving a relevant team versus a jobber team, with the relevant team’s rivals at ringside. This time though the New Day was not at the announcer’s table, but instead sat in the front row with the fans.
After the match the Usos and New Day had a great back and forth on the mics. The moment of the confrontation went to Xavier Woods when he told the Usos that they didn’t just want to defend their titles at Hell In A Cell. They want to defend them IN Hell In A Cell.
With this announcement I am going to assume that the New Day combo at the PPV will be Big E and Kofi. I’m sure Woods is pretty much healed up from his knee injury, but I can’t see them chancing re-injuring it in what could be the match of the night.
So apparently beating someone in a cheap way warrants a celebration and a key to the city in Rusev’s hometown of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Aiden English was the master of ceremonies and sang the Bulgarian National Anthem as Rusev came to the ring. It was really good by the way. I don’t know if all the words were right, but if they were, well done Aiden.
As Rusev stood on a Bulgarian Flag podium, the “mayor” of Plovdiv announced that Rusev would be getting a key to the city, as well as September 26th being forever known as “Rusev Day”.
Aiden began to serenade the crowd with a original song to commemorate the moment….annnnddd you guessed it, RKO out of nowhere. Rusev got on as well. Predictable.
This sets up a match for Randy and Rusev at Hell In A Cell. Pssst, Smackdown writers….come here….closer. MAKE RUSEV A FACE ALREADY! He can be so funny and over if you let him. Please let him.
Charlotte vs Carmella – Winner: Charlotte
This match was the worst offender of “not meaning a damn thing” tonight. Not only that, but Carmella controlled most of the match. I’m tired of seeing Charlotte having to dumb down her ring work so that she doesn’t expose some of this women in the ring. Just put her in 205 Live and be done with it.
To add insult to her having to be controlled most of the match, the payoff was completely flat and unnecessary. After Charlotte won the match, Nattie came out and talked for about 30 seconds. She just said she was glad that Ric Flair was recovering, that means he could watch Charlotte lose at Hell In A Cell. *Crickets*
Dolph Meets Flash AND Talent
I called this weeks ago. After Dolph fooled the crowd for a bit when he came out to the Undertaker’s music he continued the same rant he has had for weeks. This time his rant would be cut short, and it would be…….GLORIOUS!
This makes total sense. For weeks Dolph has been mocking the type of entrance and gimmick that Bobby Roode has. The difference here is that Dolph has said that anyone can have those things, but no one can do what he can in the ring. Roode is the obvious choice for a Ziggler feud because he CAN go toe to toe with Dolph.
Roode cut a great promo on Dolph and even cut him off as Ziggler was about to get the last word with his own “GLORIOUS” catchphrase. I apparently lied before when I said that the New Day/Usos match could be match of the night. THIS will be match of the night hands down.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn – No Contest
I will say this. Even though this match was nothing but a placeholder until Shane could make it to the arena, it was a great match. As well it should be, these guys have been wrestling together for pretty much their entire careers. Everything was timed well, and they were totally laying into each other.
The match ended when KO powerbombed Sami onto the ring apron outside the ring. The thud of Sami’s back signaled the end of the match as the ref called for the bell. As medical staff tended to Sami, KO looked chilling as he sat and stared at his fallen opponent without emotion. Owens would not be finished with him just yet. He chased Sami down and set up a career ending spot. Owens placed Sami’s neck in the folding part of a steel chair, looking to paralyze Zayn.
Of course Shane shows up and Owens fled into the crowd avoiding the wrath of the Smackdown Live commissioner. After seeing Owens’ intensity in this match, and his current persona, I don’t know if Shane will be able to keep up with Owens at the PPV. I just hope it’s decent.