With Owens handcuffed to the ring, would Sami Zayn survive against Randy Orton? Shane McMahon continues to wage war against the Canadian duo.
Smackdown Live emanated from San Diego, CA .
Owens and Zayn were greeted by a hostile crowd as they discussed their victimhood under Shane McMahon’s reign as Smackdown Live general manager. They continued to tear apart the McMahon family history of screwing over wrestlers and Shane’s shortcomings at the Survivor Series pay-per-view this past November.
The segment was interrupted when Randy Orton stealthily entered the ring and delivered an RKO out of nowhere to an unsuspecting Kevin Owens after Sami Zayn had left the ring to taunt fans.
Shane McMahon then made an entrance announcing the night’s main event: Zayn vs. Orton with the stipulation that Owens would be handcuffed to the ring ropes.
The Twelve Days of Rusev
First of all, I am totally getting a Rusev Day t-shirt. The singing of Aiden English is definitely a heat magnet and made for a clever reveal of the new T-shirt design featuring the fictional holiday.
This match would determine if Rusev and English would go on to face the Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. The two teams put on an entertaining match with comedic spots. New Day were defeated via pinfall thanks to a distraction on the outside by English and Rusev landing a kick to the back of the head of Kofi Kingston.
It would later be revealed that the Smackdown Live Tag Team Championships would be defended in a fatal four-way match featuring these two teams along with the Usos and Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin.
Smackdown Live’s tag team division has been putting on top notch performances since the brand split and fans widely recognize this. I would rather see another solid tag team match rather than throwing teams together in a four-way, however, I have faith that the teams involved can make it spectacular.
Ziggler Makes a Statement
Baron Corbin and Bobby Roode put on a short physical match while Dolph Ziggler joined the commentary team. While tearing down both competitors, Ziggler aired his frustrations with the WWE Universe paying more attention to gimmicks and ignoring his in-ring talent. Ziggler later inserted himself into the match-up by planting both Roode and Corbin with a Zig Zag and causing a disqualification.
I felt this segment did well to give Ziggler more of purpose after weeks in creative purgatory. He seeks to prove himself as a top tier performer at the up-coming Clash of Champions by winning the United States Championship. Over the years fans have wanted more from Ziggler but I think at this point it would be hard for him to gain any momentum. The crowds pop for Bobby Roode and the Glorious character.
It speaks volumes to WWE creative that Baron Corbin is the United States Champion and hardly made an impact in this segment.
Charlotte defeated Tamina by tap out while the women’s division were watching at ringside. Natalya and the rest of the roster threatened Charlotte afterwards until the Riot Squad led by Ruby Riot came down to the ring.
Although it took some time for me to come around to the Raw copycat invaders I am enjoying the Riot Squad faction. Their mission is simple: wreak havoc upon a stagnant Smackdown Live women’s division. This segment seemed to position them as faces as they confronted the rest of the women’s roster who had been manipulated earlier in the night by Natalya in opposition to Charlotte.
Both Riot Squad and the rest of the women’s division will be at ringside for the Smackdown Women’s Championship lumberjack match at WWE Clash of Champions. I am wondering if this may lead to some sort of alliance between Charlotte and the Riot Squad.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
The cold open to a distraught Kevin Owens being handcuffed to ring ropes by security created the perfect amount of tension before Sami Zayn took on Randy Orton. Owens whined like a spoiled brat as general manager Daniel Bryan matter-of-factly explained he would suspend Owens for not complying with the stipulation.
Zayn introduced bolt cutters into the match as a clever remedy to the unjust stipulation laid down earlier into the night. Owens was able to procure the bolt cutters and free himself. Orton overcame the odds and rolled up Zayn for a pinfall victory. Shinske Nakamura came out to save Orton from a post-match beat-down for crowd pleasing finish.
Owens and Zayn are really effective heels.
They feel entitled to creative control of Smackdown Live and are not afraid to state their case with every given opportunity. There is also a part of me that is rooting for them to overcome an oppressive McMahon regime which seems to be the main story here. Their strong characters are breathing new life into a tired underdog vs their boss routine.
I’m hoping to see this angle develop into a bigger, more intricate story line involving Daniel Bryan. Bryan seems to be a fair, impartial general manager while Shane McMahon has a personal vendetta against Owens and Zayn. This is evident in that Bryan and McMahon continuously clash over how to handle the terrible two. At the end of the show McMahon appointed himself guest referee of their match at Clash of Champions.
Seasons beatings were distributed as the Bludgeon Brothers squashed a no-name tag team.
Although WWE is positioning Harper and Rowan as a brutal force to be feared by all, the gimmick itself lacks depth. Whereas the back story of the Wyatt Family was unique and exciting, I believe this repackaging of the duo will rely heavily on creating dynamics with potential opponents.
In a back-stage segment Mojo Rawley wanted to let everyone know that if anyone has a problem with his betrayal of Zack Ryder they can shove it.
I personally could not care less.
WWE has not put anything into Rawley’s character other than paring him with Ryder or associating him with Rob Gronkowski.
No Fashion Files!!!!!!!!!!!!
No appearance from Breezango this week following their Saw movie parody last week.
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