After failing to see Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn fired from the WWE last week, would Shane McMahon see his wish granted tonight with Kevin Owens facing Randy Orton?
WWE Smackdown Live came to us from the Rupp Arena in Lexington KY.
At the open of the show Shane McMahon brought out Daniel Bryan to explain his actions last week. Shane was obviously disappointed that Bryan failed to fire Kevin and Sami after their win against the New Day. Instead of firing them, Bryan decided to pit Owens against Randy Orton tonight.
This was actually a great exchange between the two as they had their discussion as to whether or not the duo of Owens and Zayn should continue to be part of the Smackdown Live brand. Shane’s reasons for getting rid of them are obvious, but Bryan’s stance is a more surprising.
Bryan actually kind of has their back. He doesn’t necessarily like them, but he doesn’t think they should be fired. Bryan actually came out of this segment looking extremely genuine in his responses to Shane. While Shane feels very scripted, Bryan comes off as real. I don’t know whether or not Bryan will ever wrestle again, but this angle could have him either facing Shane at some point, or they will tag with each other against Owens/Zayn. Either way it would be a welcome return.
At the end of the segment Shane informed Daniel that he made the match between Orton and Owens a no DQ match, with Sami Zayn barred from ringside. He also hoped that Bryan would do the right thing after the match and fire Owens. Could this be what will be called “The Louisville Screwjob”?
New Day vs. Gable/Benjamin
The title picture in the WWE has gotten better recently, but I believe this is spotlighted more in Smackdown Live. I can’t really say anything about this match that I haven’t said before. The Cliffs Notes.
New Day is always entertaining.
Usos on commentary is always welcome.
Gable/Benjamin look amazing for a team that just got put together.
Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Hype Bros.
What’s this? Two teams that I have been writing negatively about for weeks in the “Good” section? Yup, but not why you think. The match wasn’t good, I’m just putting this here because the Hype Bros loss finally caused Mojo to flip out and turn on Zack Ryder. No more Hype Bros = Good.
Of Course This Is Here
Bobby Roode In The U.S. Title Picture
After Baron Corbin hitting Roode became the catalyst for an all out brawl between the lumberjacks last week, it seems we have a new feud. Bobby Roode was being interviewed about what happened last week when Baron Corbin cut off Roode’s catch phrase. After a very brief back and forth, Roode challenged Corbin for his title tonight, to which Corbin refused in a classic heel move.
I am OK with the fact that we didn’t see this match right away. I think we need a slow burn program between these two. Give Corbin a chance to show if he has developed any since his feud with Dean Ambrose. That way, when we do finally see them battle, their will be some sort of investment with the WWE Universe. I also think that Bobby Roode has the same capacity as AJ Styles to bring out the best in people. We haven’t seen the best from Corbin yet. If Roode could produce that, it would be….absolutely….
Kevin Owens vs Randy Orton
Randy’s intensity made the match. I both love and hate when I see this from him. It’s awesome because when he is like this he still looks every bit of a World Champion. What makes me hate it is that every time I see him like this I question why he doesn’t always have this intensity. The writers must see the quality difference in the match.
It was a tremendous back and forth. Kendo sticks were being broken left and right. I’m sure that Owens will be much more sore than Orton tomorrow, as his body took the brunt of the more dangerous spots of the match.
The climax of the match will have Shane McMahon living with more disappointment tonight. As Orton chased Owens onto the ramp, Sami Zayn defied his barring from ringside and attacked the Viper with a steel chair. After running away it seemed that Owens had it in the bag. Orton made a surprising mini comeback, but eventually Owens would come out on top with a victory via Frog Splash.
The Riot Squad vs Charlotte/Natalya/Naomi
This angle isn’t awful, it’s just not good. Paige coming back with some backup makes sense. It looks as if she is coming back to shake up the women’s division that I’m sure she thinks she still holds dominion over. It works because the WWE Universe knows who she is, and she has a strong fan base. This Smackdown Live version of “Absolution” is lackluster at best.
As far as the match went, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to put them in the ring with the pinnacle of Smackdown Live’s women’s division. It was glaringly obvious that there was a talent divide between the two teams. There were a few sloppy spots and even a moment where Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan almost seriously injured Naomi when they were overzealous when throwing her into the barricade.
I’m all for new talent bursting onto the scene, but please WWE creative, put some effort into their debut. Don’t assume the entirety of the WWE Universe watches NXT. Build them up through random backstage segments, get some anticipation going. Something to make me care about why these three women are going after Smackdown Live’s women’s division.
AJ Styles Once Again In A Match With The Singhs
I have been on record saying that AJ Styles can make a great match with anyone. I may have been too hasty. This two on one match was garbage from the start.
AJ was jumped right away by Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers. They spent the first few minutes and the entire commercial break trying to dismantle the Phenomenal One. The match could have been saved if AJ could show any decent offense in the match, but alas this was just a televised mugging.
In the end AJ did come out on top with a great spot where he planted on brother onto the other with a Styles Clash off the second rope. It was too little too late though. I now have an amended statement regarding AJ Styles’ in ring superpower of producing an amazing match with anyone. The match will only be great if he is mostly on the offense against terrible opponents.
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