Welcome to the latest edition of WWE SmackDown Live, the show that guarantees two watchable things per episode and nothing else!
If you missed Hell in a Cell, Sami Zayn swerved the shit out of all of us by pulling Kevin Owens out of the way of Shane-O-Mac’s dive off the top of the cell. The Usos defeated the New Day in the other Hell in a Cell match to begin their fifth reign as Tag Team Champions. Jinder Mahal successfully defended his WWE Championship in spite of the Singh Brothers being ejected from ringside, which proved both that Mahal doesn’t need help to win, and WWE has no idea when to cut their losses. Daniel Bryan was nice enough to throw Tye Dillinger into the U.S. Title match so that he could lay down for Baron Corbin, as Corbin captured the championship and went from “Money in the Bank cash-in loser” to “hopefully useful member of the roster” again. Randy Orton beat Rusev, Bobby Roode beat Dolph Ziggler, and Natalya lost by disqualification to hold on to her title in a match against Charlotte, and all of those things were bad.
With Hell in a Cell now in the books, WWE had the opportunity to press the reset button as the road to Survivor Series begins. Having said that, most of us expected the same feuds that we went into Sunday with to continue on. Two titles changed hands, so it makes sense to expect rematches. Charlotte-Natalya ended with a DQ finish, so it’s a safe assumption that they’re not done. And nobody is really around to challenge Mahal for the world title, so another meeting with Shinsuke Nakamura would be the best bet.
With Survivor Series still considered on paper to be a “major” pay-per-view (whether that’s true in real life or not), there’s reason to be intrigued about what they’ll change up as we plow ahead. At the very least, the Sami Zayn-Kevin Owens explanation/progression was reason enough to tune in. What else did we have to look forward to? Let’s take a look by running down WWE’s preview for tonight’s show:
- “Would Sami Zayn explain why he helped K.O. claim victory at Hell in a Cell?” I would sure as shit hope so. This is by far the most interesting thing happening on the SmackDown side at the moment, and if The Shield wasn’t in the middle of a reunion, it would be the most important thing happening in WWE. I wrote in my preview for tonight’s show that where they went with this angle would be crucial. Not only because it has the potential to be something great, but because they have an opportunity here to launch Zayn to another level. Tonight would be our first glimpse into whether or not they’ll be able to pull it off.
- A.J. Styles would invoke his rematch clause and challenge Baron Corbin for the United States Championship. I mentioned up top that there was nobody other than Nakamura who’s logically poised to challenge Mahal at this point, but getting Styles out of the U.S. Title picture and having him set his sites on the WWE Championship is something they could start tonight. Would Corbin go over in decisive fashion tonight, or would they set the stage for another pay-per-view match between he and The Phenomenal One?
- Carmella was a no-show at Hell in a Cell, so congratulations to anyone who incorrectly predicted a Money in the Bank cash-in for the 20th straight pay-per-view. Tonight she’ll be in action against Becky Lynch, and WWE’s preview sold this as a match that could have a baring on who Natalya’s next opponent would be. Given that her match with Charlotte ended via disqualification, you’d think Natalya would have to face her again before moving on. But if the plan is to keep Charlotte out with an injured knee, this matchup could go the way of determining the next number one contender for the Women’s Title.
- Did the Usos’ war with New Day at Hell in a Cell have long-term effects on their career? Probably not. Other than Mick Foley who almost shoot-died and Big Bossman who almost kayfabe-died in their respective matches, Hell in a Cell generally doesn’t “change” people all that often. The real question is whether the Usos and New Day would run it back and keep the angle going, or if we’ll see new contenders for the Tag Team Titles.
What would Sami Zayn have to say about his actions on Sunday night? Who would walk out with the United States Championship? Would Breezango return with “Pulp Fashion’ as promised? Read on to find out!
The show opens with the new Tag Team Champions, the Usos, and they’re actually dressed differently which I appreciate so very, very much. They talk about how they have the whole tag division on lock (not the most difficult thing to have on lock due to the fact that they’ve been one of two teams that mean anything up until now), and call out The New Day. New Day comes out, with Woods still selling the 500 kendo stick shots to the ribs he took on Sunday night, which I also appreciate.
The Usos show New Day respect, and talk about how they made history and essentially that they went through some ish. I really liked this because for the most part, Jimmy and Jey Uso aren’t horrible people. So when they talk to New Day about what they went through at Hell in a Cell, and describe the bond that the two teams share because of their experience, it’s a pretty cool moment. There can be different types of heels. You have your Kevin Owens heels, that are outright despicable people. And then you can have heels like the Usos, who can say things like this without completely blowing up their characters. It’s nice to have some diversity there.
After the Usos talk about how they and New Day are the whole division, the Hype Bros along with the team of Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable come out to contest. The Brothers Hype are pretty quickly dismissed, as well they should be. And the Usos take a minute to put over Shelton Benjamin, because the Usos are great at this and that’s what you do when you’re great.
Shortly after, Breezango comes down and their pals, The Ascension soon follow. Everyone agrees that nobody is allowed to shit-talk Breezango, because they’re amazing and everyone on the WWE roster also loves ‘Fashion Files.’ Daniel Bryan comes down to put the brakes on the debate over who the Usos’ next opponents will be, and makes a Fatal 4-Way match to decide.
It might have ran a little bit long, but I truly loved this opening segment. The Usos are 100% doing the best work of their careers right now, and their promo describing their respect for the New Day was delivered perfectly, believable but not too far as to accidentally turn themselves into faces. I’m still a big fan of New Day, but Jimmy and Jey are unquestionably the class of the SmackDown tag division right now.
Click next below to continue the SmackDown results.