By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Aired live from Oracle Arena
A video package covered the closing segment of last week’s show, where Vince booked a match between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon, and the Owens mauled him for his trouble.
Shane McMahon made his entrance and walked out to some mild cheers. He called what Kevin Owens did a cowardly act, and then proceeded to give Vince credit for being a tough old SOB. He asked Kevin Owens to imagine sitting at home with his children and watch someone he loves get beat down in front of them by a coward. He said the McMahon family will reach out with righteous vengeance, and that he condemned him to a ruthless beating at his own hands. He continued, and condemned Owens to a lifetime of pain, and to Hell in a Cell.
The announce team plugged that match for Hell in a Cell. Corbin vs. AJ Styles was plugged for later, and Randy Orton was shown walking to the ring backstage…[c]
My Take: A short and sweet promo from Shane. I’m not complaining, as he got across what he needed to without any unnecessary bloviating. I’m interested to see if Owens has a return promo tonight, or if they keep him off this show as a stall tactic. They have several weeks left to sell HIAC, and they’ve already heated this up to the point where they risk cooling it off if they have too much Shane or Owens on TV in the meantime.
Aiden English riffed on Randy Orton’s theme music. He said he head was full of lead, and that Randy’s tool along with the melody. This prompted Orton to intervene pretty quickly and make his ring entrance.
1. Randy Orton vs. Aiden English: Orton dropped English early with a powerslam, and set up for his draping DDT, but English escaped and rolled to the floor. Orton followed and tossed him on the barricade. Orton went to suplex English onto the announce table, but English reversed and sent Orton crashing instead. English then got back in the ring while Orton crawled out from under the table…[c]
English remained in control and applied a chin lock on Orton, but it didn’t last. Orton fought to his feet and landed some punches in the corner. He then stomped on English’s foot and hit some uppercuts. The ref went to pull them apart, and English used that to gouge at Orton’s eye and regain control with a chin lock. Orton backed English into the corner again, but English caught him with a boot. He jumped up to the second rope and jumped at Orton, but it was quickly turned into an RKO. Orton covered for the win.
Randy Orton defeated Aiden English at 8:33.
Rusev made his entrance after the match and told Orton that going into Summerslam he was going to be a National Hero in his home country of Bulgaria. But instead, Orton turned him and his family into a disgrace. He said tonight, he was going to pull the fangs out of the Viper’s mouth, and he would do it tonight. Rusev approached the ring and Orton signaled the ref to go along.
2. Rusev vs. Randy Orton: Rusev went for a superkick right off the bat, but Orton caught his leg and went for an RKO. Rusev shoved him off, and Aiden English jumped up on the apron to take a cheap shot at Orton. He then turned around into kick from Rusev, who scored a quick pin.
Rusev defeated Randy Orton in :38
After the match, Rusev celebrated while Orton showed frustration. The announce team then said Kevin Owens would be live via satellite to respond to Shane later in the show. Charlotte was also plugged for later, to address the WWE Universe.
My Take: A fairly boilerplate Orton match. It was nice to see him give English a bunch of offense, but I can’t say the crowd was very excited about it. It was clearly a setup for an RKO finish, and that’s what we got. I liked Rusev getting back into the mix, and I hope he gets a chance to have a long form match with Orton at some point.
Backstage, Rusev was pumped up and told Renee Young that he defanged the Viper and broke him in half. It seems like RuRu got his mojo back. In the arena, the Singh Brothers gave Jinder Mahal his ring introduction, and he then made his entrance to boos.
Mahal said people were fired up about what he had to say about Nakamura last week, including Shinsuke himself. He then threw up the same goofy face of Nakamura over and over representing different emotions, while the Singh Brothers laughed hysterically. He made bad jokes about how all he has to look forward to is people’s prejudice, and he said no matter how he feels, he always “rooks” the same. Ugh.
The crowd changed for Nakamura briefly, but it wasn’t loud. He said people sing for Nakamura’s music and dance to his entrance, but it’s only to hide their own prejudice. Behind his back, they say he gets his haircut at a dog groomer, and they call him Mr. Miyagi. The crowd told him that was too far, and he said if they thought that was too far, wait until he speaks to his people in his language. He then spoke briefly in Punjabi.
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin is next…[c]
My Take: Was this supposed to be edgy or something? It just came across as poorly thought out. If Mahal is going to say racially charged things, he has to make me believe that he believes what he’s saying, and he failed. It just came across as borderline racist just for the sake of it, and it will just serve to piss people off, and not in the way that makes them want to see the match.
AJ Styles made his ring entrance. Video was shown from last week with AJ Styles defeating Tye Dillinger, along with the follow up attack by Corbin. AJ first addressed Kevin Owens first. He told Owens he didn’t know what he had gotten himself into. He said he had beaten down a man that had made it possible for AJ Styles to be in WWE, and for the WWE Universe to be there tonight. He was happy to hear about Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon in Hell in a Cell, and that Owens would not make it out. Styles then addressed The Shortcut King Baron Corbin. He said Corbin took shortcuts to get everywhere in life, and probably to get to the arena tonight too. He called him a failure, and said he failed to cash in his briefcase, and just like anyone who comes after AJ Styles, he would fail tonight as well. He told the lone wolf that he could huff and puff, but he won’t blow down the house that AJ Styles built.
Corbin made his entrance, and then attacked Styles before the bell rang. He beat him down in the corner and the ref tried to pull him off. Tye Dillinger ran down and clipped Corbin from behind. He clotheslined him out to the floor, and Corbin came up holding his ankle. Dillinger followed and continued the beatdown, and Corbin ran back into the ring. Corbin sold his ankle and Styles popped up and struck back. He hit a diving forearm, and then applied the Calf Crusher to the injured ankle. Corbin writhed in pain and rolled out to the floor to close the segment. Charlotte Flair is next…[c]
My Take: I like the vicious streak coming out from Styles. It gives him enough of an edge to take some of the predictability out of his character. He should have been angry at being jumped, and turnabout is fair play.
Backstage, Corbin was interviewed by Renee Young. He was in a lot of pain and said he sprained his ankle. He said he wasn’t going to whine or bitch, he was going to get even.
Charlotte made her entrance and grabbed a microphone. She said it was good to be back. She thanked everyone for their thoughts and prayers while her dad was sick, and said that he was making a comeback. Charlotte went on to say that life was fragile, and it happens fast, and she learned she needs to make the moments count. She said she was going to make everything count for her and her Dad.
Nattie then interrupted and said that everyone was worried about her Dad, and was glad that he was getting better, but now it’s time to talk about something more important. She said Charlotte could stay, because it involved her, but she was proud to host WWE’s first Celebration of Women. She mentioned Florence Nightingale, Oprah, and the competitors in the Mae Young Classic. Nattie said she was there to celebrate all women by honoring one in particular. She was exceptionally proud of this woman, who completed the journey that Amelia Earhart couldn’t. She then unveiled a picture of herself.
Charlotte said she was happy Nattie interrupted her, because she wanted to challenge her for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Becky Lynch then interrupted and called Natalya the craziest there is, was, or ever will be. She said she respected the Charlotte and her Father, but they disagreed about one thing. The Smackdown Women’s Championship is going back to it’s rightful owner Becky Lynch. Naomi made her entrance, and said she doesn’t represent all women, she only represents her cats. Tamina made her entrance with Lana, who called Natalya a crazy cat lady. She said all the women in the ring had their chance and failed, and it was Tamina’s turn.
Natalya said she was not a crazy cat lady, she was Natalya, and she would be the Smackdown Women’s Champion forever. Daniel Bryan entered and made the obvious Fatal Four Way match between Naomi, Becky, Tamina, and Charlotte for a chance to face Natalya at Hell in a Cell in tonight’s Main Event. New Day vs. Hype Bros in next…[c]
My Take: That segment didn’t spend much time on Ric Flair, which surprised me a bit. I guess they got the most important parts covered. I’m not thrilled about all the women being jumbled up again, but it seems like an obvious setup for Charlotte, and they have to make her earn it somehow. Natalya was the best she’s been in recent memory here. She showed some serious ego and even a hint of self deprecating humor.
Hype Bros were in the ring, and New Day made their entrance. The Usos were on commentary.
3. New Day vs. Hype Bros: New Day got off to a fast start with Big E sending the Hype Bros out to the floor…[c]
Mojo Rawley went shoulder first into the ring post, while the Usos talked about having a disadvantage because of New Day’s numbers. Kofi was dominated during the commercial break, and made a hot tag to Big E, who came in and cleaned house. Ryder fired back with a drop kick and a Broski Boot. He made a cover, but Kofi broke the cover. Mojo tried to get involved, but Kofi tossed him to the floor and hit a dive onto him over the top rope. They then hit the Midnight Hour on Ryder for the win.
The New Day defeated The Hype Bros at 8:11.
The New Day taunted The Usos after the match. Kevin Owen’s attack on Vince was replayed again, and he then joined via Satellite. He didn’t say anything for about 20 seconds. He then apologized, and said he didn’t know what came over him. He apologized to the WWE Universe, the McMahon Family, and told Shane that with complete sincerity that he had it coming. He said Shane made me want to headbutt his head off his shoulders and kick him around like a garbage bag. He said Shane made him wanted to beat him senseless because he wanted it to be him.
He said he respects Vince McMahon, but Shane made him want to do those terrible things. He made one more apology to the people who will watch Hell in a Cell, because what he did to Vince is only a small taste of what he had coming. Kevin said Shane had condemned him to hell, but he didn’t think so, as people who are going to do what he does to Shane go to heaven…[c]
My Take: Owens was sufficiently delusional in his promo. It was pretty clear how much more interesting the Owens angle is than the rest of the show, as I had completely forgotten about the Tag Match by the time Owens was done talking. I don’t know if they hit the tone right with either Shane or Owens promos, but they were both solid efforts. I think Owens could pour on the crazy a bit more, and Shane could have used a bit more anger. But there’s still time for that.
Backstage, the Hype Bros were speaking to each other. Mojo said he was tired of losing, and something had to give. He then told Ryder that if they wanted things to change, they were have to do something drastic. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance with a microphone. He said for the past few weeks he came out and exposed the elaborate entrances of Superstars who couldn’t lace his boots. He called himself the greatest in ring performer in WWE History, but people still don’t get it. He then made an entrance as Triple H, and mocked his entrance with a leather jacket and water spritzing.
Dolph then asked if he could run NXT now, and said he didn’t have his mom jeans, but the water spitting is a little more difficult than it looks. He then made another entrance, this time as HBK. Nobody cared for either of them. He said he could feel himself losing his smile, and said he didn’t know how anyone who made that entrance could take themselves seriously. He then mocked the DX entrance, while CM Punk chants broke out. He then told the crowd that he had two words for them……who cares? He called DX a bunch of Dads desperate for people to laugh at their corny jokes, coasting on their names on the way to retirement. He said all people care about is elaborate entrances, while they don’t appreciate the greatest performer in WWE history. He said they don’t care about him, and he doesn’t care about them.
The Fatal Four Way for the Women’s #1 Contendership is next…[c]
My Take: When was the last Michaels/HHH DX reunion? 2009? Anyways, this segment has gone on for weeks and no one is getting fired up for it. It’s time to have Bobby Roode interrupt him next week before Ziggler reaches the point where he has go away heat.
Becky Lynch’s entrance was played in the arena while the show came back. Tamina was already in the ring as well. Naomi then made her entrance, followed by Charlotte.
4. Naomi vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Tamina: There was a scrum early with Tamina dumping both Naomi and Becky to the floor. She then hit a suplex on Charlotte…[c]
Everyone dogpiled on Tamina and took her out. Naomi hit a big leg drop and pinned her, but Charlotte broke it up. Becky set up for an exploder suplex on Charlotte, but they were interrupted by Naomi, who used a springboard splash from the apron to take them both out. Becky was then sent to the floor. Naomi hit a jawbreaker on Charlotte and covered for a two count. Naomi then applied her submission neck crank, but Becky broke it up.
Becky applied the Disarmher to Naomi, but Tamina broke it up. Things picked up in pace now with all four women involved. Tamina hit Becky with a clothesline, and Charlotte hit a spear on Tamina. Charlotte then hit a moonsault onto both Tamina and Naomi. She covered both of them, and got a two count. Charlotte tried for the Figure Eight on Naomi, but Becky came off the top with a leg drop to pick it up. Tamina then hit a Samoan Drop on Becky and climbed to the top. She then hit a big splash, but Naomi broke it up. Lana pulled Naomi out of the ring, but was quickly dispatched with a kick. Tamina knocked Naomi back to the floor from the apron, and then Charlotte hit a Big Boot on Tamina for the win.
Charlotte defeated Tamina, Becky Lynch, and Naomi at 9:48 to become #1 Contender.
Charlotte celebrated to close the show.
My Take: This was the obvious finish based on the setup earlier in the show, and it’s the correct one to start righting the ship for the Women’s division on Smackdown. Hopefully that includes an infusion of new talent as well, because while the Smackdown Women’s roster has been solid in the ring, they have sorely lacked decent stories to propel them forward as characters. Charlotte could very easily capture the Championship at Hell in a Cell, but I think it would be even more interesting if Carmella swooped in and stole her opportunity from her at the last moment in a manner similar to Seth Rollins at WrestleMania a few years ago. It would set up some intrigue in the division going forward.