By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
Kevin Owens music hit and he headed to the ring. Tom Philips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves were on commentary. The crowd was strongly behind Owens and chanted for him before he could begin to speak. He soaked it in for a moment and then said that yesterday marked the 5 year anniversary of signing his first WWE contract. He said he created memories he’d never forget and done things he’d never expected.
He said he’d gotten in the ring with people he looked up to and some of the best in the industry. On Sunday, he got in the ring with someone who calls himself the best in the world, and while that isn’t true, it’s still a night he’ll never forget. Owens spoke about his entire family being present to listen to the crowd cheer for him to kick Shane’s ass, and that’s exactly what he did. Owens said what he’d remember most what hitting Shane with a stunner in the middle of the ring, and because of the fans he’d remember that for the rest of his life.
Owens moved on and said what’s next for him is the King of the Ring Tournament, and remembered watching it fondly growing up. He said he was thrilled that it was coming back, and was excited to be one of the competitors in it. He recalled past winners like Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Edge, Bret Hart, and Owen Hart, and said it would mean as much to him to join that last as any title he’s ever won.
Shane McMahon interrupted and Owens dropped to his knees in the ring. Owens asked him why he was there. Shane mocked Owens for having his little moment after a tainted victory. Shane called Owens a low life and the crowd broke out in an asshole chant. Shane showed some footage of Owens kicking him in the balls to prove his point. The crowd chanted that he deserved it. Shane told Owens to be a man and admit he was wrong.
Owens said that was rich coming from a guy who was a part of the Mean Street Posse. Shane called him a cheater, and said he would always be remembered as a cheater. He then said he should be looking at Owens in the unemployment line, and he was holding himself back from battering Owens right now. Kevin said he had his boots on, and invited Shane to the ring. Shane said he was busy tonight, but then tossed to more footage of Owens beating Elias with a chair from SummerSlam. Shane said Owens did have a match later, but refused to announce any details about it.
Shane said that Owens hit Elias with malice, and he did it while he was an official representative of WWE as a referee. Shane said he had to do what was necessary to keep WWE officials safe, and there would have to be real repercussions. He then fined Owens $100K, and Owens said it was crap. Owens said that might not be a lot to Shane, but to him that’s a down payment on a house or his kids college. He asked Shane to consider, and he said nope and walked away. Owens steamed and ran to the back.
The announce team hyped Murphy vs. Reigns. Ember Moon vs. Charlotte is next…[c]
My Take: A long opening segment that lost steam as it went on. Owens being happy as a clam about the King of the Ring tournament seemed like he was aiming pretty low, and then Shane came out sort of threw a wet blanked on the whole thing. I think the crowd was ready for this feud to be over, but apparently we will be dealing with some generic use of the McMahon authority figure story for all of eternity.
Backstage, Owens approached Shane about his fine. Shane said he wasn’t a competitor right now, and told him he had to set an example when people touch officials. Owens said we might as well make it 105, and threw a stool through a nearby TV.
1. Charlotte vs. Ember Moon: Neither competitor got a ring entrance on television. Charlotte hit a shoulder block after holding onto a headlock for most of the opening minute. Moon grabbed a waist lock, but Charlotte elbowed out. Moon caught Charlotte with a head scissors and a dropkick. Charlotte rolled to the floor to regroup, and Moon challenged her to get back in the ring. Charlotte baited Moon and the crowd with taunts to get her to join on the floor, but Moon hit a drop kick that knocked Charlotte off the apron. She then hit a springboard splash from the second turnbuckle out to the floor. They both traded hard shots on the floor, until Charlotte backed her into the LED Board, and then tossed her into the barricade…[c]
Charlotte dominated the action during the break, stomping away at her on the ground and in the corner. She went to apply the figure four, but Moon kept her at bay. Charlotte applied a high angle Boston Crab, but Moon made it to the ropes. Charlotte pulled away from the ropes and continued to attack the left knee of Moon. Ember fired back with some kicks and knees, followed by a roaring forearm. She made a cover after a side kick and got a near fall. She hit a codebreaker a moment later from the bottom rope.
Ember went to the top rope, but Charlotte pulled her down by the hair. Charlotte went for a spear, but missed and bounced off the turnbuckles. Moon then hit a kick and got a close near fall. Moon hit the ropes, but ran into the a boot. Charlotte then applied the Figure Eight and got the submission victory.
Charlotte defeated Ember Moon at 8:33
After the match, Rowan and Bryan were shown walking towards the ring for an interview next…[c]
My Take: A much more competitive match than I expected, honestly. This puts Charlotte in prime position for a title shot at Night of Champions, but a series of Charlotte and Bayley promos has this guy a little concerned. Fingers crossed it is better than I expect. Ember Moon had a strong showing here, but she need some serious character retooling before anyone could take her seriously again as a title challenger.
Video was shown of the attempted murder of Roman Reigns, and the whodunit that has followed. Daniel Bryan and Rowan walked out on the stage. Bryan said there was no question that someone was out to get Roman Reigns, but he disavowed any knowledge of it. He said Buddy Murphy falsely accused Rowan and himself, and called Buddy Murphy a liar. Bryan backed off and said he doesn’t blame Buddy Murphy, because anyone would cave if Roman Reigns had them backed against the wall and had his forearm against their neck.
He said he doesn’t blame him because he had to give a name, but he gave the wrong name. The crowd chanted that it was him, and Bryan snapped at them. He said that’s what’s wrong with all of you, and that’s what’s wrong with society. Someone tells a lie, and it gets spread on Social Media, and it becomes the truth. Bryan got agitated and said he had nothign to do with those incidents, and tonight they are going to prove it.
Backstage, Sarah Schreiber walked up to Shane and asked him who Kevin Owens opponent is. Samoa Joe walked up, and said Owens was walking around like quite the Billy Badass tonight, and he would learn that the only badass around here is him. Shane said Owens would learn to respect authority.
Reigns vs. Murphy is next…[c]
My Take: Bryan was very good there, and came across as coming unglued and trying to maintain control of himself. Samoa Joe was also good, per usual, but that hasn’t really translated to victories for him in the ring.
Backstage, Aleister Black said he wondered who has a debt to pay. He wondered who would pay the boatman’s toll and look their inner demons in the eye and say they’re done. Black said we all must pay a debt, but his will be paid by his self inflicted anguish. Such is his burden, and such is his sin. He said he would find an end for any member of the locker room, and himself, and all they have to do is knock.
Buddy Murphy was in the ring. Roman Reigns then made his entrane.
2. Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy: Reigns backed Murphy into the corner and hit an uppercut. Murphy fired back with a running knee strike for a two count. He then hit follow up strikes that sent Reigns out to the floor. Murphy tossed Reigns into the barricade twice, and then slammed him onto the announce desk. Murphy climbed through the apron to break the count, and walked into an uppercut. He then tossed Murphy over the announce table and into the barricade. Murphy fired back and sent Reigns into the ring steps…[c]
Murphy grabbed an arm bar, but got hoisted up for a powerbomb and a near fall. They battled back and forth a bit until Reigns hit a corner clotheslines and a big boot. Reigns went for a superman punch, but Murphy avoided it. Reigns then went shoulder first into the corner post, and Murphy rolled him up and used the ropes for a near fall. Murphy then sent Reigns to the floor and hit a somerersault dive to the floor.
Murphy then pushed Reigns into the ring, and then climbed up top for a meteora for another near fall. Both men traded strikes until Reigns hit a Superman Punch for a near fall. Reigns fired up and set up for a spear. Murphy hit a big kick and a kamigoye, and finally a brainbuster for a close near fall. He then climbed up top, and Reigns shoved him to the floor. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on the outside and then a spear in the ring for the win.
Roman Reigns defeated Buddy Murphy at 14:32
Reigns celebrated, and Buddy Murphy licked his wounds on the outside. Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed the Revival. They issued a challege to the New Day, because they realized their moment with the 24/7 Championship made the realize how they had lost focus on tag team wrestling. They said they were tired fo the pancake eating, video game playing New Day, and they would make them the punchline later. Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe is next…[c]
My Take: Hell of a match between Murphy and Reigns. It ended about how you would have expected, but the way they got there was a lot of fun and made for an excellent coming out party for Murphy. He got in a lot of offense and some plausible near falls on WWE’s golden boy, and it’s something he can build on if they have a compelling character in mind for him that keeps him engaged in active feuds.
Backstage, Xavier Woods was beside himself for missing out on the King of the Ring tournament. Kayla asked them to respond to the Revival’s allegations. They made a joke about an adult circumcision, and said they haven’t ruined a thing. Kofi was then asked about Orton, and he said he would defend his family again, and so would anybody else. He then said tonight was all about his brothers, and they got fired up.
In the arena, Samoa Joe made his ring entrance, followed by Kevin Owens.
3. Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe: Before the match began, Elias was announced as a guest enforcer. Joe hit some strikes to start the match, but Owens fired back with a lariat out of the corner. Elias prevented Owens from hit a splash off the apron, and that gave Joe enough daylight to trip him…[c]
Joe controlled Owens during the break thanks to distractions from Elias. Owens started a comeback with a dropkick form the second rope, followed by a running senton for a two count. Joe shut him down with a Uranage out of the corner for a near fall. Owens knocked Joe off the rope and then hit a top rope senton for a near fall. He then hit a pop up Powerbomb, but Elias pulled the ref out of the ring. Owens confronted Elias, but got rolled up by Joe for a fast count.
Samoa Joe defeated Elias at 7:55
After the match, Owens was furious and stormed to the back. Bryan and Rowan were shown walking into and clearing the locker room, except for Buddy Murphy. They pulled up chairs next to him. Bryan told him that they know he lied, but they need him to admit to everybody that he lied. Bryan escalated his tone and demanded a confession. Rowan eventually tossed him around the locker room while Bryan berated him about lying. Eventually, he screamed out that he lied as Rowan shoved him into a wall. Bryan said he really hates liars, and Rowan tossed him to the floor…[c]
My Take: Bryan proved is point about coerced confessions, but he didn’t really disprove that he and Rowan weren’t the perpetrators. This will go on for a while yet, I would guess. Two steps forward and one step back for Murphy, who offered little resistance once again.
Roman Reigns was looking for Bryan and Rowan backstage. New Day made their entrance in the ring. Kofi did some hype work for Woods and Big E, but he was interrupted by Randy Orton. Randy accused him of running away from a fight, and said he did it because he knows he can’t beat him. He couldn’t beat him 11 years ago, he couldn’t beat him now, and worst of all, he ran away from a fight away from a fight in front of his wife and kids. Orton said someday he’s going to have to look at them and tell that the truth that he couldn’t beat him. Orton said he’d give him one more chance, and challenged Kofi to join into the main event and make it a six man. Kofi appeared to accept, and Orton headed to the ring…[c]
The Revival completed their ring entrance as the show returned.
4. New Day vs. Ortron and The Revival: Orton and Kofi started the match, but Orton backed off and tagged in Dawson. Kofi got the better of Dawson with some strikes and tagged in Woods. Almost immediately, Dawson took down Woods with a knee lift and tagged in Wilder. Woods hit a head scissors on Wilder, but missed a blind tag to Dawson a moment later and gut cut off again. Wilder and Dawson made rapid tags and worked over Woods left arm. Woods fired back with a discus forearm, but couldn’t make a tag. Dawson sent to him to the floor, where Orton back suplexed him into the announce table…[c]
Dawson continued to work over Woods, hitting a suplex and covering for a near fall. He then went back to working on the left arm. Woods broke free and sent Dawson into the post in the corner, while Woods got the hot tag to Big E. Woods hit belly to belly suplexes on Wilder and knocked Orton off the apron. He hit a big splash on Wilder and called for the Big Ending. Dawson jumped on the apron for a distraction, and Wilder rolled up Big E for a two count. Big E grabbed him for a big ending, but both members of the Revival hit him with a DDT.
Kofi took out both Revival Members with a chop for the top. Kofi avoided and RKO and sent Orton back outside. He then tagged Woods and splashed Orton on the floor. Woods was isolated with one bad arm, and ended up taking the Shatter Machine and the pin from Dawson for the win.
Randy Orton and The Revival defeated New Day at 12:35
After the bell, The Revival tried to add insult to injury, but Kofi made the save. Orton then snuck up from behind him and hit an RKO. Orton then looked over at Xavier Woods, and dragged him to his feet. He then hit him with an RKO. They still had two minutes left in the show, so they had to kill some time. The Revival picked up Big E and Orton hit an RKO on him, plus another one to Kofi.
Backstage, Reigns approached Bryan and Rowan. Bryan said they’d been waiting for him, and asked for an apology. He said he apologized to Samoa Joe, so he should do the same for Rowan. Rowan looked ready to fight, but Bryan said they had been doing their own investigation, and next week they would bring him the culprit.
My Take: Another cliffhanger close for Smackdown. The six man tag wasn’t much to write home about, but New Day have new opponents in the Revival since The Usos aren’t being used, and Kofi and Orton have somewhere to go for next week. Bryan offering to bring Reigns a sacrifice next week is an interesting twist in the sense that it’s obvious that he’s full of shit and will likely falsely accuse someone just like Reigns had been doing.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...