Hell in a Cell has come and gone, but there are many questions still lingering in the landscape of Smackdown Live. The big one many in the WWE Universe want to know is why did Sami Zayn help Kevin Owens? Also on Smackdown Live tonight we learned who is next in line to challenge the Usos for the Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship and whether or not Baron Corbin was successful in his first United States Championship defense? The answers to these questions and more will be covered in this very review.
Smackdown Live hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan and we start off with the five time tag team champion Usos. They come to the ring and let the Smackdown Live fans know that the tag division is on lock and welcomes everyone to the Uso penitentiary. The Usos then ask the New Day to come to the ring. The Usos said that two of the best tag teams went to war and made history this Sunday at Hell in a Cell and said that all the other tag teams on Smackdown Live suck. Usos then went on about what they went thru on Sunday and nobody else could relate except the New Day. New Day then wonder if the Usos were calling a truce and sure enough the Usos said respect. Before both teams shoke hands, they were interrupted by the Hype Bros.
Mojo Rawley had enough of the same two tag teams taking credit for the success of the tag team division on Smackdown Live. The Usos cut him off and told him to sit on the sidelines like he did during his NFL career. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin came out with Gable saying that the little Hype Boys are trying to pick a fight, but instead need to get to the back of the line. The Usos agreed that the Hype Bros should get to the back of the line and told Gable he was smart for aligning with Benjamin who was a former United States, Intercontinental, and Tag Team Champion. Breezango then came out and was immediately followed by the Ascension.
At this point things were getting quite chaotic in the tag team division which prompted Daniel Bryan to come out and tell the Usos and New Day to get out of the ring because they need to determine a new number one contender by having a fatal four way match right now.
Hype Bros vs Gable & Benjamin vs Breezango vs Ascension (#1 Contender Fatal 4 Way Match for Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship)
Nice to see Breezango and Ascension wrestling again. Anyways Smackdown Live starts with a bang and Viktor and Chad Gable have quite the go around early in this match. The Grand Rapids fans are clearly behind Gable. Konnor gets tagged in and goes for an early pin, but the other tag teams quickly break the pin up which leads to big brawl in the ring with all four tag teams. As the match progresses, Tyler Breeze tries for a rollup pin on Zack Ryder, but unsuccessful. Ryder takes control again and measures up for the Broski Boot, but Fandango saves his partner but pulling him out of the way. Shelton Benjamin makes his way into the ring and starts handing out spinebusters left and right to all comers. Gable and Benjamin try their tag team finisher, but Fandango gets involved. Fandango then looks for Last Dance, but misses! Gable meanwhile lands a moonsault on Breeze and then Benjamin hoists Breeze into a powerbomb position as Gable comes off the top rope to take him down allowing Benjamin to pin Breeze for the three count.
WINNERS: Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable via pinfall
Chairman’s Take: Surprised to see the show start with the tag team division, but it was solid. Looks like the Usos and New Day feud has finally come to a close allowing other tag teams to compete for the titles and this fatal four way gave us that tonight. Gable and Benjamin clearly came in as the favorites and ended up winning this one. In my book they were the right team to win. You don’t setback a team like Gable and Benjamin, especially to the three teams they faced. The Hype Bros are still going, but for how much longer? Ascension, well they’re just there. As for Breezango, they never did introduce us to Pulp Fashion tonight…
Backstage it’s revealed that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn aren’t ready to address the WWE Universe yet and will later on.
Natalya is backstage with her WWE Smackdown Live Women’s Championship where she is confronted by Lana with Tamina. Lana said the title would look better on Tamina. Carmella then shows up making it known she has the Money in the Bank contract still. Natalya then agrees that all of them would make better champions than Charlotte Flair. Charlotte then confronts Natalya backstage. Natalya asks Charlotte why the long face? Is it because she broke her father’s heart again? This leads to a giant brawl between the women backstage which prompts Becky Lynch and Naomi to jump in.
Renee Young is backstage with Baron Corbin asking him about his United States title defense against AJ Styles. Corbin said he loves shoving the United States title in the faces of the keyboard warriors. Corbin then says that tonight the house that AJ Styles built becomes an opportunity that AJ squandered.
Becky Lynch vs Carmella
Becky takes control of the match early and hits Bexploder Suplex which causes Carmella to escape to outside. Becky goes outside to confront Carmella, but with James Ellsworth outside to cause a distraction, Carmella quickly takes control. Carmella smashes Becky’s head off the apron a few times before rolling her back in the ring. Carmella then slows things down a bit by locking a sleeper on Becky. The crowd starts a “Let’s go Becky!” chant and she makes a comeback. Moments later Carmella finds herself in a Disarmer and tapping out.
WINNER: Becky Lynch by submission
Chairman’s Take: Match didn’t really do anything except elevate Becky Lynch a little bit. Even then I’m not sure what the payoff is? Does Becky become the next one to challenge Natalya? Time will tell. Though I think there is some unfinished business with Natalya and Charlotte. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Kevin Owens finally makes his way to the ring and we perhaps will finally find out why Sami Zayn did what he did at Hell in a Cell. Owens said he was going to do what he said he was going to do and that was send Shane McMahon to Hell. KO said that Shane is gone and he’s never coming back and told the WWE Universe they should’ve counted their blessings because we almost lost him as well. Owens goes on about a spiritual experience he had at the pay per view and that St. Peter said that as much as we need you here in Heaven, they need you more down on Earth and provided him with a guardian angel Sami Zayn. Owens then said his new purpose was to turn Smackdown Live into his paradise as Kevin’s Heaven or better yet, the Kevin Owens Show. Owens then introduces Sami Zayn. Zayn arrives to the ring and before he can get started Owens stops him. KO said he had no idea that Zayn was going to do what he did and that he needed to explain to the WWE Universe why he did what he did.
Sami Zayn realized when Owens powerbombed him on the apron a few weeks ago that he opened his eyes. He spent his whole career pleasing people and tried being the good guy. Zayn then said the only that got him from doing that was mediocrity. Zayn then said meanwhile Owens became Intercontinental, Universal, and United States champion, but it was okay for Sami because he could sleep with a clear conscience. Zayn then said someday his time will come and when he got brought over to Smackdown Live that maybe his time had finally come. He said Shane put a show on for him about bringing him to the land of opportunity Smackdown Live and mentioned how Raw misused him and how now he’d get the respect he deserved. Sami then said that was the last time he had a meeting with Shane and he was okay with it because people get busy and then there was that whole helicopter thing. Sami said he’d just keep smiling until when he tried to warn Shane about Owens and he ignored him. Zayn then went on to say how Owens was his old friend, bitter rival, but always his brother. Sami then said Shane didn’t care about him or Kevin, said that Shane only cared about himself and ending Owens career if not more. Zayn then finishes saying he doesn’t despise Kevin Owens, he despises that Owens was right.
Chairman’s Take: Sami Zayn hit a home run here with this promo and I’m excited about where the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn show goes next. I wonder if they go after titles, attack superstars, confront Daniel Bryan, or who knows?
Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton vs Rusev & Aiden English
Guess Smackdown Live is going to continue with this Orton and Rusev thing so let’s throw them in a random tag team match. Things get out of hand quickly as Orton ends up slamming Rusev on a table on the outside. Orton then brings Rusev back into the ring, but English causes a distraction allowing a Rusev sidekick to knock Orton to the floor. This is where English swoops in with a swinging neckbreaker to Orton before the break. The action returns with Rusev and English in control. Aiden is taunting the fans which causes him to get powerslammed by Orton. Nakamura finally gets tagged in and is firing on all cylinders. Devastating kicks to English and then hangs him in the corner and hits him in the midsection. English is down and Nakamura sets up the Kinshasa, but Rusev stops him. Rusev however gets an RKO for his troubles and English gets hit with the Kinshasa by Nakamura for the win.
WINNER: Nakamura & Orton via pinfall
Chairman’s Take: Nakamura needed a bounceback after his loss to Jinder Mahal Sunday. Odd not seeing the WWE Champion tonight so it’s hard to say who his next challenger is? As for Orton, not sure if the Rusev and Aiden English feud is going to keep rolling or if this one’s finally over. Ideally I’d give Rusev and English a run in the tag team division. I think they work well together, minus the wins and losses column of course.
Renee Young is backstage with AJ Styles and asked if he was confident in his rematch tonight with Baron Corbin. Styles reminds Renee that he wasn’t pinned Sunday and that when Corbin failed at his Money in the Bank attempt, he proved to Styles he’s prone to mistakes. AJ finished the promo saying it’s the end of days for Corbin’s title reign.
A promo featuring Erick Rowan and Luke Harper introducing themselves as the Bludgeon Brothers??? Good to see them finally on television again, even though they’ve teamed and broken up how many times now…
Up next Bobby Roode heads to the ring and says that his first WWE pay per view match was glorious. At least until Dolph Ziggler attacked him after the match so Roode asks Ziggler if he wants to fight?
Ziggler comes out and said he exposed Roode as a fraud. Said that Roode panicked so he showed the clip where Roode held Ziggler’s tights Sunday during the pinfall. Dolph said that Roode was not only a flashy entrance, but a cheater. Ziggler then demands a rematch. Roode wanted to have the rematch right now, but Ziggler said he’ll have the rematch when he wants and sure as hell won’t be tonight. After the commercial break, the match was announced for next week,
Baron Corbin © vs AJ Styles (WWE United States Championship Match)
Smackdown Live must’ve been rushing things because neither one of these two had entrances. Either or match started off with both men brawling and was evenly matched until the break. Come back and Styles delivers a huge baseball slide to Corbin on the outside knocking him all the way back into the commentary table. Styles brings Corbin back in and debates on the 450 splash, but instead hits a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles then lands a Ushigoroshi followed by a pin, but Corbin kicked out. Styles then looks to continue working on Corbin, but Corbin suddenly lands the Deep Six. Moments later Styles gets the Calf Crusher applied, but Corbin grabs Styles by the head and smashes it into the mat to escape. Eventually Baron Corbin manages to deliver the End of Days to AJ Styles and pins him to retain the United States Championship.
WINNER: Baron Corbin via pinfall
Chairman’s Take: Surprised Corbin got the clean pinfall victory on Styles, guess Corbin must be in good graces again. Hoping now AJ Styles leaves the United States title scene behind and moves onto something bigger such as the WWE Championship. Curious to see who Corbin feuds with next? Does his other rival as of late Tye Dillinger resurface or does a new contender step to the plate?
RATING: 6 out of 10!!! It wasn’t a horrible show, but wasn’t great either. The highlights were the revelations of Sami Zayn’s intentions at Hell in a Cell, Gable & Benjamin becoming the new challengers to the Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship, and Baron Corbin successful defending his title and getting a clean pin on AJ Styles. The show felt like they were trying to shove way too much content into the little window they had and it showed with all the cut entrances. Plus it was strange not having Jinder Mahal on being he is the WWE Champion to boast about his victory? There are still lots of questions regarding the landscape of Smackdown Live and where some superstars are going next or if there is unfinished business in their current feuds. What we do know though is there’s another round next week with Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler.
With that being said, thanks again for reading! Leave me some feedback and follow me on Twitter @chairmanpodcast for my latest tweets!!!