SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon Addressed Kevin Owens
Shane brought a ton of intensity to his feud with AJ Styles earlier this year and I'm happy we're seeing that same aggressive side of him in this program with Owens as well. Having him kick off the show made sense following the hot angle that closed last week's episode and the promo he delivered was short, sweet and to the point. Shane vs. Owens is the best thing going on SmackDown Live right now and nothing else comes close (as if the WWE Championship didn't already feel meaningless enough).
Randy Orton def. Aiden English; Rusev def. Orton
It was laughable to think that English had a chance of winning this match, so while giving him so much offense over Orton was pretty pointless, it was a decent match on the whole. The mid-air RKO "out of nowhere" to English will never not elicit a pop from the crowd, so that was a cool spot. I assumed Rusev's rivalry with Orton would continue following the comments he made in a backstage segment last week, and I liked how he beat Orton in the same fashion that he lost to him at SummerSlam. Of course, expect a rubber match between them at Hell in a Cell.
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal Addressed Shinsuke Nakamura
Everyone recognized that Mahal's promo mocking Nakamura's facial expressions last week was absolutely atrocious, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Mahal cut another promo about Japanese stereotypes. Needless to say, the material he's being given to work with is terrible and is actually making me look less forward to his WWE Championship match at Hell in a Cell with Nakamura. I would say their feud is quickly dying a death, but that would imply it was interesting to begin with.
United States Champion AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin Went to a No Contest
I figured the match wouldn't get underway despite being advertised in advance so it could be saved for Hell in a Cell, and ultimately, that was the approach they took. I'm not complaining, however, as I thought this was really well done and I'm glad Tye Dillinger isn't completely out of the picture, either. Both he and Styles wanted revenge after Corbin laid them last week, so they retaliated. It was smart booking and a fine way to further their feud.
SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan Announced a SmackDown Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match
The purpose of this segment was supposed to be Charlotte Flair giving an update on her father Ric, and although she didn't reveal anything we didn't already know, it was a logical way of bringing her back to SmackDown after her mini hiatus. Meanwhile, Natalya's promo work was surprisingly passable, but everyone else was fairly forgettable. This was designed to set up the Fatal 4-Way match for the main event, though I would have waited until next week since it felt like it came out of nowhere.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day def. The Hype Bros (Non-title)
New Day and The Hype Bros had actually never crossed paths prior to this point, which is amazing considering both tandems have been together for years. That said, this was a fresh and fun match that had a nice pace to it and the finishing sequence was especially was enjoyable. I assume they're running through every match possible for The Hype Bros before they either split up or turn heel, and regardless of which it is, it should be happening sooner rather than later.
Kevin Owens Responded to SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon
Owens could have acted a bit crazier than he did in his delivery, but other than that, this was a terrific promo from him. He is truly in his element when he sounds delusional, and that's the Kevin Owens we need in this feud. Having him talk "via satellite" was such a tremendous touch considering if he was in the building, Shane would have ripped him apart. Seeing them eventually interact face-to-face again is going to be great.
Dolph Ziggler Mocked More Superstars
It's been well-documented how much I've despised these Ziggler segments, and not in a way where I want to see him get beat but rather in a way where I'm tempted to change the channel or fast forward. How anyone could possibly care about him at this point is beyond me, but the sole saving grace of this whole shtick is that it appears to be headed toward a program with Bobby Roode, which would explain why he's been away from TV as of late. Roode needs to interrupt him next week.
Charlotte Flair def. Tamina, Becky Lynch and Naomi in a SmackDown Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match
There were several sloppy spots in the match, mostly involving Tamina, but it was largely well-wrestled and everyone put forth a good effort. The crowd was invested in the action, specifically at the end, and they wanted Charlotte to emerge victorious. She was easily the best choice to put in the championship picture at the moment, but I hope they drag out her inevitable title win for a while, and that can be accomplished via a Money in the Bank cash-in from Carmella.
I didn't think coming in that this edition of SmackDown Live would be nearly as entertaining as Sin City SmackDown from last Tuesday, and it wasn't, so without high expectations, this was a solid show. As noted, Shane and Owens are killing it in their program, but I'm also digging the New Day vs. Usos feud, the women's division is on the verge of being built back up, and Styles and Corbin are holding down the midcard. Anything involving Mahal or Ziggler continues to be brutal, but the positives outweighed the negatives on this episode.