Sami Zayn Confronted Kevin Owens
Owens is awesome no matter what, but as I discussed in last week's SmackDown Live review, he is so much better when he's super straightforward and serious as he was here. It's well-documented that his dynamic with Zayn is incredible, so it wasn't surprising in the slightest that they had an enjoyable exchange on the mic here. It was probably Zayn's best promo since coming to SmackDown, and Owens played off him well. The build for their bout throughout the night was great with Zayn saying he wanted Owens for himself and that Shane McMahon can get his hands on him at Hell in a Cell.
Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger by count-out
It's cool that while he won't be involved in the United States Championship match at Hell in a Cell (at least not yet, anyway), Dillinger is still lingering around the Corbin and AJ Styles feud. He and Corbin had a pretty basic bout, but Dillinger wasn't squashed like I thought he would be, and he was even protected by the count-out finish. Styles vs. Corbin hasn't been lighting the world on fire so far, but perhaps a memorable match at the pay-per-view would change my mind.
Shinsuke Nakamura Attacked WWE Champion Jinder Mahal
Honestly, I almost changed the channel when Mahal was shown in the middle of the ring with a microphone in his hand for the third straight week. I know it ultimately led to Nakamura finally coming out and getting some revenge, but the powers that be have to know that Mahal's promos aren't good whatsoever and have hindered this program more than it has helped it. Dear WWE, please let Nakamura win the WWE title at Hell in a Cell so we can all move on from this mess.
The Usos def. The Hype Bros
The Usos and The Hype Bros have done battle a number of times before, so while this was nothing new, it was a decent match while it lasted. The bigger focus was The Hype Bros suffering yet another loss and teasing a heel turn for Zack Ryder, and more importantly, announcing the Hell in a Cell stipulation for the Usos vs. New Day SmackDown Tag Team Championship match coming up next Sunday. Their fantastic feud is definitely deserving of that gimmick match.
Randy Orton Crashed Rusev's The Pride of Bulgaria Celebration
I never thought I would say this, but Aiden English was pretty perfect here, singing the Russian national anthem and essentially serving as Rusev's lackey in this segment. This could be the start of a beautiful partnership, though I still prefer Rusev with Lana. Nevertheless, the purpose of this was to get fans so riled up about how long it dragged on for before Orton crashed the party and laid them both out, so in that sense, it was a success.
Charlotte Flair def. Carmella
I didn't expect Charlotte to get an instant classic out of Carmella, so I wasn't disappointed by this being an average outing. Charlotte just became the new No. 1 contender to the SmackDown Women's Championship, so it made sense for Carmella to want to face her. In fact, Charlotte's win could lead to her claiming she deserves a shot at the strap if Carmella cashes in at Hell in a Cell. Meanwhile, the Charlotte vs. Natalya feud doesn't do much for me, but if nothing else, we know the match will be well-wrestled.
Bobby Roode Interrupted Dolph Ziggler
Everyone assumed that Ziggler's impersonation of various Superstars' entrances would lead to Roode confronting him eventually, so I'm glad that was what happened here. That said, I couldn't believe Tom Phillips actually believed Ziggler was The Undertaker for a minute or two. At any rate, they have already shown they have chemistry together on the mic, so I look forward to seeing what kind of match they can produce at Hell in a Cell when they go one-on-one.
Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn by Referee Stoppage
I don't recall ever watching an Owens vs. Zayn match and it being anything less than excellent, and the streak didn't stop here. Granted, they weren't given a ton of time, but what we did see was superb and the finish was phenomenal with Owens brutally beating down Zayn. It was basically a rehash of the ending to their NXT Championship match at NXT TakeOver: Rival two and a half years ago, which is why it was so spectacular because it made you feel for Zayn. Shane McMahon nearly brawled with Owens before Owens threw Zayn into Shane and ran away, so that was brilliant as well.
The card for Hell in a Cell is shaping up nicely, and as the penultimate edition of SmackDown Live before the pay-per-view, this was a thumbs up show. Sadly, I still couldn't care less about Mahal vs. Nakamura, but Mahal's mic work wasn't as atrocious this week, while everything else was solid. Zayn and Owens especially stole the show and Owens vs. Shane continues to be the best thing on the entire program.