SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon Attacked Kevin Owens
Owens interrupting the scheduled Carmella vs. Natalya bout before it began was better than him simply coming out to address Shane. Sometimes it's the little things that matter most. At any rate, this was a strong segment with a hell of a promo from Owens. I could have done without him saying that he should have died in that plane crash a few months ago because that was a serious situation, but it was done to give Owens huge heel heat and it succeeded. He came across like an absolute asshole in this segment and this made me even more excited for the feud than I was before.
SmackDown Women's Champion Natalya def. Carmella (Non-title)
In a match between two heels, there wasn't anyone for the crowd to cheer for. Despite that, it was a decent little match that thankfully didn't last long. Natalya was able to carry Carmella to a competent contest and the focus was on James Ellsworth accidentally costing Carmella the match. I was thrilled when it appeared they were parting ways... and then Carmella took him back at the end of the show in a backstage segment. Ugh.
Dolph Ziggler Re-debuted
I'm honestly stunned WWE even bothered to bring Ziggler back to TV before his contract reportedly expires next month. His new gimmick is apparently that he complains about people having gimmicks. Uhm, okay? I know the guy is a great wrestler, but I am so far removed caring about Ziggler at this point. I could see him putting over Bobby Roode soon, but beyond that, he serves no purpose on the roster and he's just flat-out annoying.
Aiden English def. Sami Zayn
These two have done battle on a handful of occasions over the last month, and oddly enough, English has won clean every single time. They aren't feuding, at least not to my knowledge, so what the hell is the point? It blows my mind that not even on SmackDown does WWE know how to properly utilize Zayn. He's basically an enhancement talent at this point, which is a shame for someone as popular as he is.
SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan Suspended SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon
Daniel Bryan was the perfect person to deliver the bad news to Shane that he was suspended because the crowd wasn't going to turn against him. Instead, they rallied behind Shane for standing up for himself and his family earlier in the evening. It was announced at the end of the show that Mr. McMahon will be appearing on next week's episode to address the situation, so that should spice up the storyline a bit. Will Owens attempt to verbally berate him, too?
Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger
This was a logical follow-up to what happened last week when Corbin attacked Dillinger both before and after his United States Championship match with AJ Styles. I figured we were in for a short squash with Corbin dominating Dillinger, but I was happy that it was a competitive contest instead. Dillinger scored more offense here than he did versus Styles, and Corbin picked up the victory as he should have to regain some much-needed momentum. Speaking of Styles vs. Dillinger, I hope their rematch next week isn't one minute in length again.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Randy Orton in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
Similar to his TV match with John Cena in late July, Nakamura had an excellent outing against Orton (why is it that Nakamura's pay-per-view matches are typically no good but he shines on SmackDown?). Orton deserves credit as well for coming across better here than he has in some time, and he must have been elated to be working with someone that is on the same skill level as him. The final few minutes were fun and, of course, Nakamura winning was the right choice. He pretty much needs to win at Hell in a Cell because if not, I don't know who else could beat Jinder Mahal.
Last week's edition of SmackDown Live largely didn't do anything for me, but I thought this was a minor improvement, if only for the two biggest storyline developments between the above-average main event and the stuff with Shane and Owens. Plus, plenty was advertised for next week's loaded episode including three title matches and the return of Mr. McMahon, so this show served its purpose in building toward Tuesday night and featuring enough to keep me hooked.