By Steven Flora
Facing off against Sami Zayn for the first time ever on SmackDown Live, Kevin Owens used the matchup as an opportunity to continue throwing Shane McMahon off his game, viciously attacking Zayn two weeks before Hell in a Cell. Elsewhere, The New Day and The Usos made history when they agreed to compete for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship in a Hell in a Cell Match.
Kevin Owens brutalises Sami Zayn
Owens def. Zayn due to the referee stopping the match
For the first time ever on SmackDown Live, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn continued their illustrious rivalry. Before the main event, Zayn asked Daniel Bryan to tell Shane McMahon to give him a clean crack at Owens without any interference from the SmackDown Commissioner, despite his boiling emotions. And, at least at first, it appeared we would get a straight-up contest in the main event.
Zayn fired off a barrage of offense that had KO reeling, but Owens’ onslaught was eventually too much, and he regained control. Then, after connecting with a vicious superkick, Owens hit the bone-rattling Apron Powerbomb on Zayn, completely incapacitating his foe. With it clear that Owens was in firm control, the official had no choice but to stop the match. Winner: Kevin Owens.
However, that declaration was not enough to stop KO, who was clearly gearing up to attack Zayn with a steel chair, wrapping it around Sami’s throat. This was the final straw for Shane, as he came rushing out to aid Sami and throw fists with Owens. It was to no avail, however, as Owens shoved Zayn and the edge of the chair right into the SmackDown LIVE Commissioner and then escaped through the crowd, making sure that he and Shane would not engage in combat … at least not tonight.
Side Note: These two I can never get tired of watching. They are like peanut butter and jelly, they gel together so well and it makes for an exciting watch for the casual WWE fan. Zayn continues to take the brunt of the beating from Owens and it definitely makes Owens look strong heading into Hell in a Cell, and Sami was right what he said earlier on, “I will get my time someday, but I will do it my OWN way.” Shane looks ready to decapitate Owens and their match at Hell in a Cell should be absolutely MUST SEE.
Shinsuke Nakamura finally had enough of Jinder Mahal’s rhetoric
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal arrived at SmackDown Live for the third straight week with seemingly only one goal in mind: to relentlessly poke fun at his Hell in a Cell opponent, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Mahal, who was flanked by The Singh Brothers, continued to ridicule Nakamura’s appearance via still pictures, but he got a rude awakening when one of the images came to life and The King of Strong Style made his electric entrance into the building.
WWE’s Rockstar took down The Singh Brothers in the aisle, but that allowed Mahal to blindside him and toss his nemesis into the ring. However, Nakamura fought back, once again taking out Sunil & Samir and then obliterating The Modern Day Maharaja with a ferocious Kinshasa.
Side Note: This segment was OK, in particular Nakamura coming to life through a supposed “still image” to attack the Singh Brothers and Jinder Mahal. Mahal segment's have been dire as of late and I have been hoping to see Nakamura get his revenge for a while now. This feud has been slowly losing steam recently and hopefully this feud can end at Hell in a Cell, leading to a new feud which actually gets viewers invested.
The New Day vs The Usos INSIDE HELL IN A CELL
The Usos def. The Hype Bros
With their SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match against The New Day less than two weeks away, The Usos went to battle with The Hype Bros, who were game for the match and attempting to get back on track after a series of tough, close losses.
The titleholders watched on from the crowd (enjoying some Booty-Os and other snacks), as Mojo Rawley made an overzealous blind tag that resulted in some miscommunication that took Zack Ryder out and got Mojo Rawley caught with a superkick and big splash combo to take the L. Winner: The Usos.
Following their victory, the boisterous Usos bragged on the microphone while getting right in the faces of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. However, before The Usos could go on for too long about how they would regain the titles at Hell in a Cell, The New Day snatched the mic and laid out a striking plan for the title bout: They wanted The Usos inside the Hell in a Cell structure!
The Usos flashed a pair of sly grins to signal their acceptance, thus making WWE history, as it will be the first time that any Tag Team Championship is decided inside the structure that shortens careers.
Side Note: This was really, really interesting. Watching No Mercy this past Sunday, I watched the VT for Usos & New Day (at Hell in a Cell) and it was great and really highlighted how well this feud has continued over the past few months. This would mark the first time a tag team championship match has taken place inside Hell in a Cell; DX vs. Vince McMahon & Big Show at Vengeance 2006 doesn't count. Though gutted as this feud may come to an end, this match would be a fitting way to end this program between two of the best tag teams in the world today.
Randy Orton ruins Rusev Day
Following his “major” win over Randy Orton last week, Rusev was honored during The Pride of Bulgaria Celebration on SmackDown Live. Aiden English, the man who assisted him in victory last week, introduced The Super Athlete, and Rusev proudly walked to the ring as the Bulgarian National Anthem was sung by The Drama King himself. The Bulgarian Brute ascended a podium as The Mozart of Mayhem gave the floor to the Mayor of Rusev’s hometown, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The Mayor of Plovdiv stressed how great it was for Rusev to defeat Orton and declared that Sept. 26 was now officially Rusev Day.
The celebration went on to feature Rusev replaying his victory over The Viper and being awarded the key to the city of Plovdiv. However, when English began singing an original song for The Bulgarian Brute, the party was crashed by The Apex Predator, who slithered into the ring and dropped both English and Bulgaria’s “great protector” with wicked RKOs.
Side Note: This was such a hilarious segment, I mean c'mon, Aiden English & Rusev has to be the most random yet entertaining pairing I've seen since Jeri-KO. Combined that with the Mayor of Plovidv's facial expressions, made great TV indeed. In this feud though, I can only see one winner and that's Rusev. Orton has nothing to gain from this but Rusev has a lot to gain, and maybe a win at Hell in a Cell can propel him back into contention for the WWE Championship title picture.
Other Notable Moments
Hell in the Cell 2017 will forever be GLORIOUS: Dolph Ziggler looked to yet again mock iconic entrances of the past and then lambast the WWE Universe for enjoying them. He kicked it off with a parody of The Undertaker before proceeding to tell the WWE Universe why he was the best … but he quickly found out he wasn’t GLORIOUS. Bobby Roode finally hit the scene, put a stop to Ziggler’s madness and challenged The Showoff to a bout at Hell in a Cell. Ziggler surveyed Roode, and after declaring The Glorious One was everything that was wrong with WWE, accepted the match.
Charlotte Flair vs. (Miss MITB) Carmella: Following a tense exchange earlier in the night, Charlotte Flair was set for one-on-one action against Carmella, who was accompanied by the leashed and newly trained James Ellsworth. Carmella dominated a portion of the action against Charlotte, but The Queen trumped The Princess of Staten Island, defeating Ms. Money in the Bank with a brutal kick square to the jaw. Winner: Charlotte Flair. After the match, SmackDown Women’s Champion Natalya arrived to let Charlotte know that she was glad her father, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, was feeling better these days … so that he could watch his daughter lose at Hell in a Cell.
Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin: Following weeks of unresolved issues and both Superstars vying for the opportunity to challenge AJ Styles for the US Title, Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger were ready to throw down, though The Lone Wolf was instantly rattled when The Phenomenal One made his way to the announcer’s table to provide guest commentary. After the brawl spilled to the outside, The Lone Wolf killed two birds with one stone, throwing a cup of water into The Phenomenal One’s face and then evading a baseball slide from Dillinger and hurling The Perfect 10 into Styles, sending them both tumbling over the announce table. The Lone Wolf re-entered the ring, and Dillinger wasn’t quite able to do the same before the official reached his 10-count, giving Corbin the countout victory. Adding insult to injury, Dillinger, who made his way up to the ring apron, was sent crashing to the arena floor after eating a big boot from Corbin right after suffering the defeat. Winner: Baron Corbin. After the match, Styles wanted to continue the fight, but Corbin had a different plan in mind: Demanding a title bout against Styles at Hell in a Cell.
Overall SmackDown Live Rating: C+
Things to look forward to next week
FASHION POLICE, FASHION POLICE & FASHION POLICE!!!
Can Dolph Ziggler back up his claims as the greatest ever?
Can AJ Styles finally settle his beef with Baron Corbin once and for all?
What's next for Lana & Tamina?
Are the Hype Bros done as a tag team?