By Steven Flora
Randy Orton and Kevin Owens took their personal rivalry to the next level when they squared off in a wild No Disqualification Match in the main event on SmackDown Live. Elsewhere, WWE Champion AJ Styles was attacked before taking on The Singh Brothers in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match.
Zayn & Owens get one over on Orton & Shane McMahon
No DQ Match: Kevin Owens def. Randy Orton
After barely avoiding firing (at least for now), Owens, whose best friend Zayn was banned from ringside, was forced to go to war against Orton in a brutal No Disqualification Match.
Orton, still harboring a ton of resentment for Owens & Zayn being instrumental in Team SmackDown’s defeat to Raw at Survivor Series, held nothing back against KO right from the get-go. The match saw it all, including Kendo stick attacks, savage superplexes and a plethora of physicality.
However, Zayn found a way to interject himself, waiting until Orton and Owens fought to the top of the stage and were not technically at ringside (thus Zayn was not breaking Shane McMahon’s stipulation), to take full advantage of the No Disqualification parameters. Zayn viciously attacked The Viper with a steel chair, targeting his left leg.
Orton attempted to fight back after the assault, but KO targeted Orton’s damaged left leg, finishing The Apex Predator off with a superkick and picture-perfect frog splash for the controversial win. Winner: Kevin Owens.
Side Note: Solid main event with some violent features in the opening of the match. I liked how Zayn tricked Shane by interfering in the match because though he was barred from ringside earlier, it was still no DQ, meaning anything goes. It'll be interesting to see how the commissioner responds to Zayn's disregard for authority.
Riott Squad wreaks havoc on the Smackdown Live Women's Division
The Riott Squad def. Charlotte Flair, Natalya & Naomi
Following their dynamic and dastardly debut last week, the trio of Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan – collectively known as The Riott Squad - looked to make an immediate impact on Team Blue by defeating the team of SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, Natalya and Naomi.
The combination of the new group’s intensity and Flair and Natalya’s ongoing problems led to a massive breakdown when Natalya hopped off the apron and walked away, leaving Charlotte and Naomi high and dry. This put The Queen and Naomi at a massive disadvantage, which eventually led to Morgan and Logan using the steel steps to brutalize Naomi on the outside, leaving her incapacitated and prompting the medical staff to take her away on a stretcher.
This left Flair by herself against The Riott Squad, and although she briefly rallied, the numbers game proved too much, and The Riott Squad scored the victory in their debut match on the blue brand when Riott planted The Queen into the canvas with a wicked kick to the face. Winner: The Riott Squad.
WWE medical staff evaluated Naomi after the contest. Keep up with WWE's social channels for further updates.
Side Note: Brutal attack on Naomi made everyone pay attention to the Riott Squad. I can't help but feel like this is a cheap knock-off of Absolution and also I find this trio to be the most random trio ever in WWE. Hope Naomi isn't too badly damaged and Charlotte Flair will definitely be out for revenge on the trio and Natalya.
Styles evades the pursuits from The Maharaja
2-on-1 Handicap Match: WWE Champion A.J. Styles def. The Singh Brothers
The white-hot rivalry between Styles and Jinder Mahal continued to escalate here on SmackDown, with The Phenomenal One taking on The Singh Brothers in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. However, as soon as Styles entered the ring, Mahal and his cronies attempted to gain an advantage by doing a blindside number on AJ prior to the contest even starting.
And, despite the pre-match beatdown, numbers advantage and The Modern Day Maharaja lurking at ringside, Sunil and Samir Singh were no match for the untouchable Styles, as AJ pushed through and found victory with a jaw-dropping second-rope Styles Clash to Samir onto Sunil who was right below. Winner: WWE Champion A.J. Styles.
After the match, it seemed Mahal was going to attempt to blindside Styles, but AJ exited before Mahal could grab him, leading to Jinder delivering ring-rattling Khallases to both Singh Brothers, making a clear statement that his ruthless streak was far from gone.
Side Note: A decent match highlighted with a devastating Styles Clash from the second rope! This continues the feud even though Mahal isn't a strong contender for Styles. Both have very different styles (no pun intended), but you feel Mahal is totally out of his depth with the phenomenal one. All in all I hope they have a great match at Clash of Champions.
Rawley has finally lost his mojo
The Bludgeon Brothers def. The Hype Bros
It was a new week for The Hype Bros, who immediately asked for a rematch against The Bludgeon Brothers after falling to the imposing duo last week, but the same bludgeoning, as Harper & Rowan quickly demolished Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley for the second straight Tuesday en route to another dominant victory.
After the short bout, a battered Ryder & Rawley were approached by Dasha Fuentes for an in-ring interview. Despite the team’s shortcomings and troubles as of late, Ryder remained positive, saying the duo would have to build itself back up even though they’ve hit rock bottom. That’s all he got to say, however, as Mojo savagely attacked him from behind. Rawley laid Ryder out with a barrage of strikes, then left his partner writhing in agony following the shocking attack. Winner: The Bludgeon Brothers.
Side Note: A looooong time coming but was needed. Rawley looks set to be given a midcard push but in all honesty, I saw his work whilst he was in NXT and it wasn't all that impressive. In fact if you remember correctly, it was Rawley who came up with the idea to tag with Ryder as Rawley was struggling to make it as a singles talent. I do hope the best for Rawley but I can see him going down a less successful route.
Other Notable Moments
Shane McMahon made major changes to the SmackDown main event: After SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan went against McMahon’s wishes by opting not to fire Owens & Zayn last week, Shane-O-Mac called Bryan out to the ring to try and clear up the matter. The “Yes!” Man made it clear to Shane that he never intended to fire Owens & Zayn and noted that Team Red would immediately snag two of SmackDown’s biggest stars if Team Blue let them go. Shane understood Bryan’s reasoning and although he still didn’t seem thrilled with Zayn and Owens being gainfully employed, he zigged instead of zagging and announced that Owens’ match tonight against Randy Orton would now be No Disqualification with Zayn barred from ringside.
The New Day vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable: Following a vicious war of words on social media over the weekend, The New Day squared off against Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable, as SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos offered their unique insight while providing guest commentary after The New Day served them some pre-match pancakes. In a high-octane contest that saw all four competitors shine, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston triumphed by dropping Benjamin with an emphatic UpUpDownDown for the 1-2-3. Winner: The New Day.
Overall SmackDown Live Rating: D
Things to look forward to next week
Are the Ascension finally gone forever? #FASHIONFILES
How will Charlotte Flair respond to Natalya walking out of their match?
Has Styles found a way to avoid Mahal and his henchmen's sneak attacks?
What's next for Mojo Rawley?