By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. The crowd should be hot for their hometown hero and future WWE Hall of Famer Daniel Bryan. After he was in a less than pleasant mood last week, perhaps the Emerald City wound lift his spirits. Or was he thwarted by a certain dastardly duo? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.
· SD Live kicked off with Daniel Bryan receiving a warm hometown welcome only for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens to rain on his parade. Zayn accused Bryan of being a martyr who sacrificed his body and soul for the people. If he worked smarter instead of working himself to the bone, the American Dragon would still be wrestling today. Zayn called out the fans for not holding up their end of the bargain when it came to cheering for him which would’ve convinced upper management to give him a chance. Due to their abject failure, Zayn no longer cared about them and decided to do things his way in order to get ahead.
· He admonished Bryan for being a glorified housewife who had to watch the action from the sidelines. Owens came out to rub more salt in the wound by calling Bryan Mr. Bella and accused the Yes Man of becoming the very thing he fought against his entire career: The Authority. Zayn thanked Owens for showing him the light even though it was staring him in the face the whole time. Zayn called Bryan a sellout as the fans showered the heels with boos.
· Bryan left the ring and booked Owens and Zayn in a tag team match against two mystery opponents who would love to punch them in the face as the opening segment came to end.
· This was a good way to start the show. Bryan received a hero’s welcome while Zayn is doing great work as a passive-aggressive heel who cuts people deep with his words in the nicest way possible. Owens throwing gasoline on the fire was a nice touch which sets up the tag team main event for later tonight. Bryan could’ve read them the Riot Act, but he maintained his composure. For now…
· Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Naomi defeated Natalya, Lana, and Tamina when Charlotte made Lana tap out to the Figure Eight in a solid match. The action picked up after the commercial as the bout broke down into a parade of finishes. The babyfaces didn’t get a chance to celebrate because Natalya pulled Charlotte out of the ring and slammed her against the announce table. She grabbed a steel chair, but Charlotte blocked the shot by kicking Nattie in the face before chasing her away.
· This was a nice showcase for the women as Charlotte continues to her quest towards becoming a five-time champion. Expect her feud with Natalya to culminate at Survivor Series next month.
· Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will face Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura later tonight. If they are given enough time, it should be a hell of a match.
· After a one week delay, Pulp Fashion finally debuted on SD Live. It was a little too campy for my taste, but I love The Ascension trying to become best friends with Breezango. The nod to the infamous Uma Thurman overdose scene was great as Tyler Breeze passed out after biting into a hamburger that was gluten-free.
· From the big ass needle to the marker dot spot on Breeze’s chest, the parody was pure perfection. In the midst of the drama, someone stole the briefcase that featured some important Intel on 2B. The Bludgeon Brothers were hinted at, but did they really ambush Breezango a few months ago? We shall find out soon enough. I think…
· Sin Cara defeated Baron Corbin via count-out after Corbin failed to make it back into the ring before the count of 10. That is not a typo. Sin Cara had a nice showing in the ring and ran circles around the Lone Wolf which was shocking to see. After Corbin emphatically defeated AJ Styles last week, one would think he would’ve smashed Sin Cara in two minutes or less. Oh well.
· The Usos got shown up by Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin which adds some much-needed intrigue to their SmackDown Tag Team Championship match which will take place in the near future. Gable trying to step up his rap game was awesome. Why couldn’t he be Kurt Angle’s long lost son instead of Jason Jordan? They would’ve gotten along like peas and carrots. Yes, that was a shout out to Forrest Gump. *Wink, Wink*
· Jinder Mahal had brass balls to challenge Brock Lesnar to a match at Survivor Series next month. Mahal claimed that there were no worthy challengers that could dethrone him as WWE Champion. Therefore, he wanted to take on The Beast and make the fans kiss his feet once he defeated the Universal Champion.
· AJ Styles came out and reminded Mahal that he never beat him. Mahal noted that Styles was a loser and was undeserving of a title shot. The modern-day Maharaja tried to re-assert himself as the man on SD Live when Styles blindsided him with a rapid-fire attack which culminated with a Pele Kick.
· After the commercial break, Mahal confronted Daniel Bryan backstage and booked Sunil Singh in a match against Styles next week. The fans laughed at Mahal for being a punk as Bryan granted his request.
· Styles being moved into the WWE Championship picture is nice to see. Styles probably won’t get a title shot at Survivor Series, but one can presume that he will face Mahal at Clash of Champions in December since it’s the last SD Live PPV of the year.
· Paul Heyman should have a response to Mahal’s challenge over the next couple of weeks. I am not crazy about the matchup because it’s going to be a Brock Lesnar 5-Minute Showcase featuring 10 German Suplexes followed by one F5 for the win. On the plus side, Lesnar destroying the Singh Brothers single- handily would help ease the pain a bit.
· Dolph Ziggler defeated Bobby Roode with a roll-up by grabbing a fistful of tights for leverage. The match was fine, but it was nothing special. With both men scoring wins via shady tactics, a rubber match should settle the score once and for all. In the land of 50/50 booking, this was always the endgame.
· Xavier Woods playing Rusev’s theme music on the trombone was awesome. It appears that The New Day will be feuding with Aiden English and Rusev for the foreseeable future. I can dig that.
· Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura when Zayn nailed Orton with the Helluva Kick for the win. The main event was very good as it featured strong action throughout. The highlight of the match was Orton inadvertently putting Zayn through the announce table when he dropped him with a Belly-to-Back Suplex. Orton has an interesting history when it comes to announce tables not breaking for him when they’re supposed to. I guess the universe returned the favor in the most impromptu way possible.
· Orton was on the cusp of winning the match for his team when Owens distracted the referee long enough for Zayn to deliver a low blow to Orton which led to the finish moments later.
· Owens and Zayn taunted Daniel Bryan backstage and wondered what Bryan had in store for them next week. Bryan said that it wasn’t up to him, but he’s sure Shane McMahon had something in mind as he walked away to let duo reflect on his announcement.
· Instead of selling fear, Owens and Zayn came to celebrate as SD Live went off the air with the best friends embracing on the main stage with Owens telling Zayn to hug him tighter in the most hilarious way possible.
· This was a great way to end the show. Shane McMahon coming back to confront Owens and Zayn next week should be very interesting. Will the recently reunited best friends continue to be smart alecks or will McMahon put them in their place? We shall find out next week. In any event, I am enjoying this heel run by Zayn so far. He’s the nicest asshole of all-time.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was very good. This was the best all-around show since the blue brand showed up and showed out in Cleveland a couple of months ago. The in-ring action was solid, but the promos and backstage segments elevated the show in terms of smart comedy that clicked on all levels. It was a well-balanced broadcast that effectively highlighted what the creative team is capable of when they are firing on all cylinders. There is still room for improvement when it comes to consistency, but this was an easy breezy show watch from start to finish. That’s all I can ask for as a wrestling fan.
On that note, this wraps up another edition of the SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!