By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. WWE wraps up their two-night stand in the Mile High City by hyping the Hell in a Cell PPV which takes place this Sunday in Detroit, Michigan. Did the company give fans a reason to care about the most hellish night of the year? 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 Renee Young conducting an in-ring interview with Shinsuke Nakamura. Young asked Nakamura how he felt about Jinder Mahal’s inflammatory comments over the past few weeks. Nakamura took the high road and vowed to shut Mahal up by winning the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell on Sunday.
· The Singh Brothers came out to introduce Mahal as Nakamura waited for him to come down to the ring. Instead, the modern-day Maharaja attacked him from behind which resulted in a three-on-one beat down.
· Nakamura fought back, but it was to no avail as Mahal dropped him with the Cobra Clutch Slam to wrap up the opening segment.
· This was a fine way to start the show. Mahal got in the last shot which hints at a potential title change, but it’s not a stone cold lock because WWE will be touring India in December and it would behoove them to have Mahal as champion to solidify his status as the Golden Boy who can draw money in his home country. Therefore, the company is probably looking to cash-in on Mahal while they can before he drops the title early next year. Nakamura winning the championship would breathe new life into the main event scene, but it’s a matter of dollars and cents/sense at this point.
· Natalya and Carmella defeated Charlotte and Becky Lynch when Natalya made Charlotte tap out to the Sharpshooter in a decent match. Charlotte made a great babyface comeback, but Carmella prevented Lynch from helping her best friend when she pulled her out of the ring and hit her in the back with the Money in the Bank Briefcase which led to the finish moments later.
· WWE booking suggests that a title change is afoot at HIAC. Will Charlotte become a five-time Women’s Champion or will Natalya squash her hopes and dreams in Motown? We shall find out soon enough.
· Bobby Roode defeated Mike Kanellis with the Glorious DDT in a quick maintenance match leading up to his bout against Dolph Ziggler at HIAC on Sunday.
· Ziggler acted like the world’s worst drum major as the fans chanted for CM Punk. Ziggler wanted to prove that Roode was nothing more than a flashy entrance by outclassing him in the ring.
· Roode had the last word by leading the crowd in a “Glorious!” chant as Ziggler looked on in disdain.
· This was a nice way to add heat for their match even though the outcome is almost academic at this point.
· The Usos and The New Day had a semi-civil conversation leading up their Hell in a Cell match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The Usos were great as they described what would happen to The New Day once they were locked inside the Uso Penitentiary.
· The New Day came out to show reverence for the tag team division by giving Jimmy and Jey credit for pushing them to new limits. However, the quasi-pleasantries came to an end when Kofi Kingston stated that The Usos would be lying in their Day One Ish once the dust was settled.
· This was a fine way for both teams to get some shine on the mic without getting physical. 50/50 booking can take a breather. For now…
· Tye Dillinger defeated Baron Corbin with an inside cradle in a decent match. The outcome was a bit shocking considering the fact Corbin needs to look strong heading into his United States Championship match against AJ Styles at HIAC.
· However, Corbin not capitalizing on his opportunities appears to be an on-going storyline as Styles humbled him during a backstage promo.
· Styles called out Corbin for not trying hard enough when it comes to winning the Big One. He let John Cena beat him at SummerSlam, failed to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, and got upset by Dillinger tonight. Styles noted that it takes hard work in order to make it to the top. Corbin’s stint in the upper mid-card scene might be short-lived if he fails to win the US Title on Sunday.
· This was good final hard sell as Styles tried to light a fire under Corbin’s ass. Will it backfire on him for all the wrong reasons? We shall see.
· Randy Orton made quick work of Aiden English when he dropped him with an RKO out of nowhere. Rusev tried to sneak attack Orton, but The Viper was in a position to strike which stopped Rusev in his tracks. The return of Rusev Day remains on hold until further notice.
· Before Shane McMahon confronted Kevin Owens in the ring, Sami Zayn tried to convince McMahon that Owens was a dangerous sociopath who shouldn’t be taken lightly. Shane appreciated the sage advice, but he had things under control. Is this a hint of foreshadowing for Zayn turning heel based on getting brushed off by his boss? Hmm…
· Shane McMahon’s Hell in a Cell match against Kevin Owens will be Falls Count Anywhere. It’s a way to ensure that Owens has nowhere to hide come Sunday. McMahon vowed to change Owens’ life by beating some humility and respect into him.
· Owens appeared in the crowd and laughed off Shane’s threat. KO headed up the stairs as Shane-O-Mac called him a coward for not facing him like a man. He decided to bring the fight to Owens by following him to the concession stand.
· Owens attacked Shane from behind and kicked his ass from pillar to post. He power bombed Shane through a table before heading towards the ring.
· Owens agreed with Shane’s added stipulation because he planned to make his life a living hell. Owens wanted to grind Shane’s face against the steel. He wanted to powerbomb Shane to the point that he couldn’t remember his children’s names.
· Most importantly, he wanted to throw Grown Simba from the top of the cell to ensure that he wouldn’t get back up.
· Shane came back out through the crowd as Owens told him to stand down. Sensing that Shane wasn’t going to take no for an answer, Owens climbed over the barricade and attacked him first.
· Shane fought back, but Owens overpowered him by tossing him over the announce table. Shane got back in the ring only to get nailed with a headbutt and Popup Powerbomb as SD Live went off the air with Owens marveling at his handiwork while Shane looked on with a sense of resolve despite getting his ass handed to him.
· This was a great way to end the show. The Owens-McMahon feud has been the blue brand’s saving grace over the past couple of months. Shane threw some decent punches for change which added to the segment more believable from a physicality standpoint.
· Owens has been a tremendous sociopathic heel who has run out of fucks to give. He’s been pitch perfect during this storyline and I expect him to carry Shane to a great Hell in a Cell match on Sunday.
· Sami Zayn remains the wild card because he’s trying to give advice to Shane, but keeps getting blown off. With the rules of the match being altered, it opens the door for outside interference down the stretch. Will Zayn join the dark side of the force and reunite with his former best friend/arch nemesis? Magic 8-Ball says: Better Not Tell You Now.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was saved by the main event segment featuring Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens. It is arguably the hottest feud in WWE outside of The New Day and The Usos fighting over the Tag Team Titles. Outside of that, this was a blah go-home show that didn’t set the world on fire in terms of in-ring action.
· However, WWE deserves credit for allowing promos to dictate the pace instead of having wrestlers fall into the trap of 50/50 booking unless your name is Charlotte or Baron Corbin. Hopefully, both stars get back on track because this was the opposite way to build momentum heading into Hell in a Cell.
· The PPV is shaping up to a strong show with the two HIAC matches likely bookending the show. The rest of the card looks solid, but match positioning will be key. Let’s hope the creative team can formulate the perfect game plan as WWE breaks in the new Little Caesar’s Arena. “Pizza, Pizza!” *Insert cheap plug here*
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!