By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. After sparing Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s jobs last week, did Daniel Bryan face disciplinary action from Shane McMahon? 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 Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan working through their managerial differences when it came to Bryan not firing Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn last week. Bryan believed in second chances and didn’t want to send their two top stars to Monday Night Raw. McMahon disagreed and listed their various crimes and misdemeanors over the past few weeks.
· Bryan wanted Shane to trust his judgment when it came to Owens and Zayn because he knows what it’s like to be fired. Shane-O-Mac agreed and co-signed Daniel’s decision to book KO vs. Randy Orton for later tonight. However, Shane raised the stakes by barring Zayn from ringside and making the match no disqualification as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was an okay way to start the show. Seeing Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan playing out a backstage skit in front of the live crowd was a bit tedious, but the message of them being on the same page clicked for the most part. However, I have a feeling that their business relationship is still on shaky ground.
· The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) defeated Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable when Woods pinned Benjamin with the UpUpDownDown in a good match. The action was fast-paced and crisp throughout which kept the crowd hyped from start to finish.
· The Usos were entertaining on guest commentary as they put over both teams before reminding the audience that they still had the tag team division on lock. The win puts The New Day back in title contention, but Benjamin and Gable will have something to say about that because they are due a SmackDown Tag Team Title rematch against The Usos due to their first match ending via count out a few weeks ago in Manchester, England.
· The Bludgeon Brothers defeated The Hype Bros when Rowan pinned Zack Ryder with a Double Chokeslam. Harper and Rowan looked impressive once again as they handled their business in two minutes or less. They have the potential to get over as a top tag team if they are booked properly.
· Meanwhile, the Hype Bros are finished as Mojo Rawley attacked Zack Ryder from behind during a post-match interview with Dasha Fuentes. It appeared that Ryder was primed to turn heel when he returned to in-ring competition earlier this year, but Rawley is now positioned as the bad guy. This might be for the best because Rawley’s hype persona is very annoying which might’ve turned him heel by default.
· AJ Styles defeated the Singh Brothers when Styles hit Samir Singh with a Styles Clash from the second rope while landing on his brother Sunil to somewhat soften the blow. It wasn’t enough as The Phenomenal One squeaked out the win after Jinder Mahal jumped him from behind before the 2-on-1 handicap match got underway.
· Incensed, Mahal hit both Singh Brothers with the Khallas which might come back to bite him in the ass in the not too distant future. Just a hunch…
· Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan are now known as The Riott Squad. The name is meh at best…
· The Riot Squad defeated Charlotte
, Natalya, and & Naomi when Ruby Riott pinned Charlotte with the Riot Kick in a one-sided match. Natalya bailed early on while Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan took out Naomi when they slammed her into the barricade and steel steps. The upped the violence by slamming her head against the steps while she was trapped underneath them for good measure.
· Charlotte tried to make a comeback, but the numbers game caught up to her down the stretch. Riott, Morgan, and Logan were impressive in the ring, but their attack on Naomi didn’t generate a lick of heel heat. This faction is too similar to Paige’s crew on Raw which makes this version come off as low rent which sucks considering the talent involved. Here’s hoping both groups differentiate themselves from each other because fans shouldn’t be catching a case of déjà vu every week.
· I have a sad announcement to make. The Fashion Files has officially jumped the shark. As I mentioned a couple of months ago, season two was in danger of falling into the dreaded sophomore slump and that theory was proven right based on tonight’s weak parody of Saw. At least The Ascension still makes me laugh from time to time.
· Kevin Owens defeated Randy Orton with a Frogsplash thanks to an assist from Sami Zayn. Despite being banned from ringside, Zayn took full advantage of the no disqualification stipulation as he hit Orton in the leg with a steel chair towards the end of the match.
· The referee was powerless to stop Zayn because of the DQ rule as he continued to attack Orton with the steel chair. Owens’ guardian angel made a hasty exit as Owens took advantage of the situation. Orton made a brief comeback as he nailed KO with a Draping DDT. He went for the RKO, but Owens delivered a chop block to Orton’s injured leg which set up the finish moments later.
· The match itself was very good as Orton went after Owens once the bell rang. He hit KO with some stiff Kendo Stick shots, but Owens returned the favor as he got back on offense before the obligatory commercial break.
· Orton regained control when he dropped Owens with a Superplex from the top rope followed by a Belly-to-Back Suplex on the announce table. He went for his finisher, but Owens rolled out of the ring and escaped through the crowd. Orton chased him down and brought the fight to the main entrance ramp which gave Zayn the opening he needed in order to save his best friend.
· How will Daniel Bryan respond to Zayn’s latest act of defiance? Will Shane McMahon step in to make another unilateral decision that creates more friction between him and Bryan? Most importantly, how will Zayn and Owen take advantage of the situation as they pit their bosses against each other? So many questions, so little time!
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was solid for the most part. The Lexington crowd was hot early on, but their enthusiasm tapered off during the second hour despite the in-ring action being up to par most of the night.
· Clash of Champions is a little over three weeks away and one match has been officially announced for the PPV so far. AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship is set, but WWE needs to flesh out the rest of the card between now and next week’s show in San Diego, California.
· Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin for the United States Championship appears to be a lock while the Tag Team and Women’s Title bouts are in a state of flux due to a lot of moving parts wreaking havoc over the past couple of weeks. Here’s hoping the creative team can sift through the chaos and finish the year strong by putting on an entertaining PPV. We don’t need another Battleground on our hands…
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!