By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Valley View Casino in San Diego, California. With twelve days to go until Clash of Champions, WWE announced three title matches via their app late Friday night.
Nothing jumped off the page as must-see, but the company got the word out in order to generate buzz for the final PPV of 2017. Did they deliver similar results on the west coast or lay an egg instead? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.
· Sami Zayn offered a tutorial on what it meant to be at ringside by gloating that he didn’t break the rules when he attacked Randy Orton on the entrance ramp during Orton’s No Disqualification match against Kevin Owens last week. Owens and Zayn were proud that they played within the rules while putting the screws to McMahon at the same time.
· As Zayn was schooling the audience on how to cheat their way through life, Orton nailed Owens with an RKO out of nowhere which popped the crowd something fierce.
· Shane-O-Mac appeared on the main stage and announced that Zayn and KO will get their chance to bask in the spotlight when they face Randy Orton and a partner of his choosing in a tag team match at Clash of Champions next Sunday. However, Orton will get his hands on Zayn later tonight while Owens is handcuffed to the ring rope since they understand ringside protocol as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was a good way to start the show. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn did a great job airing their grievances about being held down by The McMahon. They always find a way to entertain while being completely condescending at the same time.
· Orton flying in the ring like a gazelle to nail Owens with an RKO was the highlight of the segment. It’s one of the few finishers in WWE that still means something which is rare to see these days. KO sold the move like a champ which pushed things over the top. All in all, this was a nice way to set up the main event for later tonight.
· Aiden English and Rusev defeated The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) when Rusev pinned Kingston with the Machka Kick in a solid match. The win gives English and Rusev much-needed momentum as a unit while New Day has to get their head back in the game heading into next week’s go-home show because they have a chance to regain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship in a Triple Threat Match against The Usos and Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable at Clash of Champions.
· And just like that, Triple Threat Tag Team Title match is now a Fatal Four Way with English and Rusev added to the mix. This could be a show stealer if everything goes according to plan from a booking and timing standpoint.
· Daniel Bryan announced that Charlotte will defend the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Natalya in a Lumberjack Match at Clash of Champions with The Riott Squad, Tamina, Lana, and Carmella overseeing the action from ringside.
· I want to like The Riott Squad, but they are given the worst material to recite every week. It absolutely sucks. They haven’t gelled as a unit which makes them a third-rate version of Absolution who is kicking ass on Raw every week. Here’s hoping they find the magic formula because their act leaves a lot to be desired at the moment.
· The Bludgeon Brothers destroyed a random tag team with the Double Crucifix Powerbomb in about 90 seconds. It was simple, yet effective.
· Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode ended via Disqualification when Dolph Ziggler dropped Roode with the Zig Zag. Corbin suffered the same fate as Ziggler reminded both men why he belonged in the Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship at Clash of Champions next Sunday.
· Ziggler is the dreaded third wheel in this scenario, but his presence should elevate the match from a wrestling standpoint because Roode vs. Corbin doesn’t scream must-see television. Just saying…
· Charlotte made Tamina tap out to the Figure Eight in a serviceable match. After the match was over, Natalya wanted to give Charlotte a preview of their Lumberjack Match for the Women’s Title as Carmella, Lana, and Tamina circled the ring.
· The Riott Squad joined the party because they wanted to be a part of the feature presentation. The trio got more than they bargained for when Tamina took down Sarah Logan which sent both factions into retreat.
· Charlotte avoided the 7-on-1 beat down by getting the hell out of dodge.
· The dialogue from The Riott Squad was cringe-worthy. Their script needs to be burned in a dumpster fire. Stat!
· Randy Orton defeated Sami Zayn with a roll-up in a very good main event match. Once again, Kevin Owens found a way to bend the rules when he used a bolt cutter to free himself from being handcuffed to the ring rope. Owens tried to interfere, but Orton staved him off in order to pick up the win.
· After the match was over, Owens and Zayn double teamed Orton until Shinsuke Nakamura made the save. Nakamura nailed Owens with the Kinshasa while Orton nailed Zayn with an RKO for good measure. Since there were four minutes left in the show, the ass-kicking continued with Nakamura throwing Owens into an RKO while Orton held Zayn to eat the Kinshasa as the in-ring portion of SD Live came to an end with the babyfaces standing tall in the ring.
· Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were watching the aftermath on the flat screen TV as McMahon took joy in how the show ended. Bryan asked Shane-O-Mac if he was done punishing Zayn and Owens.
· Shane was just getting started because he named himself the special guest referee during Owens and Zayn’s tag team match against Nakamura and Orton at Clash of Champions. If Owens and Zayn lose, they would be fired from WWE. Bryan had a troubled look on his face as the show went off the air which might be a sign of things to come over the next couple of weeks.
· McMahon is abusing his power which might cause Bryan to take action at the PPV next Sunday. Tensions have been simmering for a while which gives credence to a Bryan heel turn. With his contract expiring in September 2018, WWE might want their most popular non-wrestler booed on his way out the door.
· Considering how over Bryan is as a babyface, that would be a dumb idea because smart fans can see through the bullshit. Who would jeer the faction of Owens, Zayn, and Bryan? It makes no sense. Shane might be over with the masses, but his obligatory babyface pop can only go so far when the heels constantly speak the truth on a regular basis.
· Bryan embracing the dark side of the force will shake up the power dynamic on SD Live, but at what cost? Can he generate heel heat among casual fans? He’s done it before, but he’s too damn likable to get booed out of the building unless he does something reprehensible. We shall see how it all plays out, but it’s safe to say that Heel Watch 2017 is underway.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. The in-ring action was so-so, but the main event ended the night on a high note.
· WWE did a nice job fleshing out the Clash of Champions card, but it’s filled with multi-person matches with the exception of the WWE Championship bout featuring AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal.
· The PPV looks meh on paper, but I expect this to be a newsworthy show based on the implications of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura with Shane McMahon as the special referee. I doubt Owens and Zayn will be fired, but how will the endgame play out? Will Daniel Bryan save his former Ring of Honor brothers or is there something else going on beneath the surface? We shall find out soon enough.