Date: September 5, 2017
Location: Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD
The Big Takeaway --
Shinsuke Nakamura beat Randy Orton clean in a fun main event. Nakamura will get his title shot against Jinder Mahal at Hell in a Cell.
There was a show-long storyline that resulted in Shane McMahon being indefinitely suspended for attacking Kevin Owens. Daniel Bryan made the announcement after the order came from Vince McMahon. Vince himself will be on the show next week to address the situation.
Next week’s show in Las Vegas will also have three title matches. Natalya defends the Women’s title against Naomi, the Usos defend the tag titles in a street fight against the New Day, and AJ Styles defends the US title against Tye Dillinger.
Also, Carmella appeared to ditch James Ellsworth but took him back, Dolph Ziggler made his re-debut in a lame segment, Aiden English beat Sami Zayn in a minute.
Show Recap --
The opening promo made it clear the winner of tonight’s main event would get their WWE title match at Hell in a Cell. Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton announced JBL’s departure and introduced Corey Graves. Graves is wearing a blue suit and wasted no time taking a shot at Saxton.
Backstage, Randy Orton said he’s seen his fair share of stars crash in burn in his time. He said Shinsuke Nakamura was a star, but if you’re distracted for even a second, you will go down, and no one will get in his way to regaining the WWE title against Jinder Mahal.
They cut to Nakamura who said he respects Orton, but he’s chasing his destiny and the pain he inflicts on Orton will be felt everywhere.
Carmella and James Ellsworth were in the ring to cut a promo before Carmella’s match, but Kevin Owens interrupted. Owens announced he was the special referee for her match and told the referee to give him the shirt. Shane McMahon immediately came out and said Owens would not be the referee, which the crowd lightly booed.
Shane was about to say something but seemed to lose his place. A fan yelled something and the crowd laughed. The crowd got behind Shane and chanted for him. Shane continued, saying Owens couldn’t keep blaming him for everything.
Owens claimed Shane never wanted him on SmackDown and he would much rather be on Raw. Shane agreed and recalled Triple H handing Owens the Universal title. Shane told Owens he can blame himself for his failures. Owens said Shane made it his business to keep getting involved and wondered if Shane’s daddy never gave him enough attention when he was young.
Owens mentioned Shane’s kids and Shane told him never to do that again. Owens mocked Shane’s stunts off the cage and even his helicopter crash. Owens said Shane’s entire family would’ve better off if he never survived that crash--his dad, his wife, and even his kids.
Shane wildly attacked Owens and the brawl spilled over the announce table. Officials tried to break it up but failed until Daniel Bryan managed to stop him. Bryan looked concerned as the crowd loudly chanted for Shane. This was good.
After a break, Owens was being assisted by officials backstage. Bryan approached him to apologize and said Shane was out of line. Owens said Bryan better enjoy his job because he was about to turn SmackDown Live into the Kevin Owens Show, literally. He was going to sue the entire McMahon family and Shane would regret ever putting his hands on him. Bryan said there must be a better way to settle this. Owens agreed and said he would press criminal charges. Bryan walked away.
Non-title match: Women’s champion Natalya defeated Carmella (w/James Ellsworth)
Carmella got a nearfall on a superkick. Ellsworth thought she had the win and dropped the briefcase in the ring by mistake. Carmella tossed the briefcase back at him and the distraction allowed Natalya to apply a schoolboy for the pinfall win. Match was about 6 minutes. Natalya was over as the face in this match for whatever reason. Perhaps the crowd just really dislikes Carmella (and Ellsworth).
Afterwards, Carmella called Ellsworth the sorriest excuse for a human she’s ever met, then added that he’s not even human. She again called him the sorriest excuse for a human she’s ever met and called him a genetic defect. She wondered how he was even employed and said his mother should’ve given him away at birth. She then announced they were through. The crowd booed when she yelled at him, but cheered when she said they were done.
Shane was shown pacing back and forth backstage. Dolph Ziggler's “re-debut” is next.
They plugged Connor’s Cure and aired the video from Raw.
Dolph Ziggler’s Re-Debut
Dolph Ziggler came out on the stage to the same old music, video, graphics, and tights. Ziggler said the crowd doesn’t appreciate him and called himself the greatest star in WWE history. Ziggler said the crowd would rather have some dumb gimmick, tossed the mic away and left.
John Cena’s music played, Ziggler’s video showed up and Ziggler ran out and mocked Cena’s entrance. (The crowd still sang “John Cena sucks.”) Ziggler left again, but this time came out to Randy Savage’s music. He had a valet and wore a robe. The crowd booed. Ziggler acted surprised they didn’t like the nostalgia and tried one more time, this time doing Naomi’s entrance.
Ziggler ranted some more about gimmicks and said anybody could do what he just did, but nobody could do what he does in the ring. Ziggler said he didn’t care about the fans and they made him sick. He left.
I thought this was pretty dumb. The announcers didn’t try to pretend this was anything interesting. I’m not sure why, in storyline, Bryan or Shane would give Ziggler any amount of time for this.
Aiden English defeated Sami Zayn (1:04)
English won in 64 seconds with an Oklahoma roll. Yeesh.
English tried to sing after the match because Zayn interrupted him earlier. Zayn went after him and English ran way. English was amusing here, singing, “Don’t, please don’t” as Zayn ran after him.
Backstage, New Day and Usos joined Bryan in his office. Usos announced a Sin City Street Fight for their tag title match next week. After the Usos left, Big E joked that New Day were the dealers and the Usos were about to bust. Nobody laughed. Bryan got a phone call, so Kingston and Woods took Big E away as he was still smiling at his own joke. Bryan’s call was from someone important, informing him he had to go the ring to make an announcement right now.
Bryan walked to the ring without his music. He called out Shane McMahon, who eventually came down, also without music. Bryan asked Shane what he was thinking. Bryan recalled The Miz pushing him and mocking him on Talking Smack last year.
Bryan admitted he wanted to headbutt Miz in the face and say “screw it” to WWE. But he didn’t, because it was Shane who reminded him to put the company, the fans, and the employees first. He restrained himself from punching Miz in the face for the betterment of this company. Bryan told Shane he can’t assault the superstars.
Shane said Bryan was right and he should never have put his hands on Owens. That being said, Owens talking about his family put him in a blind rage. Shane asked Bryan to imagine if it was about his family. Bryan didn’t want to hear that. He mentioned Owens threatening to sue the McMahons, but Bryan wasn’t concerned about them, he was concerned about the wrestlers.
Shane said he would smooth things over. Bryan said it’s too late. The phone call he received was from Vince McMahon. Per the chairman of the board, Bryan said, “I’m sorry, man, you’re indefinitely suspended.” Bryan left as the crowd chanted for “Shane O Mac” and “Thank you, Shane.”
Renee Young asked Jinder Mahal who he would rather face for the title. Mahal didn’t care because he’s already beaten both men. He mentioned being written about in the New York Times and said he represents Asia better than Nakamura ever could. Mahal spoke in Punjab to end the interview. Mahal was only lightly booed during this segment. Albeit, it was backstage.
Baron Corbin defeated Tye Dillinger (7:38)
AJ Styles was on commentary. His elbow pad has a gold logo on it and would be up for charity auction after the show. As soon as the bell rang, Corbin left the ring to confront Styles, which doesn’t seem like the smartest strategy. Dillinger nailed him with a suicide dive and ran wild, but after a break, Corbin was in control.
Dillinger came back with fists, a flying elbow, and boots in the corner. Corbin slipped out of a Tye Breaker, booted Dillinger out of the ring, and tossed him into the barricade. Dillinger countered a chokeslam into a rollup for a close nearfall and followed with 10-punches in the corner. Corbin distracted the referee to give Dillinger a shot to the throat, which Styles called a cheap shot. Corbin then hit End of Days for the win. Styles was pissed about the cheap shot but nothing happened after the match.
Styles approached Dillinger backstage and credited him with a good fight. He also called Corbin a cheap shot artist. Styles said the US Open Challenge next week would only be open to Dillinger and they should give the fans the match they wanted (the crowd only lightly cheered this). Dillinger shook his hand.
They aired a quick Bobby Roode video package. Saxton was going to introduce it, but Graves cut him off and did it instead.
Ellsworth approached Carmella backstage and begged her to take him back. He even admitted to belonging in a zoo. Carmella said they were doing things her way from now on, which seemed to be the case already. Carmella grabbed him and planted him with a kiss, then slapped him in the face. Ok then.
WWE Title Number One Contender’s Match: Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Randy Orton (13:27)
They went to commercial 90 seconds into this very important match. Orton gave Nakamura a backdrop on the announce table but Nakamura came back with a spinning heel kick in the ring. Nakamura also hit a flying kick, kicks to the chest, an enziguri and a running knee in the corner for a two count.
Orton countered a reverse Exploder into a backbreaker, but Nakamura followed with another kick. Crowd did dueling chants as Orton hit a big superplex for a nearfall. Nakamura came back with knees to the body but Orton countered a Kinshasa into a powerslam for another nearfall.
Orton hit a draping DDT as the crowd cheered. Orton went for an RKO but Nakamura countered into an armbar, then transitioned into a triangle. Orton hoisted him up for a powerbomb. Nakamura countered the RKO again, this time into a backstabber, and finished him off with Kinshasa for the pinfall win. Really fun match. Crowd cheered as Nakamura’s hand was raised.
Before the show ended, Bryan approached Owens to let him know Shane was suspended and that was the end of it. Owens said this was just the beginning. The show would be his personal playground next week and there was nothing Bryan could do about it. Bryan let Owens know Vince McMahon would be addressing him next week.
Final Thoughts --
This show was a mixed bag. I liked the Kevin Owens-Shane McMahon stuff and they did a good job making it all seem like a big deal. The main event was also real good. Shinsuke Nakamura now has clean wins over John Cena and Randy Orton. Too bad they were both on TV to set up matches with Jinder Mahal.
The rest of the show was very dull. SmackDown often makes the most of a limited roster, but tonight’s show could have easily been a lot better. Bobby Roode, Breezango, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Chad Gable, Shelton Benjamin, and Luke Harper were among those not on the show. (Also, AJ Styles, New Day and the Usos were on the show, but did not have matches.)