By Dave Dodgson @DodgeeWriter
Smackdown time again and with the eyes of the WWE Universe on the Hell in a Cell PPV event, what build and additions to the card would we see this week. WWE’s preview promised that Shane McMahon would address the Kevin Owens situation (I thought he did that last week?), Nakamura would respond to Jinder Mahal’s comments (better than more comments from Jinder), and Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger would face each other in the ring. Here we go with this week’s review:
Owens starts off the show saying he is sick of hearing about what Shane McMahon is going to do and say, calling him a coward. He talks about his respect for Vince and how he beat him down anyway. Imaging then what he will do to Shane, a man he has no respect for.
Sami Zayn’s music then hits and he makes his way to the ring to tell KO he has lost the plot. He talks about their history and how Owens has snapped once again and crossed a line he can’t come back from. KO, of course, rejects Sami’s attempt to make him see sense. He says Zayn is simply jealous of all KO’s success and titles in WWE. Zayn responds that KO has taken shortcuts and cheated his way to the top, which he will never do. He calls Owens ‘a giant piece of trash’ and they drop the mics but Daniel Bryan comes out before the fight begins and makes the clash an official match for later in the night.
Tye Dillinger v. Baron Corbin
This is something of a grudge match after these two have interfered in each other’s US Title opportunities over the last few weeks. AJ Styles comes out to sit in on commentary. While Corbin is trash talking him, Tye tosses him out of the ring, setting off “Ten!” chants around the arena. The Lone Wolf eventually re-enters the ring and takes control as the match begins. He beats on The Perfect Ten outside the ring while getting into some verbal exchanges with the crowd. Corbin, who always seems to get distracted easily, starts pointing at Styles as the crowd chants the US Champ’s name, allowing his opponent back into the match. After chucking water in Styles’ face a confrontation begins and Corbin throws Dillinger into Styles at the announce table. Dillinger can’t get back into the ring before being counted out. Corbin, favouring his ribs, gets on the mic to say Styles can’t beat him one-on-one and challenges to a match at Hell in a Cell, all while the crowd chant “What?!” Winner: Baron Corbin
Jinder Mahal Promo
Not again! I know that Nakamura is limited on the mic by the language barrier but do we really have to let Jinder talk this much? After two weeks of ‘comedy’ that no-one apart from the Singhs laughed at and was veering into racist territory last time, what dross can we expect now? He acknowledges that he went too far as the crowd chants ‘Nakamura’. Then, however, he goes back to the same garbage we’ve been subjected to over the last fortnight by showing photos of his opponent’s facial expressions. The crowd has gone quiet and I am zoning out too. But wait, the last photo is actually a live feed of Nakamura who warns Jinder that he is on his way. His music hits and the crowd go wild. A brawl breaks out with Jinder temporarily getting the advantage thanks to the Singhs. It doesn’t last long however, as Nakamura smacks the champ with the Kinshasa to stand tall. Could this match end up taking place inside Hell in a Cell to keep The Singhs out of the equation?
The Hype Bros v. The Usos
The New Day are sitting at ringside with popcorn for this one. The Hype Bros promised to do something drastic last week but Mojo Rawley quickly finds himself getting pummelled in the corner. He makes the hot tag to Ryder, who unload on his opponents. As he climbs the ropes, Rawley tags himself back in and the two start arguing. That gives the Usos a way back into the match as they shove Rawley into his partner and then lay him out for the pin. After the match though, the focus is on The Usos and The New Day. They trash talk each other before the champs announce that their upcoming title match will take place inside Hell in a Cell. Winners: The Usos
The Pride of Bulgaria Celebration
Aiden English kicks this off as master of ceremonies. He introduces the mayor of Rusev’s hometown Plovdiv, who will present Rusev with the key to the city. English then treats us to a rendition of the Bulgarian national anthem (impressive if he has learned that just for this segment!) Rusev approaches the ring with a Bulgarian flag and stands atop a ridiculously high podium. The mayor makes an announcement in Bulgarian, drawing predictable ‘what?’ chants, before repeating it in English. He declares September 26th as ‘Rusev Day’ and presents him with what looks like a cardboard cut-out key. Rusev cuts a passionate promo about how he is the top predator in the Smackdown jungle now. English then serenades Rusev with a song in his honour but is cut off by an RKO out of nowhere. Rusev gets the mayor out of the way before getting one himself (with his face completely planted on the mat in a sick-looking bump). Orton stands tall to end the celebration.
Charlotte v. Carmella
James Ellsworth is ringside for this one, literally on a leash, which is tied to the ring post. He helps Carmella gain an early advantage by grabbing Charlotte’s leg as she climbs the turn buckles. She stays on top through the commercial break and scores a number of near falls, gradually becoming more frustrated as the Queen keeps kicking out. The tide turns and Charlotte immediately closes out the match with a big boot. Natalya then comes out and says she is glad Ric Flair survived his recent health scare so he can watch his over-rated daughter take a beating at Hell in a Cell. Winner: Charlotte
Dolph Ziggler Again…
The Undertaker’s gong sounds to a confused reaction from the crowd. I immediately think ‘Dolph Ziggler’ and sadly I am right. Corey Graves calls him out for blatant disrespect to one of the all-time greats and the crowd give him a deserved ‘you suck!’ chant. The promo is the same as the last several weeks until Bobby Roode interrupts – thank you Bobby! He does his full entrance much to Ziggler’s ire. He calls the Show Off a hypocrite and a time waster before challenging him to back up his words in the ring at Hell in a Cell. Dolph accepts before trying to mimic The Undertaker’s ‘Rest in Peace’ catchphrase but Roode cuts him off to say Hell in a Cell will be ‘glorious’. The expected rivalry has begun in quite an unexpected way!
Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens
Backstage earlier in the show, Zayn asked Daniel Bryan to stop Shane interfering here. We’ll see how that works out. KO starts off highly aggressively, stomping Zayn in the ring and around the outside. Sami Zayn gets back in it with a couple of huge clotheslines. The cameras cut backstage to show Shane O’Mac arriving in the arena as we go to commercials. The in-ring action is frantic with both guys hitting big moves. Zayn goes for the Helluva Kick but Owens catches him instead. KO then goes straight for the pop-up powerbomb but Zayn jumps over his shoulders and then lands the Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall (that move is always a near fall for Zayn and never a win!) “This is awesome!” shout the crowd and it’s hard to disagree. Sami hits his over-the-top dive but takes a crash landing. Owens then smashes his long-time rival into the apron with the same vicious powerbomb that he has used to devastating effect on Chris Jericho in the past. The ref immediately calls off the match and medics come to help Zayn to the back. Kevin Owens sits quietly on the announce table before going after Zayn again. He grabs a chair and puts in over Zayn’s neck but Shane McMahon comes out before the damage can be done. KO throws Sami Zayn into Shane before escaping through the crowd. He blows Shane a kiss from the stands as the show ends.
The pace definitely picked up this week and the show was a lot better for it. We now have three more matches added to the Hell in Cell card, and we know that the tag team title match will be inside Hell in a Cell itself. The promo segments worked well to add heat to the Rusev-Orton and Mahal-Nakamura programmes. It was satisfying to finally see Mahal and Ziggler get cut down to size as well, saving us from another week of repeating the same boring promos. The fact that Bobby Roode came out to challenge Dolph not because he mimicked the glorious entrance but when he had angered the crowd with his Undertaker rip-off was an unexpected but effective touch. In fact, that could have been a great way to debut Roode on the brand but we’ll take what we’ve got (and hope Ziggler does a better job of putting this new guy over than he has in the past with Corbin, Breeze, and Nakamura). The continuing build to KO-Shane was also well-handled as they were kept apart, building anticipation for their eventual clash. Sami Zayn also used his chance to shine even if it was yet another match with Owens. Only the women’s match/segment didn’t really achieve anything and there was no follow-up to the dissent between the Hype Bros but there will be time for them in the coming weeks. Great show!