Last week saw plenty of upheaval on the show due to the fallout from Survivor Series. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn found themselves in a lumberjack match with the Smackdown roster out for revenge. They just about escaped with their jobs intact but this week, KO must take on Randy Orton, whose Survivor Series elimination he indirectly caused. Daniel Bryan is also sure to face questions from Shane about why he didn’t fire Owens and Zayn. We also saw a huge shake-up in the women’s division with Ruby Riot leading a series of attacks on the roster. A six-woman tag match has been booked – will it take place, or will we see another repeat of events on RAW? Let’s find out:
We start things off with Shane McMahon. Again. He lays into Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for betraying Team Blue. Again. He recaps last week’s events (event though a 5-minute video package has just aired doing the same thing at the top pf the show) and calls Daniel Bryan out to explain why he didn’t fire the best buddies. Bryan comes out to a huge ovation, and says he values KO and Sami’s talent too highly to see them shipped off to RAW. Shane responds by allowing tonight’s booked match to go ahead, but adds that Sami Zayn will be banned from ringside and it will be a no DQ match. After the break, we see Sami and Kev plead with Bryan to reverse Shane’s decisions, but they are met with a ‘hell, no!’
One of those promos that didn’t add much that could not have been achieved with a backstage office segment. It seems the tension between Shane O’Mac and Bryan will build slowly, which is fine, but there is no need to hold back the rest of the show as a result.
The New Day v. Gable & Benjamin
The Usos are at ringside for this one, and get presented with pancakes and syrup produced from the depths of Big E’s singlet much to the champs’ amusement – I guess they are faces now after all. Kofi and Xavier Woods are in the ring for the New Day. Gable and Benjamin are continuing with the heelish antics, showing aggression and making cheap shots whenever the opportunity comes up. They remain in control until Woods manages to hit a huge dropkick from the top turnbuckle and then make the hot tag to Kofi. He unloads on Benjamin before setting up Woods for a big dive over the top rope. He then lands UpUpDownDown to finish Benjamin off. Winners: The New Day
A surprise win considering Gable and Benjamin are being positioned as number one contenders for the Usos. Having them lose to the New Day clean is hardly a momentum builder. Smackdown desperately needs more depth to its tag division.
The Bludgeon Brothers v. The Hype Bros
A rematch from last week demanded by the Hype Bros we are told. Zack Ryder gets a little offence in but soon gets flattened by Harper and Rowan. With Rawley blasted off the apron, Ryder has no chance and gets pinned after a double powerbomb. After the match, Zack Ryder gets interviewed but as he is vowing to get back to winning ways, Rawley jumps him from behind. He screams ‘The Hype Bros are dead!’ as he pummels his now former partner into the mat, even drawing a ‘this is awesome!’ chant from the crowd. Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
A good call to hold off the Hype Bros’ break-up to this week so the Bludgeon Brothers were able to take the spotlight on their debut. Harper and Rowan looked dominant again and will be a welcome addition to the tag team roster. Losing the Hype Bros is not such a big deal, and it will be interested to see now if either Ryder or Rawley can get some momentum from this or if they both sink to the bottom of the card.
Bobby Roode Interview
The Glorious one speaks about last week’s clash with Baron Corbin during the lumberjack match, vowing to shut the Lone Wolf up. Just as he is getting ready to strike his ‘glorious’ pose, the US Champ interrupts to state he is not concerned about Roode. He is challenged to prove it by putting his title on the line tonight, an idea the crowd go wild for. Predictably, Corbin simply replies ‘no’ and walks off.
Standard stuff here to build to a match that will probably happen at the next PPV. I am not into babyface Roode though. He needs to return to be a cocky heel as soon as possible.
AJ Styles v. The Singh Brothers
This handicap match as booked after Jinder’s henchmen jumped Styles last week. Before the match begins, Mahal attacks the champ, slamming him into the ring post. Back from the break, Styles signals to the ref to start the match, which will see both Singhs in the ring at the same time. The pre-match beatdown allows Samil and Sunil to get some offence in, much to the delight of their leader at ringside. The match ends when AJ is perched on the top turnbuckle. He manages to fight off both Singhs, kick Mahal off the apron and then deliver a Styles Clash off the second rope to one Singh onto the top of the other for the pin. After the match, an irate Jinder lays out both of his associates with the Khalas. Winner: AJ Styles
There was not much to the match, but that finishing move was insane! Interesting to see what happens to Mahal from here. Will he prove himself without the Singhs running interference or flounder without their help? And what next for the Singh Brothers?
Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, & Sarah Logan v. Charlotte, Natalya, & Naomi
Earlier in the show, we see a recap of last week’s attacks from the NXT newcomers with the news that Becky Lynch will be out injured for a few weeks as a result. Charlotte, Naomi, and Natalya engage some wooden acting backstage, vowing to put their opponents firmly in their place. In an interview, the new arrivals dub themselves The Riot Squad and say they are here to prove themselves, not to audition for Total Divas.
In the ring, Natalya starts things off but after a couple of shots from Sarah Logan tags out and storms off from ringside. Back from the break, we see Charlotte clear the heels from the ring, but they play the numbers game to regain control. With Riot in charge on the mat, Morgan and Logan viciously take Naomi out at ringside, throwing her into the barricade and beating her with the ring steps. That leaves Charlotte on the wrong end of a 3 on 1 situation. The champ briefly fights back, spearing Morgan in the process, but a kick to the back of the head from Logan followed by a Pele Kick from Riot gets The Riot squad the victory. Winners: The Riot Squad
It was by no means a clean victory, but that is huge for Ruby Riot as she gets to pin the champion in her first match on the main roster. This angle has my interest as we do not usually see this level of ferocity in the women’s division. However, Logan in particular looked very green here with some of her strikes and kicks looking quite soft. Liv Morgan’s character comes across as too similar to Carmella at the moment as well. A promising start but work is needed to make this faction a force.
The Fashion Files
Breezango and The Ascension return with a parody of Saw, that ends with Konnor and Victor left behind in a room to be suffocated by gas, which I guess is an analogy for their main roster career to date.
Kevin Owens v. Randy Orton
A question before we begin – doesn’t the no DQ rule negate the fact that Sami Zayn is banned from ringside? If KO can’t be disqualified, what difference will it make if Zayn interferes? Anyway, this match requires us to believe that Orton is so proud to be a Smackdown guy that he is furious about KO’s recent actions. With that suspension of disbelief in place, we see the Viper go after Owens with the ring steps and a kendo stick. KO grabs a kendo stick of his own to gain the advantage. Back from the break, Owens is in control until he misses a cannonball into the corner. A top-rope superplex and a powerslam get Orton a pair of near falls as the crowd call for tables. Orton obliges by dumping his opponent onto the announcer’s table, but it doesn’t break. The fight then spills into the crowd and onto the stage. Sami Zayn then appears with a chair and beats Randy down (proving my point from the top of this summary). The Viper still manages to hit a Draping DDT as they return to the ring, but KO blocks the RKO and a superkick/frog splash combo later, he gets the pin. Winner: Kevin Owens
That match could have been much better. Orton started aggressively but soon reverted to his standard set of big power moves. Zayn interfering was predictable and made the whole ‘banned from ringside’ stipulation pointless. In the end, KO can’t win clean (and has once again gone back from being an out-of-control psycho to a simmering coward) and Orton can’t get the win even after regaining control of the match, so neither guy looks good.
This week’s show failed to build on the momentum of the last episode. The tag division seems to be treading water for the time being and still lacks a viable new challenger for the titles. The main event lacked spark, and the women’s match, while featuring a major beatdown, needs some work to establish the characters of the relatively inexperienced Morgan and Logan. The Bludgeon Brothers looked impressive and the ending of partnerships between the Hype Bros, as well as Jinder Mahal and The Singhs could be interesting, but could also see those involved slip down the card. Overall, a forgettable show.