There were two major stories on this week’s Smackdown. The first one was the rivalry between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon reaching a new level as Owens made things personal. Also, Shinsuke Nakamura faced Randy Orton for the first time ever on television to determine who is next in line for a WWE Championship match.

Kevin Owens was attacked by Shane McMahon

The first match of the night was going to be Carmella vs. Natalya, so Owens walked down to the ring and said he would be the referee. The referee wouldn’t give Owens his shirt, which led to Commissioner Shane McMahon going down to the ring.

Shane told Owens that he won’t be allowed to make himself a referee. At one point, you could tell Shane forgot his line because he was just standing there looking confused, but I could be wrong. He got going again, telling Owens that he shouldn’t blame his problems on Shane McMahon; Owens should blame himself. Owens said that maybe Shane didn’t get enough attention from his daddy, so that’s why he’s always looking for attention. Owens mentioned Shane’s kids and Shane told him to never mention his kids again (Shane has three sons).

Owens made things personal when he told Shane that his entire family would be better off if Shane hadn’t survived that helicopter crash a couple months ago. Owens told Shane that his dad, his wife and his kids would be better off without him. That led to Shane getting mad and he attacked Owens with punches. They spilled out to the floor by the announce table and Shane kept punching Owens. They were broken up by referees, agents and eventually Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan told Shane to back off. It was a chaotic scene that the crowd was into.

After the segment, Owens was backstage and Bryan apologized for what Shane did. But Owens didn’t care about an apology and threatened to take legal action by noting he would press charges against Shane.

At the end of the first hour, Bryan got a phone call and was told that he had to do something in the ring right now, which led into the start of hour two.

Shane McMahon was suspended indefinitely

Bryan called Shane to the ring to have a chat. Remember, in the storyline Shane is Bryan’s boss, so Bryan did a good job of being uncomfortable with the whole situation.

The Smackdown GM talked to Shane about last year when The Miz would try to get Bryan angry, Bryan wanted to beat the crap out of him, but he couldn’t do it because Shane told Bryan he had to put the show and the fans first. Bryan said that Shane must have forgotten that because he attacked Owens earlier. Shane mentioned that it’s because Owens brought up his family, so he lost his cool. Shane suggested that he would talk to Owens about it. Bryan said that’s not going to happen because he received some news from WWE Chairman & CEO (and Shane’s dad) Vince McMahon.

“Shane, effective immediately, per the Chairman of the Board and the CEO of the WWE,” said Bryan,” I’m sorry, man, but you’re indefinitely suspended.” Bryan left while Shane was stunned by it. The crowd chanted “Shane O Mac” as Shane left the ring for an undetermined amount of time.

As the show was about to sign off, Owens was backstage with Bryan again, who said that Shane is suspended, so it’s done. Owens said he was just getting started. Bryan said next week somebody is coming toe deal with this: Vince McMahon. The crowd reacted to that in a big way because Vince doesn’t appear that often anymore, so any time he’s on it’s a big deal. I like it.

I liked the Shane/Owens story a lot because they have been slowly telling that story over the last month and when Owens went too far, Shane had every right to react. Fans can understand why Shane attacked because Owens mocked Shane’s family. Suspending Shane makes sense too.

Where will things go from here? I think Shane will return possibly as soon as Hell in a Cell on Oct. 8 with Vince making the match. Maybe the stipulation is that if Shane loses to Owens, then Shane is fired as Commissioner of Smackdown. That way, there’s something on the line in the match. It could also lead to a Shane vs. Owens match at Survivor Series or perhaps a Survivor Series elimination match with the same stipulation that Shane would be fired as Commissioner if he lost. I don’t know if that’s the plan. I’m just throwing it out there.

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Randy Orton

Orton and Nakamura got about 13 minutes and had a very good match, similar to when Nakamura beat Cena on Aug. 1.  The result of the match wasn’t surprising at all because Orton has already faced Jinder Mahal three times for the WWE Title in pay-per-view matches, so it made no sense for him to win. Nakamura deserved another shot after losing at SummerSlam due to the blatant interference of the Singh Brothers.

There were some cool moments in the match like when Orton would try the RKO, but Nakamura managed to slap on an armbar or a triangle choke. It showed how crafty Nakamura was because he is so slick in terms of being able to counter everything. Nakamura drilled Orton with several knee strikes during the match as well, so good job by Orton taking them. There was a superplex spot that looked a bit scary because Orton landed hard on the back of his neck since their timing was off a bit. For the finish, Nakamura slipped out of another RKO attempt, hit a knee to the ribs and finished off Orton with the Kinshasa knee strike for the win.

I’m hopeful that Nakamura will beat Mahal for the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell on Oct. 8 because I’ve been bored by this Mahal title run for a while. Every one of his promos are the same, while his matches are just average at best. They need to put the WWE Title on somebody who’s a better performer and has a lot more star power that will lead to more people watching the show. It’s no surprise that Smackdown has suffered in quality with Mahal on top. AJ Styles is the best performer in WWE and when he was WWE Champion, the show was a lot better. That’s not a surprise at all.

With that said, it wouldn’t shock me if Mahal retains his title because Vince McMahon is very stubborn with his booking this year (just look at Roman Reigns) and may want to stay the course.

This Week’s Smackdown Live Matches

Here’s a look at the other matches from the blue brand on Tuesday night.

Natalya defeated Carmella

This was a non-title match that a champ won, so that’s a nice surprise. The story was that Carmella was in control after a well-placed superkick earned a two-count. That’s when her buddy James Ellsworth went on the apron and dropped the Money in the Bank briefcase in the ring. The ref thought that meant Carmellla wanted to cash in the briefcase, but she said no to that. Natalya ended up winning with the dreaded rollup that I like to call the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! because WWE loves to use it as a deadly finisher. Technically, it’s called a schoolboy (or schoolgirl), but I like my name better.

Post-match, Carmella cut a vicious promo ripping on Ellsworth’s looks and for being chinless. She said “we’re through” and the crowd chanted “yes” because they don’t like Ellsworth.

Later in the show, Ellsworth begged for forgiveness from Carmella in a backstage segment. She told him that from now on, they will do things her way. Carmella kissed him on the lips for the first time and then slapped him hard in the face. Ellsworth was stunned by it, so it looks like they are still a team on Smackdown.

Carmella, if you’re wondering, is really dating Big Cass and they just bought a house together in the last week. Good for Ellsworth, though.

Aiden English defeated Sami Zayn

This was disappointing because they only got about two minutes. Zayn went for a cross body block off the top, English moved out of the way and English hooked him up for a pinfall win. Post-match, English wanted to sing, but Zayn chased him away.

I didn’t think Zayn would be booked worse on Smackdown compared to how badly he was booked on Raw, but it’s definitely worse on Smackdown. Zayn is such a good in-ring performer, yet WWE must not like his personality much because they are not giving him a chance at all, even though he still gets good reactions.

Baron Corbin defeated Tye Dillinger

The result of this match was never in doubt since Dillinger doesn’t win very often. They went about eight minutes with AJ Styles sitting in on commentary because he has started a rivalry with Corbin. The finish saw Corbin get in a cheap punch to the face after the ref was breaking them up in the corner (Styles complained about it) and Corbin won clean with End of Days after that.

Later in the show, Styles went up to Dillinger and said that next week, the US Title Open Challenge is open only to Dillinger. They shook hands, Dillinger said “phenomenal” and the match is on for next week.

Other Key Items From Smackdown

1. The Usos and New Day will have a Street Fight next week

During a brief backstage segment with general manager Daniel Bryan, The New Day and The Usos showed up with Bryan asking The Usos what stipulation they want to pick for their Tag Team Title match against New Day next week. The Usos went with a Street Fight.

I’m looking forward to the match because they always put on a show. A Street Fight will have a different feel to it. Hopefully they get 15-20 minutes. If they get much time, it should be amazing.

Normally, I would pick The Usos to retain, but there have been reports about how WWE wants The New Day to have the most Tag Team Title reigns in WWE history, so maybe there will be another title change between these teams. I’ll reluctantly pick The New Day to win because WWE seems to love title changes lately.

2. Dolph Ziggler is tired of gimmicks in wrestling

Dolph Ziggler has been talking about the “new” Ziggler for the last few weeks, so this week he entered the arena to address the fans. While doing so, he ripped on the fans for not appreciating his greatness enough while telling them they like silly gimmicks too much. Ziggler did three parody entrances, first as John Cena, then as Randy Savage with a beautiful woman as Miss Elizabeth (the wife of former WWE star Eugene) and finally he did a “Feel the Glow” entrance as Naomi with the bright colors. Ziggler was dressed to have a match, but he didn’t wrestle. Instead, he just ripped on the fans some more and left.

I’m not sure what the direction will be for Ziggler, but whining about the fans so much keeps him in the heel role long-term. Ziggler will probably feud with a face midcarder like Bobby Roode or maybe Sami Zayn soon. Roode would work well since he’s new to the Smackdown roster and they’ve never wrestled before.

3. A video package aired about Bobby Roode

Bobby Roode won easy matches the last two weeks. This week, he wasn’t on the show unless you count a one-minute video package focusing on his Smackdown debut and pushing the word “GLORIOUS” heavily. Smackdown doesn’t have time for everybody every week, so that’s why they need to do stuff like this. 

Looking Ahead to WWE Hell in a Cell

The next WWE Smackdown pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell on Sunday, Oct. 8 in Detroit. There has been one match announced so far.

WWE Championship: Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

More matches will be announced over the next month.

Looking Ahead to Next Week’s Smackdown in Las Vegas

They have heavily promoted next week’s “Sin City Smackdown,” so I figured I should do a special “Looking Ahead” with the lineup for next week. Here’s what is advertised from Smackdown and on WWE.com as well.

United States Title – AJ Styles vs. Tye Dillinger

Smackdown Tag Team Titles – Street Fight: The Usos vs. The New Day

Smackdown Women’s Title – Natalya vs. Naomi

A rare Smackdown appearance for WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.

Why are they loading up next week? I’m not sure the exact reason, but Smackdown may be able to beat Raw in the ratings because Raw will go up against two NFL Monday Night Football games and Smackdown’s audience could rise with three title matches announced, plus an appearance from Vinny Mac.

In Closing

It was a better show this week after last week’s episode, which was one of the worst episodes of the year. The main event was pretty good with something important on the line and the Shane/Owens drama was done very well because WWE didn’t rush it either. Some of the other matches could have been better, but everything made sense at least and it built up what should be a big Smackdown next week in Las Vegas.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He's written for WhatCulture, Bleacher Report, Layfield Report, Rajah.com and many other places. You can follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at mrjohncanton@gmail.com with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at TJRWrestling.net.

  • John Danknich

    I don’t know if Jinder Mahal is the worst WWE Champion in history, but he’s in the discussion. No charisma. Can’t work good matches. Same promo, same facial expression every time. Please let Nakamura beat him at HIAC.