Smackdown Live featured all the fallout from the Hell in a Cell PPV with Baron Corbin defending his newly won United States Championship against AJ Styles; also we saw the crowning of the new Number One Contenders to the Usos Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
Usos & New Day Promo. Grade: B+ The Usos and the New Day showed respect to each other talking about the physical toll of their Hell in a Cell match and their feud, a nice way to end their feud but leave the door open for more in the future, which there definitely should be. The rest of the Smackdown Tag Team Division came out to stake their claim for the tag titles, reminding the fans that they exist. Nice, simple and effective segment.
Benjamin & Gable defeated Breezango, The Ascension, & The Hype Bros to become the number one contenders for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Grade: B. Benjamin & Gable will make fantastic challengers to the Usos and this feud is the next logical step for their development. Breezango were incredibly over here, and having the babyface Benjamin & Gable pin them for the win makes absolutely no sense. More teasing of the Hype Bros splitting, and the Ascension & Breezango teased more work together in the future.
Becky Lynch defeated Carmella. Grade: B- The match was fine with Becky picking up a much needed but also forgettable win, while Carmella can afford to take some losses with her Money in the Bank Briefcase. Backstage Charlotte Flair attacked Natalya with the rest of the women’s division present their feud heated up significantly with this and the intensity shown by both women was perfect.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens Explain Themselves. Grade: A- The best friends are back together; Owens limped to the ring selling the Hell in a Cell match brilliantly, introducing Zayn as his guardian angel. Zayn explained quite logically his decision to help Owens, that Shane McMahon never really cared about him and never gave him the opportunities promised, he said that despite everything Owens put him through, he now realises that Owens was right the whole time While this all made perfect sense, Zayn will need to become more intense to build his heel heat in the future. Owens & Zayn as a team is a wonderful thought, and has astronomical potential.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton defeated Rusev & Aiden English. Grade: C. While the match was fun and the team of Nakamura & Orton is unbelievable, and as entertaining as both Rusev & English are, this was nothing more than filler. All four men are capable of far more than this, particularly Rusev.
Luke Harper & Eric Rowan are being repackaged as the Bludgeon Brothers, and they cannot come soon enough. Really looking forward to this as they have incredible potential together.
Bobby Roode & Dolph Ziggler Promo. Grade: D- Roode called out Ziggler for attacking him after the match at Hell in a Cell. Ziggler responded, again entering to no music which is great with his current character and pointed out that Roode needed to cheat to win, seeming to ignore the fact that despite this the Show-off still lost the match. Ziggler wanted a rematch, Roode welcomed the idea, and Ziggler said no. this was flat, boring and at one point the two even seemed to forget their lines; there’s no chemistry here, and this feud needs to end quickly.
Baron Corbin Retained the United States Championship defeating AJ Styles. Grade: B+ This was perhaps the best match of Baron Corbin’s career, and no surprise it was AJ Styles that made it happen. The two put on a great hard hitting back and forth match before Corbin retained clean with End of Days. The way Corbin insults and frustrates the hardcore fans is fantastic and perhaps his best quality. As good as this was, hopefully AJ Styles can move onto bigger and better things from here.