Smackdown Live was once again carried by Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens who were magical together once again in a huge tag team main event against the team of Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura. We also learnt the plans of WWE Champion Jinder Mahal at Survivor Series and AJ Styles made his intentions clear that he wants a shot at the Modern Day Maharaja.
Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens Promo. Grade: A+ Daniel Bryan opened the show to an enormous response from his hometown crowd before Sami Zayn interrupted. Zayn here was exactly how he needs to be as a heel, he blamed the fans for his failures and ran down the now retired Bryan. Owens put his two cents in s the heel duo labelled Bryan a sell-out in his hometown. Zayn, like Owens is blaming everyone else around him for his failures as Zayn thanked Owens for saving him. The similarities between Bryan & Zayn make this all even more compelling. Magical stuff here.
Charlotte, Becky Lynch & Naomi defeated Lana, Tamina & Natalya. Grade: C- This did absolutely nothing for anyone involved. Lana despite having an interesting character and story at first was noticeably weaker than the others in this match. the only decent bit of story here was Natalya going to attack Charlotte with a chair again before Charlotte chased her off.
Sin Cara defeated Baron Corbin by Count-Out. Grade: C- A match between Sin Cara and Baron Corbin was about as uneventful and difficult to watch let alone care about as you’d expect. Sin Cara winning via count-out seems to indicate he is the next challenger for the US Championship, which is a fine little feud before hopefully something bigger at Survivor Series. While Corbin teasing making the match a Championship match, before ripping the opportunity away was good, Corbin lacks the mic skills to pull it off properly.
A series of great backstage segments included The New Day interrupting Aiden English & Rusev which was comedy gold and a program between these two teams would be magical! The Fashion Files continued their downward trend with more Ascension silliness, they seem to just be going back and forth at this point. The Bludgeon Brothers Rowan & Harper had another vignette and Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin showed some character (albeit cringeworthy) in an interview with The Usos.
Jinder Mahal challenges Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series before being confronted by AJ Styles. Grade: B. Jinder Mahal vs Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series is interesting; on one hand it will be great to see Mahal just get slaughtered by Brock, on the other hand it takes away your two world title feuds for a match that no one really cares about nor wants to see. Additionally, there’s just that little bit of fear that WWE might actually have Jinder win. This was one of Mahal’s better promos. AJ Styles putting himself in the world title picture is well overdue and we can only pray his series of matches with the champion don’t turn out like Nakamura’s did.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Bobby Roode. Grade: B- While the match seemed a little rushed, these two men still put together a fun little contest. They are let to approach their full potential together and if this feud is going to continue they really need to kick it into another gear; otherwise let both men move onto bigger and better things.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens defeated Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton. Grade: A- While the match itself was the standard television tag team main event we see so often, the storytelling here was amazing. Zayn & Owens are a team made in heaven and work incredibly well together against the mega team of Orton & Nakamura. Zayn getting the pin after a blatant low blow with a distracted referee only does more to build his heel persona. My only complaint here is I’d much rather see Orton take the majority of the beating and Nakamura get the hot tag as opposed to how it was here; Nakamura is in desperate need of ‘feeling special’ once again after he had the life sucked out of him in the Jinder Mahal feud. Backstage after the match Owens & Zayn gloated in victory to Daniel Bryan who announced that next week Shane McMahon will be back and he will deal with Zayn & Owens; that alone is enough to make anyone watch next week.