SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan Confronted Kevin Owens
Owens has always been a tremendous talker, but he appears to be at his best when he's up against authority. His opening promo was great, Dolph Ziggler mocking Shane McMahon by coming out to his entrance music was a clever tease (even if I'm still not sold on this new gimmick of his), and Bryan confronting Owens led to a strong verbal exchange between the two, effectively hyping up Owens' segment with Mr. McMahon later in the night.
United States Champion AJ Styles def. Tye Dillinger
I was very disappointed by the first face-off these two had two weeks ago, so I was glad a rematch was scheduled for this show. Thankfully, they were given more time this time around and they made the most of it with a well-wrestled matchup. I didn't buy into the possibility of Dillinger becoming champion at all, but he did come close after hitting his finisher on Styles and the commentators noted that Styles kicked out because Dillinger's knee wasn't exposed like it usually is. I could have done without Baron Corbin getting involved, but at least it was limited and didn't take away from the match.
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal Addressed Shinsuke Nakamura
I've been very vocal about how repetitive Mahal's promos have been since the start of his push many months ago, but of course the one time he tries out new material, he falls flat and delivers a terrible promo. He made funny of Nakamura's various facial expressions for some strange reason, and none of it was funny in the slightest. He didn't even elicit heat from it; rather, it was a massive waste of time.
The New Day def. The Usos in a Sin City Street Fight to Win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
New Day and Usos have had a string of stellar matches this summer and this was no different. I love how they continue to switch things up in their matches and in this clash, they utilized the extreme environment and took full advantage of the stipulation. Despite there being no disqualifications, Xavier Woods stayed in the back the whole time, which I thought was a nice touch. They once again put together a terrific bout and I can't say I'm surprised by the title change. I could see them having another match at Hell in a Cell, perhaps inside Satan's Structure to permanently blow off the feud.
SmackDown Women's Champion Natalya def. Naomi
In all honesty, I didn't particularly care for their SummerSlam match, and I didn't think this encounter was a vast improvement. It was fine for what it was and nothing was wrong with it per se, but I found it difficult to stay invested in the action and it was barely given enough time. Plus, the focus was clearly on Carmella and James Ellsworth at ringside. How it could not be Natalya vs. Carmella for the title at Hell in a Cell after everything that's gone down between them as of late?
Dolph Ziggler Impersonated More Superstars
I couldn't have cared less for Ziggler's "re-debut" last week and this was equally atrocious. I appreciate the intensity and passion Ziggler brings to his promos, but the actual content is brutally bad. Him mocking a variety of wrestlers for the second straight week, including Bayley and The Ultimate Warrior, was cringe-worthy and did not make me want to boo him. I would have rather changed the channel. I assume this is leading to Ziggler feuding with Bobby Roode, but that program couldn't kick off soon enough.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin def. The Hype Bros
Gable and Benjamin still have a few chemistry issues to work out as a tandem, but other than that, they are off to a solid start in the tag team division. This was another enjoyable outing from them as they showcased their skills and it's encouraging that crowds are gradually getting behind them. The Hype Bros eating the loss plants the seeds for the long-awaited Zack Ryder heel turn, which was teased months ago but never followed up on.
Kevin Owens Attacked Mr. McMahon
I was very interested to see how this would play out given the two personalities, and they definitely did not disappoint. Mr. McMahon was the Vince of old as he ran down Owens' silly lawsuit and it was awesome that Owens wasn't intimidated and didn't back down. In addition to Owens vs. Shane McMahon being made official for Hell in a Cell, Owens' attack on Vince was excellent and cemented him as an absolute asshole. Stephanie showing up afterward has me thinking Triple H could get involved down the road, possibly at WrestleMania 34.
Sin City SmackDown Live was heavily hyped and for the most part, it delivered. As noted, Mahal's promo was below-average and Ziggler's segment did nothing for me, but everything else was either decent, good or exceptional, especially the stuff with Owens and McMahon as well as the United States and SmackDown Tag Team Championship matches. Those three things alone made this an entertaining episode and have me excited for the remainder of the road to Hell in a Cell next month.
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