Kevin Owens has had quite the return, hasn’t he? From a super brief babyface run to lure the New Day in to a heel turn and desperate grab for the WWE Championship, Owens has certainly made his presence known on SmackDown.
It just…y’know. Hasn’t translated to winning.
And after how he behaved on this episode, it seems like Owens himself is undergoing yet another transformation. When he was snapping back at Shane McMahon, I was a bit puzzled; was WWE just forgetting all about his “prizefighter no matter the cost” motivations? Why would he give that up so suddenly?
Well, it’s because it clearly isn’t working. As a heel, the sucking up accomplished nothing. Shane barely tolerated him. There was no benefit whatsoever. All of a sudden, the vitriol he spewed at Dolph Ziggler makes sense; Ziggler is who Owens is afraid of becoming. After being forced to tag – and lose – with Ziggler as a teammate to Heavy Machinery, Owens flipped his lid. He hit Ziggler with a Stunner and shouted that this was his show.
Sooo…babyface turn for good this time?
Look, I’m down for this. Kofi Kingston is an awesome babyface to lead the show. But having Owens entrenched somewhere in the top 3 or 4 good dudes on the show provides SmackDown with a bit of flexibility once Eric Bischoff takes the reins. With Owens as a face, perhaps we’ve got some surprises in store in the coming months.
As for the match that Owens participated in, it’s good to see a feud lower on the card get to main event a show. The story made sense and it allowed Heavy Machinery to get a big win over some dudes that they probably shouldn’t be beating based on merit alone. And now, Daniel Bryan’s head will explode because he’s got to defend against two happy-go-lucky tag teams.
Not bad at all, SmackDown.
I was a bit down on this show about halfway through, partly because the Owens story hadn’t fully been told. My justification was that while this Kofi/Samoa Joe segment was pretty damn good, it isn’t the sort of thing that should be the most memorable thing on a show.
In retrospect, it’s slotted in a much better position.
As always, Samoa Joe came out on the offensive. He questioned Kofi’s character. He insulted his family. He suggested that Kofi’s sly and using both Xavier Woods and Big E for his own gain. In response, the champ calmly stated the facts: he defeated Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Dolph Ziggler all on his own. No help required.
Strong argument, Kofi.
Seeing that his verbal arrows weren’t landing, Joe resulted to his ultimate weapons: intimidation and extortion. Joe held out his hand and offered Kofi a truce. If the champ would shake his hand, Joe promised he would leave everyone Kofi loves alone during this feud. He wouldn’t harm a hair on any of their heads. But if Kofi shook his hand, he’d be admitting the inevitable. He’d be admitting that Joe is the man who will dethrone the WWE Champion.
Instead of shaking his hand, Kofi flipped him off and hit him with Trouble in Paradise.
You can see what I mean, right? That’s a great segment, but it doesn’t beat the explosions, heel turn, or baby-making madness of last night’s show. It’s a promise of future delights. Ideally, this sort of thing would be the third or fourth most-notable thing on a show, in my opinion. I’d call it the second most notable thing for this show.
Evil Mastermind at Work
Carmella’s words last night clearly rattled Alexa Bliss a bit. Friendship is supposed to go both ways.
Therefore, in an attempt to bind Nikki Cross even closer to her, Bliss gave something back to Nikki in return for earning Bliss a title shot: the honor of hosting a Moment of Bliss.
One problem. This is the sort of thing that Alexa’s probably expecting Nikki to fail at, right? Social awkwardness and all that. It’s a way to kill two birds with one stone; in theory, Cross becomes less popular and also more loyal to Bliss. It should be a win/win.
I see right through you, Ms. Bliss.
And to be honest, this went as well as it possibly could have for Bliss. Bayley came out and did a horrible job of trying to show Nikki how she’s being manipulated. Nikki kept staunchly defending her friend, and then the two fought a match where Nikki lost.
Suddenly, the calls for Nikki to fight at Extreme Rules quiet just a tad. I’m sure Alexa’s smiling a Cheshire grin somewhere.
Oh god it’s Bray Wyatt, isn’t it? – The person who knocked on Aleister Black’s door is Bray Wyatt. This show convinced me. The talk of heaven, hell, and purgatory. The dolls lurking around and disappearing. Black announcing that we’ll see who knocked at the PPV.
It’s Wyatt. I’m so hyped.
Ali’s promos are unique and awesome – I called Ali’s video promo superhero-esque last week, I believe. I’m not sure what to call it this week other than captivating. He’s just…everything about Ali is different than what we’ve traditionally seen from WWE. We’ve never seen a man who looks the way he does presented the way that he is. When you mix that with his own earnestness and talent in the ring, he’s got a way of tugging at my heart that I don’t feel from anyone else.
I want to see this guy become WWE Champion.
Shelton Benjamin, are you okay? – I didn’t catch his roaming gaze live, but my goodness. I guess we’ll see where this goes?
No Holds Barred – Shane and Drew vs. Roman and Undertaker will be No Holds Barred. Cool, I guess?
R-Truth wants his baby back – Now if only Drake Maverick and his wife were going to Chile.
Daniel Bryan def. Big E – Solid opener. Bryan targeted E’s knee in an attempt to ground the big guy, but it didn’t really work that well. You know what DOES work well? Erick Rowan’s interference.
Andrade def Apollo – I missed most of this due to a pop-up summer storm – thanks, “the South!” – but what I saw was fun. I also heard Zelina helped Andrade to victory so it seems like Andrade’s shaking off the Demon daze to get back to his winning ways. (I’m sorry.)
Ember Moon def. Mandy Rose – Rose is the weak link of Fire and Desire, but we already knew this.
This show was solid. It lacked anything truly memorable, but the storytelling for the major storylines – aside from all things Shane – were good. It bugs me a bit that my favorite is off TV so much this month, but honestly that’s a good thing. It’s giving new folks the chance to get on TV and do something.
In summary, a good show, but not something I’d consider must-see.
Your turn, Cageside.