SmackDown Live this week was a follow-up to a very successful Sin City SmackDown and there was plenty for the WWE to bite into when it came to progressing storylines and ideas from the Las Vegas episode. Vince McMahon was laid out by Kevin Owens and Shane-O Mac would probably have a response. Jinder Mahal went on a racist rant last Tuesday, offending much of the WWE Universe. He might have some explaining to do.
What's going on with The New Day, The Hype Bros. and the U.S. Title scene? Would Rusev crush a legend like he promised? Tuesday's episode of SmackDown Live addressed all of those items.
Here are your 5 Winners and 5 Losers From SmackDown Live – September 19, 2017.
The latest in a long line of wrestlers to put over Randy Orton, English was forced to do the job to the Viper before Randy got knocked silly by Rusev.
What we basically learned was, English can control most of a match but his offense is so ineffective and means so little that all the "damage" he did to Orton was undone with one RKO. In fact, Orton still had enough in the tank to accept a challenge from Rusev and second match within seconds of beating English. We're not huge fans of the Aiden English gimmick, but that's a good way to undermine one of your talents in a hurry.
Shane McMahon delivered a straight to the point, short, and no-nonsense promo aimed at Kevin Owens. Gone was the cheap crowd pop and the dancing. In its place was a serious Shane, and he had a message for Owens. After addressing the fact that many might question why he would stand up for his father (the two have major issues) Shane said they were still family and one attack on a McMahon results in a fury of vengeance from the others.
Shane did a good job of making us believe he's going to put a whoopin' on Owens and the WWE Universe is bound to see a memorable moment at Hell in a Cell. The fact that there was not an immediate response or back and forth from Owens was also a nice change of pace.
We were excited about the potential of a Zack Ryder heel turn, but now it appears as though Mojo Rawley is on board. While it could work to have another heel tag team on SmackDown Live, it's eventually going to lead to more of the same for Ryder who deserves a legit push on his own.
If this frustrated Hype Bros. team does eventually lead to Ryder being the one who does something drastic and still turns to make a single's run, then this could easily be turned into a winner, but it appears, for now, the drama will come from these two as a unit.
Owens continues to be impressive. This time in a satellite interview (must be something in the water since Raw had one too), Owens came out and at first apologized. Then he decided that it was Shane's fault for making him do it. It was a somber, but effective interview proving that Owens has the chops to deliver a promo in a number of ways.
It was a good sell job too. After that interview, and Shane's promo before it, fans are in for a treat, and likely the beginning of the end of Shane on SmackDown Live for a while. Owens best line was easily "for what I'm going to do to you Shane, people like me don't go to hell. No. No, people like me go to heaven." We're not sure anyone could have delivered that better.
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Nakamura is a loser here thanks to how little he's involved with the storyline that revolves around him and Jinder Mahal. You would think that the WWE would like to give some time to Nakamura—especially after Mahal's uncomfortable promos—but instead, he was absent from last week's show and did a small interview on this week's show where he said very little.
I'm fully on board with not having Nakamura talk much (we prefer a more mysterious King of Strong Style) but at least have him come out to the ramp during Mahal's promo and stare him down or come in and attack. Something, anything really.
Surprisingly, Dillinger didn't just disappear from the U.S. Title scene after losing to AJ Styles. He came out and interfered, costing Baron Corbin his opportunity in the U.S. Open Challenge. That was enough to get Corbin to shift his focus.
It should lead to a wicked feud between Dillinger and Corbin, and maybe even a Triple Threat match which would be a big step up for "The Perfect 10". The likelihood is, Corbin goes over, but to see Dillinger not be ignored is a pleasant change. It would have been the easy thing to do, and something they should have done ages ago.
RELATED: IS BARON CORBIN'S PUSH OVER?
Oh, how a couple weeks can change things. We wrote not long ago that it was nice to see Tamina getting some screen time and her character possibly receiving a push. We were wrong. Tamina was the last to join the fray during the Women's segment and when she did, it was all about Lana who occupied the mic to say mostly useless drivel.
Not only that, but Tamina took the pinfall and was the weakest of the women in the match, despite the fact that she should be the strongest. We guess her push is over.
We're not sure what to make of the direction the WWE is going with this Rusev angle, but so far, we like it. It's got the potential to be quite funny (Rusev doesn't get enough credit for his personality), but it could turn sideways in a hurry.
How this progresses each week will be the real tell of whether or not this idea is a winner or loser. If it's all being set up so Orton can finally overcome the cheap-shot onslaughts of Rusev, it doesn't work and will put the Bulgarian Brute back at the starting line. If this leads to a different Rusev— one who gets some victories—we're all for it.
We're not sure we understand the point of Mahal coming out and using stereotypes and discriminatory remarks to propel this feud forward. Yes, these are two international stars, but this is not the way to make fans look forward to the match. It's a quick way to turn viewers off the product. Even the fans in attendance were chanting "that was too far".
At the end of the day, we're all asking why Shinsuke would care that Mahal is being a racist scumbag. This feud was never about race, it was never about minorities and the fans, it was about two wrestlers representing their countries, being the best and one walking away with the title.
The promo felt rushed as she tried to talk to the crowd about her dad, but in the end, Charlotte got the rub and will be headed to a matchup with Natalya. The Women's Division has missed Charlotte, and this flurry of wrestlers fighting together in a jumbled mess should eventually lead to Carmella cashing in her briefcase and then defending against Charlotte who will probably end up with the belt when all is said and done.
The WWE immediately moved Charlotte back into the lead role for the females on SmackDown Live and that's really where she should be.
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