SmackDown Live on Tuesday was a follow-up to one of the most controversial blue brand episodes in some time. Jinder Mahal had made mainstream media news by going on a second racist and discriminatory rant and all eyes were on the WWE Champion to see if he'd dare go that direction again.
The other main focus of the show was the impending clash between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens at Hell in a Cell in two weeks. Knowing that each side of that battle was not in a good mood, would the fireworks happen early?
Rusev celebrated a big win over Randy Orton, Charlotte was the new number one contender for the SmackDown Live Women's title and Baron Corbin had a score to settle against Tye Dillinger and AJ Styles.
Here are your 5 Winners and 5 Losers From SmackDown Live – September 26, 2017.
5. Loser - Attendance
Oh, my gosh. If you've seen pictures from folks in attendance at last night's show, you have to be concerned for WWE and what they're going to do about getting live event numbers up. The entire off-camera side was empty, and that must be hard for the talent, the fans and the company's bottom line.
It almost appeared as if there were less than 3,500 people at the show, and if that means another Superstar Shakeup, putting a halt to the brand split or bringing in some recognized talent, then the WWE needs to do something.
5. Winner - Sami Zayn
Thank goodness the company finally had something useful for Sami Zayn to do. Even if it means another match with Owens (we've seen a ton of them on Raw), it was better to use Zayn in a situation where he'd look like a legit WWE Superstar in rather than a backstage segment that clearly shows the WWE is lost when it comes to his character.
The opening segment was well done with shades of these nemeses history thrown in. It was a good set-up for what would be Shane McMahon trying to get his hands on Owens, but Zayn wanting his opportunity to prove something to people. Neither really happened.
4. Loser - AJ Styles
The feud between AJ Styles and Baron Corbin is fine, but Styles feels like a passenger in this story as of late. His U.S. Open Challenge matches haven't been anything like many expected, he's not had them nearly enough and while Dillinger is earning his spot in the U.S. Title picture, he's making it harder for the WWE Universe to see Styles as a fighting champion.
There needs to be a promoted match that feels a bit more big time for Styles. This way everyone can remember why he's the U.S. Champion in the first place; he's one of the best wrestlers in the company, but he's really not doing much right now.
4. Winner - Jinder Mahal
We're putting Jinder Mahal on this list twice. First, he's a winner because he steered clear of the racist garbage that caught so much heat in the first place. It was smart, and whether the WWE took caution with the mainstream media backlash they received or they just felt the jokes had played themselves out, there wasn't any mention of Nakamura's skin color, language barriers, heritage, or otherwise, and it was about time.
Instead, Mahal started to inch his way back into discussing things that actually mattered in this feud. Hopefully, it's not too little too late.
RELATED: WWE DROPS RACIST JINDER MAHAL PROMO
3. Loser - Jinder Mahal
Even though Mahal made the winners list, he's also a huge addition to the losers list because that promo was incredibly terrible. There was nothing funny about repeating the "this is what Shinsuke's face looked like" bit, and it was a tired and weak attempt to bring anything useful to this feud.
Mahal is absolutely ruining Nakamura's credibility. We understand that the WWE is writing this drivel, it is still Mahal who has to try and deliver it, but he's failing horribly. Everyone looks bad here, and it's in large part because Mahal is just not a credible champion.
3. Winner - Shinsuke Nakamura
Bless his heart, Nakamura is trying. He's being given such garbage to work with that he's got to feel frustrated. Him finally getting to come out to the ring and get involved in something was a nice change, but the lead up with the frozen photos and jokes are about as far from the right direction to take this character as the WWE can get.
We've graded him a winner because he got the upper hand and got to finally deliver some kicks and punches, but in the end, Nakamura needs to move on from Mahal and get into something more worthy of his time. It's sad to have to say that over the WWE Championship.
2. Loser - Bobby Roode
Am I the only one who absolutely hates Bobby Roode as a babyface? It makes so little sense to be moving him in this direction when the WWE could use a huge heel character and Roode played one so well in NXT. The whole idea in his belief that he's "Glorious" is supposed to feel conceited and egotistical. Playing him off to receive cheap pops from the crowd heinous.
Then to put him in a match with Dolph Ziggler means that someone is going to lose. Who would you pick? The idea of Roode as a new character is to make him important. He can't afford a loss. And, the idea of Ziggler returning and calling himself the best doesn't work if he loses to Roode. Way to paint yourself into a corner WWE.
2. Winner - New Day/ Uso's
There's an argument that the WWE Universe doesn't need to see another Uso's vs New Day match. Knowing that, the WWE put these two teams inside the cell for Hell in a Cell and it is a fantastic idea. These two teams have so much chemistry that the cell is a perfect environment to let them show it.
This should end their feud and that makes this a winner too. A final match that is about as fierce and respected as the cell brings closure to a battle that needs to declare a victor. Expect that to be The New Day, but expect it to be an unreal match.
1. Loser - Carmella
She's got the money in the bank briefcase, but is there a briefcase holder who looks more like a nobody holding the opportunity than Carmella does? Her story with Ellsworth hasn't really been looked at since they had their back-and-forth a couple weeks back, and we have no idea why he was tied with a dog collar to the ring post.
Carmella actually has talent, and as the briefcase holder you would think they'd focus a bit more on her using it, but alas, that's logical and not something the WWE is doing right now.
1. Winner - Rusev
Finally, even though the idea of celebrating a cheap, nine-second win is about as off-the-wall as one can get, that's what made this segment work so well. Rusev was terrific relishing in his underhanded victory and getting the key to hometown city in Bulgaria was funny. Aiden English finding a spot he fits so nicely into was a nice touch as well.
The WWE Universe shouldn't even mind that Orton got the last laugh with an RKO because it means more quality time for Rusev, and that's a good thing. Rusev deserves better than he's been afforded as of late.