WWE SmackDown Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from September 12
Kevin Owens was the undisputed biggest winner of the September 12 episode of SmackDown Live, carrying the show on his back from the moment it hit the USA Network airwaves through the end of the show, where he brutalized and bloodied Vince McMahon and created buzz for his Hell in a Cell match against Shane McMahon on October 8.
His performance was stellar but not the only one worth discussing from Tuesday's broadcast.
Zack Ryder teased a heel turn that could completely turn his career around.
The women's division failed to capture the attention of fans on an otherwise stacked card.
WWE champion Jinder Mahal cracked petulant jokes that had fans thinking "kindergarten" rather than "Hell in a Cell," where he will defend his title against Shinsuke Nakamura.
A better-than-usual episode, the show had its definitive winners and losers.
Who landed in what category and why?
Take a look for yourself.
Winner: Kevin Owens
The entire September 12 episode of SmackDown Live was built around Kevin Owens.
He kicked the show off, appeared in several backstage vignettes and confronted Vince McMahon in the squared circle to cap off the broadcast. It was that in-ring confrontation that defined his night and made The Prizefighter the biggest star on the blue brand if only for a week.
Dressed down in public by the owner of the company, Owens first outsmarted his boss, then physically assaulted him. He drew blood from McMahon's forehead and waved off all pleas from longtime friend and backstage agent Adam Pierce to stop and flattened him with a frog splash.
He was unhinged, unable to control the guttural anger that had overtaken him. He was belittled in front of a worldwide audience and, after getting the boss' word that he would not be fired for assaulting a McMahon, took out his frustrations on the most powerful man in the industry.
Owens' actions popped the crowd and had fans suddenly and genuinely interested in the story to come. How will Shane-O-Mac react to the assault on his father? What does the vindictive and vile Prizefighter have in store for the prodigal son in the weeks leading to the October 8 Hell in a Cell match between the two?
It is too early to tell but the WWE Universe is clearly eager and willing to find to out.
Losers: The Women's Division
The Sin City episode of SmackDown Live featured major championships up for grabs. Whereas The New Day defeated The Usos for the tag team titles and AJ Styles' successful defense over Tye Dillinger at least continued The Phenomenal One's rivalry with Baron Corbin, the women's title bout between Natalya and Naomi accomplished nothing that fans had not already seen.
At SummerSlam, Natalya defeated Naomi via the Sharpshooter, just as she did Tuesday night.
In the weeks following that pay-per-view event, Natalya and Carmella built tension ahead of The Princess of Staten Island's eventual Money in the Bank cash-in, just as they did Tuesday.
The entire segment felt more like a placeholder and a meaningless few minutes of repetition that failed to further any story and served only to add another championship bout to the stacked card.
WWE finds itself in a position with the SmackDown women's division where Carmella's eventual cash-in handcuffs the entire division and leaves it rather one-dimensional. There are no other stories besides it, and the result is a bogged-down roster of talented women with nothing productive to do until WWE Creative decides to pull the proverbial trigger on Carmella's run.
Winner: Zack Ryder
After years of professional frustration, it finally looks like everyone's favorite lovable loser is getting tired of his misfortune and making necessary changes.
Specifically, a heel turn.
Tuesday night, he and Mojo Rawley teamed up in a losing effort against Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable.
Frustrated with another loss, Ryder refused a show of respect and sportsmanship, walking out on the victors and his own partner to a smattering of boos.
Expect that to be the first in what is a much-needed character overhaul for Long Island Iced Z.
Ryder has transformed his body and in-ring skills in recent years, hungry to get back to championship status. Yet, all of his hard work and dedication have gone unrecognized as he wallowed in mediocrity as a member of the WWE undercard.
Disregarded and disrespected, the struggling veteran is finally expressing his frustration in what will hopefully generate momentum and lead to a push for him.
Is Ryder ever going to be a legitimate main event attraction?
Probably not. But as a high-profile midcard act who occasionally flirts with the top of the card via matches against guys like AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton and even Sami Zayn, Ryder could very well carve a niche for himself on SmackDown Live that allows him to achieve success unlike any he has to this point in his WWE career.
Loser: Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal could use a little character definition beyond "WWE champion," but a sharp descent into the comedy of a second-grader is not exactly what the doctor called for.
Tuesday night, The Modern Day Maharaja joined The Singh Brothers in the ring for a promo in which they made fun of Shinsuke Nakamura's facial expressions, mocked his gestures and laughed about his odds of winning the WWE title.
It was a childish promo that did the champion no favors.
At a time when Mahal needs to continue establishing himself a credible main event Superstar, WWE Creative opted to treat him like the unfunny class clown who has not quite figured out his jokes are lame.
Perhaps worst of all, the segment did nothing to make fans want to see his upcoming title defense against The Artist any more or less than they already did.
That is the definition of a wasted television segment.
Not something you routinely want your WWE champion involved in.