WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 16
Logan Paul returned to WWE television Friday night on SmackDown following an online confrontation with both Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman that led to an invitation to the Fox broadcast.
What did the social media superstar have to say when he took to the squared circle as part of this week's show?
Find out now with this recap of an episode that also crowned new No. 1 contenders to The Usos' tag team titles and saw Raquel Rodriguez seek revenge against Bayley in one-on-one action.
- Logan Paul appearance
- Fatal 4-Way No. 1 Contender's Match: New Day vs. Brawling Brutes vs. Hit Row vs. Imperium
- Raquel Rodriguez vs. Bayley
- Ricochet vs. Sami Zayn
Logan Paul Kicked Off SmackDown
Logan Paul kicked off Friday's show, building on the controversial back and forth he engaged in with Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman on social media.
He teased a press conference for Las Vegas Saturday before Heyman and The Bloodline, sans The Head of the Table, interrupted.
Heyman tried to talk him out of doing something stupid, like challenging Reigns, to which the social media star asked what happens if he lands that one magical punch that takes out The Tribal Chief.
Sami Zayn got involved, talking down The Bloodline, and ate a right hand that flattened him. Paul retreated, Ricochet arrived for the night's opener and the show went to commercial break.
This was a fine enough way to kick off the show but if WWE thinks for a second it will somehow convince the audience to cheer for Paul over Reigns, the reaction the former received here should serve as evidence to the contrary.
Even confronted by the top heel faction in the company, he was the most unlikable guy on the screen. His work between the ropes has been admirable, and his promos are better than some veteran performers can muster, but his reputation in popular culture precedes him and the audience wants nothing to do with supporting him.
By the time Reigns rocks him with the first Superman Punch, the audience is going to erupt and that is almost certainly not the desired effect based on what we saw here.
B-, if only because Heyman is back and Zayn is a treasure
- "Logan Paul's got some balls," Michael Cole said on commentary before running down what led to his appearance tonight.
- "If there's ever someone from outside WWE who could be a Paul Heyman Guy, it's Logan Paul," the wise man said of the Media Megastar.
- "I don't care about your ambitions, I don't care about your athletic background, I don't care that you and your brother have changed the fight game. I only care that right here, right now, you make the smart decision of picking a fight with someone else," Heyman warned.
- "You would assume that Roman Reigns would smash me and you're probably right. But what if he doesn't?" Paul asked, his delivery surprisingly great.
- The pop for Sami Zayn interjecting himself in the promo was great and reflective of how much the audience is connecting with his character.
- "Maybe Roman Reigns should have let me handle Logan Paul," Zayn said.
Ricochet vs. Sami Zayn
Paul stayed at ringside, seconding Ricochet as he battled Zayn, who was joined at ringside by The Bloodline. He had a front-row seat, then, for what was a fairly one-sided contest for the first half as Zayn controlled coming into and out of the commercial break.
Despite a late comeback, Zayn downed him with a Blue Thunder Bomb for what should have been the victory but Paul distracted official Jessika Carr, allowing the former Intercontinental champion to kick out.
More interference, from all involved, dominated the closing moments of the match and led to in-fighting between Zayn and Jey Uso before Ricochet wiped them both out at ringside and finished the former with a Shooting Star Press for the win.
This was not only an uber-competitive match, but it also featured some great storytelling.
The secondary story of Zayn and Uso's intensifying dislike of each other is going to lead to a hell of a match between the two, one that is red-hot and splits the audience between them.
Besides that, using Ricochet here as the only true babyface, then giving him a victory, was a nice touch. As always, he delivered and the match was strong as a result.
Ricochet defeated Zayn
- Jey and Zayn argued at ringside, continuing the escalation of their rivalry and setting up a great finish.
- Madcap Moss rushed the ring to be alongside Paul and Ricochet while simultaneously building some interest in his NXT North American Championship match against Solo Sikoa later.
Braun Strowman Obliterated Maximum Male Models
The back-to-school collection was not meant to be on display Friday night as ma.çé and mån.sôör fell prey to a charging Braun Strowman, who manhandled the Maximum Male Models on the entrance ramp, then obliterated the latter with an in-ring powerbomb.
Chad Gable and Otis of Alpha Academy attempted a setup and managed to take Strowman off his feet, but The Monster Among Monsters sat up and stared the team down to close the segment.
Strowman continues to look like a dominant force here as Triple H and WWE Creative attempt to rehabilitate his character during this comeback. It is the right call and Gable and Otis, both pros' pros, are the right choice to help him achieve that.
If there is one thing that is abundantly clear, it is that the Maximum Male Models may be nearing the end of their usefulness on SmackDown as they have already been resorted to tackling dummies for the unstoppable big man.
- Prior to the segment, Karrion Kross cut another ominous promo directed toward Drew McIntyre as the two very clearly prepare for a one-on-one showdown.
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Bayley
Bayley, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky continued to ride a wave of momentum, the latter two still celebrating their Women's Tag Team Championship victory from Monday's Raw. One of the women they defeated, Raquel Rodriguez, sought revenge as she battled Bayley one-on-one.
The ring savvy Bayley worked the left leg of her opponent, looking to cut down her taller opponent. It worked until Rodriguez adapted, changing up her offense to take the load off her injured limb.
A distraction by Kai and Sky allowed Bayley to score the tainted win.
A three-on-one beatdown gave way to Shotzi rushing the ring and chasing the heels off, apparently undergoing a much-needed babyface turn.
Rodriguez was once again booked strongly here, looking like a star in the making as she fended off Damage Ctrl until the numbers game proved to be too much for her to overcome. She is going to be a star in the women's division, but she badly needs to develop a character so fans can gain a better understanding of why they should care about her beyond being tall and physically impressive between the ropes.
Shotzi's turn erases what was an ill-fated, undefined heel turn. Now bring back her tank so she can get back on the path to stardom she never should have been detoured. Positioning her against Damage Ctrl will only help get her there.
Bayley defeated Rodriguez
- Bayley answering an intense lockup just moments into the match with an insulting slap was a great bit of heel work.
- The Shotzi run-in at the end was a welcome surprise and one that should get her back to a role she will undoubtedly feel more comfortable, and find greater success, in.
- Backstage, Liv Morgan interrupted a sit-down interview with Ronda Rousey to challenge her to an Extreme Rules match for the SmackDown Women's Championship. Rowdy accepted.
NXT North American Championship Match: Madcap Moss vs. Solo Sikoa
For the first time in his career, Madcap Moss received a singles championship opportunity as he challenged new NXT North American Champion Solo Sikoa, accompanied not by The Usos ("you were off your game, Jey"), but Sami Zayn.
Sikoa dominated the match, completely overpowering and outclassing the challenger for its majority. Moss fought back, eventually, but was quickly cut off by his opponent. Despite a late-match surge by the challenger, Sikoa put him down with a uranage after Zayn led a chasing Moss right into his grasp, and successfully defended his title.
The match was surprisingly long but it was a solid showcase for Sikoa. He looked dominant and probably could have won the match straight-up, but the involvement of Zayn continues to establish the idea that the Bloodline benefits from his presence, maybe even more so than that of Jey Uso.
Moss, as usual, made the most of his minutes, even if he appears to have lost even a little steam under Triple H.
Sikoa defeated Moss to retain
- Drew McIntyre hopped on the announce table and delivered a response to Karrion Kross.
- Backstage, Sikoa turned down The Usos joining him at ringside for his title match, claiming Jey's off his game and was in the wrong earlier. By choosing Zayn, he only added to the schism that exists within the faction right now.
- Michael Cole called attention to the "feared reputation of Samoans throughout history." Wrestling history, in general, was not something regularly referenced under Vince McMahon.
Fatal 4-Way No. 1 Contender's Match
A date with The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship awaited the winner of Friday's Fatal 4-Way No. 1 Contender's Match.
The New Day's Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, The Brawling Brute's Butch and Ridge Holland, Imperium's Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci, and Hit Row's Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis made up the field of competitors.
The Brutes and Imperium continued their rivalry, with Butch and Kaiser unloading on each other early on. As is the case with this many stars in one match at one time, the action broke down significantly down the stretch, with dramatic near-falls caused by late saves and expertly timed kickouts.
Late, it appeared as though Kaiser and Vinci would win with the Imperium Bomb but an undetected tag by Holland allowed the former rugby player to steal the pinfall victory and set The Brawling Brutes up for a title match against The Usos next week.
The match was a great representation of the four teams involved, with some clever spots mixed in for good measure. It would have meant more if it felt like there was any chance at all that Jimmy and Jey Uso were in danger of losing their titles, but that does not erase the action, reversals, counters, and sequences that helped make this a quality main event.
Expect Imperium's presence to be felt in next week's title match.
Brawling Brutes defeated Imperium, New Day and Hit Row to become No. 1 contenders
- Kingston remembering the issues New Day had with the Brawling Brutes and forcefully tagging Holland out of the match with a shot to the midsection was one of those great little things that ring veterans understand the importance of.
- Seeing Holland fight from underneath like a de facto babyface still takes some getting used to.
- Butch exploded into the match late, wiping out all of his opponents as the crowd came alive.
- Top Dolla marched around the squared circle while holding both members of New Day and Butch on his shoulders in an impressive show of strength.
- Kingston jumped into the ring from out of nowhere, splashing Adonis and nearly scoring the fall before Butch broke it up.