WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Sept. 12
Mr. McMahon may have returned to SmackDown Live Tuesday night, but it was Kevin Owens who got the best of his encounter with The Chairman.
Even after the announcement that he will face Shane McMahon inside Hell in a Cell on October 8, Owens got the last laugh, brutalizing Vinnie Mac and leaving him bloodied and lying following a frog splash.
The stunning conclusion was just one monumental event to take place in Las Vegas during a special Sin City episode of the blue brand.
Champions were crowned, titles defended and feuds furthered in an explosive broadcast.
Find out who emerged victoriously, what it means for those involved and how it may affect SmackDown Live going forward.
Kevin Owens Promo
An infuriated Kevin Owens kicked off this week's show, threatening to sue WWE and everyone involved.
He would fire Sami Zayn, threatened the announcers with consistent suit wearing and even vowed to cancel The Fashion Files.
Shane McMahon's music interrupted, but it was just Dolph Ziggler mocking another popular entrance.
SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan arrived and promised Owens he would not like what Vince McMahon had to say when he arrived later in the night.
Owens was at his ranty best here, but this felt more like a sneak peek of the night's main promo than something that added significantly to the show.
Holding KO off until later in the show probably would have been a better idea, but on the other hand, building a show around him is something Raw failed to do earlier this year.
United States Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Tye Dillinger
After a belligerent Baron Corbin interrupted their championship bout two weeks ago, United States champion AJ Styles defended against "The Perfect 10" Tye Dillinger in the first match of this week's show.
The Superstars wasted little time taking the fight to each other, the challenger gaining the early upper hand with a neck snap in the same vein of Mr. Perfect. Styles fought his way back but was shoved spine-first into the ring post as the show headed to a commercial break.
Dillinger maintained control coming out of the break, pounding away at Styles in the corner. A big atomic drop halted The Perfect 10's momentum and a slugfest ensued.
Styles set Dillinger up for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Corbin appeared, providing a distraction. The champion wiped him out but fell prey to the Tye-Breaker. That should have spelled the end, but a resilient Styles shot his shoulder off the mat at the count of two.
A stunned Dillinger left himself open for the Calf Crusher and tapped out as Styles successfully retained his title.
After the match, the competitors partook in a sign of respect, only for Corbin to lay both of them out in the aisleway.
AJ Styles defeated Tye Dillinger.
Styles and Dillinger provided a fun, fast-paced match with a quality near-fall that had the fans genuinely suspecting a new champion was about to be crowned.
Dillinger looked strong in defeat, nearly scoring the biggest victory of his WWE career, and Styles compiled another impressive victory.
Above all, this put Corbin and Styles back in each other's proximity and even teased the potential for a Triple Threat match in the event WWE Creative wants to head in that direction.
Simple, effective booking that opens the door to more.
Jinder Mahal Promo
WWE champion Jinder Mahal, flanked by the Singh Brothers, made his way to the ring to address Shinsuke Nakamura.
The Modern Day Maharaja mocked and poked fun at his top contender, showing photos on the big screen of unflattering facial expressions. The Singh Brothers mocked the machinations of The Artist as the humiliation continued.
Mahal warned Nakamura that, were he to hold the WWE Championship, fans would treat him the same negative way they treat him.
He ended his stern promo in Punjabi and by placing a photo of himself, the WWE Championship held high overhead, on the screen.
The feud between Mahal and Nakamura has yet to hit its stride, perhaps because it has been treated like the second- or third-most important program on the SmackDown Live brand.
Mahal's promo here was over-the-top ridiculous, aiming for comedy but finding little in the way of laughter.
The champion ended strong, which was a nice touch, but this entire segment rang hollow rather than creating interest and excitement in the upcoming championship bout.
Sin City Street Fight for the WWE Tag Team Championships
The rivalry between The New Day and The Usos culminated Tuesday night in a Sin City Street Fight as the former attempted to regain its titles from the devious twin-brother champions.
New Day wasted little time taking the fight to Jimmy and Jey, laying them out at ringside and retrieving a table. The champions fought back and seized control ahead of the break.
The Usos continued to work over their challengers, blasting Big E with a superkick that sent a steel chair back into his face. A few kendo-stick shots rendered him helpless and opened him up to being tied in the ropes for a brief moment.
Kofi Kingston exploded back into the match, taking both opponents down and grabbing the kendo stick. He caught one of the twins with a double stomp onto a steel chair for a near-fall.
The champions recovered and obliterated Kingston at ringside, throwing him face-first into the timekeeper's position.
Big E responded, firing up and unloading on his opponents. He put one down with a uranage suplex and the other with a belly-to-belly. The Big Ending followed a big splash on both men. The pin attempt was broken up, and the brothers recovered with a double superkick to Big E.
When Jey Uso was shoved from the top rope and through a table set up at ringside, it was only a matter of time before New Day finished off Jimmy and scored another reign with the tag team titles.
The New Day defeated The Usos to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
Does New Day's victory mean The Usos are entitled to a rematch because, for the love of God, do not let that happen.
This was the perfect conclusion to this chapter of their rivalry in that the teams waged war in a hardcore brawl and the babyfaces triumphed.
The question now is what awaits New Day going forward?
There is not a wealth of heel teams hanging around the roster. Perhaps a reunited Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would be apropos.
Maybe The Authors of Pain debut and run through the babyfaces.
Whatever the case, one can only hope SmackDown officials have a plan, because another series of bouts between these two teams, no matter how awesome they are, would be intolerable.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Naomi vs. Natalya
Champion and challenger were in the ring following the break since, apparently, spotlighting the fact Ronda Rousey was ringside for the upcoming Mae Young Classic was a bigger deal than showcasing the SmackDown Live competitors.
Naomi controlled the early portion of the bout, frustrating the champion until Natalya regained her composure and sent the challenger face-first into the turnbuckle.
The Queen of Harts fell prey to a springboard leg drop as Naomi fought back, not willing to give up her last attempt at regaining the title she dropped at SummerSlam.
Natalya, Carmella and James Ellsworth argued at ringside, allowing Naomi to fly off the top rope and wipe the latter two out. Back inside the ring, a furious Natalya applied the Sharpshooter to Naomi and retained her title while Carmella and Ellsworth looked on from the arena floor.
Natalya defeated Naomi.
This accomplished nothing that had not already been accomplished either at SummerSlam or in the weeks that followed.
Natalya beat Naomi clean with the Sharpshooter, as she did on August 21, and teased continued tension with Carmella, as she has every week since.
It was a wasted segment that felt more like a placeholder for a title bout than a momentous occasion.
This Week in Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler arrived on the scene for the second time Tuesday night, openly mocking fans' desire for larger-than-life characters. He pretended to be Bayley, then The Ultimate Warrior.
He sprinted to the ring and claimed no one can do in the ring what he can.
It was the second time he suggested as much. The first came when he professed that at some point the performance stops and a Superstar has to actually wrestle.
He lackadaisically walked up the ramp to close out the segment.
This was fine last week, but it was begging for an interruption at some point.
Fans even appeared ready to greet Bobby Roode with a serenade of his theme music, but it was not to be.
Instead, Ziggler ran through his spiel, did his mocking and that was that.
An underwhelming segment.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros
In just their second match as a team, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin were tasked with facing the typically well-oiled machine that is Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley.
Late in the brisk match, Gable dodged a charging Rawley, sending him shoulder-first into the steel post.
Benjamin planted Ryder and joined Gable for an electric chair/top-rope bulldog combination straight out of The Steiner Brothers' playbook. That earned them the victory.
After the match, Rawley showed the winners respect, but a frustrated Ryder ducked out of the ring and headed to the back.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin defeated The Hype Bros.
The match was a sprint that accomplished its goal of putting over the newly formed tandem. From that perspective, it was rather nondescript.
The biggest development was the first hint at a Zack Ryder heel turn.
In months past, it appeared as though Rawley would be turning, but after weeks away from television, it appears The Hype Bros have fallen prey to a quick change of heart by WWE Creative.
A frustrated veteran constantly seeking victories he rarely attains, it makes sense that Ryder would get pissed off and walk out.
Vince McMahon Confronts Kevin Owens
Vince McMahon returned to SmackDown and wasted little time calling Kevin Owens' bluff.
He denounced the idea that Owens respects authority. He claimed Owens did not fight back because Shane McMahon was kicking his ass last week.
The CEO laughed off the idea of a lawsuit from Owens, reminding The Prizefighter that he has never lost a lawsuit and threatening to bankrupt him.
McMahon reinstated his son and announced the SmackDown Live commissioner will battle Owens inside Hell in a Cell on October 8.
The former United States and universal champion was dismayed as fans erupted into a "Yes!" chant.
Owens demanded McMahon promise he will not be fired when he beats Shane senseless at the pay-per-view.
Owens shook his boss' hand, then leveled him, busting him open. He set McMahon up for a frog splash but Adam Pierce attempted to talk him down. It failed.
Owens flattened The Chairman as the fans erupted and the show came to a close.
Owens' outsmarting the manipulative owner of the company, then becoming completely unhinged as he beat him, was a fantastic watch.
Like a vengeful child who did not get the outcome he wanted, he threw a fit that very well could come back to bite him sooner than later.
McMahon's pulling no punches when addressing his employee was a nice touch, as was longtime Owens friend Pierce trying to talk him down.
A strong segment that created genuine interest in Owens vs. Shane at Hell in a Cell and made the heel a bigger star by proxy.