WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from September 25
Seizing the opportunity was a big theme of the September 25 edition of SmackDown Live, as multiple underused stars were booked to get a major spotlight. This all started with Tye Dillinger, who tweeted his way into a match with United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura.
Aiden English was expected to face Rusev after his heinous attack last week, hoping to outshine his higher-profile former best friend. Big E spent most of the past seven days making clear how much he disliked Sheamus ahead of a big clash between the two heavyweights.
After months of playing second fiddle on SmackDown, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe were expected to take center stage in the main event when they faced down each other in a contract signing for their last WWE Championship clash.
With WWE Super Show-Down approaching Oct. 6, there was no doubting Daniel Bryan and The Miz—as well as Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair—would be getting in each other's way on this edition of SmackDown Live.
This show had the potential to build excitement and change the direction of WWE going forward or simply pass by without any impact.
First-Ever Truth TV with Daniel Bryan; The Miz vs. R-Truth
R-Truth hosted his first Truth TV segment alongside his Mixed Match Challenge partner, Carmella, and special guest Bryan.
After a dance break, Truth praised the former WWE champion, only for The Miz to appear and make clear why he will always defeat The "Yes!" Man.
The host then banned Miz from his talk show forever for ruining the animal segment of it. In response, The A-Lister headed backstage and demanded general manager Paige cancel Truth TV. Instead, she booked him to face Truth for the right to host the talk show.
With a few cheap tactics, Miz caught his former tag team partner with the Skull-Crushing Finale and then taunted Bryan on commentary before hitting a running knee for the win.
Miz def. Truth by pinfall to reclaim Miz TV
This was a silly segment, but it worked because everyone was in on the joke and in top form. Truth may be the funniest wrestler in the company, and he made the most of his own flubs to come off as the lovable wacky man.
The match that followed was better than the last time these two veterans faced off, but it was not all that involved. It worked primarily because the focus was still entirely on Bryan vs. Miz. The two continue to sell their dynamic well, and it's easy to get excited about their next clash.
Big E vs. Sheamus
The New Day joked about The Bar until Sheamus and Cesaro had had enough.
While Big E caught The Celtic Warrior multiple times, even turning a Brogue Kick into a powerbomb, Sheamus emerged victorious after a Brogue Kick.
Sheamus def. Big E by pinfall
This was a fine match, but it was simplistic coming from two great veterans. These two can do much better work than they did this time around.
Sheamus winning was the right move, though, as it continued to build the momentum of the heels. There's no way The Bar defeats The New Day, so the duo needs as many wins as possible to still come off as a threat before the title-match loss.
Aiden English Blames Lana for End of Rusev Day
Rusev called out English to explain his actions last week. The Drama King did not waste any time and showed two video packages: The first chronicled his impact on Rusev Day, and the second made clear Lana ruined the brand.
As The Ravishing Russian tried to defend herself, English made one last comment to question why Lana refused to tell her husband about the night in Milwaukee. He dropped the mic and walked off, leaving The Super Athlete confused.
Short, sweet and impressively layered, this was the segment this feud needed for legs. English has already proved he can be great in his role as a manipulative heel, and he came off as honest in his explanation of his actions.
While his insinuation about Lana could end up leading this rivalry down the wrong path, it is just the complication the story needs to get people interested for now.
Asuka and Naomi vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville made fun of Naomi and Asuka's new friendship, with the faces challenging the heels to a match.
The IIconics watched on commentary as The Empress of Tomorrow survived serious punishment before hitting a kick side-by-side with Naomi for the pin on Deville.
Asuka and Naomi def. Rose and Deville by pinfall
There wasn't much to this tag match, with Asuka getting beat down for the majority of the contest and still getting the pinfall. It was odd to see the Japanese Superstar so vulnerable against two ineffective heels, especially when it did not lead to much of a hot tag by Naomi.
The IIconics on commentary mostly just distracted from the in-ring action rather than bringing more to this rivalry.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger
Dillinger came out fiery early in this match, fighting with all he had against the United States champion.
Nakamura did not seem to have an answer for The Perfect 10 even though he did not go down to a frog splash. However, Randy Orton appeared and assaulted Dillinger to cause a disqualification.
The Viper continued to stomp on the underdog before connecting with a hanging DDT onto the floor. The Artist added further injury by hitting The Perfect 10 with a Kinshasa into the LED board.
Backstage, The Apex Predator refused to call Dillinger his next victim but did admit he hated the idea of a "perfect 10."
Dillinger def. Nakamura by DQ
The match here was not all that exciting, but it did its job by focusing on how desperate Dillinger is becoming for an opportunity.
Having never gotten much of a chance on SmackDown, this match—coupled with Orton's interest in him—may be the spark needed to ignite the former NXT mainstay's career.
Becky Lynch vs. Lana
A distracted Lana took out her frustration on Lynch quickly with a surprise flurry of offense, but the SmackDown women's champion then started taking her opponent seriously.
The Irish Lass Kicker ripped her off the top rope, hit the Bexploder and quickly locked in the Dis-arm-her for the win.
Lynch def. Lana by submission
This match was a mess, as is mostly true of any time The Ravishing Russian steps in the ring.
She was sloppy and uncoordinated, but this did tell a solid story with Lana more motivated than The Irish Lass Kicker and almost pulling an upset early before Lynch showed why she's the champion.
Samoa Joe Goes to AJ Styles' Home Instead of Contract Signing
Styles came out for his contract signing, but Joe did not.
However, The Samoan Submission Specialist appeared on the TitanTron, filming himself arriving at the Styles household.
As The Phenomenal One begged him not to do anything, Joe rang the doorbell as the show ended.
Some of the Styles-Joe feud has gotten a bit ridiculous, but there was a perfect simplicity to this latest segment and what may be the climax of the rivalry. The heel did what he always promised to do and fired the final shot that could break the WWE champion's spirit.
It was good that the segment ended when it did, leaving everything else to the imagination.