WWE SmackDown Results: Creative Cliffhanger and Biggest Takeaways from Sept. 25

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2018

WWE SmackDown Results: Creative Cliffhanger and Biggest Takeaways from Sept. 25

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The September 25 episode of SmackDown Live continued the blue brand's pattern of strong storytelling and character development, including a cliffhanger that left fans wondering what would happen next.

    That, coupled with an explosive accusation, a Randy Orton ass-kicking for the sake of one and more hijinks from the increasingly underrated R-Truth made for a broadcast that far exceeded Raw's offering, set the stage for some of the marquee matches on the upcoming Super Show-Down live event special and served as the biggest takeaways from Tuesday's USA Network telecast.

WWE Creative Utilizes Cliffhanger to Build Anticipation for Next Week's Show

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    One thing WWE Creative has really struggled to do in recent years is create an eager anticipation for the following week's show. It's inability to utilize mystery or cliffhangers has likely cost it some viewers. Tuesday night, though, the SmackDown crew delivered one such cliffhanger that not only told the latest chapter of the AJ Styles-Samoa Joe program but also left fans wondering what happened after the show faded to black.

    Joe's constant targeting of Styles' family seems to have culminated Tuesday with The Samoan Submission Machine's trek to the Styles homestead in Georgia. Shooting his visit through his cell phone camera, Joe taunted and threatened the WWE champion, who was thousands of miles away in Denver, left helplessly to watch as his most dangerous enemy showed up at the front door of his house.

    The desperation in Styles' voice and the evil in Joe's eyes made for an extraordinary conclusion to Tuesday's show and the uncertainty surrounding the latter's actions once he made it inside makes for a strong hook for next week's broadcast.

    Like any good weekly, episodic show (since WWE likes to throw that one around), SmackDown finally presented fans with a reason to tune into next week's show to see what happened. It is a creative tool WWE Creative really must utilize more effectively going forward.

Aiden English's Explosive Accusation Puts Lana at Forefront of Feud with Rusev

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    Ideally, the rivalry between Aiden English and Rusev would put the former tag team partners in the spotlight, giving them each the opportunity to build their stars in an emotion-filled rivalry.

    Instead, Tuesday's hint at Lana's indiscretion in Milwaukee seemingly puts the Ravishing Russian at the forefront of the program. By booking English to blame Lana for the split between him and Rusev, the writing team opted to put the emphasis on her rather than the friends-turned-enemies.

    Rusev has waited for a program to serve as a legitimate breakout for years now and he finally had it with the breakup of his tag team with English. Instead, it appears as though his opportunity at stardom will be relegated to another excuse to put Lana over and make a star of the Total Divas castmate rather than her massively talented Bulgarian Brute husband.

    Perhaps WWE Creative can strike a fine line, putting just enough focus on Rusev, Lana and English to make all three bigger stars. If history is any indication, though, it does not look promising.

Randy Orton's Simplistic Explanation Hints at Latest Character Development

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    "...that Perfect 10 crap just pisses me off," Randy Orton told backstage correspondent Mike Rome

    Orton's heel turn began with a complicated explanation of his actions that centered on his determination to bring pain and agony to the fans' favorite wrestlers, hence why he targeted Jeff Hardy first.

    Tuesday night, though, he beat the unholy hell out of Tye Dillinger, interrupting a match between The Perfect 10 and United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Why? Because his gimmick made him angry.

    That reasoning represents a new edge to Orton, one of great unpredictability. Might he show up next week and level Rusev because he hates the Rusev Day chants or beatdown The New Day because he refers waffles to pancakes?

    The staleness of the Orton character had been a talking point for fans for a long time so the possibility that he will come from out of nowhere to attack and demonstrate his sheer brutality is exactly what he needed to freshen things up.

    Will the creative always make sense? No, but Orton will always be one of the more intriguing Superstars on the roster under those conditions.

R-Truth Seizes Spotlight, Steals the Show...Literally

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    R-Truth should not still be getting the airtime that he does while being as entertaining as he is. A decade after he returned to WWE, though, Truth is as entertaining and over as he has ever been thanks to his willingness to be the butt of a joke.

    That, coupled with his comedic timing and natural charisma keep him an active and compelling part of the WWE Universe.

    Hosting Truth TV alongside Carmella, Truth delivered another strong performance that had guest Daniel Bryan openly cracking up and fans chanting "Truth TV" in recognition of the fun and entertaining experience he had just delivered.

    Of course, he was booked to lose to The Miz immediately but one can hope this is only the beginning of his re-emergence as an on-screen character going forward. Especially considering the chemistry between him and Carmella.