WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from September 10
With just a few days remaining before Clash of Champions, SmackDown Live had mostly set the field of matches for the blue brand before its September 10 show.
Apparently because of this, WWE felt comfortable spending some time celebrating the past in Madison Square Garden. The Undertaker promised to make his presence felt, and no one knew what he would have to say.
One match that had not been set was the finals of the King of the Ring tournament. Elias was meant to face Chad Gable, but an injury forced The Living Truth to pull out of the match. This left what would happen with Gable up in the air.
Before the other big match for SmackDown at Clash of Champions, Roman Reigns had one chance to respond to Erick Rowan's brutal attack on him last week.
This night did not have much to set up, but it did have the expectation of hype as the go-home show before a major WWE pay-per-view. It was important that the show made an impact.
The Undertaker Shuts Up Sami Zayn
The Undertaker opened the show to talk up how much it meant for him to be back in Madison Square Garden.
Sami Zayn interrupted to ask The Deadman to leave his ring. Taker chokeslammed him instead.
Much like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's appearance on Raw, this was a waste of a moment, bringing back a legend for a throwaway segment. Having The Critic of the Critics get embarrassed accomplished nothing, as everyone else has already embarrassed him.
It doesn't help that The Deadman has been around all year, so a sudden appearance does not come off as a special moment. It is just an obvious cash grab.
The Miz vs. Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega)
Shinsuke Nakamura spoke exclusively in Japanese on commentary while The Miz battled Andrade.
The A-Lister mostly kept control in this match by dodging El Idolo, forcing him to crash and burn.
After a moonsault misstep from Andrade, Miz connected with the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.
However, Nakamura planted The A-Lister immediately after the bell with a pair of Kinshasas.
Miz def. Andrade by pinfall
Miz and Andrade struggled to find their connection in this match, leading to a few missteps. Even a below-average match from El Idolo is still worth watching, but this was clearly not up to his expected level.
While Andrade is not booked for Sunday, it is disappointing to see him piling up losses. The supposed favorite in the King of the Ring tournament has fallen hard after getting upset last week.
Nikki Cross (w/ Alexa Bliss) vs. Mandy Rose (w/ Sonya Deville)
Mandy Rose took a mic before her match and called Nikki Cross ugly. This set off the WWE women's tag team champion, who charged down to the ring to attack God's Greatest Creation.
Alexa Bliss made sure Sonya Deville could not get involved, and Cross rolled up Rose for three.
Cross def. Rose by pinfall
This match was fine, but the pre-match attempt to add heat by calling Cross ugly was completely unwarranted. Writing like this distracts from what matters and often is self-defeating.
It is a bad message to deliver to the WWE Universe, especially the younger fans, that all that matters is how the women look. Hopefully, Cross is able to shut her up quickly and decisively.
Heavy Machinery vs. Local Competitors
Tucker threw around the local competitors with ease before tagging in Otis, who ran over them as well and hit the Caterpillar.
Together, Heavy Machinery connected with the Compactor for the win.
Heavy Machinery def. local competitors by pinfall
As always, established talent squashing jobbers serves little purpose. Otis and Tucker barely broke a sweat and will not win over new viewers with performances like this.
These matches just serve to remind fans that talent like this is around but is just not being used.
Erick Rowan Destroys Everything in His Way to Get to Roman Reigns
Erick Rowan declared he was far more intelligent than the crowd ever gave him credit for.
Roman Reigns charged to the ring, but the big man stopped him. The two fought into the crowd, where Rowan powerbombed a fan.
As security attempted to separate them, Rowan grabbed the jib camera and sent it crashing through The Big Dog.
Backstage, Rowan angrily murmured Reigns' name again and again.
This was a fun way to keep building Rowan as a dangerous threat.
While the fans in attendance were not buying him at first, his destructive actions turned them. Suddenly, they were enjoying the carnage and cheering for Reigns to overcome this monster.
It is still hard to tell if the big man is ready for this spotlight, but he is being well-booked in the role. His match with Reigns could decide his future.
Bayley vs. Ember Moon
Ember Moon confronted Bayley backstage about her change in attitude, questioning whether the SmackDown women's champion was ever telling the truth.
Charlotte Flair watched on commentary as The Hugger quickly took cheap shots at The War Goddess to take over this matchup. Moon fought back and went for the Eclipse, but Bayley dodged and connected with a Bayley-to-Belly for the win.
The Queen entered the ring after the match and taunted Bayley, who decided to retreat for now.
Bayley def. Moon by pinfall
Bayley and Moon had a solid sprint, but fans still haven't seen the two at their best. They have chemistry, and Bayley playing the heel works much better for both women. It's a shame that Moon has been treated as an afterthought.
Flair and The Hugger look poised to have a fantastic match together at Clash of Champions, but it is still difficult to believe The Queen is suddenly the face in this scenario.
Kofi Kingston Repeats History by Laying Out Randy Orton in MSG
Kofi Kingston reminisced about his attack on Randy Orton in MSG in 2009, even showing a video package of the night.
The Viper interrupted to call the New Day man's meager accomplishments nothing compared to his legacy.
Orton goaded him into the crowd and laid him out with a steel chair.
Kofi fought back and repeated his great moment by sending his rival through a table in the crowd with a Boom Drop off the railing.
This was exactly what it needed to be. Ten years ago, Kofi pulled off one of the most memorable moments of his entire career; this week, he proved he could still do it. It felt like everything came full circle.
Now both Orton and Kofi have had their moments standing tall in this physical war. Hopefully, they can carry that into a fantastic match at Clash of Champions.
King of the Ring: Chad Gable vs. Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon told Chad Gable that the "Best in the World" would replace the injured Elias in the King of the Ring semifinals match.
McMahon offered Kevin Owens a chance to earn back the $100,000 he was fined by working as the referee in the main event.
Gable caught his opponent quickly with a German suplex for a three-count, but the "Best in the World" announced the match was now 2-out-of-3 Falls.
KO's tone quickly changed as he realized what was on the line, and he began fast-counting for McMahon and slow-counting for Gable. Despite this, the babyface caught Shane-O-Mac with an ankle lock and forced him to tap out.
McMahon attacked KO after the match and fired him on the spot.
Gable def. McMahon by pinfall and submission in straight falls to advance to the finals of the King of the Ring tournament
The match was far from great, but the booking was fantastic. Gable came out of this contest looking unstoppable, overcoming impossible odds because he was simply better than McMahon. It was a true showcase of why the young star can be special.
While Elias' injury was disappointing and hopefully he can get better soon, it's hard to say this would have been better with The Living Truth in this position. It felt special because Shane-O-Mac was the one who failed.
Owens vs. McMahon continues to build to a hopeful conclusion. It was the right time to "fire" The Prizefighter, setting him up to come back and ruin his rival's life before forcing him to quit WWE.