WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Sept. 17
Just 24 hours after defeating Chad Gable to become the 2019 King of the Ring, Baron Corbin arrived on WWE SmackDown for his coronation.
Would the crowning of WWE's latest royalty go off without a hitch, or would a familiar foe ruin The Lone Wolf's moment in the spotlight?
WWE champion Kofi Kingston and his New Day teammates battled Randy Orton and SmackDown tag team champions The Revival in a big Six-Man Tag Team match, Erick Rowan addressed his monumental victory over Roman Reigns and the return of Luke Harper, and Shane McMahon updated the WWE Universe on his firing of Kevin Owens on last week's show to round out another noteworthy episode.
Dive deeper into everything that went down Tuesday with this recap of the September 17 broadcast.
The New Day vs. Randy Orton and The Revival
The night's action kicked off with The New Day—WWE champion Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E—battling Randy Orton and SmackDown tag team champions The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) in a huge Six-Man Tag Team match.
Looking to erase the disappointment of Sunday's tag team title loss, Big E and Woods took the fight to Dawson early and often, grounding the old-school enforcer. A tag to Orton did the heels no favors, as New Day's well-oiled machine left the opposition reeling heading into the break.
Following the commercial, the heels worked over Woods' previously injured knee. The Revival grounded him and trapped him in submissions, looking to force a submission. He fought out, but before he could make the tag, an alert Wilder cut off the ring.
The heels continued their dominance through another break.
Woods tagged Kingston into the match just as the broadcast returned from commercial, and the WWE champion rolled, wiping out anyone in his path. He delivered S.O.S., but Dawson broke up the pinfall.
Orton dropped Kingston with a DDT, but Big E disposed of The Viper, sending him face-first into the ring post. Back inside the ring, the WWE titleholder delivered a double DDT to The Revival and put Dawson away with Trouble in Paradise for the pinfall victory.
Moments after the conclusion of the match, Brock Lesnar's music played and The Beast Incarnate appeared to a thunderous ovation from the stunned audience. The former universal champion stalked toward the squared circle, flanked by his advocate, Paul Heyman.
Heyman announced Kingston would defend against Lesnar on the October 4 episode of SmackDown Live on Fox. The WWE champion accepted the challenge and ate an F-5 for his trouble.
The New Day defeated The Revival and Orton
And with that, Fox has a marquee, pay-per-view main event for its SmackDown debut.
Lesnar's appearance was an absolute shocker, and the fans reacted accordingly.
Even though there was a slight expectation he would appear more frequently on SmackDown once the show moved to Fox—if only to capitalize on his ratings appeal—there was still some surprise that his championship opportunity would come against Kingston on the opening night with the network.
WWE did not advertise, or even hint, that The Beast would be appearing on Tuesday night's show, which may be a missed opportunity on its part, but the element of surprise elevated the segment and made the announcement much more impactful.
As for the match that preceded it, it was every excellent multi-man tag match on WWE TV these days. If anything, it appears to have eliminated Orton from the title hunt for the time being.
Erick Rowan Speaks
Michael Cole conducted a special interview with Erick Rowan, which had been pretaped earlier in the day.
Rowan dismissed enquiries about Luke Harper's appearance at Sunday's Clash of Champions pay-per-view and instead asked if "The Voice of WWE" had a question for him.
Cole turned the talk to the attacks on Roman Reigns, and Rowan said he was trying to scare The Big Dog to challenge his dominance. "For far too long, I've been overlooked," he growled.
"I'm not a puppet, Mike," Rowan added, stating he is not some "grunt in the background" or a follower.
"The entire WWE is going to learn to never disrespect me again!" he said to close out the segment.
This was a waste of a segment that could have been conducted as a normal backstage promo by Charly Caruso or Kayla Braxton rather than some hyped face-to-face like it was.
Rowan revealed nothing of note, did not touch on Harper's appearance at the pay-per-view and offered no valid excuse for his assaults on Reigns.
Overlooked? Disrespected? Those are hardly reasons for his actions when he has routinely been portrayed as the weakest and least important of the Wyatt Family alumni.
Remember the six-second loss to The Rock at WrestleMania 32?
Non-Title Match: Ali vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Sami Zayn preceded the showdown between intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Ali by suggesting this is not the same IC titleholder Ali defeated the last time they squared off. He would go on to say Ali will never be a champion.
The distraction allowed Nakamura to attack from behind and lay out Ali with the Kinshasa.
The champion and his mouthpiece stood tall to a chorus of boos to close out the abrupt segment.
Suddenly, the camera shot to the stands, where Kevin Owens was seen arriving and taking his seat in the arena while Shane McMahon watched from the backstage area. As he prepared to make his way to the ring, the prodigal son was served with legal papers.
He looked them over smugly as the show headed to break.
In the course of one segment, WWE Creative introduced the next IC title program, created heat for the champion and his manager, and headed to break with the hook of presumed legal action by Owens toward the man who unjustly fired him a week ago.
That is one jam-packed bit of television, but it managed to seamlessly pack two stories in one and, most importantly, gave fans a reason to come back after the commercial.
That is the sign of productive writing.
Shane McMahon Talks Kevin Owens Firing
Shane McMahon, accompanied by security, entered the arena, with the envelope containing the legal papers still tightly in his grasp.
He allowed Owens into the ring and revealed that in his hand was the largest wrongful termination lawsuit ever, which would award KO $25 million in damages.
Owens pointed out that his boss fined him $100,000 for laying his hands on an official, only for McMahon to assault him while he was wearing the zebra stripes a week ago.
The Prizefighter said he swallowed his pride and tried to help McMahon for the sake of his family, and the most powerful man on SmackDown Live still tapped out to Chad Gable.
"Now all I want to do is to hurt you," Owens told McMahon, specifically targeting his wallet and his pride.
Owens left through the crowd to close out the segment.
As is usually the case, WWE Creative completely overthought the McMahon-Owens storyline.
We did not need a segment that boiled down to KO threatening to make life a living hell for McMahon when he could have just done it to greater enthusiasm from the fans. Steve Austin didn't have to tell the evil Mr. McMahon character he would make his life miserable—he just did it, and the crowd ate it up.
This was another example of overwriting a program that really should have been over when Owens delivered the stunner that popped the crowd in Toronto at SummerSlam. It has overstayed its welcome and completely cooled off KO as a result.
Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks
Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks rekindled their rivalry with a singles match, playing up their interaction from Raw.
The presence of SmackDown women's champion Bayley at ringside helped The Legit Boss gain control of the bout. The Hugger loosened the turnbuckle pad in an ode to her tainted victory over The Queen at Clash of Champions, but Banks did not need the shortcut to seize control of the bout during the commercial.
Flair fought back, though, trapping her opponent in a picture-perfect Boston Crab. Bayley extended a hand to her friend, hoping to assist her to the sanctuary of the ropes. The Queen pulled Banks back to the center of the ring, but the blue-haired villainess was able to score a small-package roll-up to break the hold.
Flair dumped The Boss to the floor and followed with a moonsault that wiped her and Bayley out at ringside.
As The Queen mounted a comeback, Bayley entered the squared circle and drew the disqualification. A two-on-one assault ensued before Carmella rushed the ring and made the save.
The Princess of Staten Island dropped Banks with a superkick, and Flair flattened Bayley with a boot of her own.
The babyfaces stood tall, leaving the heels to recover at ringside.
Flair defeated Banks via disqualification
This was never intended to be a great match, but the ringwork was a solid enough representation of Banks and Flair's chemistry inside the squared circle.
Instead, this was designed to add Carmella to the mix, with the commentary team addressing the fact she is Bayley's very real friend. She is an intriguing addition to the ongoing storyline but one that also feels like a placeholder for Becky Lynch, who did not appear on Tuesday's show.
Expect a tag team match next Monday or Tuesday out of this, if for no other reason than to put over Bayley and Banks.
Baron Corbin's King of the Ring Coronation
A braggadocios Baron Corbin arrived on the scene for his coronation just 24 hours after defeating Chad Gable to become the 2019 King of the Ring.
The Lone Wolf called his rival to the ring and proceeded to make short jokes at the expense of the 2012 Olympian. Gable responded by ruining the proceedings, tearing the cape, assaulting Corbin with his newly won scepter and stomping the crown.
An irate Corbin watched from the floor, not at all eager to mix it up with Gable. The new king stared brokenheartedly at the crushed crown.
Anyone worried that Gable's loss Monday night would signal the end of his recent push can rest assured he will remain a significant part of the SmackDown brand—at least until the upcoming draft.
Ruining Corbin's coronation will only earn the Olympian the scorn of the new king, setting up a rematch between the competitors presumably as soon as Monday. That is a great thing for Gable, who could use the push and television exposure, and an even better thing for the former Raw general manager.
Why? Corbin can continue building heat at the expense of the fan-favorite underdog, enhancing the rivalry with every passing week.
With nothing else on the horizon for either man, this is the perfect way to utilize both to their strengths.
If it results in another showdown as good as Monday's tournament final, it will be well worth it.
Heavy Machinery vs. The B-Team
Former Raw tag team champions Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel sought to slow the momentum of Heavy Machinery in the night's final match.
The heels isolated Tucker while Otis watched from the apron, cheering on his opponent. The bulldozer of a competitor received the hot tag and ran over the opposition. He answered a big boot by Dallas with a charismatic comeback, including a nasty fallaway slam. A corner splash gave way to the caterpillar elbow drop.
Tucker laid out Axel and joined Otis for the Compactor for the pinfall victory.
Heavy Machinery defeated The B-Team
Heavy Machinery may not be in the heart of the tag team title hunt, but WWE Creative is keeping the team fresh in the minds of the fans, putting the energetic big men on television and allowing them to stay relevant.
Otis remains the closest thing to a legitimate breakout star on the roster, just waiting for the moment the writing team books the inevitable breakup so he can become a Rikishi-esque upper-midcard babyface.
Eventually, they will have to either chase the titles or become embroiled in an actual rivalry, but for now, it is hard to argue with the way they have been used.
Daniel Bryan Responds to Erick Rowan
A week after his former tag team championship partner put him through a table, Daniel Bryan made his way to the ring to address the actions of Erick Rowan.
He admitted the fans chanting his name were the same fans who accused him of being behind the heinous attacks on Roman Reigns, but he insisted he never lied to them.
Bryan said he is the one who saw Rowan's talent, vision and intelligence. He said he didn't just view Rowan as his equal, he treated him as such when they won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. The former WWE champion also insisted he treated Rowan as his friend because he is his friend.
Rowan interrupted and claimed he felt Bryan disrespected him. The Planet's Champion dared his former partner to do something about it, only to endure an attack by Luke Harper.
Roman Reigns' music played and he made a beeline for the ring, taking the fight to Rowan before the numbers game proved costly and he felt the wrath of Harper.
The heels beat down Reigns and put Bryan through the announce table, all after laying out security, to close out the show.
If the purpose was to present Harper and Rowan as a dominant threat that even two former world champions cannot combat, this worked.
The former Bludgeon Brothers laid waste to everyone in their path and were presented as a dangerous, unstoppable unit that preys on everyone, regardless of their reputation. It is refreshing to see two big badasses depicted in such a way, especially since that booking is typically reserved only for Brock Lesnar.
It remains to be seen where the story goes from here and if Bryan really is the mastermind, but evidence from this beating suggests he isn't. Instead, expect him to forge an alliance with Reigns in the near future.