WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from September 4
For the first time since his shocking return at SummerSlam, and subsequent controversial victory over The Fiend and Braun Strowman at Payback for the Universal Championship, Roman Reigns addressed the WWE Universe Friday on SmackDown.
Accompanied by his new business associate Paul Heyman, what did The Big Dog have to say when he discussed his recent actions?
Would there be any rebuttal from either Strowman or Bray Wyatt, both of whom were certain to be seeking revenge following the events of Sunday's pay-per-view event?
Find out now with this recap of the September 4 Fox network broadcast.
Matches and promos announced for Friday's show:
- Roman Reigns addresses the WWE Universe
- Women's Tag Team Championship Match: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley
- Fatal 4-Way Match to Determine the No. 1 Contender to the Universal Championship: Big E vs. Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin vs. Sheamus
It was certainly interesting that WWE intended to hold a match to determine the top contender to Reigns' title involving Sheamus and Corbin, both of whom lost at Payback. Then again, wins and losses mean so little in today's WWE that it was not much of a surprise that those particular stars were involved with each other again.
Roman Reigns Opens SmackDown
New Universal Champion Roman Reigns kicked off the evening's show, drawing a ton of (canned) heat as WWE sought to firmly establish him as a heel.
Paul Heyman claimed Reigns pulled him back into the fray and, contrary to popular belief, it is The Big Dog who corrupts him—not the other way around. Heyman claimed Reigns was tossed aside, thrown into the abyss of obscurity instead of thanked for his tireless efforts through a life-threatening illness.
Heyman criticized The Fiend and Braun Strowman as champions, claiming they are not capable of reigning as a champion like Roman.
"My name is Paul Heyman and I serve as the special council for the Tribal Chief. Your reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns."
Reigns said he did exactly that. "I don't care who my opponent is going to be," he said in reference to the Fatal 4-Way Match later in the night. "When you have this sort of power, all you have to do is show up and win."
And with that, Reigns is unequivocally the top heel on SmackDown.
He has formed a bond with Heyman after being tossed aside, left to wallow as the wrestling world passed him by, with no respect or appreciation shown toward him by the company he served as its top star.
The reasoning is spot-on and makes total sense. It is a logical evolution for Reigns, who now does not have to pander to a crowd, sell merchandise or worry what Joe Blow and his three kids think of him. He can be the ass-kicker and, when the situation calls for it, master manipulator he was born to be.
Heyman was great here, completely invested in every word he said, mostly because he was able to project his own emotions and feelings about his own ousting into the promo.
Simply put, this was an outstanding start to the show that set the stage for the next year of WWE storytelling, if the company's creative team can get out of its own way.
Heavy Machinery vs. John Morrison and The Miz
The rivalry between Heavy Machinery and the team of John Morrison and The Miz continued this week as the teams squared off, each jockeying for position in the tag title picture.
Tucker and Otis built momentum heading into the break, but Morrison and Miz isolated Tucker during the break.
Mr. Money in the Bank Otis exploded into the match, sparking a babyface comeback as Michael Cole and Corey Graves attributed his renewed intensity to Taco Bell changing their menu this week.
Otis pinned Miz to win the match for the babyfaces.
After the match, Morrison grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase and absconded with it as Graves reminded us that possession is nine-tenths of the law.
Backstage, Sheamus attacked Big E, leaving him lying following White Noise on the hood of a car and essentially eliminating him from the night's Fatal 4-Way main event.
Heavy Machinery defeated Miz and Morrison
Well, there are worse reasons for two teams to fight than over possession of a guaranteed title opportunity.
The match itself was a bland TV match that took place mostly during the break before spotlighting Otis in his comeback. He is still the focal point of this entire thing, despite WWE Creative apparently having zero clue as to what to do with him now that he has the title shot.
Perhaps that is why we are seeing a potential shift to Morrison, who can at least deliver in a big spot, something we have yet to see out of Otis at this point in his relatively young career.
Women's Tag Team Title Match: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs. Golden Role Models
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks sought to regain their Women's Tag Team Championships when they challenged Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax in a match Michael Cole dared suggest might be the greatest tag team match in SmackDown history.
*Insert Deadpool facepalm GIF here*
The champions dominated the early portion of the match, ragdolling The Golden Role Models heading into the break, then isolating Bayley and cutting the ring off from her.
A tag to Banks was the spark the challengers needed.
Bayley joined The Boss for a stunner/powerbomb combo that left Jax flattened on the arena floor. Banks scored a near-fall on Baszler off a running knee. That same knee proved Banks' downfall after she missed a double-knee and crashed into the ring post.
The relentless Submission Magician Baszler targeted the knee, punishing her opponent. She looked to trap Banks in the Muta Lock and tried to tap Bayley out, but The Role Model delivered a Bayley-to-Belly. The challengers would stay in the fight, but the return of Jax to the match turned the tide in the champions' favor.
The Irresistible Force delivered a crossbody to both opponents to score the win.
Jax and Baszler defeated Bayley and Banks
This was an infinitely better match than their Payback one, with another emphatic finish for the champions as they scored a definitive victory.
Banks and Bayley were great here, as they have been all year, but Baszler and Jax performed up to their level. This wasn't just about Baszler scoring a cool submission finish, as was the case at Payback. This was a total team performance by the champions, who are already starting to jell despite being relatively thrown-together.
Banks was in total Bret Hart mode, replicating his performance at the 1994 Royal Rumble by fighting through tremendous knee pain, almost to the detriment of the team. It remains to be seen if the selfish Bayley holds it against her, blaming her friend for the loss.
If so, it may be the emphasis for the long-awaited program both we and the performers alike deserve.
Update: And just like that, Bayley goes Owen to Sasha's Bret, beating the hell out of her partner/friend and further attacking her knee. She brutalized Banks, leaving her writhing in pain and completing the split that had been teased for months.
The angle was executed extremely well, complete with an attempted comeback by Banks, only to be laid out once more by Bayley. The SmackDown champion concluded her beatdown by sandwiching Banks' head in a chair and stomping on it.
Would the Real Intercontinental Champion Please Stand Up?
Sami Zayn made his way to the ring and immediately took exception to ring announcer Greg Hamilton not referring to him as Intercontinental Champion.
Jeff Hardy interrupted, followed by AJ Styles.
The predictable brawl ensued, with Zayn again getting the last laugh courtesy of his Helluva Kick.
The heel stood tall, overjoyed by the way things played out, to close out the segment.
While it was nice to see this program get some screen time, it essentially accomplished exactly what last week's angle did. It was unnecessary filler that kept the Superstars front and center, but it did not further the storyline in any meaningful way.
Fatal 4-Way No. 1 Contender's Match
Added to the match at the suggestion of Paul Heyman, Jey Uso replaced Big E in the Fatal 4-Way Match against King Corbin, Matt Riddle and Sheamus. The Superstars wasted little time, with the former tag team champion blasting Corbin with a superkick at the opening bell.
Corbin recovered and dominated until a perceived slow count took his focus off the competition and put it on the official. It cost him as Sheamus blasted him heading into the break.
After the break, Riddle fired up and fought off Corbin before succumbing to the onslaught of The Celtic Warrior. Sheamus applied a Cloverleaf, but Uso blasted him with a superkick. Corbin rolled him up for two.
At ringside, Corbin sent Uso flying into the stands then punished Riddle. Sheamus surprised him with a Brogue Kick, Riddle put Sheamus away with a Bro To Sleep and Uso finished the Original Bro off with a top-rope splash for the win.
After the match, Uso cut a brief promo, welcoming cousin Roman Reigns to The Uso Penitentiary come Night of Champions: Gold Rush.
Uso defeated Corbin, Sheamus and Riddle
This was a high-energy match from the moment Uso landed that first kick to Corbin at the bell. It was nonstop and created a sense of urgency for all involved.
Uso winning sets up a match between him and Reigns with a ton of storytelling potential. Will this be the first chapter in an alliance or will Reigns elevate his heel turn to an even greater level, sinking to the depths of heeldom to attack and make an example of his cousin at the PPV?
Only time will tell, but this feels like the right move on the surface.