WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Sept. 25
Clash of Champions airs Sunday on WWE Network, so Friday's episode of SmackDown was WWE's last chance to get us excited for the pay-per-view.
Roman Reigns was interviewed about his match against his cousin Jey Uso. Is The Big Dog still all about the bloodline, or is he putting gold above family?
We also saw Sami Zayn and Jeff Hardy compete in singles action ahead of their Triple Threat ladder match with AJ Styles for the intercontinental title.
Alexa Bliss attacked Lacey Evans on the previous week's show and walked off in a trance. The Sassy Southern Belle got a shot at revenge Friday.
Let's look at everything that happened on the latest episode of SmackDown.
Here are the segments WWE advertised ahead of Friday's show:
- Bliss vs. Evans
- Hardy vs. Zayn
- Reigns is interviewed about Clash of Champions.
Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
SmackDown opened with Styles coming out for what commentator Michael Cole called The Intercontinental Championship Ascension Ceremony. Corey Graves was in the ring to give us a rundown of what we can expect from Sunday's ladder match.
Hardy, Styles and Zayn all had something to say about the situation. Zayn kept claiming to be the rightful champion, while Styles and Hardy agreed that Zayn was lucky to even be in the title match Sunday. Hardy called for the apparatus used to hold the belts above the ring to be lowered to they could hang the titles up. After they did, Zayn hit his rivals with a ladder.
As he tried to leave, Adam Pearce came out and added Styles to the singles bout Zayn was supposed to have with Hardy to make it a Triple Threat. Hardy immediately hit Styles with a Twist of Fate as the show went to a break.
The match began when we returned. Zayn was immediately knocked out of the ring so that Styles and Hardy could brawl for a bit. The Great Liberator came back in, but The Charismatic Enigma took him out with a flurry of moves. The Phenomenal One recovered and went after Hardy's bad leg.
They took the fight out of the ring for a little while, but nobody tried to use any of the ladders around the ring, which is perfectly legal in a Triple Threat match. As Hardy prepared to hit a Swanton Bomb, Zayn shoved him off of the top turnbuckle to the floor.
Zayn managed to avoid a Phenomenal Forearm that took out Hardy and capitalized by throwing Styles out of the ring so that he could pin Hardy.
This was a great way to open SmackDown. This is a strong feud involving three veterans who are all loved by the WWE Universe for different reasons. The promo segment was predictable but entertaining because of those involved.
The match was a lot of fun and gave us a taste of what we will see Sunday when these three compete for the IC title in what should be a tremendous ladder match.
Zayn getting the win almost guarantees he will not win Sunday since the person who takes a pre-PPV victory usually loses at the PPV, making Styles and Hardy the favorites.
A True Role Model
After a quick backstage encounter involving The Miz, John Morrison and Heavy Machinery, Bayley came out to sit on the stage for a promo. She called Sasha Banks a crybaby before talking about Nikki Cross.
She said Cross was a fighter she respected but didn't appreciate some of the things she said about her in regard to needing Sasha Banks to retain the women's title. She promised to slap the smile off of Cross' face and implied she would use a chair to hurt her the same way she did to The Boss.
This was a solid promo that did not last longer than it needed to. Bayley came out, spoke for a couple of minutes and said everything she needed to say. It was more effective than if she had tried to draw it out for 10 minutes.
Keeping her rivalry with Banks going while also fighting Cross means Sunday's match may have some interference. A disqualification because The Boss gets involved would prevent Cross from suffering a loss, which would keep her looking strong as she prepares to feud with Bliss.
Gran Metalik vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Ahead of their tag title match Sunday, Lucha House Party's Gran Metalik was accompanied by Kalisto and Lince Dorado as he battled Shinsuke Nakamura, who had Cesaro with him at ringside.
The Rockstar quickly took control and hit Metalik with a running knee to the face for a quick two-count. The King of the Ropes countered a reverse exploded suplex and hit a hurricanrana to send Nakamura out to the apron. He launched himself over the top rope to take out Nakamura as his partners cheered him on.
A slingshot senton scored Metalik a near fall. He dragged Nakamura to the corner for a moonsault but had to land on his feet when his opponent rolled out of the way. This allowed Nakamura to hit a brutal running knee and a reverse exploder before finishing him off with a Kinshasa for the pin.
This match would have benefitted from having five more minutes, but what we got was still an entertaining display from two talented Superstars. It just didn't have time to be memorable.
Kalisto's refusal to help Dorado and Metalik as they were being attacked after the match saw Dorado shove him to the mat. The breakup of The Lucha House Party could happen as soon as Sunday.
Cesaro and Nakamura have grown into a great duo since they parted ways with Zayn. They might not give a ton of promos, but they don't need to in order for people to know they are the best WWE has to offer.
King Corbin vs. Matt Riddle
Matt Riddle and Baron Corbin each gave a quick backstage promo before heading to the ring for this grudge match. The King seemed determined to do more than just beat Riddle—he wanted to hurt him.
Riddle went after Corbin before the bell, so the ref started the match right away. The Barefoot Bro sent The King out of the ring and continued going after him with punches and kicks. As they got back into the ring, Corbin took him down with a few well-placed punches.
Riddle kicked him out of the ring again and sent him flying over the announce table. Corbin took control during the break, but when we returned, Riddle started to turn things around. He hit a series of signature moves for a close two-count.
The King caught him with Deep Six for a near fall and countered a springboard with a stiff right hand. The Bro managed to avoid The End of Days before climbing up for the Floating Bro. Corbin got his knees up to block and hit End of Days for the win.
The final minutes of this match were good, but most of what came before was formulaic. It was hard to care about what was happening in the ring.
Kayla Braxton interviewed Riddle after the match, and he said losing sucks but that he is going to keep pushing and grinding until SmackDown is the Bro show.
Corbin's victory was a nice surprise. He hasn't had a lot of big wins in recent months, so this gives him some momentum as he heads into his next feud.
Alexa Bliss vs. Lacey Evans
Bliss took down Evans early, but The Sassy Southern Belle quickly turned things around and threw her opponent into the corner as hard as she could. She hit a pendulum broncobuster for a quick two-count.
Evans had an answer for everything Bliss tried to do to make a comeback. The Goddess eventually hit a hard slam to give herself a little breathing room. As the show went to a break, Bray Wyatt's laugh began to echo throughout the arena.
We returned to see Evans back in control with a modified STO. She sent Bliss crashing to the floor with a slingshot dropkick from the apron. Bliss began to build a little momentum before the arena was bathed in red light and a small part of Wyatt's music began to play.
Bliss went into a trance and lost it. She viciously attacked Evans until the referee was forced to call for a disqualification. Bliss did not care one bit as she took Evans out of the ring to hit Sister Abigail on to the floor.
This was one of the best performances Evans has had in quite some time. She looked good with everything she did and appeared more confident in her skills than in the past.
However, the match was dominated by the ongoing storyline between Bliss and Wyatt. This was the first time we have seen Wyatt influence her in this way, and it made for an entertaining moment.
The way she stared at Reigns as he passed her on the stage was as ominous as it gets. It looks like Wyatt may still have his eyes on the universal title, and Bliss might be the key to helping him regain it.
The Big Dog Barks
Jey Uso came out to the ring about halfway through the show and gave a promo asking why Reigns looked at him like an enemy instead of family the previous week. A video package played with members of the Anoa'i family talking about the feud.
Reigns and Paul Heyman were shown watching from the back. The latter addressed the camera and said his client would not talk until he is ready to and not a second before. However, Heyman promised that would happen during the show.
The universal champion came out at the end of the episode to address what Uso said. As Heyman began to speak, he was interrupted by Uso's music. Reigns did not look pleased.
The Big Dog looked him dead in the eye and said he would give his cousin the title if he could but that he doesn't think Jey would know what to do with it. He said Uso doesn't understand the weight and the pressure that comes from being the face of WWE.
He dropped the mic and left the ring as Uso stood there in silence. When Reigns was about halfway up the ramp, Uso asked, "What if you're wrong?" He said he is sick of living in Reigns' shadow and people not knowing whether he is Jimmy or Jey. Reigns walked away without looking back at his cousin.
As Uso was heading up the ramp, Reigns came from out of nowhere to deliver a Superman Punch. He yelled at Uso that he will never take the title from him.
For a feud that felt like it came out of nowhere because of the lack of any better option, Uso and Reigns have made this one of the most interesting programs in the company.
The attack at the end was the icing on the cake and immediately made this feud more personal. Their promos were great, but that Superman Punch was like an exclamation point.
Reigns as a heel has been so much fun to watch. Hopefully on Sunday, he and Uso put on a match worthy of this buildup. This whole segment was awesome.