Reigns Destroys Mysterio, King Nakamura, Otis and More WWE SmackDown Fallout
WWE surprised its fans by moving what appeared to be the main event of Hell in a Cell to Friday's SmackDown.
Roman Reigns was all set to battle Rey Mysterio inside Hell in a Cell, but the elder Mysterio said he couldn't wait any longer and demanded to face The Tribal Chief on Friday.
Another title of sorts was on the line this week, but it wasn't a championship. It was the title of "king," as Baron Corbin fought Shinsuke Nakamura with his prized King of the Ring crown on the line.
We also saw Sami Zayn have an impact on the outcome of Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez vs. Big E and Kevin Owens, and Otis proved he was a changed man in his encounter with Angelo Dawkins.
Let's take a look at the biggest moments from the go-home show before Hell in a Cell on Sunday.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens Are Destined to Fight Forever
The first match on Friday was a tag bout, with Owens and Big E taking on Crews and Commander Azeez. Wherever KO is, Zayn is sure to be nearby.
Toward the end of the match, Zayn distracted Owens long enough for Azeez to recover and hit him with two Nigerian Nails. Even with his throat severely damaged, KO went to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville to demand a match against Zayn.
The bout did not happen Friday, so it's safe to assume it will either be a late addition to Sunday's PPV or slated for next week's SmackDown.
Even with a long list of encounters dating back years to their time in NXT and on the indy scene, most fans don't seem to mind because Owens and Zayn bring out the best in each other.
At this point, it's unclear whether WWE wants to push one man over the other, and that makes this one of the more unpredictable feuds going on. Let's hope WWE has a good idea for how to bring this to an end.
The Battle for the Crown Is Over, but Is This Feud?
For what felt like the 20th time this year, Corbin faced Nakamura in a singles match. This time, however, Corbin's King of the Ring crown was on the line.
As usual, Rick Boogs was there to play Nakamura to the ring and cheer him on from ringside. Both competitors wore their finest black-and-red attire for this encounter.
Despite the repetitiveness of this feud, the competitors did a good job upping the intensity to make this bout feel bigger than their previous encounters. When it was all over, The King of Strong Style became The King of WWE by hitting the Kinshasa for the win.
Not only does this feud need to end after this match, but WWE should also seriously consider bringing back the King of the Ring tournament to make the crown mean something again.
With WWE heading back out on the road soon, it would be great if that were one of the first things WWE did when fans are back in attendance.
With Nakamura bringing so much attention to the crowd recently, it seems likely that management has paid attention to the fans' pleas for the tourney. It seems it's more a matter of when than if at this point.
Otis Is a Changed Man
The feud between Alpha Academy and The Street Profiits was supposed to continue Friday with a singles match between Otis and Dawkins.
On the previous show, Otis decimated Montez Ford after his match with Chad Gable, so this was about more than just a win. Dawkins wanted revenge for his partner and to prove he and Ford were the better team.
Ford was injured during that attack so was unable to provide support for his teammate. Gable was there at ringside for Otis, meaning Dawkins was at a disadvantage right away. Gable slapped him to sucker him into a chase that led right into an attack from Otis.
The Alpha Academy rammed his injured shoulder into the ring steps and hit him with a combo clothesline and German suplex. The match never got started because Dawkins was too injured to compete.
Otis never once changed his expression from one of anger. The once jovial member of Heavy Machinery has transformed from a fun-loving party animal into a focused heel. As Shawn Michaels would say, he has lost his smile.
The feud between the Profits and Alpha Academy might not have titles involved, but WWE has done a good job making this feel like a personal conflict in just a few weeks without relying on rematch after rematch.
Alpha Academy seems like the next logical choice to face the Mysterios for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. If Otis and Gable can win, we should expect The Street Profits to return at full strength to issue a challenge.
The 1st Hell in a Cell Match on Network Television
Mysterio and Reigns were going to have this match Sunday, but WWE decided to move it from the pay-per-view to the go-home episode of SmackDown. Michael Cole announced Bianca Belair vs. Bayley and Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins had been added to the PPV, so that was likely why this bout was moved.
Rey claimed he couldn't wait another day to get his hands on the man who powerbombed Dominik out of the ring recently, so WWE at least tried to offer an explanation for the move. Whether it was a satisfying explanation is something you need to decide for yourself.
To his credit, Mysterio did a good job acting like a father looking to avenge his son's beating during his promo at the top of the show. As usual, Reigns seemed emotionless as he offered Rey one more chance to back out of this match. The proud luchador didn't consider it for a second.
Jimmy Uso approached Reigns before the match to let him know he hadn't seen Jey all week, but he also said he would be there if The Tribal Chief needed him. Reigns just told him to get back his brother.
The Master of the 619 immediately used weapons to even the playing field between him and the powerhouse across the ring, but The Big Dog eventually turned things back in his favor.
After powerbombing Rey from the ring into the side of the cell, Reigns applied a submission to secure the win. It was a predictable finish but no less entertaining thanks to the performances of the men in the ring.
It's hard to tell whether this is a filler rivalry or if Rey will continue feuding with Reigns. It's possible this turns into a storyline that is more focused on The Usos vs. The Mysterios at some point since Rey and Dom still hold the tag titles. Jimmy seems to have fallen in line and watched as Reigns choked out Mysterio again after the match was over.
The Bloodline could become the most powerful entity in WWE if it can add the tag titles to the Universal Championship held by The Head of the Table.