WWE SmackDown results, recap: Owens-McMahon heats up, Nakamura prevails

Don't look now but WWE programming is on some kind of a roll.  Following a trio of strong Raw episodes after SummerSlam, WWE's blue brand finally caught up to its landmark predecessor on Tuesday with an expertly booked edition of SmackDown Live that quickly put the recent sins in the rearview mirror.  

From an electric escalation in the growing feud between commissioner Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens, which smartly saw developments to its storyline reappear throughout the episode, to a main event match between Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura that had both energy and meaning, this was SmackDown's best effort in quite some time.  

McMahon, Owens take hostilities to next level 

This was a developing situation that took an entire episode to unfold and began when Owens interrupted the start of the Natalya-Carmella match by attempting to name himself the referee, which instantly brought out McMahon. The two rivals continued recent hostilities by trading insults but things took on a more serious tone once Owens referenced McMahon's children, which produced a stern warning from Shane. 

But in true heel fashion, Owens decided to double down by telling McMahon, "Your entire family would've been better off if you hadn't survived that [helicopter] crash." The insult produced a crazy reaction from the crowd that only paled to the one McMahon gave after Owens added "especially your kids." McMahon attacked Owens like a madman and they brawled out of the ring and over the announce table until referees, road agents and a screaming general manager Daniel Bryan finally convinced McMahon to back off.

Later on, Owens told Bryan backstage of his intention to press criminal charges and sue WWE, McMahon and every member of his family "to turn SmackDown Live into the Kevin Owens Show, literally." Bryan went on to field a cryptic phone call and hurried back to the ring where he called out McMahon.  

Bryan referenced how he showed restraint one year ago in the face of a screaming Miz during an infamous episode of Talking Smack only because McMahon told him to act professional and do what was best for the company. And despite multiple apologies from Shane (who claimed blind rage once his children were mentioned) for his actions, Bryan revealed the phone call had been from Vince McMahon, who ordered his son to be indefinitely suspended. The episode closed with Bryan updating a still defiant Owens backstage before mentioning that the WWE Chairman would return the following week to handle the situation.  

How quickly did this storyline make the leap from zero to awesome? Holy cow. This had everything you would want from attention to detail to the perfect execution of a strong build toward the reveal of Vince McMahon's return. Unlike last year, WWE doesn't appear to be holding anything back in terms of creativity despite the competition from the NFL season closing in. This development just about confirms that. Considering the hit SmackDown has taken in recent months in terms of its must-see status after the WWE championship was placed around the waist of Jinder Mahal, this is the type of money feud the show has needed.  

Both Shane McMahon and Owens were incredible trading barbs in the opening segment that felt inspired by real-life circumstances. This felt SmackDown providing its own version of the John Cena-Roman Reigns promo war that has dominated Raw over the past two weeks, only this one had plenty of surprise reveals and teases leaving you wondering what happens next. Considering that WWE dropped some storyline hints during Shane's original 2016 return to the company regarding the once sour business relationship between father and son, this one has all the makings to be great.

Nakamura secures rematch at Hell in a Cell 

With WWE champion Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers watching from a luxury suite above, Orton and Nakamura traded one big move after another, including a suplex from Orton onto the announce table. Orton later added a textbook superplex and his trademark snap scoop powerslam, each producing two counts. The finish was red hot as Nakamura twice countered RKO attempts -- once by reversing into an arm bar and a second time with a knee to the spine -- to set up his finishing move.  

Nakamura then connected with his running knee, passionately hammered home by former NXT announcer Corey Graves' call of "Kinsasha" during his SmackDown debut replacing John Bradshaw Layfield, to get the 1-2-3. The victory provided Nakamura a second shot at Mahal's championship when the two meet at Hell in a Cell on October 8 in Detroit.  

Credit WWE well for promoting the importance of this match by starting SmackDown with a pair of old school video promos from both and then ending the show with an incredible match. This one had a PPV feel from the opening bell and was instantly the best match either superstar has had on the main roster in many months. Considering how poor Orton's reinsertion into the main event picture came off during last week's predictably booked and poorly welcomed tag team main event, this was a delightful 180.   

What else happened on SmackDown Live?

  • Natalya def. Carmella via pinfall: James Ellsworth jumped on the ring apron and accidentally dropped the Money in the Bank briefcase into the ring. The distraction allowed Natalya to score a rollup. Carmella verbally undressed and fired Ellsworth after the match. Later on backstage, Carmella fielded his apology by saying, "From now on, we're doing things my way." She then passionately kissed him before slapping him and walking away.
  • Dolph Ziggler re-debuts, cuts promo on fans: An angry Ziggler came out in one gimmick after another, mimicking the likes of John Cena, Randy Savage and Naomi. "Anyone can do what I just did. Anybody," Ziggler said. "But no one can do what I do in that ring." He closed by telling fans: "I don't give a damn about you either. You all make me sick."
  • Aiden English def. Sami Zayn via pinfall: English took advantage of a missed cross body off the top rope by Zayn to roll him up for a quick 1-2-3. Zayn then chased a singing English up the ramp and out of the arena.
  • The Usos select stipulation for tag team title match: One week after defeating The New Day for a chance to pick the stipulation in next week's rematch on SmackDown in Las Vegas, The Usos selected a Sin City Street Fight.
  • Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger via pinfall: Corbin used a referee distraction to land cheap shot on Dillinger's throat, setting up End of Days for the 1-2-3. An angry AJ Styles protested from the announce table and went on to offer Dillinger a shot at his United States title backstage for next week's show. 
CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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