RECOMMENDED FREE NEW PODCAST - RAW POST-SHOW WITH KELLER...
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app)
LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JULY 9, 2019
MANCHESTER, NH AT SNHU ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-The show opened with a shot of the parking lot outside SNHU Arena where Dolph Ziggler was collecting his bag from the back of an SUV. The graphic on screen indicated this footage was shot earlier in the day. Ziggler was approached by Kayla Braxton.
Braxton said last week, Ziggler and his partner Kevin Owens “exploded,” Dolph cut her off. He called Kevin a “worthless tub of excuses.” Ziggler said he carried Owens because he’s the man around here. A car pulled up behind Ziggler and the driver rolled down the window, revealing himself to be Kevin Owens. Owens comically laid on the car horn, parked the car at an angle, and retrieved his bag from the trunk while jawing with Ziggler.
Dolph accused Owens of interrupting his time. Owens ran down a laundry list of Dolph’s signature catch phrases and then punched Ziggler. Dolph reeled back and then charged. The two brawled against Owens’ car. Several wrestlers appeared to split them up.
Shane McMahon appeared and began yelling at the two to separate. He told Dolph get inside and told Owens to leave. KO, bleeding from his lower lip, said he’s facing Ziggler in the main event. Shane said the match is off, and told security to get Owens out.
-The show cut over to a live close up of Shane McMahon backstage, standing beside Sarah Schreiber. She asked why Shane cancelled the Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler match. Shane said things were out of control and it’s his duty to make sure “superstars can compete in the ring.” He said because Owens instigated the confrontation, he was sent home. Sarah asked Shane what the main event would be. Shane said he “had a few ideas” and left to sort things out.
-Tom Phillips welcomed the audience over a wide shot of the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. Corey Graves teased a match between Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura later in the night.
-Kevin Owens voice filled the PA system. He was asking for the Smackdown intro music to be cut off. The camera found him at the time keeper’s area. Owens walked into the ringside area. He said last week, he spoke the truth about Dolph Ziggler and now someone else needs to hear some truth – Shane McMahon.
Owens said he’s tried to be a good company man, but that hasn’t gotten him anything. He brought up the McMahon family promo when they promised they were going to start listening to the fans. “The only that’s happened since then is that Shane McMahon has gotten more power, more authority, and more TV time than anyone,” Owens yelled as he turned directly to the camera, “and truth me when I say no one watching ever wanted that.” The crowd roared in approval.
Owens said it makes him sick to listen to Shane McMahon call himself the “best in the world” every week. He said it makes him want to bash his head off the announcers table. Shane stepped onto the stage, asking for production to cut Owens’ mic. Owens’ mic went dead. He went and retrieved another from ringside. “Guess what, idiot, there’s more than one microphone!”
Owens continued ranting about Shane’s “best in the world” moniker as Shane headed to the sound board. Owens said every wrestler in the back is saying “Shane McMahon can kiss my ass.” Owens’ mic cut out again. Owens took Byron Saxton’s headset. He said there’s a hundred people in the back that Shane is stealing TV time from. He listed Buddy Murphy, Ali, Apollo Crews, Liv Morgan, and Asuka. Shane called for security.
Security rushed to ringside, but Owens hopped the barrier and escaped through the crowd. The crowd pelted Shane McMahon with boos as he returned to the back.
-Back at the announcers desk, the crew looked rattled. Graves said Owens just committed “career suicide.” As the announcers previewed what’s to come on the show, the crowd broke into a loud “Kevin Owens” chant.
-Backstage, Finn Balor was shown walking down a hallway. Phillips said that he’d face Shinsuke Nakamura “for the first time ever on the Smackdown brand” after the break.
(LeClair’s Analysis: It looks like Kevin Owens’ transition to an antihero babyface is complete. That whole arc was set up pretty excellently. Owens spoke a lot of truth there, and he was incredibly passionate. This worked-shoot stuff doesn’t always work, but when it does, it can induce a nice little jolt into the product. This was a lot of fun to watch.)
-Back from the break, Shinsuke Nakamura received a full ring entrance for the first time in an incredibly long while. Shinsuke had an inlet promo where he said he should be feared. Balor entered next with his own inlet promo. Balor said Nakamura is desperate to get his career back on track, and that he’s in for an “extraordinary” (ugh) surprise.
(1) FINN BALOR vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
After a lock of hands, Nakamura transitioned into a waist lock. Balor spun it into one of his own, but Shinsuke elbowed out. Balor dropkicked Nakamura. Nakamura shoved Balor into the corner and hit several shoulder thrusts to Balor’s midsection. Phillips threw to a picture-in-picture commercial.
On the small screen, Nakamura drove his boot into Balor’s chin and neck. Finn gasped for air. Nakamura applied a chin lock and drove Finn to the mat, then hit a jumping knee. He applied a headlock on the mat. Nakamura eventually let go and brought Balor to his feet. He hit a front falling suplex and applied another headlock to take us through the rest of the break.
Back in full screen, Balor began fighting free. Nakamura cut off the comeback with a knee to the gut. Balor hit a pair of clotheslines to get back in it. He followed up with a standing double foot stomp. Finn hit a falling elbow to the throat for a two count. He charged at Nakamura for a Sling Blade, but Shinsuke blocked it and hit a sliding German suplex on Balor.
Nakamura set up for the Kinshasa. He charged, but Balor caught him with the Sling Blade. Balor ascended to the top rope, but Nakamura popped up and knocked Finn down. Finn recovered on the apron. Nakamura climbed to the top rope and hit a diving knee, knocking Balor to the ground. Shinsuke drove Balor into the ring post twice. Both men slid back in the ring just in time to beat the referee’s ten count. Shinsuke immediately threw Balor back outside.
As Balor collected himself outside, Nakamura stood poised. He charged and connected with the Kinshasa. He rolled back in the ring as the referee counted. Balor struggled to his feet and made it back in the ring just before the count of ten. Nakamura immediately took him down and kicked him outside the ring again.
Nakamura threw Finn into the ringside barrier, then into the ring steps. He kneed Balor’s back against the stairs. Nakamura got in the ring as the referee got deep into his count again. Balor made it back in the ring at nine for a second time. Nakamura immediately hit him with another Kinshasa for a three count.
WINNER: Shinsuke Nakamura in 9:00
Nakamura stood over Balor and posed. Byron Saxton said the entire roster should be on alert if this is the Nakamura we’re going to see from now on. Nakamura kicked Balor for good measure.
(LeClair’s Analysis: This match was obviously used to set up a program between these two, and that’s not a bad thing. Nakamura getting a clean win is a big deal here, given how little we’ve seen him as of late and how grossly underutilized many feel he is. This felt fresh simply because of how little we’ve seen Shinsuke and Finn in recent weeks. I’m interested to see how this goes.)
-Backstage, Shane McMahon stood with Drew McIntyre and Elias. Shane said they had Roman where they wanted him last night, if not for a little mishap with Cedric Alexander. McIntyre said he planned to beat the hell out of Cedric. Drew said he and Shane have a clear mental and physical advantage going into their match on Sunday with Roman Reigns and The Undertaker. Elias said he’s got a “perfect” funeral song for The Undertaker.
Dolph Ziggler walked onto screen, upset about Shane cancelling his match with Owens. He said he was going to “end that mouth breather.” Shane told Dolph to use the energy he has to take care of an issue for them by facing Roman Reigns. Shane said they’d all be in his corner.
-The announcers previewed the “tag title summit” between Daniel Bryan & Rowan, The New Day, and Heavy Machinery, coming up later in the show.
-Backstage, Bayley was shown walking down a hallway. Byron Saxton said the contract signing for Extreme Rules between Bayley and Nicki Cross would be after the break.
-Coming out of the commercial, a promo package aired hyping the WWE title match at Extreme Rules between Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe.
-Samoa Joe was shown in a dark room, staring into the camera. Joe said he showed Kofi compassion last week by offering he and his family safety. Joe said he knew Kofi wouldn’t take it. “I see what you truly are,” Joe said. “I will beat you down to the very essence of what you are, and then I’ll put you to sleep.” Joe said he’s going to take everything back for all the people Kofi stepped on to get where he is, and he’ll take the WWE title too. Joe stood menacingly into the camera as the shot faded out.
-In the ring, Kayla Braxton welcomed Nicki Cross. Nicki headed to the ring while the announcers talked up the 2-on-1 handicaps match between Bayley and Cross & Alexa Bliss at Extreme Rules. Kayla Braxton introduced Bayley. The announcers threw to clips from last night’s Raw involving Bayley and Cross.
Kayla reiterated that Cross’ win on Raw earned her the right to choose a stipulation for Extreme Rules and that Nicki chose a handicap match, adding herself. Kayla mentioned Bayley attacking Nicki. Bayley told Nicki not to worry, that she was only here to sign the contract. She made light of Bliss not showing up tonight.
Bayley told Nicki that the two of them are a lot alike. Bayley said she quickly realized that a lot of people only wanted her around when they needed something, and soon enough, she became a champion on her own. Nicki said the real Bayley is the person who attacked her unprovoked last night. Bayley told Nicki that Bliss is in her head.
Bayley asked Nicki if she’s okay with helping someone else with a Championship. “Fine, you’re a big girl,” Bayley said. She told Nicki she’s formidable on her own, let alone with Alexa at her side. Bayley said she’s bringing everything to the table. She asked Cross what will happen when Bliss loses and blames Nicki.
Nicki said she wants to help her friend, and Bayley can’t understand that because all her friends abandon her. Nicki said when Bliss wins the title, they’ll become the first ever Smackdown Women’s Co-Champions. She begged Bayley to stick around for her match with Carmella, because, “I’m gonna show you, when it’s time to play, Nicki gets all the fun.”
Carmella’s music hit and she headed to the ring to face Nicki Cross. The show went to commercial.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Nothing wrong with this segment, but this angle just hasn’t been good. While it’s nice to see Nicki Cross getting some significant TV time, this seems to be dragging everyone involved down a peg or two.)
(2) CARMELLA vs. NICKI CROSS
Carmella stood in the ring warming up as her music played and the show returned from break. The referee called for the ball. Cross immediately took down Carmella and delivered a flurry of punches. She backed Carmella into the corner and gave her some hard shoulders. Cross pulled Nicki out of the corner and dropkicked her. She covered her for a two count.
Cross pulled at Carmella’s hair and slammed her head into the mat. She gave Carmella a snap suplex and covered her for another two count. Cross locked in a hold on Carmella as the announcers discussed Cross’ merits. Carmella broke free, but Cross clotheslined her to the mat. She yelled at Bayley, who was seated at ringside.
Cross went for a running cross body, but Carmella ducked it. She clotheslined Nicki twice, then hit her with a reverse atomic drop. Carmella downed Cross in the corner and moonwalked away, then charged with a bronco buster.
Out of the corner, Carmella attempted a super kick but Nicki caught her leg. Nicki set Carmella up for a spinning neck breaker, but Carmella countered into an inside cradle for a two count. She kicked Nicki in the mid section. She went for another one, but Cross blocked it and hit the spinning neckbreaker for a three count.
WINNER: Nikki Cross in 3:00
Cross immediately turned to stare at Bayley. The announcers wondered if Bayley could overcome both Cross and Alexa Bliss.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Not much to say here. Cross got a good, clean win. The match was simply there. Carmella matches all play out pretty similarly, regardless of opponent.)
-At the announcers desk, Tom Phillips threw to footage from a women’s tag match two weeks ago in Tokyo, Japan between The Iiconics and Asuka and Kairi Sane. They showed the latter duo defeating the Women’s Tag Team Champions.
-Backstage, the camera was focused on the door of the women’s locker room. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce exited, laughing. The camera spun to reveal Paige, Asuka, and Kairi Sane standing opposite them. Kay and Royce tried to walk away. Paige said they have a match to schedule for the Women’s tag titles. She said they intended to have the match tonight.
Royce said they can’t have the match tonight because Billie is sick with “Mad Cow Bird Flu Disease.” “It’s very rare,” Peyton said. Paige said they do nothing but make excuses. She called them clowns. Kay got in Paige’s face and Paige slapped her. “The match is coming. It may not be tonight, but it’s coming,” Paige said.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Glad to see them finally returning to this angle. It’s been weeks since they teased a match between the two teams. Having the footage from Japan was a nice touch. I like Billie and Peyton when they’re minimally invasive, which was sort of the case here.)
-Dolph Ziggler was shown in a locker room backstage. The announcers teased his match with Roman Reigns.
-Daniel Bryan and Rowan were shown walking down a hallway. Corey Graves said the tag team summit would be coming up after the break.
-After the break, Tom Phillips touted the upcoming “Blockbuster” issue of ESPN Magazine, featuring Becky Lynch (along with GLOW’s Alison Brie) on the cover. Back at the desk, Phillips threw to recap footage of the Roman Reigns mystery partner saga from last night’s Raw.
-Backstage, Sarah Schreiber welcomed Roman Reigns. She asked if he thought it would have an effect on his match at Extreme Rules. Reigns said these “crazy nights” are how he built his career. Reigns said Ziggler is not ready for him. Reigns said he and The Undertaker are going to “do their thing” at Extreme Rules. “That means those boys are gonna rest…in…peace.” He threw up the “peace” sign at the end and called Sarah “sweetie.” (Sweetie? REALLY?)
-Big E’s voice kicked off the second hour (after the truck incidentally cued New Day’s music too early, whoops.) Big E and Xavier Woods headed to the ring for the “tag team summit.” Xavier Woods said has a triple threat match tonight, and New Day has a triple threat tag team match on Sunday. “Unfortunately, that isn’t quite what I had in mind when I heard I was going to be in a three way on Sunday,” Big E said very seriously. Big E and Xavier began to say they were going to become six time champions, but Daniel Bryan’s music cut them off.
Bryan and Rowan walked out onto the stage. Bryan said the crowd should be booing New Day, not him. He said New Day comes out and gyrates and makes jokes despite Big E having lost to Bryan, and Woods having been slammed through a table by Rowan. He said he wondered why no one was taking the tag title match at Extreme Rules seriously, then he realized that no one takes New Day seriously.
Woods said Bryan talked too much without actually saying anything. He said he wants to hear what “Big Red” has to say. He said Rowan first took orders from Bray, then Harper, and now from Bryan. “We have a hard time keeping up with who your daddy is,” Woods said. Rowan stormed to the ring. Bryan chased him down and held him back as the crowd chanted “Who’s your daddy?”
Bryan called the crowd ignorant. He said New Day is deflecting true criticism with jokes. He said New Day are some of the best athletes in WWE and have had some of the best tag team matches in WWE history. “Yet somehow, New Day never escapes the middle of the card and is never seen as anything more than a comedy act.” He said they’d be the worst thing for the tag titles. He took it back, deciding it would be worse if Heavy Machinery won the titles. “They walk around like piles of hot garbage, spewing piles of methane…”
Heavy Machinery’s music cut Bryan off. Tucker Knight said he and Otis took Bryan and Rowan to the limit at Stomping Grounds. He said they didn’t get down on themselves for losing. He said they got back at it and earned their way into the title match at Extreme Rules. “Because we’re blue collar solid,” added Otis. Knight told New Day they’d have to put their plans of becoming six time champions on hold. Otis broke into New Day’s patented “WWE Tag Team Champions” gyration. He said he felt good. Knight said when they win, they’ll show the world that there’s no party like a blue collar party. Phillips said the triple threat match would be after the break.
(3) DANIEL BRYAN (w/ Rowan) vs. XAVIER WOODS (w/ Big E) vs. OTIS DOZOVIC (w/ Tucker Knight)
The bell rang as soon as the show returned from commercial. Bryan immediately left the ring and taunted the crowd. Otis and Woods circled the ring. Woods locked on a headlock. Otis threw him off. Woods bounced off the ropes and ducked clotheslines from Dozovic. Otis eventually caught him with one. Bryan returned to the ring and jumped on Otis’ back. Otis dumped him into the corner, then tossed him to the mat.
Woods kicked Otis and tried to suplex him, but Otis blocked it. Bryan rejoined the fray and tried to help Woods deliver the suplex. Otis countered and suplexed Woods and Bryan at the same time. He covered Bryan for a two count. Otis whipped Woods from corner to corner. He gave Bryan a flapjack. Rowan jumped onto the apron and clotheslined Woods. Phillips reminded everyone that there are no disqualifications in triple threat matches.
Knight and Big E got involved, going after to Rowan at ringside. Knight and Big E shoved Rowan over the announcers desk. Knight and Big E argued after dispatching Rowan. The referee kicked all the partners out from ringside. Phillips said the match needed to be “reset” and the show went to picture in picture commercial.
On the small screen, the three competitors tried to recover. Bryan was sent to the outside. Woods dropkicked Otis and he tumbled outside. Woods dove over the top, but Otis caught him. Xavier broke free and shoved Otis into the apron. Bryan followed up with a running knee.
Back in full screen, Bryan and Woods went at it at ringside. Woods threw Bryan into the ringside barrier, then back into the ring. He climbed to the top rope and hit a big missile dropkick for a two count. Woods went for the Honor Roll, but Bryan countered it and locked in the Labell Lock. Otis broke it up. Bryan began kicking Otis rapidly. He wound up for the last one, but Otis caught him and delivered a spinning body slam.
Woods launched himself from the ropes in an attempt to DDT Otis, but Otis dropped him. He hit running body splashes on both Woods and Bryan in opposing corners. Bryan dropped to the mat and Otis set up for the Caterpillar. He finished it off with a big elbow. Bryan rolled under the bottom rope to avoid a pinfall.
Otis turned and ate a super kick from Woods. Bryan charged at Woods for the running knee, but Xavier scooped him up and hoisted him into a military press. He dropped Bryan into a gut buster. Bryan rolled to the outside. Woods charged at Otis, who caught Xavier with a pop up powerslam for a three count.
WINNER: Otis in 8:00
Otis celebrated in the ring as Bryan looked on from the outside. Saxton said Bryan and Rowan have no room for error at Extreme Rules.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Fun match. I’m actually really looking forward to this tag title match at Extreme Rules. Everyone has been working incredibly hard to make these segments entertaining, and, by and large, they are. Heavy Machinery has been coming off as a credible threat and Bryan has been masterful at creating discernible stakes for opposing teams.)
-Back at the announcers desk, Phillips threw to footage supporting the building tension between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon, including last week’s KO Show and subsequent tag team match, and tonight’s opening segment.
-Backstage, Ember Moon was shown back-to in a catering line. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville wandered on screen and cut in front of her. Moon confronted them, but Rose and Deville shrugged it off. Rose said this is “real life” and Moon can’t troll on Twitter here. Moon said she beat Deville last week and was justified saying what she said. “We’re over that,” Mandy said. She told Moon to find a tag team partner and challenged Ember to a tag match next week. Sonya wondered if Ember could find a partner. Ember said if she couldn’t, she’d do it on her own.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Like all of their segments, this was not good. I was really hoping last week was the end of this “rivalry”, but evidently, that isn’t the case.)
-Aleister Black was shown in a darkened room, being fitted with a microphone. Graves said we’d learn Black’s Extreme Rules opponent after the break.
-The show returned with an Ali vignette promo. He stood in a darkened parking lot. He talked about being a police officer, seeing evil among the people he swore to protect and serve. “There is no monster that can scare me,” Ali said. He said there’s no evil he won’t battle. “Evil only wins when you don’t show up to fight.”
-Back at the announcers desk, Phillips ran down the highlights of the Extreme Rules card.
-The camera cut to a split screen – Aleister Black seated in a room on the left, and an empty chair in a separate darkened room on the right. Phillips clarified that Aleister Black and his mystery opponent have already signed their contracts to face each other at Extreme Rules. He revealed that Black’s opponent is choosing not to reveal himself.
Black laughed. “I get it. It’s something I would do.” He applauded his opponent and called the move “smart.” Black said he doesn’t care who has opponent is anymore. Suddenly, a figure in a suit appeared on the right side of the screen. He circled the chair carefully. Black looked on. The suit sat down, revealing Cesaro.
“I’m the one who knocked at your door,” said Cesaro. He said he’s here to pick a fight with Aleister Black. “Oh so very good Mr. Cesaro,” Black replied viciously. He smirked and left the room. Cesaro looked on.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Cesaro wasn’t who I expected, but it’s a great choice for Black’s first official match. These two should tear the house down.)
-Shelton Benjamin was shown backstage, hearing a disembodied voice again. It asked Shelton about the main event between Dolph Ziggler and Roman Reigns. Shelton looked like he was ready to answer, but then he just walked off camera.
-Byron Saxton teased the Ziggler vs. Reigns main event, coming up after the break.
-The show returned with Kayla Braxton backstage talking about the WWE title match at Extreme Rules between Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe. Paul Heyman walked casually into frame, and then back out of it. Kayla seemed un-phased. She welcomed Kofi Kingston.
Kayla asked whether or not Joe’s threats would impact Kofi’s mindset. Kingston said no. He said he knows who Samoa Joe is, and what he does, particularly getting in the head of his opponents. Kofi said this time it was him who got into Samoa Joe’s head. Kofi called Joe the most dangerous opponent he’s had thus far. He said beating guys like Samoa Joe is how he’s going to become one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time.
-Roman Reigns music hit and he headed to the ring for the main event. The announcers talked up his match at Extreme Rules as Reigns got in the ring. Dolph Ziggler came to the ring next. His music faded out, and Shane McMahon’s played. McMahon danced out onto the stage and called on Elias and Drew McIntyre to flank him. The trio walked to the ring. Shane asked Greg Hamilton to deliver his signature introduction. Reigns stared on unimpressed as the show went to break.
(4) ROMAN REIGNS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
The bell rang when the show returned from break. Ziggler tried to shoot a leg takedown but Reigns blocked it. Shane suggested Elias and McIntyre linger around the ring to “get a closer look” at Roman. In the ring, Reigns backed Ziggler into the corner. The referee forced a break. Ziggler pushed Roman, taunting him.
Roman drove Dolph headfirst into the turnbuckle. He took Ziggler down with a big elbow, then went for a Samoan drop. Ziggler slid out of it and took Reigns down with a dropkick. He delivered a jumping elbow for a two count. Shane said they’re keeping Reigns “tired and busy” in preparation for Sunday.
Ziggler charged at Reigns in the corner and got caught with a big uppercut. Dolph rolled to the outside. Reigns stepped outside and hit Ziggler with the Drive By. He jawed with Elias and McIntyre before tossing Ziggler back in the ring. Ziggler grabbed at Roman’s hair, which allowed Elias and Drew to surround Roman. Dolph distracted the referee.
Roman turned his attention to Elias, which allowed Drew to shove Reigns into the ring post. Ziggler hopped out of the ring and tossed Reigns into the barricade. He rolled him back in the ring and covered him for a two count. Ziggler applied a headlock. Reigns fought valiantly to return to his feet and eventually broke the hold with a Samoan Drop.
Both men returned to their feet slowly. Ziggler went for a DDT but Reigns shoved him off and hit him with a big clothesline. He shot Ziggler off the ropes and hit a jumping clothesline. Ziggler retreated to the corner, and Reigns delivered ten big clotheslines from the corner, then finished with a big boot. He set up for the Superman punch. Elias jumped on the apron. Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch instead.
Ziggler caught Reigns with a Zig Zag from behind. Reigns kicked out at two. He set up for a super kick as Reigns returned to his feet. Ziggler charged, but Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch for a near fall. Reigns shook the ropes to rile up the crowd. Drew McIntyre pulled Ziggler from the ring.
Reigns got a running start and dove over the top rope onto McIntyre, Elias, and Ziggler. Shane ran into the ring. Reigns turned his focus to McMahon. Ziggler spun Roman around and gave him a super kick.
Kevin Owens ran into the ring and grabbed Shane, delivering a Stunner. He left the ring and hopped over the barricade, running through the crowd. Meanwhile, Ziggler tossed Reigns back in the ring and tried for another Zig Zag. Reigns threw him off and hit a spear for a three count.
WINNER: Roman Reigns in 9:00
The camera cut to Kevin Owens standing in the crowd and went off the air abruptly.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Pretty standard Roman Reigns match, though it was nice to finally see him on his “home” brand for once. It seemed like they were going to throw the match out at the end, but I’m glad they wound up giving it a finish even tight against the clock. Owens’ final run in of the night wasn’t a huge surprise, but it garnered a great reaction from the crowd. His arc on tonight’s show is definitely the largest talking point.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Plenty of ups and downs this week. I really like what’s going on in the tag team division, and I’m really excited to see antihero Kevin Owens continue to take shape. Hopefully, at some point, it leads to a drastic reduction in Shane McMahon exposure. Other things continue to lack, namely the women’s division. Good to see Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura back on the show, with the latter getting a much needed strong win.