LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 8/13: Alt perspective, detailed coverage of Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy, Bryan & Rowan’s declaration of innocence, New Day vs. Orton/Revival, more

By Brandon LeClair, PWTorch contributor


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LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
AUGUST 13, 2019
TORONTO, CANADA AT SCOTIABANK ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

-The show opened on a wide shot of the Scotiabank Arena as Tom Phillips welcomed the audience to the show. Kevin Owens’ music played and he walked onto the stage to a sizable ovation. The announcers discussed Owens’ victory over Shane McMahon at Summerslam.

Owens leaned against the ropes and soaked in a loud “Kevin Owens” chant. It sustained for quite a while. Owens finally spoke, saying yesterday was the five year anniversary of him signing his first WWE contract. He said he’s created moments he never thought he’d get to experience. Kevin said he’s gotten to face some of the best of all time, but Summerslam will still go down as a night he’ll remember forever. Owens said his wife, kids, and family were at ringside and shared the experience with him.

Owens said they all got to see him kick Shane’s ass. He said he’ll remember hitting Shane with a stunner in the center of the ring the most. Owens said now that that’s over, he’s setting his sights on the King of the Ring tournament. Owens said he’s thrilled that it’s back, and he’s thrilled to be a competitor in it. “Winning the King of the Ring tournament would mean just as much to me as any title I’ve already won,” Owens said.

Owens recounted legends who have won King of the Ring – Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Edge, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, and more. He said he’s going to add his name to the list. Shane McMahon’s music cut him off.

Shane walked out onto the stage slowly. Owens took a knee in the ring, then sat down, frustrated. “Why?” he asked repeatedly. The crowd pelted Shane with a strong “asshole” chant.”There’s no reason to be calling Kevin Owens that,” Shane said.

Shane called Owens a lowlife and showed images of KO giving Shane a low blow at Summerslam. The crowd chanted “you deserve it.” Shane asked Kevin if that’s what a man does. “If I’m going to be lectured about being a man, it’s not going to be from someone who used to be in something called the Mean Street Posse,” Kevin retorted. Owens said being a man means doing whatever it takes to win, especially if your job is on the line. He said in this particular situation, being a man just means “shutting your stupid face.”

Shane said Owens is not a man, and he’ll always be known as a cheater. He said Owens should be in the unemployment line and the fact that he isn’t makes him want to walk down to the ring and beat the crap out of him. “I’ve got my fighting boots on buddy,” Kevin said. Shane said he planned to show restraint, but that Kevin would be in action later tonight.

Shane said he came out to talk about what Owens did to “poor Elias.” He showed footage of Owens beating down Elias with a chair at Summerslam. Shane announced that Elias was so traumatized that he’s been given the night off, and the 24/7 title rule has been suspended for the evening. Shane said KO attacked Elias with malice, and Elias was an official representing the company. Shane said WWE has to protect its officials.

Shane said he’s been thinking a lot about how best to protect its officials. Shane told Kevin he was fining him $100,000. Owens said $100,000 may be nothing to Shane, but to him, it’s his family’s future. He told Shane to reconsider. Shane said “nope”, dropped the mic, and left.

Owens stood in the ring seething for a moment. He rolled out of the ring and stormed to the back.

(LeClair’s Analysis: The first half of this was really good. Owens was fired up, and the crowd was excited to see him. Kevin is playing the everyman exceptionally well and it was really great to hear to him get excited about King of the Ring and talk up its lineage. Shane’s music kind of sucked the air out of the room and people quickly realized their rivalry is seemingly not over. While I’d like to see them move on, I did like the touch of Owens getting visibly upset over the dollar amount of the fine. $100,000 should be a big deal to most people, and Owens’ making a comment of Shane’s perceived exorbitant wealth compared to that of the wrestlers only served to highlight his babyface persona more against heel authority.)

-The announcers teased New Day vs. the Revival and Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy. both scheduled for later in the evening.

-Charlotte Flair and Ember Moon were each shown walking down hallways on a backstage split screen. Graves said they’d face each other next.

-Kevin Owens was shown storming down a backstage hallway and barging into Shane’s dressing room. Shane warned Owens against taking a swing at him, because he’s on the show acting in “official capacity.” He told Owens he’d sue him and take every dime from him. Owens slapped the coffee table. “You know what, let’s just make it $105,000,” Owens said. He picked up a barstool and launched it at the monitor. The monitor cut out but didn’t break, and the barstool just bounced off it. It didn’t look great.

-In the arena, Ember Moon and Charlotte Flair were already in the ring as Charlotte’s music played. Corey Graves said Kevin Owens needed to keep his temper under control

(1) EMBER MOON vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR

Flair and Moon locked up. Charlotte turned over an arm lock. Ember broke free and Charlotte knocked her down. Charlotte slapped on a head lock. Ember broke free. Charlotte gave her a shoulder tackle and Ember stumbled into the ropes. Ember caught Charlotte in a waist lock. Charlotte elbowed out of it quickly.

Both women bounced off the ropes. Ember leap frogged Charlotte, then caught her with a head scissor takeover. Charlotte retreated to the outside. Charlotte jawed with the crowd as Ember begged the referee to get Charlotte back in the ring. Ember charged to dive out at Charlotte, but Flair caught her with an elbow. Charlotte tried to grab Ember, but Ember kicked out her legs and sent Charlotte crashing to the floor. She hopped up onto the top rope and dove to the outside onto Charlotte.

Ember tossed Charlotte back in the ring and covered her. Charlotte kicked out at one. The fight spilled to the outside again. Ember and Charlotte traded punches. Charlotte overcame Moon and threw her into the LED board attached to the ring. Phillips sent the show to picture-in-picture commercial.

On the small screen, Flair tossed Moon back inside. She slammed Moon into the turnbuckle. Out of the corner, Ember tried to give Charlotte a power slam. Charlotte slid down her back and gave her a big elbow to the back of the head. She taunted the crowd and stomped away at Moon. Charlotte slapped a reverse headlock on Ember. She held it for a moment, then gave her an elbow across the chest, dropping her to the mat.

Charlotte kipped up and did the signature Flair strut. She kicked Ember in the stomach and lifted her for a back drop, but Ember rolled out of it, failing to stick the landing. She recovered and rolled Charlotte into a clunky sunset flip pin for a two count. Both women returned to their feet. Charlotte kicked Ember down again.

Charlotte kicked Ember to the outside. Ember sold her knee. Charlotte climbed to the outside as the show returned to full screen. Flair tossed Moon back in the ring and began attacking the injured leg. She went for the figure four, but Ember kicked her away. Charlotte turned Moon over into a Boston Crab. The crowd chanted “Y2J.” Ember crawled slowly and made it to the ropes. Charlotte broke the hold and attacked the leg again.

Ember caught Charlotte with a kick to buy herself some time. She caught Charlotte with a knee to the chin. Ember ducked a big boot and caught Charlotte with a side kick. She knocked down Charlotte with a big right hand. She hit a bicycle kick for a two count. Ember continued selling the leg.

Charlotte retreated to the corner. Ember ducked her shot and jumped off the bottom rope into a codebreaker for a near fall. Moon ascended to the top rope. Charlotte ripped her off by the hair. She charged at Moon for a spear, but Moon ducked and sent her crashing into the turnbuckle. Moon covered her for a two count. Moon hit a super kick for another two count.

Both women returned to their feet. Moon caught Charlotte with a kick. Charlotte hit a big boot on the rebound. She locked in the figure four, then bridged into the figure eight. Ember tapped almost immediately.

WINNER: Charlote Flair in 12:00

(LeClair’s Analysis: The early portion of this match was pretty rough, with several semi-botched spots and just generally slow pacing. It picked up in the latter stages, though, and the back half wound up being mostly enjoyable. Charlotte gets her win back after losing to Ember a few weeks ago, and I assume this signifies the end of Ember Moon’s brief push. Unfortunately, she’s failed to connect at pretty much all levels and her program with Bayley didn’t really do either woman any favors. Charlotte seems like a logical choice to move into the title picture, though we’ve seen that feud done ad nauseam.) 

-The announcers teased the Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy match and quickly showed footage of the pair of attacks on Roman Reigns.

-Daniel Bryan and Rowan were shown walking down a hallway. Byron Saxton said they’d be out to address the allegations against them next.

-Back from commercial, the announcers against discussed the attacks on Roman Reigns and threw to additional footage of the attacks, as well as Buddy Murphy’s accusation and Daniel Bryan and Rowan’s reactions.

-Back live in the arena, Daniel Bryan and Rowan stepped onto the stage. Bryan said there’s no question that someone is out to get Roman Reigns. “We had nothing to do with the car accident, and we had nothing to do with the horrific backstage accident,” Bryan said. He said Buddy Murphy falsely accused Rowan, and be association, him. He called Buddy Murphy a liar.

Bryan said he doesn’t blame Buddy. He said everyone in the crowd would lie and cave if Roman Reigns had their face up against a wall. “He had to give a name, the problem is Buddy Murphy gave the wrong name,” Bryan concluded. The crowd chanted “it was you.”

“You all think that Rowan and I did it?” Bryan screamed at the audience. They chanted “yes.” Bryan said that’s what’s wrong with the crowd, and with society. Bryan said someone tells a lie, it spreads on social media, and suddenly it becomes the truth. Bryan was incensed now, screaming. “I hate to disappoint you,” he said, “but Rowan and I had nothing to do with these incidents.” He said they’d prove it tonight.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Bryan was great here. He’s giving off the vibe of someone slowly descending into madness. His conclusion about a lie being spread on social media only to become truth was a nice homage to the reality playing out in America on a regular basis. The crowd seemed willing to play along and get under his skin, and Bryan played off of it well.)

-Backstage in his dressing room, Shane looked at his broken monitor. Sarah Schreiber walked in to ask Shane who Kevin’s opponent would be. Samoa Joe wandered on screen. Shane smiled and pointed at Joe. Joe said he’s going to help Kevin Owens understand that Samoa Joe is the “only bad ass around here.” Shane said Joe is going to teach Kevin a lesson.

-Roman Reigns was shown walking down a hallway. Corey Graves teased that his match with Buddy Murphy would be next.

-Aleister Black sat in a darkened room. He stared silently at the camera. “I wonder who’s got a debt to pay,” Black said. Black said everyone must pay a debt. “Mine shall be paid in my self inflicted anguish, for such is my burden,” Black said. He begged someone to “knock, knock, knock” on his door.

(LeClair’s Analysis: I’m really growing tired of this. Black is an impeccable in ring talent and he’s shown an ability to cut an impassioned, solid promo too. These wordy soliloquy’s are not going to help him connect with the audience. Let him kick some people’s heads off already.)

-Back in the arena, Buddy Murphy was already in the ring, awaiting his opponent. Roman Reigns music hit and he stepped out onto the stage, riled up and shouting at the crowd. The announcers discussed Roman Reigns’ recent situation as he headed to the ring.

(2) BUDDY MURPHY vs. ROMAN REIGNS

The announcers talked up Buddy Murphy and what it could mean if he were to defeat Roman Reigns. Roman locked up with Murphy and backed him into the corner. Murphy slapped Reigns in the face. Reigns caught him with a big uppercut.

Murphy bounced back and caught Reigns with a high knee for a two count. He backed Reigns into the corner and stomped him to the mat. Reigns rolled to the outside. Murphy met Reigns on the outside and tossed him into the ringside barrier multiple times. He slammed Roman’s head off the announcers desk. Reigns caught Murphy with a right hand then tossed Murphy onto the announcers table. Murphy bounced off of it onto the floor.

Roman retrieved Buddy and tossed him into the ring. Murphy rolled out through the other side. Reigns stalked him slowly, then charged for the drive by. Murphy moved, then tossed Reigns into the steel steps He jumped off the steps and hit Reigns with double knees to the face. Reigns immediately clutched at his nose. Phillips sent the show to commercial.

Buddy Murphy had Roman in a headlock on the mat when the show returned from break. Reigns powered to his feet and broke the hold. He rolled Murphy up in a school boy for a two count. Reigns maintained his grip and scooped Murphy up, dropping him for a sit out power bomb. He covered Murphy for a two count.

Reigns and Murphy traded punches as the second hour of the show began. Reigns caught him with a trio of big clotheslines. He backed Murphy into the corner and hit him with his signature corner clotheslines, followed by a big boot. Reigns set up for the Superman punch. Murphy ducked it. Reigns caught him with an elbow. Roman charged, but Buddy shot him shoulder first into the ring post. He rolled up Reigns and put his feet on the middle rope. Reigns kicked out at two.

Reigns tried to clothesline Murphy over the top rope, but Murphy pulled the rope and sent Roman tumbling to the floor. Murphy charged and flipped over the top rope onto Roman. The referee began to count with both men down on the outside.

Murphy returned to his feet first and rolled Roman into the ring. He headed to the top rope. Murphy dove and caught Roman with flying double knees for a near fall. Murphy jabbed at Roman’s ribs then kicked him in the midsection. He went for a running knee strike, but Roman ducked and caught Murphy with an uppercut. Murphy caught Reigns with super kick. Reigns staggered, but popped back with a Superman punch for a near fall.

Reigns looked frustrated. He played to the crowd and set up for the spear. He charged, but Murphy caught him with a knee to the face. He hit the knee two more times. He hit Reigns with a brain buster for an incredibly close near fall.

Murphy climbed to the top rope. Reigns cut him off. He gave Murphy an uppercut that sent Murphy off the top rope and crashing to the floor. Reigns rolled to the outside, got a running start and hit a Superman punch after leaping off the steel steps. He tossed Murphy back in the ring and hit a spear the flipped Murphy inside out. He covered him for a three count.

WINNER: Roman Reigns in 13:00

Reigns gave Murphy a nod of respect after the match. The announcers talked up Murphy’s effort.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Great match, worth going out of your way to see. This felt like a direct response to Drew McIntyre vs. Cedric Alexander last night. This, to me, was one of Reigns’ best efforts in quite a while. Coming in, I expected minimal offense for Buddy and was shocked to see him not only stand toe to toe with Roman, but get the better of him throughout much of the match. That near fall coming out of the triple knees and brain buster combo was excellent, and the crowd totally bought into it. That’s saying something, given how much a given the result of this one was coming in. Buddy Murphy turned a lot of heads tonight.)

-Backstage, Kayla Braxton welcomed The Revival. She asked why they opted to challenge The New Day tonight. Dash and Dawson said they got caught up in the 24/7 shenanigans last night, and afterwards, realized it was a slap in the face to them and the entire tag team division. They placed blame on New Day, for being “video game playing pancake pushers.” They accused them of ruining tag team wrestling.

The Revival said they’re going to show New Day why they’ve never been able to beat them. They said they’re going to show New Day a real “punch line.”

(LeClair’s Analysis: Good promo. I like that The Revival are quickly pivoting out of the 24/7 ridiculousness and calling it a slap in the face. I was a bit worried they were about to be relegated to that division, but this quickly put that fear to rest.)

-Kevin Owens was shown walking down a hallway backstage. Tom Phillips teased his match with Samoa Joe, coming up after the break.

-Kofi Kingston and Big E were shown consoling Xavier Woods backstage. Xavier said he’s been trying to get WWE to bring King of the Ring back since he got signed, and he’s not even in it. Kayla Braxton walked on screen to ask them about The Revival’s comments.

Big E said they haven’t ruined anything. “Relax, we’ve probably ruined a few things,” Xavier said. They mentioned ruining dinners, Christmas, and an “adult circumcision.” They all grimaced at that one. “But we’ve never ruined the tag team division,” Big E concluded. They said they handle business in the tag division, the same way Kofi handles business against Randy Orton.

Kayla turned to Kofi, asking why he attacked Orton with a kendo stick at Summerslam. Kofi said that, knowing Orton and his history, looking at his family is crossing a line. He said he’d do it again. He said its all about family, and tonight he’d be showing support for Xavier and Big E by being at ringside when they face the Revival.

(LeClair’s Analysis: This is a tiny point, but I like that they set up a tag team match and then built it within the confines of the show by having one team concisely and logically point out why they wanted the match, and then let the other team respond to their comments. This is an easy thing to do that costs no money, and adds intrigue to an otherwise randomly selected tag match.)

-Samoa Joe headed to the ring. The announcers said he was looking to ruin Kevin Owens’ evening. Kevin Owens marched to the ring next. Joe stared him down as the announcers discussed the merit of Shane’s imposed fine on Kevin.

Just as the bell was about to ring, Greg Hamilton announced that Elias would be the special guest enforcer. Elias ran down to ringside in a referee shirt.

(3) SAMOA JOE vs. KEVIN OWENS

The bell rang and Owens dropkicked Joe into the corner immediately. Joe quickly battled back and punched Owens repeatedly. Owens popped back with a big clothesline. Joe rolled to the outside. Owens went to dive on Joe, but Elias stepped in his way. Joe took out Owens at the legs. Phillips sent the show to picture-in-picture commercial.

On the small screen Joe kicked at a downed Owens. Kevin hobbled to his feet but Joe took him down with a big back elbow. Owens punched his way out of the corner, but Joe overpowered him with several elbows to the chin. He gave Owens a snap mare and cranked at Owens’ neck.

Owens fought to his feet as the show returned to full screen. Joe chopped hs chest, then took him down with a headbutt. Owens hit a big dropkick off the middle rope, followed by a running senton for a two count. Both men returned to their feet. Owens knocked Joe into the corner and charged. Joe caught him with his corner STO for a two count.

Joe lifted Owens onto the turnbuckle and set him up for a superplex, but Owens punched Joe to the mat. Owens hit a diving senton for a two count. Joe returned to his feet. Owens went for the stunner, but Joe caught him in the Coquina Clutch.

Owens used his momentum to toss Joe over his back to break the hold. Joe charged at Owens, but Kevin caught him with a pop up power bomb. He covered Joe, but Elias pulled the referee out of the ring at two. Elias got in the ring and into Owens’ face. Samoa Joe rolled up Owens from behind and Elias slapped the mat for an incredibly quick three count.

WINNER: Samoa Joe in 6:00

Elias and Samoa Joe retreated quickly. Kevin Owens screamed in frustration. The announcers wondered how Owens could get over this and regroup for King of the Ring.

(LeClair’s Analysis: This was decent for what it was. If nothing else, it made me want to see these two have a longer match at some point. There’s so many possibilities for KO now that he’s a babyface, so this is really just the tip of the iceberg. If Owens is going to lose right now, full blown shenanigans like this are the most effective way to do it without him losing any heat.)

-A camera followed Daniel Bryan and Rowan backstage. They went into the Smackdown locker room and told everyone to leave, the same way Roman Reigns did last week. They cornered Buddy Murphy and made him sit down. They sat down close to him.

Bryan said they know Murphy lied. He said they need him to admit that he lied. He kept repeating himself, getting closer to Murphy’s face. “Do you not see the damage you’ve done to Rowan and I’s reputation?” Bryan asked Murphy said nothing. Rowan gave him a headbutt. He threw him into the lockers and tossed him across the room. Bryan kept telling Buddy he needed to admit what he’d done.

Rowan put his elbow in Buddy’s neck, the same way Roman did last week. Buddy, under duress, said he lied. “I really just hate liars,” Bryan said. Rowan tossed Murphy across the room again. Bryan and Rowan stood reflectively as the shot faded out too commercial.

(LeClair’s Analysis: I suspect this leads to Roman coming to Murphy’s aid in the near future, which could make up for the oddball behavior to close last week’s show. Rowan mimicking all of Roman’s actions from last week was a nice touch, and Bryan’s descent into madness continued. This was effective.)

-Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage. He happened upon a suited worker. He asked where Daniel Bryan and Rowan’s dressing room was. The worker pointed him in the correct direction. “This is gonna be good, ” Saxton declared.

-At the announcers desk, Tom Phillips talked up King of the Ring and threw to a video package touting its history.

-Big E’s voice filled the arena as he introduced New Day. “I feel like I just got pinched by happiness and hugged by joy,” Saxton said, inducing immediate cringe. New Day danced onto the stage Kofi tossed out pancakes as they made their way to the ring. The announcers threw to highlights of Kofi’s match with Randy Orton at Summerslam.

Randy Orton’s music hit and Orton walked out slowly with a microphone. Orton asked how Kofi could be out there with his boys after running away from a fight at Summerslam. Orton said everyone knows why he ran away. “You can’t beat me, you haven’t been able to beat me,” Orton said. He said Kofi ran away from a fight in front of his wife and two sons. He said Kofi’s sons are going to ask why he took the easy way out. Orton said Kofi’s going to have to tell them that he can’t beat Randy Orton.

Orton said he’ll give him one more opportunity to prove him wrong. He suggested instead of sitting on the sidelines, he and Kofi join the match and make it a six man tag. Kofi nodded in approval. The show went to commercial.

The Revival were at ringside when the show returned from commercial. They joined Orton as Saxton talked about the “unexpected turn of events” leading to a six man tag team main event.

(4) THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. RANDY ORTON & THE REVIVAL (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)

Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton began the match. Orton teased locking up with Kofi but tagged in Scott Dawson. Kofi and Dawson locked up. Kofi slapped on a headlock, but Dawson shot him off the ropes. Kofi ducked a shot and hit a big dropkick for a one count. Kofi tagged in Big E.

Big E took down Dawson for a one count, then tagged in Woods. Big E and Xavier executed a wheelbarrow splash. Dawson recovered and chopped Woods into the corner. He tagged in Dash Wilder. Woods ducked multiple clothesline attempts from Wilder and hit him with a head scissor takeover. He dropkicked Dash and covered him for a two count.

Woods rolled up Dash, not realizing Dawson had tagged himself in. Woods let go and grabbed Dawson into the same roll up. Dash broke it up before leaving the ring. Dawson worked over Xavier’s arm. He tagged in Dash, who stomped away at Woods. Woods battled back and caught Dash with a rolling elbow.

Dash retreated to his corner and tagged in Dawson, who cut of Woods as he tried to make a tag. He tossed Xavier to the outside. Randy Orton gave Woods a backdrop onto the announcers desk. Tom Phillips sent the show to commercial.

Dawson had an arm lock on Woods when the show returned from break. Xavier was reaching desperately to his corner. Dawson gave him a back drop for a two count. Dawson taunted Xavier Woods and continued to work over his arm. Woods battled to his feet and countered Dawson, sending him crashing into the turnbuckle. Dawson tagged in Dash, but Xavier reached Big E. Big E took out the Revival and then knocked Orton off the apron. He gave Dash two belly to belly suplexes.

Big E shot off the ropes and hit a big splash on Dash. Dawson hopped onto the apron to distract Big E. Dash caught Big E with a roll up for a two count. Big E set up Dash for the Big Ending and tagged in Kofi Kingston. Dawson returned to the ring, pulled Dash off Big E’s shoulders and the duo hit a double DDT. Kofi flew off the top and hit both members of the Revival with clotheslines.

Kofi hit Wilder with the Boom Drop. He set up for Trouble in Paradise. Randy Orton slid in the ring and tried to RKO Kofi. Kofi blocked it and dropkicked Orton. Kofi tagged in Xavier Woods. Kingston dove over the top rope onto Randy Orton.

Woods fought out of a double team attempt from The Revival. He fired shots at Dash. Scott Dawson got a blind tag on Dash. Woods ducked an attempt from Dash, but got caught with the Shatter Machine. Dawson covered Woods for the three count.

WINNERS: Randy Orton & The Revival in 12:00

Big E returned to the ring to help Xavier Woods. The Revival attacked him. Kofi intercepted Wilder off the top rope with a big drop kick. He caught Dawson with Trouble in Paradise. Randy Orton popped back in the ring and hit Kofi with an RKO. Orton dropped to a knee and lifted Kofi’s head, then thought better of his idea. He instead picked up Xavier Woods and have him an RKO. Then he turned to Big E. The Revival picked up Big E for Orton. Orton hit Big E with an RKO. Orton grabbed Kofi and gave him another RKO. He dropped to a knee and mouthed “stupid” at Kingston.

(LeClair’s Analysis: The final minutes of this one were fun and chaotic, but the several minutes of warm work on Xavier Woods dragged on. It’s the usual six man tag formula WWE utilizes on TV. Still, I’m glad they set up this whole match logically and that it ultimately served to further the angle between Kofi and Randy. The announcers were quick to point out that The Revival earned a pin fall win of the tag champions, so I’d expect them to be next in line for a title shot.)

-Daniel Bryan and Rowan were shown talking backstage in their dressing room. Roman Reigns walked in. Bryan said they’d been waiting for him. Bryan told Reigns to apologize. Bryan repeated himself, telling Reigns to do it before this turned ugly. Bryan said he and Rowan have been conducting their own investigation. He said they’d bring Reigns the culprit next week. Reigns looked skeptical. The show faded to black.

(LeClair’s Analysis: This is a decent hook for next week’s show. Bryan was really entertaining tonight, and it was smart of them to have Roman keep his cool during this segment, despite looking as though he was about to lash out in frustration.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a largely solid show anchored by the excellent match between Roman Reigns and Buddy Murphy, and the continuing developments regarding the two attacked carried out against him. Daniel Bryan was excellent tonight. We got a main event which, though not particularly exciting from a match quality perspective, was logically booked and built within the confines of the show and served to further the WWE Championship storyline. Additionally, Kevin Owens took another step forward in his babyface role and we got a small preview of what we could get to see out of him as he begins facing heel opposition not named Shane McMahon. On the downside, it looks like his feud with Shane will continue, at least in the interim.

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