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Kevin Owens Promo – HIT: Smackdown started off well with Kevin Owens talking about beating Shane McMahon at SummerSlam and looking ahead to King of the Ring which starts next week. The fans are definitely getting behind Owens as a top babyface star right now. He is performing well and connecting with the audience. I loved how upset he got when Shane’s music hit. Unfortunately, the opening segment went downhill at that point. SS should have been the end of the Owens vs. Shane feud. The babyface got the win over the heel at the 2nd biggest PPV of the year. End of the story. But, now it is going to drag on. I get that Owens’ character is supposed to be a blue color, family man, so the idea of him getting fined $100,000 is supposed to anger his fans. But, I don’t know how much he makes. Does he make $1 million? That’s a tenth of his salary. That’s high. Does he make $5 million? That means he can afford the fine more. It just doesn’t hit me that strongly. I don’t care that much about it. And then you get lame follow up later in the show. So, while Owens’ promo was certainly a Hit, the rest of the opening wasn’t.
Moon vs. Flair – HIT: This was a good match between Ember Moon and Charlotte Flair. Flair took the momentum she had coming out of her victory over Trish Stratus at SS and built upon that with a win over Moon here. Moon now has two high profile losses in a row, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here with her. She has so much talent and a great look, but she hasn’t had a chance to really show a character. We don’t know anything about her. Hopefully, this will lead to something for her in that area, since she showed here how good she is in the ring in this match. Charlotte is presumably being set up to be Bayley’s next challenger for her Women’s Title which is ok.
Reigns vs. Murphy – HIT: This was the second WWE match this week where a former 205 Live star got a huge bump for losing in an excellent match to a big established star. This time it was Buddy Murphy getting his first Smackdown match ever (it is crazy that he switched to SD in the Superstar Shakeup in April and it took until August for him to get a match) and having a great showing against Roman Reigns. It felt in the moment like a star making match for Murphy. It was even better than McIntyre vs. Alexander from Raw. This was a very good match that also ended with the smaller wrestler taking a crazy bump off of the bigger guy’s finisher with Murphy doing a great job of selling Reigns’ spear.
Joe vs. Owens – MISS: This was the second Miss for a Samoa Joe match this week. It isn’t his fault, but the way he is being booked. He is too good to be a Shane McMahon lackey. Having him in the match against Owens defined his role in that way. Having him win only due to the crooked guest referee Elias cheating and doing the fastest 3 count in wrestling history didn’t do him any favors. That didn’t make him look strong. This was another step in the continuation of this bad extension of the Owens vs. Shane feud. I’m so sick of the heel authority figures and their crooked referees and all of that crap.
Bryan & Rowan Interrogate Murphy – MISS: I wrote above that it felt in the moment like a star making match for Murphy. The reason I wrote it that way is that later on in the show, in this moment, he didn’t feel like a star. Here, he just looked weak in getting tossed around by Rowan and admitting he lied about Rowan being involved in the attack on Reigns. This felt like WWE was undoing the good that they had done in the match. Also, I just don’t care about this whole mystery storyline. It isn’t interesting to me. I don’t care who is trying to murder Reigns. So you get this scene and then the final scene with a hook for next week to find out what Daniel Bryan knows which didn’t work for me.
Main Event – HIT: It made sense to have Randy Orton challenge Kofi Kingston to add themselves to the main event tag match which was scheduled to be New Day vs. The Revival. The six man tag that followed was a strong main event which set up Revival to be the next challengers for New Day’s Smackdown Tag Team Titles, while continuing the feud between Orton and Kingston over the WWE Title.
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Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.