WWE returned to Las Vegas on Tuesday night for one of the biggest SmackDown shows in recent memory.
In addition to the television return of Vince McMahon, the show featured a U.S. title bout between AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger, a women's title match between Natalya and Naomi, and a tag team championship contest between the Usos and the New Day.
So did the show live up to the hype? Did a highly anticipated broadcast fall short? Where do we go from here?
Read on for five things we learned coming out of a massive edition of WWE SmackDown Live.
1. Tye Dillinger Can Go
Tye Dillinger got another shot at AJ Styles' WWE U.S. title. He was the first (and still only) challenger of Styles' incarnation of the open challenge.
The two had a very good match, which had many of the fans fooled that they might be seeing a title change.
After the match, Corbin came out and attacked both Dillinger and Styles. He got on the microphone and said that next week, he'd be the opponent during the open challenge. So once again, we have an announced challenger in a segment that was originally built on surprises. Oh well.
2. That Jinder Mahal Segment Was Awkward
They had WWE Champion Jinder Mahal come out with the Singhs and mock photographs of Shinsuke Nakamura on the titantron. You know, the funny faces Nakamura tends to make.
This was about as unfunny as it sounds. The Singhs were of course dying laughing, falling to the mat in hysteria, while you could hear a pin drop in the arena. I'm not sure why everyone in WWE has to be scripted to be a comedian, but this was very unfunny and just atrocious. It culminated with Mahal saying Nakamura looks like Pikachu having a seizure, as the Singhs walked around doing Nakamura's crossed hands and shaking about that he does during his entrance.
Eventually, Mahal turned the table and asked the crowd if they were laughing (they weren't). Apparently, the writers thought the crowd would be because Mahal then used that as justification for telling Shinsuke how fast the crowd will turn on him. Again, that would have made sense if the crowd was actually laughing.
3. The Natalya Reign Continues
Natalya and Naomi had their SummerSlam rematch this week on SmackDown, and it honestly wasn't much to write home about.
These two are obviously two of the better athletes in the women's division, with Natalya the best and most experienced ring general among the WWE ladies. Even so, they weren't given much time on what was a jam-packed edition of SmackDown this week. Natalya won with one of the most awkward looking Sharpshooters I have ever seen.
Where does Natalya go from here? There's still the teased challenge from Miss Money In The Bank Carmella. Will she cash in soon? Often times these challenges are drawn out for several months, but it's difficult to imagine Natalya getting too lengthy of a title reign ,and the need to capitalize on Carmella's momentum probably means a switch is coming sooner rather than later.
4. New Tag Team Champions
The New Day and the Usos absolutely tore the house down at SummerSlam. Some would even say they stole the show given expectations coming in. Therefore I was really looking forward to this rematch on SmackDown.
The teams didn't disappoint. They were given a good amount of television time for a two hour broadcast and packed all kinds of action into the bout which ended the first hour and lead us into the second hour of the show.
It was promoted as a Las Vegas Street Fight, and they packed several Kendo stick shots and a big fall through the table into the match. In the end, we saw the New Day capture their fourth WWE tag team championship. The question, will these two teams continue their feud, or will we see something fresh?
The only tag team on the horizon that might have championship potential is Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, yet they are a babyface tag team, so a feud with New Day doesn't seem likely. The lack of tag team depth on SmackDown is really showing as we look to the future in this division.
5. Vince McMahon Is A Crazy Man
If you missed SmackDown, you absolutely most watch the closing segment. Vince McMahon's return turned into one of the most memorable segments on the show in months.
This was the first time that McMahon and Owens have shared the ring together for a face off like this. If you've watched the recently released Kevin Owens documentary, you probably realize why seeing them together was so interesting. For many years, people thought Owens (Kevin Steen at the time) would never be signed to WWE because of McMahon's typical criteria for signing talent (athletic body types). McMahon even worked in a line along those lines Tuesday night. After Owens had mentioned respect, McMahon asked him how he has any respect when he looks in the mirror.
The segment evolved into McMahon announcing that Shane and Owens will face each other in a Hell In A Cell match because Shane "didn't finish the job." McMahon rebuked Owens lawsuit claims by basically saying he has enough money to fight it off and bankrupt Kevin in the process.
Eventually, the segment got physical when Owens headbutted McMahon, drawing blood. He hit some punches, a big superkick, and even an absolutely insane frog splash onto the 72 year old chairman. Stephanie McMahon came out to check on her father's well being as the show ended.
Everything about the Shane/Owens storyline has been fantastic. It absolutely blows away the stories going on surrounding any of the championships on either RAW or SmackDown at this point. We should be in for another great couple weeks of television, at least surrounding this storyline, until Hell In A Cell in early October.