Ahead of the go home show before Hell in a Cell, SmackDown Live paid tribute to the lives lost on September 11th 2001. Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review.


– Jeff Hardy beat Shinsuke Nakamura via DQ.

– Charlotte Flair defeated Sonya Deville.

– Rusev Day are No. 1 contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team titles after defeating The Bar.

– Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas beat R-Truth.

– Brie Bella defeated Maryse via DQ.


Ah hell no:

With the crowd still in a sombre mood, you would think the producers of SmackDown Live would have thought it a good idea to get everyone hyped up again. Known more for his jaw-dropping stunts rather than his promos, it was Jeff Hardy who would make his way to the ring and draw little noise from the crowd as he declared he will vanquish his demons against Orton at Hell in a Cell. The seriousness of the promo was then completely overlooked as he followed it up by telling the audience to enjoy the show. Cheers, Jeff!

The match that followed was okay but saw no story development for the United States champion, Nakamura. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Nakamura and climbed to the top rope for the Swanton Bomb only to be knocked off by an interfering Orton, causing the disqualification. Orton attacked him with a chair before Hardy turned it around, using the chair himself and finishing off with a Swanton Bomb.

In a desperate attempt to still give her airtime, Carmella has been partnered up with R-Truth ahead of their scheduled pairing for the second Mixed Match Challenge. Similarly, going from one contrived story to another, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and Zelina Vega were out for a pointless match against the newly formed duo which was nothing more than a waste of time for a star on the rise such as Almas. In the match, Almas rolled up Truth after he was distracted by Carmella attacking Zelina Vega.

Last nights main event between Brie and Maryse looked to give a more substantial element to their parts ahead of the couples mixed tag match at Hell in a Hell. As Bella locked in the Yes Lock, Miz pulled her out of the ring off Maryse to cause the disqualification. This led to a brawl between Bryan and Miz, where the latter threw Bryan out of the ring and into Bella. The show came to a close with Brie giving Miz a big old knuckle sammich.

I’m just going to get this over and done with before this story starts to pick up again, but Bries involvement in her husband’s feud with the Miz thus far hasn’t been great. There have been a couple of awkward moments – possibly down to ring rust – but the storytelling seems to lack the same sincerity it did when it was just about the Miz and Bryan. Maryse and Brie simply don’t have the same history that their respective husbands do so, at this stage in the narrative, it feels as though the wives have been brought in to make the feud stretch till at least until Survivor Series.


It’s a YES from me:

There was a promo package where AJ Styles talked inside an empty arena about what he’s going to do to Samoa Joe on Sunday. This was followed up by yet another intensely brilliant promo from Joe. With his own Jackanory reading of his story, “Night Night, AJ”, this told the fairytale rhyme of a Samoan Submission Specialist on a heroic journey to dethrone The Phenomenal One with the happily ever after that Styles would return to his family soon. Seriously grade A stuff from Samoa Joe proving he is not only a great storyteller but a great author too!

Charlotte Flair accepted a match against Sonya Deville to prove to Becky Lynch why she is still the best in the division. Deville did well to try and pose herself as a credible threat to the SmackDown Women’s champion but in the end, tapped out to a Figure Eight. After the match, Becky Lynch in disguise attacked Charlotte and locked in a Dis-arm-her. Things have gotten personal between the former best friends, and with so much emotion behind her, it looks as if the crowd are fully behind the scorned Becky Lynch. With both women having a legitimate rationale in their motives, you aren’t alone in thinking that the face/heel dynamic has been completely turned on its head. And don’t for a second think that was deliberate storytelling from WWE. They’re not that clever.

After ‘Kramer Kingsman’ failed to interview Sheamus and Cesaro face-to-face, New Day watched from their own personal announce table as Rusev Day took on The Bar for the opportunity to challenge the SmackDown Tag Team champs at Hell in a Cell. Once again, Aiden English sacrificed himself and took a Brogue Kick, allowing Rusev to hit the Machka Kick for the win. Although the Bar have greater in-ring chemistry than Rusev Day, it is about time English and Rusev had the chance to prove their worth as an all-around entertaining trio (including Lana).


SmackDown’s Hell in a Cell Lineup:

– Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse.

– AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship.

– The New Day (c) vs Rusev Day for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

– Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match.

– Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver