As an on-screen authority figure in wrestling, you can do many things to make wrestlers' lives miserable. You can put them in impossible matches. You can strip wrestlers of titles. You can suspend them. However, as we found out at SmackDown Live on Tuesday night, the one thing you can't do is rain fists down upon them after being insulted.
Shane McMahon confronted Kevin Owens at the beginning of the show. After going through much of the same back-and-forth that we've seen in recent weeks, with Owens accusing McMahon of having it out for him, and McMahon insisting he's just trying to make things fair, things started to get personal. Owens started to bring family members into it, including McMahon's wife and kids. After being told not to mention his kids, Owens said that everyone would be better off if McMahon had died in July's helicopter crash off of Gilgo Beach, including his kids.
This caused Shane to lose it. He tackled Owens, throwing fists until Owens had to roll to the outside, where McMahon followed. He took Owens over the announce table, continuing to throw hammer fists. This continued until the agents and Daniel Bryan came out to pull him off, with Bryan looking concerned. Later in the night, Owens made it clear that he wasn't going to take it, telling Bryan that he would sue the company, and probably would press charges against McMahon. Bryan would later receive a call from someone, which caused him to go to the ring and call out McMahon. Bryan informed McMahon that Vince McMahon was on the phone, and Shane McMahon was indefinitely suspended for his actions.
We know were this is likely heading. Vince McMahon will be at the show next week to talk to Kevin Owens. Somehow it will be brought up how emasculating it was that Owens would get beat up by Shane, and Owens will allow Vince to reinstate Shane on the condition that they face off at Hell in a Cell. Pretty standard wrestling formula. But it does re-establish something that has been forgotten somewhat over the past year. Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle on Raw aren't completely in charge. They were put in place by Vince McMahon, and Vince can still be a character. An authority figure can't be the ruthless dictator Vince was. They have to follow some rules. And that's important, particularly if said authority figure is supposed to be a face, which has been a bit of a problem in this storyline.
While this makes sense in this storyline, it also works behind the scenes. With football starting back up, SmackDown Live is going to be incredibly important to fans in the United States. We know from past statements that they believe that Vince McMahon is an important character who can bring ratings. So to have him on Tuesday, even if it's only for an episode, reminds people that Tuesday is just as important as Monday.
So we'll get the return of Mr. McMahon next week. Hopefully there will be more to it than just setting up a match between Owens and Shane. But even if it's just that, it'll be fun to watch.
The Rest of Smackdown Live:
— Shinsuke Nakamura is officially the No. 1 contender once again. Why he had to earn a title shot again is still an unanswered question, but in the process he picked up a clean win over Randy Orton. In the past month, Nakamura has clean wins over Orton and John Cena. Say what you want about the way that Nakamura has been used on the main roster so far, but not many wrestlers can claim that feat. And Nakamura has shown what he can do in these big matches. Presumably he'll win in the Cell in October, and carry Smackdown through the fall.
— Dolph Ziggler finally made his "re-debut" after his odd backstage promos. What it ended up being is him doing various entrances (Cena's, Macho Man Randy Savage's and Naomi's) and then criticizing that anybody can do that, but not anyone can do what he does. While it was amusing to see him come out in a glow-in-the-dark outfit like Naomi, the segment fell flat. Yes, wrestling fans like characters. Is his point that he doesn't have a character? I'm not sure exactly what it was supposed to accomplish.
— James Ellsworth ended up costing Carmella a match against Natalya when he accidentally dropped the Money in the Bank briefcase in the ring. This caused Carmella to go on a verbal tirade against Ellsworth, eventually saying they were done. Ellsworth caught up with her in the back, begging her to take him back. She eventually agreed, but said that they'd do things her way before kissing and then slapping him.
— Baron Corbin beat Tye Dillinger in a very good match. After the match, AJ Styles went up to Dillinger backstage and said that he'd put the title on the line in Vegas next week against Dillinger. That will probably end in some sort of Corbin interference, but it's good to see some direction for Dillinger, even if it's temporary.
— Aiden English beat Sami Zayn with a surprise rollup.
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