Watch alternate angles of SmackDown LIVE's thrilling main event, a Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship between Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and the returning Chris Jericho.07/28/2017 - 11:15
John Cena takes on the fiery, young upstart Spanky on SmackDown.07/27/2017 - 16:15
Watch exclusive footage of The Usos ruining The New Day's SmackDown Tag Team Title Celebration on SmackDown LIVE.07/27/2017 - 12:00
WWE Top 10 takes you back to this week's SmackDown LIVE to revisit the show's most thrilling, physical and controversial moments.07/26/2017 - 13:45
SummerSlam opponents come face to face in a heated interview, while Ms. Money in the Bank, Carmella, lurks in the background and flaunts her contract.07/25/2017 - 21:15
"Eck’s Factor": SmackDown 9/16 analysis
Here are my takes on the big stories from Friday night’s episode of SmackDown that the WWE Universe is talking about on Facebook, Twitter and WWE.com.
Talking point: Edge returns to host “The Cutting Edge” with special guests World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and Mark Henry
Eck’s Factor: It was great to see The Rated-R Superstar on the show, which took place in his hometown of Toronto, Canada. In addressing the live crowd, engaging in a verbal battle with Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes and appearing in a backstage vignette with longtime friend Christian and former WWE Diva Trish Stratus, the retired 11-time World Champion reminded the WWE Universe why he is one of the most compelling and entertaining WWE Superstars of all time. It was in “The Cutting Edge” segment, however, in which Edge truly shined. He made good on his vow to call it like he saw it and ask the tough questions, which was a daunting task considering his guests were perhaps the two most intense and dangerous competitors in WWE in Orton and Henry.
Talking point: Mark Henry lays out Randy Orton yet again
Eck’s Factor: As soon as Edge officially concluded “The Cutting Edge,” Orton and Henry – who had both been warned earlier by SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long that there was a "no contact" rule in effect during the interview segment – started exchanging punches. On Long’s orders, several members of the locker room hit the ring in an attempt to break up the brawl, but keeping the two rivals away from each other was easier said than done. In the end, the physical confrontation ended in familiar fashion – with Henry clutching the World Heavyweight Title as he stood over a fallen Orton. Will that scene be repeated again Sunday when Henry challenges Orton for the title at Night of Champions? Normally, I wouldn't dare underestimate The Viper, but after what we've witnessed the past few weeks, I’d say the odds of Henry becoming World Heavyweight Champion Sunday are very good. What do you think? WWE's Facebook page
Talking point: Will the real Sin Cara please stand up?
Eck’s Factor: It certainly was a bizarre scene when Sin Cara came mask to mask with another Sin Cara moments after one of them had been disqualified for ignoring the referee’s five-count during a match against Daniel Bryan. Despite the surreal nature of the Sin Cara-Sin Cara confrontation, Sin Cara’s recent aggressive streak and lack of sportsmanship – not to mention the revelation last week that he speaks English – suddenly makes sense. Clearly, the man under the Sin Cara mask the past several weeks is a fraud. So just who is he and why has he been masquerading as the international sensation? I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. If history is any indication – remember years ago when doppelgangers for The Undertaker and Kane showed up on separate occasions to torment the originals? – the impostor Sin Cara is going to regret assuming the real Sin Cara’s identity. (PHOTOS: DOES THE WWE UNIVERSE KNOW SIN CARA?)
Talking point: Ted DiBiase attacks Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes
Eck’s Factor: The last time we saw DiBiase was three weeks ago on SmackDown, when Rhodes had placed a paper bag over his former friend’s head following DiBiase’s loss to Randy Orton. Just when Rhodes probably assumed that he had seen the last of DiBiase, a member of the audience wearing a paper bag assaulted Rhodes and revealed himself to be DiBiase. It was nice to see the usually laid-back DiBiase so fired up. Perhaps Rhodes will be responsible for DiBiase getting his career back on track after all, but not in the way that Rhodes had hoped. Rather than having DiBiase as an ally that he can control, Rhodes just may have inadvertently created a viable threat to his Intercontinental Championship.
Talking point: Trish Stratus makes a couple cameo appearances
Eck’s Factor: It’s never a bad thing when perhaps the greatest WWE Diva of all time shows up – well unless you’re Teddy Long, that is. It made for quite the awkward moment for the esteemed SmackDown general manager when Stratus caught him in a compromising position with Aksana. Stratus undoubtedly knows how Long felt. Several years back, she was on the other end (so to speak) of such a situation involving Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Talking point: Beth Phoenix scores a dominant victory over A.J.
Eck’s Factor: If I were Divas Champion Kelly Kelly – well, first of all, I’d never leave the house, if you know what I mean – I’d be extremely worried about defending my WWE Divas Title against Phoenix Sunday at Night of Champions. Kelly Kelly managed to slip past the challenger at SummerSlam last month, but I have a feeling she won’t be able to do it again. (WATCH AS TRISH STRATUS WEIGHTS IN ON DIVAS DIVISION)
Talking point: R-Truth puts a new twist on his entrance music and then defeats Evan Bourne
Eck’s Factor: I have to admit that I found R-Truth’s remix of “What’s Up?” – which featured The Miz on background vocals – to be pretty darn entertaining. As for R-Truth’s victory over Bourne, that makes WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom 0-2 in singles matches against The Miz and R-Truth this week (The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston this past Monday on Raw). Can Miz and R-Truth keep the momentum going when they challenge Air Boom for the championship Sunday at Night of Champions? Unless there really is a conspiracy against Miz and R-Truth in the WWE, I don’t think they can lose.
Talking point: Sheamus chooses Justin Gabriel to be his tag team partner against Christian and Wade Barrett
Eck’s Factor: Sheamus could have picked anyone in the SmackDown locker room to be his partner, and he went with Gabriel, which is quite an endorsement for the South African Superstar. It also was sound strategy on Sheamus’ part because no one knows Barrett better than Gabriel, who was an ally of Barrett’s in The Nexus and The Corre. Gabriel ended up scoring the victory for his team by hitting the 450 Splash on Barrett, which obviously is not going to sit well with the former bare-knuckle fighter. A singles match between these two, who have vastly different styles, would be quite interesting.
WHO IS KEVIN ECK?
For those who are unfamiliar with me, I come to WWE from The Baltimore Sun, where I was an assistant sports editor and the author of a pro wrestling blog titled Ring Posts. In between two stints with The Sun, I worked as the editor of WCW Magazine from 2000 to 2001.
Follow Kevin Eck on Twitter at Twitter.com/KevinEck_WWE