After an episode of Raw that returned to its normal stale self on Monday night, SmackDown Live took up the slack and delivered an episode that sagged, but still had enough good to make up for Monday's poor performance. Some Superstars got back on TV and the Extreme Rules card was sufficiently hyped to make last night's show a passable one.
Commendable enough given the strong competition of the Major League Baseball All Star Game, I suppose. Perhaps we started seeing the influence of Eric Bischoff, who is reportedly set to take over next week. We'll have to see how it goes. Being consistently good isn't one of WWE's stronger suits.
Who got the most and least out of last night's show?
Winner: Kevin Owens
After refusing to leave the arena on the orders of Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens took up the mantle of CM Punk and did an imitation pipe bomb railing against him and his regime. Channeling the frustrations of WWE fans, Kevin Owens lamented that the likes of Buddy Murphy, Asuka, Kairi Sane, and others haven't gotten TV time all so that Shane McMahon can hog up some more. It was all true, which is why it was so good, even if it was, again, an imitation.
Later on, he attacked Shane himself. Kevin Owens had to turn heel in the spring and now turned babyface again. This many turns in a short time are liable to blunt a Superstar's momentum with fans. As far as a babyface Kevin Owens goes, this promo did more favors for him than anything else he's done since coming back from injury early in the year.
The follow up remains the most crucial thing, but this did Kevin Owens a whole lot of favors. There isn't an obvious place for him at SummerSlam, though, so it's by no means guaranteed that this push is going to continue.