Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn reignited their classic rivalry on Tuesday’s WWE SmackDown Live. While dastardly heel Owens has spent the last several weeks feuding with SmackDown brand commissioner Shane McMahon – even attacking WWE boss Vince McMahon along the way – things went in a different direction this time out. To begin the show, Owens came to the ring to verbally threaten Shane, warning him of the physical pain and punishment that was in store for the executive-turned-wrestler at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Surprisingly enough though, Owens’ tirade wasn’t interrupted by Shane, and was instead responded to by Zayn. The history between Owens and Zayn goes way back to their days on the independent circuit, long before either had been signed by WWE. While the two spent years as great friends, they’ve spent their WWE tenures as bitter enemies, dating back to when a jealous Owens attempted to end Zayn’s career with a devastating powerbomb onto the ring apron. This happened mere minutes after Zayn had captured the NXT Championship in late 2014.
Owens and Zayn have feuded on and off ever since, and almost seem destined to do so, as WWE choosing to split its roster into two distinct brands last year had no effect on their ongoing hatred. Owens and Zayn were both drafted to Raw in the initial brand extension, and both were sent to SmackDown as part of this year’s superstar shake-up.
Backstory aside, the contentious exchange between Zayn and Owens that kicked off Tuesday’s SmackDown naturally led GM Daniel Bryan to book the two rivals against each other in the main event of the evening. This was not only their first one-on-one encounter on SmackDown Live, but also their first televised singles match of any kind since a March 2017 episode of Raw. As usual for Zayn and Owens, the match was an exciting, back-and-forth contest, but things wouldn’t end well for Zayn.
Seemingly getting frustrated with the match dragging on, Owens decided to try and take Zayn out of the equation entirely, once again powerbombing him spine-first onto the apron. This understandably led the referee to throw the match out, as Zayn clearly was in no shape to continue. Owens then attempted to ensure Zayn’s forced retirement by inflicting further damage, only to finally be interrupted by an angry Shane McMahon. Unfortunately, Owens was able to avoid Shane’s attack, and escape through the crowd. For Shane, it appears that payback will have to wait until Hell in a Cell.
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