It was the head-butt felt round the world.
Who, after all, puts a hand on the boss? Unless, of course, you're Stone Cold Steve Austin?
In a PPV-worthy edition of SmackDown Live, Vince McMahon, 72, was beaten down when a belligerent, infuriated, fed-up Kevin Owens unleashed a vicious attack on the owner.
Sure, McMahon spent well more than a decade in the ring as an official competitor, exchanging blows from the likes of Hornswoggle to Hulk Hogan, so the idea that the chairman and CEO of the WWE would take a cheap shot Tuesday night wasn't all that unique.
But it was the physical nature of the beating Tuesday, the pure impact of the head-butt that drew blood. If that wasn't enough, Owens subsequently unleashed some kicks, superkicks and finally delivered a splash from the top rope. The shellacking rose to a level we didn't see coming.
When his music hit about 10 minutes earlier, McMahon received a loud pop from the Las Vegas crowd as he made his way to the ring to address Owens, who last week was on the receiving end of an attack by SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon.
Acting as a babyface to defend his son's honor and dignity, Vince's only regret was that Shane didn't finish the job on Owens -- or more specifically, "pull out your liver and show it to you."
The verbal barbs with Owens were great. Vince is far removed from his days as a central part of the narrative, when he'd regularly threaten and fire his employees, while featuring in high-profile cards. But the man can still deliver fighting words with the best of them, and he's just pure intimidating. Just look at this mug:
- WWE (@WWE) September 13, 2017
The end result here was that McMahon announced Shane and KO will take their growing feud to the ring -- inside a Hell in the Cell, presumably at the Oct. 30 pay-per-view. While that match has loads of intrigue, especially with Shane's daredevil history, the storyline might not have anywhere to go but south after Tuesday night's high-end drama.
The allure of Vince, who hasn't been on television since the day after WrestleMania in early April to announce Kurt Angle as the new Raw general manager, rarely seems to wane, especially in recent years when he hasn't been a weekly staple.
His return also marked the first appearance by Stephanie McMahon, who ran to the ring to tend to her father, since the Orlando spectacle.
So here we have it. The most powerful family in wrestling entertainment versus the top heel in the business. The question now is: How much of a role will Vince play in the eventual outcome?
Here's hoping he's here to stay, at least for a little while.
The top rivalry of 2017 is ...
The New Day-Usos feud has been spectacular. From their amazing SummerSlam performance to Tuesday night's battle, when the New Day reclaimed the titles, the action between them has been scintillating, match in, match out.
And yes, we can call this "top rivalry" superlative a done deal in mid-September. That's how good it has been. Honestly, it doesn't really matter who wins or who has the belts. Yes, The New Day have an appeal that resonates with fans all over the world, but their three-person act has never been better than it is against The Usos.
Their latest duel was a street fight -- a no count-out, no disqualification matchup. With tables and chairs, the initial concern was whether the stipulation and potential physicality of the bout would detract from the pace and aerial show they are capable of putting on against one another.
We couldn't have been more wrong. Kofi Kingston brought the intensity of the match to a new level when he let loose with a kendo stick on Jimmy Uso before climbing the ropes and drop-kicking Jey (who was holding a chair).
Later, The Usos took control, catching Kingston from the top rope and slamming him into barricade.
- WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) September 13, 2017
Fast-forwarding, it was Big E's turn. He converted a series of suplexes on Jey Uso and then and a devastating splash.
That was before Kingston sent Jey Uso, who was standing on the top rope, through a table that was planted on the floor outside the ring. Ultimately, a Midnight Hour gave The New Day their second SmackDown tag-team title to match the total they had on Monday Night Raw.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, The New Day became the sixth team ever to capture four or more tag-team titles.
Impressive as that number is, this is a squad that is must-see TV these days. Their shtick with Booty O's and Francesca is fun, and the trio are worthy entertainers even when they're not in the ring. But their performances against The Usos since joining SmackDown Live have been the best of their career.
As jaded and lackluster as some rivalries can become over time, there is absolutely no reason to put the kibosh on this one -- not in the near future anyway.
Hits and misses
On Tuesday night, there were three title matches, and none were the main event, thanks to Mr. McMahon's appearance. This was exactly the kind of performance SmackDown needed to keep pace with Raw, which has been building very quickly to a WrestleMania-worthy pay-per-view in less than two weeks.
Fairly predictable sequence in the AJ Styles-Tye Dillinger match, as an irascible Baron Corbin interfered and later laid out both, setting up what will likely be a Styles-Corbin clash at Hell in a Cell. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but a look into the crystal ball shows that Corbin might actually walk away with the United States title, putting Styles back into the heavyweight picture, where Shinsuke Nakamura, a longtime rival from their days in Japan, could very well be waiting.
Nakamura was nowhere to be seen Tuesday, though he was mocked and prodded by Jinder Mahal, who showed some not-so-flattering photos of the Japanese star's facial expressions on the big screen. In this PG era, it was somewhat cringe-worthy to hear Mahal's racial overtones about how fans would react to Nakamura, who looks and speaks differently. Mahal's anti-American act has worked, but Tuesday, he took it a little too far.
Remember the days when Naomi was somebody? Now she's losing fairly straightforwardly, as she did Tuesday, tapping out to champ Natalya in a sharpshooter. So Naomi is out of the title picture. The question now is when Carmella, who is always hovering with a briefcase in tow, is going to make her move. Something tells us Hell in a Cell might be her best opportunity yet.
We get it, Dolph Ziggler. You're bent out of shape because no one sees you for who you are -- a talented in-ring performer. But enough with mocking Bayley and The Ultimate Warrior and running back to the locker room. Just fight someone, even if you have to job out to Bobby Roode or someone like that.
Speaking of jobbing out, it appears Zack Ryder is tired of losing. He refused to shake hands with Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable after a quick loss Tuesday night. Afterward, Ryder browbeat his partner Mojo Rawley, then uttered a couple of words before walking away. Not quite sure what the plan is here, but if Ryder has aspirations of going down a similar path as Ziggler, we'd advise to think of something else.
How about pitting an all-disenfranchised team together with Ziggler and Ryder, and maybe throw in Rusev, who's apparently been given the Heisman by his family back in Belarus. They're worthy midshow filler material. Perhaps start a feud with Luke Harper (where's he been?), Mojo and Sin Cara? Just a thought.