By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Chris Jericho Hosted 'The Highlight Reel' with Dean Ambrose
Jericho and Ambrose have been in a number of segments together over the past few months as part of their feud, so you'd think their interactions would have grown tiresome by now. However, they still have awesome chemistry together and Ambrose threatening (and ultimately doing so) spilling coffee on Jericho's super expensive rug had me in stitches. The rest of the Money in the Bank combatants were equally entertaining, and thus this segment did a solid job of setting up the six-man tag team match for the main event.
WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston def. Aiden English, Luke Gallows and Big Cass in a Fatal 4-Way Match
The match itself was well-wrestled and good while it lasted albeit nothing memorable. Thankfully, Xavier Woods and Enzo Amore going back and forth on commentary and resuming their war of words from Raw kept me laughing throughout. Kingston was a logical winner given he is easily the most established singles Superstar of the four and it gave New Day their win back following their loss on Monday night. This should be an extremely fun Fatal 4-Way tag team matchup at Money in the Bank.
Baron Corbin def. Zack Ryder
There truly isn't much to say about this bout other than it was a standard squash match that was over within mere minutes. Ryder scored a measure of offense over Corbin, but otherwise, it was all The Lone Wolf. As I've expressed in the past, I remain a big advocate of Corbin's and his potential, but this program with Dolph Ziggler has done him no favors. Here's hoping their rivalry reaches its end Sunday on the Kickoff show.
United States Champion Rusev vs. Kalisto Went to a No Contest
Rusev attacking Kalisto before the bell even rang was much more effective in helping him elicit heat than if simply squashed Kalisto. Granted, The Lucha Dragons didn't come out of this looking too good, but do they really have a lot to lose at this point? Titus O'Neil making the save was a straightforward way of furthering their feud heading into their upcoming United States Championship match.
AJ Styles def. WWE Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods
Woods rarely wrestles in tag team competition let alone on his own. Thus, I don't think people were aware of how skilled he was in the ring until now. Styles referred to this as a "tune-up" match beforehand in the backstage interview, but I saw this as more of a breakout performance for Woods than anything else. He busted out more moves from his arsenal than what we're used to and had a strong showing in defeat against Styles. Speaking of whom, his post-match message to John Cena was short and sweet.
WWE Women's Champion Charlotte def. Natalya (Non-title)
This was along the same lines as their most recent in-ring encounters in that it was a good match yet muddled by interference and chaos at ringside. That was the case at both Payback and Extreme Rules as well. Notice how their best bouts to date (NXT TakeOver from May 2014 and Roadblock from earlier this year) didn't feature anyone getting involved at all. It also didn't make sense to me how Natalya wasn't able to get one over on the champ here but Paige, who isn't in the title picture right now, could on Raw. I'm not suggesting Charlotte should have lost two non-title matches in one week, but I would have switched those results around.
Dean Ambrose, Cesaro and Sami Zayn def. Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio
Similar to the six-man tag team match featuring these same six Superstars from a few weeks ago on Raw, everyone involved played their part well and the in-ring action was enjoyable. I liked how they switched it up a bit by teasing tension among everyone and Owens turning on his partners toward the end. Ambrose as the last man standing for the second straight week was interesting given all the teases on Monday with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, so we'll see if that leads to anything substantial or that was merely meant to be a red herring.
SmackDown has been a blast to watch all year round, but the past few weeks of programming have been especially excellent. This was another quality show from start to finish with plenty of hype for Money in the Bank, which of course has the potential to be a phenomenal event if booked properly. Even the briefer bouts on this edition of SmackDown served a purpose, so the two hours are worth watching as always.
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