Gentleman Jack Gallagher def. The Brian Kendrick by Disqualification
Kendrick has been kept off WWE TV since his loss to Akira Tozawa late last month, so I'm glad he's back and immediately has found direction again. It's way better than putting Gallagher in a long-term feud with Tony Nese who I couldn't care less about to be honest with you. The match wasn't anything special, though I'm sure they'll have many more matches down the road. I could have done without Kendrick dressing up as Gallagher here, but I'm content with the idea of a feud between them.
Mustafa Ali def. Drew Gulak
Ali vs. Gulak started off as a feud I had very little interest in, but it's become a fun little staple on 205 Live each week (I'm still surprised it hasn't received any exposure on Raw). Gulak has really come into his character of being anti-high-fliers and the pre-match interview they did played into the match perfectly. Ali said Gulak couldn't fly at all, which led to Gulak attempting to do a splash off the top rope before being rolled up by Ali. The match in general was decent, but the finish was really clever.
SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan Had James Ellsworth Banned From the Arena
Man, I can't stress enough how great it is to have Bryan back on SmackDown Live. Shane McMahon is an awesome authority figure as well, but he just doesn't bring the same energy that Bryan does. This segment was similar to what Bryan had to say last week, but it was effective in hyping up the women's Money in the Bank Ladder rematch for later in the evening. Despite still lacking in the ring, Carmella continues to make up for that on the mic and her act is improving as a result.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos def. The Hype Bros (Non-title)
I was hoping The Hype Bros would automatically receive a title shot immediately upon their return considering they originally earned one the night Zack Ryder got hurt back in December, but I understand wanting to have them earn it again considering how much the landscape of the tag team division has changed since then. It was a decent enough match that led to a decisive win for The Usos to allow them to reset their sights on The New Day. There wasn't any focus on Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley after the loss, but a heel turn from either one of them is inevitable. As I've said before, it would be best for WWE to hold off until at least SummerSlam to put the tag titles on New Day given how hot The Usos are right now as champions.
Kurt Angle def. John Cena
This is how you make a star. Yes, there are various ways it can be accomplished (such as when Finn Balor beat Roman Reigns clean in his Raw debut last year), but unlike Balor, Cena entered WWE as a complete unknown to the masses and made an incredible impression in his initial outing. The match wasn't a technical masterpiece, but it was very well-wrestled in the five minutes it lasted and Cena scored an ample amount of offense against Angle. Even the post-match stuff with Cena begging Angle for more before being endorsed by various notable names (including The Undertaker) backstage were terrific touches. And look where Cena is today.
WWE Tag Team Champions Billy and Chuck def. Hardcore Holly and Val Venis
For those curious, Holly and Venis were not a regular pairing coming into this contest. Despite that, they showed some decent chemistry as a duo in this brief bout. The match wasn't too memorable at only four minutes long, but it wasn't terrible, either, and actually made me want to see more of Holly and Venis as a unit. Meanwhile, Billy and Chuck continued to play their roles well as the heels who could constantly escape with their titles intact.
Cedric Alexander def. The Brian Kendrick
This marked one of Kendrick's first few appearances on WWE TV since disappearing after that awesome Street Fight against Akira Tozawa late last month, and it's good to see him back. Both he and Alexander are excellent athletes and I was glad they weren't limited here. The match could have benefited from a few more minutes, but the crowd was engaged in the enjoyable action and it's apparent these two have terrific chemistry together. I would be more than down for a feud between them as opposed to the never-ending Alexander vs. Noam Dar rivalry.
The Revival def. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
There will be those who will be unhappy with The Revival returning to the ring on Main Event instead of on Raw right away, but you had to know this was probably a test run for the former NXT Tag Team Champions in regards to how the crowd would respond to them and if they could still go in the ring coming off Dash Wilder's jaw injury. Well, they passed with flying colors because this was a really fun match while it lasted. Heel vs. heel matches don't typically work, but Anderson and Gallows were babyfaces here, and with The Hardy Boyz really the last remaining credible face duo on Raw, it would be interesting to see if Anderson and Gallows become full-fledged faces eventually.
Braun strowman Attacked Roman Reigns
I've rarely found Ambulance matches to be all that entertaining, but Reigns vs. Strowman at Great Balls of Fire looks promising on paper because their whole rivalry has centered around it, hence why Strowman's latest ambush on Reigns here worked. It's abundantly clear Reigns is having a blast in getting under the skin of the fans, while the fans continue to go nuts for Reigns getting his ass handed to him.
Finn Balor and The Hardy Boyz def. Elias Samson and Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro
I was looking forward to this match once it was announced because it featured an interesting clash of styles, and while it was a fun little six-man tag team matchup, that actor from the new Transformers movie totally took away from it. I know WWE wants him to promote whatever the hell he'll be involved in coming up, but he would have best been relegated to a backstage segment and not doing commentary during what should have been a meaningful match. That said, this bout furthered two feuds and the crowd was solidly behind the babyfaces throughout.
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