Kalisto def. Tony Nese
Without the rest of the Lucha House Party and Buddy Murphy at ringside, this felt like any other outing these two have had over the last year: average at best. It was well-wrestled and had a nice pace, but I still can not bring myself to care about Nese, especially when he's on his own, because it's painfully apparent that he will never win when it matters most. The finish coming out of nowhere was kind of cool, though. Thankfully, they spiced things up afterward when Murphy and Lince Dorado got involved.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak Signed the Contract for Their WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match at SummerSlam
This had a similar format to the contract signing that recently took place on NXT with Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler in that it was held backstage, which was a refreshing change pace. The segment didn't overstay its welcome and both guys were great with the deliveries of their respective promos. Gulak calling Alexander the "Brock Lesnar of 205 Live" was a fantastic line as well. Here's hoping the Brooklyn crowd is kind to their match at SummerSlam.
Charlotte Flair Saved Becky LYnch From SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella
I really, really liked this as the opening segment for the show. First and foremost, both women brought their A-game on the microphone here. Lynch has always been a pretty good talker, but Carmella's recent promos have felt repetitive and thus I appreciated her switching up her approach during this verbal exchange. Sure, virtually no one actually felt for her plea for sympathy, but James Ellsworth's music distracting Lynch long enough so Carmella could attack her was well done. Charlotte making her anticipated return to SmackDown and saving her best friend was simply the cherry on top, setting up the night's main event nicely.
Sheamus and Cesaro def. The Usos in a SmackDown Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament Semifinal Match
These two teams had one of the best bouts of the night back at Survivor Series late last year and thus I was happy they were given the time to contest an equally entertaining match here. The two commercial breaks interrupted the flow a bit, but despite that, they worked well together and The New Day weren't as much of a distraction on commentary as I feared they might be. The final stretch was especially excellent and I'm thrilled The Bar advanced after being off TV for so long. Here's hoping they're ultimately the ones who go on to face SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam.
Zack Ryder def. Mike Kanellis
Ryder and Kanellis have worked against each other fairly frequently since both moved over to Raw in the Superstar Shake-up earlier this year, so they have quite the chemistry by this point. While this was far from a five star classic, it was another enjoyable outing from them where the crowd was invested in the action and both Ryder and Kanellis came away from it looking good. Any update on when Maria will return to (hopefully) save Mike from undercard hell?
Tyler Breeze def. Curt Hawkins
Breezango was a guilty pleasure for a lot of fans, but I still say Breeze has a ton of untapped potential as a singles star. People who have been only been following him since the start of his main roster run three years ago may not realize it, but the guy is great. This match, which was pretty basic, didn't give him much of a chance to showcase his skills, but it was fun for what it was and was obviously an upgrade over Breeze being squashed by Mojo Rawley again.
Paul Heyman Interrupted Roman Reigns
Although I appreciate his intensity, every promo Reigns has ever cut on Brock Lesnar is virtually the same, so his mic work here was nothing new. Heyman at least tried to switch things up in hyping Reigns vs. Lesnar for SummerSlam, but it still sounded like a retread. If nothing else, they did a decent job of telling viewers that Lesnar would appear in front of the audience at some point during the show and that they'd have to tune in throughout the night to find out when.
Baron Corbin def. Finn Balor
I can honestly say I couldn't have cared less about their encounter at Extreme Rules, and although their feud hasn't exactly heated up a ton since then, this was a much better bout from them for whatever reason (perhaps because it belonged on Raw to begin with). They were given a pleasantly surprising chunk of time and made the most of it by putting together a nice matchup. Corbin desperately needed a clean victory, but unfortunately this means we're in for a rubber match at SummerSlam.
Eddie Edwards Attacked Impact World Champion Austin Aries
I was looking forward to Aries gloating about his surprise successful retention of his Impact World Championship in the main event of Slammiversary and sure enough this promo did not disappoint. Aries is in his element as a heel and he did an excellent job of giving props to his opponent Moose while also putting himself over. Edwards emerging as Aries' next challenger is interesting if only because Edwards has been positioned as a tweneer (if not a full-fledged heel) lately, so I don't know what the reaction will be when he eventually faces Aries.
Taiji Ishimori def. Petey Williams
The stars of the X-Division going out there and having a great match was the perfect way to kick off the night. Even though there wasn't much of a story told between the two, the action was entertaining and I was glad they were given an ample amount of time. Afterward, they were attacked by the Desi Hit Squad, so look for that to turn into a tag team matchup sometime soon.
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