Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox def. Apollo Crews and Bayley in a Semifinal Match
It was announced on Monday's Raw that Crews would be filling in for Finn Balor due to the injuries Balor sustained at the hands of Drew McIntyre last week (in reality, I believe he was just ill). Even if Balor was able to compete, I don't think that would have changed the outcome of this contest, if only because Balor was already slated to compete on the card at TLC. If anything, Crews taking Balor's place should have led to him and Bayley going over (TLC will be in Bayley's hometown of San Jose, anyway), but no such luck. The middle portion of this match was painfully boring, but at least they picked up the pace down the stretch before Mahal and Fox scored the victory (and the crowd went mild...).
R-Truth and Carmella def. The Miz and Asuka in a Semifinal Match
Miz and Asuka have been teasing tension all season, especially since they suffered their first loss as a tandem a few weeks back. It was at that point Miz began blaming Asuka for the defeat and Asuka was having none of it. I'm glad she finally reached her breaking point here by hitting Miz with a series of strikes, but unfortunately, it cost them the win, which you could see coming from a mile away. As a match, it was among the better bouts I've seen on the show in recent memory, thanks to the suspenseful nearfalls in the final few minutes and the storytelling from Miz and Asuka. Truth and Carmella were just kind of there and just so happened to win.
R-Truth and Carmella def. Jeff Hardy and Charlotte Flair in a Quarterfinal Match
Hardy officially replaced AJ Styles as Flair's partner, but it didn't end up mattering anyway because they lost here. They were a fun tandem but didn't have as much as chemistry as Flair and Styles. This was a perfectly fine match and Truth and Carmella are always good for comic relief, but it doesn't always make their matches the best. I'd say I'm surprised that Truth and Carmella advanced over Flair and Hardy (which is definitely an upset), but Flair is already advertised for a bout at TLC (and Hardy will probably end up facing Samoa Joe), so I guess I should have seen that coming.
The Miz and Asuka def. Jimmy Uso and Naomi in a Quarterfinal Match
It's amazing how Miz and Asuka have done more to tell a story as partners over the course of Seasons 1 and 2 than anything else officials have done with this show. Miz blamed Asuka for losing their last match, so he took credit for winning this one. It wasn't smooth all the way through, but this was another enjoyable encounter that had the right result. However, similar to Charlotte, Asuka is slated for the SmackDown Women's Championship matchup at TLC, so I fear Truth and Carmella will beat them next week to advance to the finals.
Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox def. Curt Hawkins and Ember Moon in a Quarterfinal Match
What's funny is that Mixed Match Challenge Season 2 was originally supposed to see Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss reunite following their successful alliance last season, but an injury prevented Bliss from competing, so Moon replaced her. Then, Strowman went down with an injury, so Moon was forced to team with the ultimate loser, Curt Hawkins. There was zero chance she and him were winning this thing, so there was absolutely no drama or suspense behind this whatsoever. They tried, but failed. The finish was clever with Hawkins attempting to pin Fox and pick up the victory himself only for it to backfire and lead to Mahal and Fox advancing.
Finn Balor and Bayley def. Bobby Lashley and Mickie James in a Quarterfinal Match
This match benefited from what happened on Monday's Raw, where Lashley took part in a beatdown of Balor alongside Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre. Thus, they already had established issues with each other (not to mention their series of matches from last month) and their interactions here were fine. Additionally, Bayley and James worked well with each other, so on the whole, this was an enjoyable outing. It was far from must-see, mind you, but it was also better than most matchups you'll see on this show nowadays.
Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox def. Bobby Roode and Natalya
Neither of these tandems particularly interest me on paper because of the lack of chemistry they have together. Thus, I couldn't have cared less about this encounter, even if it was well-wrestled on the whole and the final few minutes with Roode and Mahal were fun. It's incredibly sad that Roode went from competing in the finals of last season's Mixed Match Challenge to being a part of the only Raw team to not qualify for the "playoffs" for this season. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
R-Truth and Carmella def. Rusev and Lana
I've seen others ask this question, and now I'm curious as well: why did WWE bother breaking up Rusev Day if Creative wasn't going to do anything of note with Rusev, Lana or Aiden English on their own? They've barely been on WWE TV in recent weeks and are beyond directionless. At any rate, this match was complete comedy and offered nothing of note. Rusev and Lana were back in heel mode for a bit, which was fun, but other than that, this was a waste of time. Rusev and Lana not being a part of the "playoffs" is certainly a strange move.
Braun Strowman and Ember Moon def. Bobby Lashley and Mickie JAmes
I don't think Strowman and Lashley have ever gone head-to-head before, so that was a cool clash of styles. Beyond that, though, this was a pretty average match. Nothing stood out as special about it whatsoever, but the in-ring action was enjoyable on the whole. Although Strowman and Moon are a good team, Alexa Bliss was a way better partner for Strowman. Lashley would have been better off with Sasha Banks, too.
Jeff Hardy and Charlotte Flair def. The Miz and Asuka
As a result of what happened at the end of SmackDown Live, Styles was replaced by Hardy for this match. Charlotte and Hardy had a unique chemistry together and it made for an entertaining encounter. Meanwhile, Miz and Asuka have always been the perfect partners because they play off of each other well. They have been undefeated since Season 1, so I thought it was weird for them to suffer their first defeat at the hands of a makeshift tandem that is likely only temporary.
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