Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Asuka def. Bobby Roode and SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair to Win the Mixed Match Challenge
They saved one of the best bouts in the Mixed Match Challenge for last, as there were a few different things I really liked about this. Firstly, even though no one truly thought Asuka's undefeated streak was ending here, the crowd bought into a few of the nearfalls down the stretch and the action was entertaining. Secondly, Miz and Charlotte taunted each other a few times and that was a blast. Finally, Asuka and Charlotte weren't in the ring together a ton, but that was smart since that should be saved for WrestleMania. Miz's post-match promo saw him come across as a babyface, but he and Asuka's partnership has been so over-the-top since the start of this tournament that I was fine with it.
I don't think many people figured the outcome of this tournament was in doubt from the moment Asuka was announced for it, but the show has definitely had its moments over the past two-plus months, and I was glad that it closed on a high note with an enjoyable final match. The episode might have had the highest live viewership yet, so it will be interesting to see whether it is renewed by Facebook for a second season eventually and/or if the company will continue to produce original programming for them.
Bobby Roode and Becky Lynch def. Finn Balor and Sasha Banks in a Semifinal Match
Unfortunately, it was announced Charlotte Flair suffered an injury and had to pull out from this match. As I much as I love their pairing, the dynamic between Roode and Lynch was interesting as well. They had great chemistry with their opponents Balor and Banks as well. Balor vs. Roode was fresh, while Banks and Lynch always work well together. It's rare stuff from Raw and SmackDown Live carries over onto this show, but Banks' apparent heel turn was furthered here with her frustration ultimately costing her and Balor the match. Kurt Angle appearing afterward was a nice treat for the live crowd considering he's a Pittsburgh native, and he announced Charlotte will be back next week to reunite with Roode to take on The Miz and Asuka in the finals.
Although I was looking forward to what was originally advertised, Lynch filling in for Charlotte turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The match we got instead was excellent and everyone played their parts to perfection. I didn't think Balor and Banks would win considering they lost to Miz and Asuka earlier in the tournament, but I enjoyed the action, nonetheless. Next week's finals should be fun.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Asuka def. Braun Strowman and Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss in a Semifinal Match
It should come as no surprise that, once again, Strowman and Bliss had one of the best matches of the tournament so far. Their opponents Miz and Asuka had a lot to do with this being a great match as well because both duos have such strong chemistry together. Miz and Asuka are a hilarious unit and Asuka's undefeated streak added suspense to the nearfalls, while fans go nuts for any tease of romance between Bliss and Strowman. Here's hoping they'll continue to interact on WWE TV despite being knocked out of the tournament.
The one-match format of Mixed Match Challenge continues to be a breeze and this was one of the most entertaining installments yet. I believe Bliss and Strowman have been a part of the editions with the highest viewership so far, and this was no exception. Their dynamic is as great as Miz and Asuka's is, so as expected, this was a blast. Also, it was revealed at the end of the episode that Charlotte Flair and Bobby Roode will take on the returning pairing of Sasha Banks and Finn Balor next week, as voted on by the WWE Universe.
Bobby Roode and SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair def. Rusev and Lana in a Quarterfinal Match
The crowd already witnessed Rusev and Roode wrestle earlier in the evening on SmackDown Live, so I don't blame them for sitting on their hands for the first half of this. It was a decent enough match, but nothing too special. The subtle mannerisms from Rusev and Roode were funny, though. We haven't seen much intergender stuff on the show up to this point, but we got a small taste of it at the end with Charlotte chopping Rusev's chest before Roode hit Rusev with the Glorious DDT for the win.
Once again, the in-ring action was nothing out of the ordinary, but the freedom the Superstars have allows them to have fun and the audience enjoys it. That said, this really isn't worth going out of your way to see. Roode and Charlotte were the obvious picks to advance, and in two weeks, they'll battle a team that will be brought back via fan vote. But first, next week it will be Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss vs. The Miz and Asuka, so I'm looking forward to that.
Braun Strowman and Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso and Naomi in a Second Round Match
Jimmy and Naomi are a fun duo (which is unsurprising considering they're a couple in real life), but Strowman and Bliss were the real stars of this match. The in-ring action was entertaining at points and solid on the whole, but the crowd came to life whenever Strowman and Bliss interacted and especially when Bliss accidentally landed on top of The Monster Among Men outside of the ring. That said, it was logical that they would advance, but I hope they continue to tease being an on-air item long after this tournament is over.
I don't think it's a coincidence that the two of the higher rated editions of Mixed Match Challenge so far have featured Strowman and Bliss. They work very well together and their antics make the matches so much more enjoyable. Definitely check out this episode for them alone because they're a treat together. The next second round match will see Bobby Roode and Charlotte Flair take on Rusev and Lana.
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