The Usos and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Robert Roode, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and John Morrison
The New Day confronting The Usos beforehand was cool given their extensive history together and the tease of another match between the two teams was well received. Ultimately, though, I think we're headed toward a Fatal 4-Way with these four tandems at WrestleMania 36 for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. This was a fun eight-man tag team match, especially down the stretch once they picked up the pace. Miz and Morrison probably should have won ahead of their opportunity at the tag titles next week at Super ShowDown, but per WWE Booking 101, all signs point to them becoming champions at the event.
Renee Young Hosted a Sit-Down Interview with Lacey Evans
This is the first time we've seen or heard from Evans since she unsuccessfully challenged Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship at the Royal Rumble, a loss that she said was a "hard pill to swallow." I appreciated that they explained that like Sasha Banks and Bayley, she too used to be a bully and only changed upon arriving on SmackDown after seeing what Sasha and Bayley were doing to the rest of the locker room, but this would have been even better two months ago when she originally turned. She also mentioned something about competing in an Elimination Chamber match, which must mean there's going to be three at the pay-per-view this year: two for the women from Raw and SmackDown and then one for the SmackDown men. That's overkill in my opinion.
Intercontinental Champion Braun Strowman and Elias def. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro in a Symphony of Destruction Match
Strowman and Elias competed in the first-ever Symphony of Destruction match two years ago on Raw, so I suppose it was only fitting that they teamed up in the return of the matchup here. For those unfamiliar with the stipulation, it basically consists of the Superstars battering each other with instruments and pinfalls and submissions count anywhere. I haven't cared about this feud one bit, but this was much more entertaining than I thought it would be with all four guys busting their asses and utilizing the environment and weapons well. Strowman's final powerslam from the commentary table to the top of the piano to Nakamura looked brutal. I'd love for this to be the end of the road for this rivalry, but my guess is that it's not because Strowman and Nakamura will likely have a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship at some point.
Alexa Bliss Hosted Moment of Bliss with The Bella Twins
For those wondering where Nikki Cross was, no, it had nothing to do with WWE not wanting two Nikkis in the same segment (which I could totally see fans believing). Rather, her husband Killain Dain revealed she's currently dealing with the flu, so hopefully she'll be back next week. At any rate, as soon as The Bella Twins were announced as appearing on this show, you had to know it was going to tie in with the rumored Hall of Fame announcement, and that's exactly what it was. Personally, I have no problem with it because it was only inevitable and their careers are Hall of Fame worthy (especially when people like Torrie Wilson are in the hall despite never accomplishing much), but I felt it was announced in odd fashion. Congrats to Brie and Nikki on the honor and their respective pregnancies, but this came across as awkward to me.
Daniel Bryan def. Heath Slater
Slater demanded this rematch from a few weeks ago during a backstage segment earlier in the evening. This time, Drew Gulak coached him from the commentary table. Slater made the mistake of going against Gulak's advice by ascending to the top rope and it cost him in the end (not that he had a chance of winning, anyway). The pairing of Slater and Gulak is interesting and at least gets them on TV. As for Bryan, he couldn't feel any more directionless at the moment, though I assume that's because they're biding time until after Super ShowDown which he won't be a part of. I've read Strowman vs. Sheamus vs. Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship could be the plan for WrestleMania, but I'd rather see Strowman vs. Sheamus one-on-one while Bryan faces a debuting Killer Kross. That must be who all these static teases are for, right?
Naomi def. Carmella in a SmackDown Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
I was expecting Bayley to interfere toward the end (since she was standing at ringside) and predictably turn this into a Triple Threat at Super ShowDown, but I was pleasantly surprised when Naomi won clean instead. I don't think the crowd had much of an incentive to cheer one woman over the other (which would explain why they were quiet for a majority of it), but this was decent on the whole even though it wasn't the smoothest of encounters. I'm hoping Naomi vs. Bayley at Super ShowDown has some sort of a non-finish to set up a rematch for WrestleMania.
Goldberg Attacked Universal Champion "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
Goldberg's promos and segments are never lengthy, but that's part of his appeal. I don't know if anyone was clamoring for a full speech from him, so I was happy that this segment didn't overstay its welcome. The Firefly Fun House version of Wyatt interrupted before The Fiend emerged to confront him, only to get speared by Goldberg. Some fans may claim that it made The Fiend look weak, but he disappeared before he could take more punishment and fans need a reason to think Goldberg can beat him. As long as the ultimate idea is to have him lose to Wyatt at Super ShowDown, I'm not complaining.
I realize this isn't saying much, but this edition of SmackDown was marginally better than most episodes we've had in recent weeks. The wrestling was better overall with the two tag team matches being a blast, but everything else was at least solid. Evans had some time to talk, the Goldberg and Wyatt confrontation was what it needed to be, Moment of Bliss featured a newsworthy announcement, and a new number one contender to the SmackDown Women's Championship was crowned. Bryan vs. Slater was a waste, but that didn't last long. We'll see if SmackDown can continue to improve as the road to WrestleMania progresses, but I'm not holding my breath. If nothing else, the angle with Otis and Mandy Rose has been the best thing going on this show for months.
All #AskGSM Cruiserweight Classic Halftime Heat Hidden Gems Lists/Rankings Mae Young Classic Mixed Match Challenge News Opinion Previews Retro Reviews Reviews RJ's Two Cents Satire SummerSlam Recall Tribute To The Troops Worlds Collide WrestleMania Recall WWE Starrcade