United States Champion Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn Arrived on SmackDown Live
You had to know Owens was blue brand bound once Dean Ambrose brought the Intercontinental Championship to Raw, and it was probably for the best considering he has had a million matches with all of the Shield guys. It already seems like he, along with Zayn, won't be bogged down by bad writing anymore. Speaking of Sami, he is a perfect fit for SmackDown and I'm glad he finally switched shows. Baron Corbin and AJ Styles also played their roles well in this segment and it's cool these will likely be the core four guys at the main event level for the foreseeable future, along with Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura.
WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan Ended in a No Contest (Non-title)
Poor Rowan. Less than a week removed from his return, he's been separated from Bray Wyatt and is a singles competitor again. Don't expect him to be anything more than an enhancement talent on SmackDown. That said, I was shocked he left Orton laying here. I figured Orton would counter his finisher into the RKO, but he didn't, so that was a pleasant surprise. I'm not thrilled with Bray Wyatt still showing up on SmackDown despite being a member of the Raw roster, but it would be nice if WWE clarified that the Superstar Shake-up doesn't go into effect until after Payback.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos def. American Alpha
There are few guarantees in life and among them are death, taxes and American Alpha and The Usos having great matches. This was yet another entertaining affair from them, though it is worth mentioning that Alpha received a mixed response from the Boston crowd and The Usos were favored a bit more. I'm not sure where that started, but I hope Alpha recovers soon (and I don't think a feud with The Shining Stars will help them any). Usos retaining their titles was the right choice considering The New Day are on their way over to SmackDown and I assume that will be their first feud.
Mojo Rawley def. Jinder Mahal
I would presume Mahal is in line for some sort of push on SmackDown, which I honestly couldn't care less for. He is every bit as boring now as he was when he debuted in WWE six years ago. What's the appeal? While this match was total throwaway, it was a logical follow-up to their encounter in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33. Unsurprisingly, Rob Gronkowski was the most over person of the night. Could we seeing Gronk vs. Mahal at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans? I say that half-jokingly.
SmackDown Live Commisioner Shane McMahon Introduced Charlotte Flair and Tamina as Additions to the Women's Division
SmackDown's women's division took a hell of a hit with Alexa Bliss and Mickie James jumping to Raw, but if any two people should have left, it was them because now they have fresh opponents to work with on Raw. Shane hyping up one of their acquisitions as a second-generation star and then revealing it to be Tamina was a clever swerve, and Charlotte was beloved by the audience. She should do great on SmackDown, and best of all, we won't be seeing her face the same two people every week anymore.
Tye Dillinger def. Aiden English
English entered to the Vaudevillians' music and graphics, but he quickly made it clear he was breaking out on his own with Simon Gotch now gone. He also seemed to revert back to his singing gimmick from NXT, which the crowd actually got behind briefly, so maybe it has a longer shelf life than I thought. Of course, it didn't matter anyway because he was promptly squashed by Dillinger, who remains crazy over with the audience. Hopefully he's put into a meaningful program sooner rather than later.
Shinsuke Nakamura Confronted Dolph Ziggler
I'm sorry but Ziggler does absolutely nothing for me at this point, and he likely won't as long as he's coming out to that tired old entrance theme. That being said, he can be used at this stage of his career to put others over, and a rivalry with Nakamura is an effective use of him. I was hoping Nakamura's first feud on the main roster would be with The Miz, but this can be a fine consolation prize. Nakamura's English has improved immensely from his early days on NXT and his mouthguard was the only thing that made it slightly hard to understand him. For those fans who aren't already familiar with him, they surely must view him as a star with the reactions he's received these last two weeks.
AJ Styles def. Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin in a United States Championship No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match
When was the last time a No. 1 Contender's match for the United States Championship was positioned as the main event of a show? Not to mention Styles, Zayn and Corbin are all excellent athletes and they had strong chemistry together. A fan approached the barricade with a "JBL Bullied Me" sign and took attention away from the match for a split second, but other than that, the crowd was engaged in the action from start to finish. I especially liked how any of them realistically could have won, but Styles was the biggest fan favorite and made the most sense to win. Him and Owens should have a stellar series of matches against other over the star-spangled prize.
I have been to two SmackDown shows before (once when it aired on Fridays and once when it aired on Thursdays), but this was my first time going to an edition of SmackDown Live. What made the experience even better was the continuation of the Superstar Shake-up and several stars showing up at random. I don't agree with how it was handled (i.e. the lazy writing and lack of explanation), but the picks on the whole were well done and I'm now infinitely more excited for both brands. Obviously, being in attendance for this show makes me biased, but it was an enjoyable episode with multiple moves from Raw to SmackDown taking place, an above-average tag team title match and a terrific main event.
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