Big Cass Crashed Miz TV
I realize Daniel Bryan being on Miz TV was a huge hook for this show going in, but I was totally fine with the bait and switch approach instead, because Miz and Bryan finally facing off should be built up over time and feel like a big deal. This segment gave Cass a chance to discuss why he's back and reestablish his motivations as a heel, as well as why he targeted Daniel Bryan last week. All things considered, I thought he did fairly well. He has come across as nervous on the mic in the past, but he seems to have worked past that (at least for this promo). It doesn't look like Miz and Cass will be a unit any time soon, but that could end up being the plan at some point.
The IIconics def. Becky Lynch and Asuka
Both Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are pretty good in the ring, and while I never saw a blow-away bout from either one of them in NXT, they more than made up for that with their amazing chemistry. That shined through in this tag team affair, and although they're strongest singles competitors on their own, Lynch and Asuka failed to gel as a team and that was what cost them the victory. I'm not a fan of Asuka eating a loss so soon into her stint on SmackDown Live (though she wasn't the person pinned), but The IIconics picking up a victory was more important.
Jimmy Uso def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Rowan
For the second straight week, these two teams had a forgettable singles match, but I can't say I'm surprised. If nothing else, this was more of an angle than an actual matchup. The Usos were due a win of some kind after being demolished for weeks on end, so I liked this. Sure, one can argue that The Bludgeon Brothers looked like dopes for being distracted by Naomi's entrance, but then again, who wouldn't be?
SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella and Charlotte Flair Signed the Contract for Their Backlash Match
Good god, Carmella is getting more and more obnoxious by the week, but that's a big positive for her character because that means she's eliciting the appropriate type of heat. Charlotte isn't as strong on the mic as a babyface, so it was smart to kept her silent here and instead have her turn the table on Carmella (literally). This was a solid way to build toward their SmackDown Women's Championship match at Backlash.
Shelton Benjamin def. Randy Orton
Orton and Jeff Hardy have been teasing tension for the past two weeks, but not enough to the point where I think a heel turn from Orton is coming in the near future (sadly). As a match, this was enjoyable (or at least what wasn't consumed by the commercial break). Benjamin winning was a pleasant surprise, even if it was with interference from Sunil Singh. I think it was more of a way to remind viewers that Jinder Mahal could regain the U.S. title at Greatest Royal Rumble, and at this point, I fear he might.
Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev and Aiden English def. WWE Champion AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Gallows and Anderson are infinitely better whenever they're associated with someone, whether it be Finn Balor or Styles. The Club had a great run on Raw two years ago, so hopefully they can have similar success together on SmackDown. This was an entertaining main event for as long as it lasted, and the heels won as they should have. The post-match stuff with Anderson taking a proverbial bullet for Styles before Nakamura hit him with his finisher yet again was well done. This feud feels infinitely hotter than it did a month ago. By the way, how badass is Nakamura's new heel entrance?
SmackDown has a hell of a roster coming out of the Superstar Shake-up, but it might take time for the blue brand to find the right rhythm since we still have Backlash and Greatest Royal Rumble to go before the new rosters can settle in. Speaking of Greatest Royal Rumble, this edition of SmackDown was essentially a go-home show for that event, and in that regard, it was a solid show. It wasn't the most exciting episode, but everything served a purpose and several storylines progressed, not to mention that it didn't drag the same way Raw did on Monday night.
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