Dolph Ziggler Interrupted Shinsuke Nakamura
One of the biggest reasons I was looking forward to this feud was so Ziggler could do most of the talking for Nakamura, which is what we got in this segment. Nakamura was short and sweet with what he had to say (is there a reason why he's talking with his mouthguard in?), but Ziggler's mic work does nothing for me when he's making outdated references that don't make any sense. I'm sorry but he just isn't funny. They progressed the feud nicely, but I continue to not care about Ziggler in any meaningful way.
AJ STyles def. Baron Corbin
I liked the match these two had last week and this was an equally enjoyable encounter from them. I don't know what the rush was in doing a rematch so soon, but on the bright side, Corbin continues to prove that he can hang with the top-tier talent and is a star on the rise. Him losing isn't optimal, but he isn't beaten decisively all that often and it was by a roll-up, anyway. Plus, Styles is the No. 1 contender to the United States Championship, so he needed the win more. Sami Zayn coming to Styles' aid afterward should mean that he'll be headed for a feud with Corbin for Backlash next month.
American Alpha def. The Colons in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
When used sparingly, the Beat the Clock Challenge concept is effective in establishing a new championship challengers. It's been some time since it was last used, so I was glad it was brought back for the tag team division for a change. That said, the matches aren't always great because the focus is on the brevity of the bout and not the in-ring action. I will say this was a bit better than their match last week, though. The Colons can't win them all, and for anyone complaining their renewed "push" is already over, they're currently much more relevant now than they ever were on Raw.
WWE Champion Randy Orton def. Erick Rowan in a No Disqualification Match (Non-title)
The added stipulation made this match slightly more interesting, but Orton and Rowan have passable chemistry together at best, not to mention the outcome was never in doubt. They made decent use of the extreme environment, but Rowan is an enhancement guy and Orton isn't compelling as champion, so the match barely moved the needle for me. Meanwhile, Jinder Mahal's post-match promo bored me to tears, but his attack on Orton with the help of The Bollywood Boyz/The Singh Brothers was well done. At least WWE is trying to put more heat on him.
Breezango def. The Ascension in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match to Become the No. 1 Contenders to the SmackDown Tag tEam Championship
I was loathing the thought of a five minute match between Breezango and Ascension, so thank the god this was kept short and sweet. The matchup was fine for what it was, though the crowd didn't have any incentive to cheer one team over the other considering both tandems are heel. It's possible Breezango are undergoing a face turn, which they might need if the title match with The Usos will be more than a one-off. At any rate, it's awesome they're finally being given a chance to shine.
SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi vs. Charlotte Flair Ended in a No Contest
So, is Charlotte officially a face now? You would seem to think so based off how she came across in her promos throughout the night and how essentially the rest of the division is against her. It isn't that she can't do well in the role, but she is a far more natural heel. As a match, this was on par with their bout from last week, but the commercial breaks didn't do them any favors and they weren't given a ton of time. Regardless, I can't complain about them getting the main event slot, which was awesome. Besides, I assumed this would be more of an angle way and it was with the rest of the division (sans Becky Lynch) interfering at the end. I sincerely hope this isn't leading to another title match with all the women at Backlash because we saw that same exact thing at WrestleMania 33 earlier this month.
Even with so much advertised in advance, I found this to be a middle-of-the-road edition of SmackDown Live. The rare women's main event was something different and it'd be cool if they did that more often, and Corbin vs. Styles was solid, but the rest of the show wasn't incredibly exciting. It wasn't a bad episode by any means, and several storylines were progressed successfully, but I'm looking forward to next week once the build to Backlash really starts to kick in.
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