WWE Champion Kofi Kingston Attacked Randy Orton
Kingston felt like he was coasting a bit after he wrapped up his rivalry with Daniel Bryan following WrestleMania 35 (and I say that because I have yet to see an above-average title defense from him on pay-per-view), but this storyline with Randy Orton has really brought the best out of him. Granted, their SummerSlam match fell well below expectations, but here's hoping the eventual rematch will be better based off how strong the aftermath has been so far. Orton's promo was solid and I loved Kingston attempting to attack Orton the same way The Revival injured Xavier Woods on Raw.
Andrade def. Apollo Crews in a King of the Ring First Round Match
These two had a pair of fun matches last month, so it was no surprise that they once again worked well against each other here. I appreciated that they were given some time and the crowd was engaged in the action by the end. Andrade felt like the predictable pick to win (and the most logical), but I was happy that Crews had a strong showing in defeat. I can see Andrade lasting until at least the semifinals.
SmackDown Women's Champion Interrupted Charlotte Flair on Moment of Bliss
You had to assume Bayley vs. Flair was the direction they were headed in after Flair beat Trish Stratus at SummerSlam and Bayley retained her title over Ember Moon. They had a decent feud over the Raw Women's Championship two years ago as well as in NXT, so it's possible they can recreate that same magic on SmackDown Live. The mic work in this segment was passable, but I wasn't too high on Bayley shoving Flair out of her chair. That felt like it was completely uncharacteristic of her. Making her more aggressive is one thing, but she came across as unlikable when she did that.
Buddy Murphy def. Daniel Bryan
I was extremely excited for this outing coming into the show and they did not disappoint. Murphy followed up his phenomenal performance last week by going all out with Bryan and showcasing his skills in a major way. Bryan let him score a ton of offense before ultimately putting him over. I thoroughly enjoyed this match and thought it did a terrific job of establishing Murphy as a credible competitor. Fingers crossed WWE has him build off this momentum in the King of the Ring tournament.
The Revival def. Heavy Machinery
It was cool to see Heavy Machinery back on WWE TV. They're an entertaining act. Despite how we haven't seen a ton of them since their loss at Extreme Rules last month, Otis received a bigger-than-expected reaction when he tagged in. This was a nice little match that should get Revival one step closer to contending for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Clash of Champions. It's weird that WWE suddenly seems adamant about pushing them again, but you won't hear any complaints out of me.
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn Attacked The Miz on Miz TV
Zayn teased on Twitter earlier in the day that something had to change, but making him a mouthpiece was not at all what I had in mind. That said, I don't hate it. Nakamura has always needed someone to speak for him because his English isn't the greatest and Zayn might be the right guy for the job. It's certainly a strange alliance, not to mention that they have history from NXT TakeOver: Dallas. This could work if handled properly. It's not like either guy is lighting the world on fire at the moment, so I'm willing to give this a chance.
24/7 Champion Elias def. Kevin Owens in a King of the Ring First Round Match (Non-Title)
After Owens and Shane spent the entire evening acting cordial with each other, it was obvious that Shane would screw Owens in this match. It wasn't anything special up until that point, and as soon as Shane revealed he was the special guest referee right before the finish, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. I knew this would happen eventually to Owens, but not this soon in the tourney. Ugh. They really need to put this Owens-Shane rivalry to rest as soon as possible. I maintain that it'll hurt Owens in the long run if it continues to drag on.
In addition to the underwhelming main event, we also saw the big "reveal" of Reigns' mystery attacker: a random Rowan lookalike. It was a flat ending to an otherwise quality edition of SmackDown. Andrade vs. Crews was well wrestled, Bayley vs. Charlotte confirmed their matchup for Clash of Champions, Zayn and Nakamura formed an unlikely alliance, The Revival continued their winning ways, Kingston and Orton furthered their feud, and Bryan and Murphy killed it in the match of the night. Raw and SmackDown have improved over the past month, so it'll be interesting to see if WWE can keep it up with the fall season fast approaching.
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