Kevin Owens Confronted United States Champion AJ Styles
This rivalry really should have ended at SummerSlam, but I understand Owens being angry over Shane McMahon getting involved the way he did and virtually costing him the championship. An open challenge from Styles would have been a hotter way to open this show, but if nothing else, their verbal exchange was good and it successfully set up the night's main event.
Bobby Roode def. Aiden English
A mere three days ago, Roode was the top heel in NXT as the brand's NXT Champion, and now he's on SmackDown Live as a babyface. Yes, he is a natural (and better) heel, but his glorious entrance music is so damn catchy that officials must have expected he'd receive a babyface reaction upon his main roster debut. Still, it's surreal to see him on SmackDown because I honestly thought the day would never come years ago. He had an impressive outing here, both in the ring and on the mic, and he should be an excellent asset to the blue brand going forward.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos def. The Hype Bros (Non-title)
It appeared for a while that The Hype Bros were on the verge of breaking up, but we never heard anything else about that and then they disappeared from TV. I'm sure we'll get that at some point, but for now, they're a fun duo and this was a nice little match they had with The Usos. The New Day are in line for a title rematch in storyline, and while their matches together are always awesome, I'm ready for The Usos to move on to fresh challengers to their championship. Speaking of which, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamim should be a hell of a tag team.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. The Singh Brothers in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
I've seen plenty of hate from fans over the finish to the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam, and while I wasn't fond of it either, it's no reason to give up hope about Nakamura's immediate future on SmackDown. He'll be just fine, trust me. This was a pretty basic showcase of Nakamura as he dominated The Singh Brothers in decisive fashion. I assume Nakamura will get another shot at the strap, but WWE might not want to wait until Hell in a Cell to do that match (though it would eliminate interference from The Singh Brothers).
Naomi and Becky Lynch def. SmackDown Women's Champion Natalya and Carmella
The beach balls were almost forgivable during Raw because the show was so painfully long, but they were absolutely obnoxious on this show and especially during this match. There was nothing wrong with this match and it didn't deserve that treatment from the crowd. At any rate, this was a solid match with all four women holding their own. SmackDown's women's division desperately needs individual stories, but the title change is a step in the right direction because Naomi lacked focus in the role of champion.
United States Champion AJ Styles def. Kevin Owens (Baron Corbin Served as Special Guest Referee)
As noted, I wasn't exactly excited for another encounter between Styles and Owens, but they work well together, so this was largely an entertaining main event, even with all the shenanigans from Corbin and Shane McMahon. The special guest referee stuff basically guaranteed that the finish would be fluky as opposed to clean for Styles, but at least it gave us two new feuds in Owens vs. Shane and Styles vs. Corbin for the build to Hell in a Cell.
In terms of newsworthy moments, this was a hotter show than Raw considering Roode made his main roster debut and Benjamin and Dolph Ziggler returned in backstage segments. The rest of the two hours (which flew by fast) were filled out well and laid the ground work for the next few weeks. SmackDown has a long road ahead with Hell in a Cell taking place in October, but compelling programs can get the blue brand back on track for the fall season.
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