King Booker Celebrated with SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day
You had to know New Day would go all out following their SmackDown Tag Team Championship victory on last week's show, but Booker T showing up was a totally unexpected and a cool surprise. It was fitting, too, since New Day are now five-time tag team champs and Booker is, of course, known for referring to himself as a five-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This was a ton of fun and definitely a different way of kicking off the show than usual, which is what I appreciated most about it.
The Bar def. The Colons and Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match to Advance in the SmackDown TaG Team Championship Tournament
Man, SmackDown really does like their tag team tournaments, eh? In all seriousness, I will say that it is a nice way of establishing new No. 1 contenders to the championship without just giving a random team a title shot. This was a well-wrestled, enjoyable match on the whole even if the outcome was never once in doubt. I honestly forgot The Colons were still on the roster before they resurfaced here (I believe they hadn't wrestled a televised matchup together since June 2017).
Jeff Hardy Called Out Randy Orton
Hardy and Orton really haven't had a chance to go back-and-forth on the mic prior to this point, so this a solid angle and both guys did well with what they had to say. However, I'm slightly surprised Orton vs. Hardy will be inside Hell in a Cell at next month's pay-per-view and not AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (as of now, anyway). I know Hardy has wanted to compete in a Cell match for years, but the WWE Championship feud is way more deserving of the stipulation. Perhaps there will be three Hell in a Cell matches on the card, which isn't impossible (see: 2009, 2016).
Billie Kay def. Naomi
Similar to last week (and any other week for that matter), the mic work from The IIconics just isn't clicking with me or the audience. They either need new material or have their microphones shut off because they're not generating the right type of heat (or really any heat at all). At only a minute or so in length, this was total throwaway and resulted in another win for The IIconics. I'm assuming Asuka will eventually align with Naomi to help even the odds.
Daniel Bryan def. Andrade "Cien" Almas by Disqualification
The pre-match promos from Bryan and Brie Bella were well done and effective in building toward their mixed tag team match with The Miz and Maryse at Hell in a Cell. Almas and Zelina interrupting them was logical yet I didn't see it coming, and the subsequent match between Bryan and Almas was excellent. Even with the commercial breaks and the shenanigans around ringside, they still managed to rip it up and get me excited for a future rematch/feud. Look for Bryan and Brie to take on Almas and Vega on next week's show.
Samoa Joe Interrupted WWE Champion AJ Styles
Joe continuing to target Styles' family and get under Styles' skin in the process is fine, but if this feud isn't going to culminate (or at least be furthered) inside Hell in a Cell, then what's the point? Nothing is stopping Styles from getting disqualified again in their next outing. Hopefully they can get more creative with their next segment because this was standard stuff. That isn't to say it was bad, but I expected more from them.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair def. Carmella
I don't blame the crowd for not being overly invested in this championship clash for a number of reasons. Firstly, we've seen Charlotte vs. Carmella countless times before. Secondly, I applaud their effort but Carmella was on offense for a majority of the matchup and therefore it wasn't very exciting. Finally, Charlotte is miscast as a babyface and fans aren't interested in cheering her at the moment. That was evident afterward when the audience went crazy for Lynch attacking Charlotte. Lynch's promo was short, sweet, and exactly what it needed to be. Although the roles should be reversed, I'm looking forward to their encounter at Hell in a Cell.
WWE is technically building to three pay-per-views right now between Hell in a Cell, WWE Super Show-Down and Evolution, but I'm glad that unlike Raw, SmackDown Live seems focused solely on Hell in a Cell. This wasn't a home run edition of SmackDown (a few segments were slightly underwhelming), but several storylines were progressed, we were treated to some good to great wrestling, and the Toronto crowd was hot throughout, so I'd chalk that up to a quality show.
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