Kevin Owens and Rusev Attacked United States Champion AJ Styles and John Cena
Styles' words about wanting to bring prestige back to the United States Championship rang true because aside from Cena, I think he is the best choice as champion right now (though Owens is excellent in the role as well as the self-professed "New Face of America"). Cena's promo wasn't the greatest, and I was actually happy that their match didn't come to fruition. All three matches in their stellar series last year and this year were incredible, and obviously a possible fourth matchup should be advertised in advance and be positioned on a pay-per-view. Owens did well with his promo and his and Rusev's attack on the babyfaces set up the tag team match for the main event.
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal def. Tye Dillinger (Non-title)
Other than with Randy Orton at Money in the Bank, Mahal has yet to have a true standout match. He's just a mediocre performer and will almost always have average matches regardless of who he is in the ring with. This was no exception as this was outing was fine while it lasted yet ultimately forgettable. Dillinger's "10" gimmick is still surprisingly over, but fans had zero incentive to believe he could beat the champion. As for Mahal's post-match promo, it was rather basic, which is nothing new from him.
Xavier Woods def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jey Uso
I'm not even sure why Big E, Kofi Kingston and Jimmy Uso were sent packing from ringside halfway through the bout if Woods was going to win no more than a a minute, anyway. Despite that, this was a decent little match that allowed The New Day to maintain their momentum by scoring another victory over the tag champs. Woods can really shine on his own, and while he wasn't able to fully showcase his skills here, the finisher he used looked sweet.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin Went to a No Contest
I figured the match would end in a non-finish given that it should be happening at Battleground, so I was glad it didn't get underway whatsoever. Fans might have been disappointed with this match not starting along with Cena vs. Styles from earlier in the evening, but it was for the best. Instead, we received a good brawl between the two that the crowd was hot for. On a side note, there have been rumors that this feud will end with Nakamura beating Corbin for his Money in the Bank contract, which would be completely ridiculous if true.
Tamina and Natalya def. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
I hated the fact that the SmackDown Women's Championship was defended in a multi-woman match at WrestleMania 33, so you can only imagine how heated I am all these months later that we're receiving another Fatal 5-Way match with the women, after we just got two women's Money in the Bank Ladder matches and a six-woman tag team match at Backlash. The lack of individual stories is what's killing this division and I couldn't care less about any of these matches as a result, including this one. Also, how the hell is Lana a part of that No. 1 Contender's match when she came up short in all three of her shots at the strap?
United States Champion AJ Styles and John Cena def. Kevin Owens and Rusev
Who thought we would ever see Cena and Styles team up? That's still surreal to me. They worked well together as tag team partners and I appreciated how Styles said he didn't trust Cena given their history as rivals. The match was entertaining albeit mostly formulaic, but it served its purpose in giving the babyfaces a credible win ahead their respective Battleground matchups. I'm not thrilled Owens was beaten in clean fashion, but it's better than Rusev losing in his first bout back.
It's funny to think how much has changed on SmackDown Live since becoming its own entity again. The women's division is worse off than it once was, but the tag team scene is infinitely more interesting with The Usos and The New Day at the helm and the main event title picture is just about the same, though the pairing of Mahal and Orton does nothing for me. At any rate, this was a solid show where the in-ring action was enjoyable and several feuds were furthered, setting the stage for Battleground in two weeks nicely.
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