Jeff Hardy Addressed United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
Hardy has never been the strongest talker, and while this wasn't one of his better promos in recent memory, I don't blame him too much if only because the material he was given to work with wasn't the best. Nevertheless, it did its job in hyping up the championship rematch between himself and Nakamura in the main event. Plus, Nakamura's rebuttal backstage was well done.
WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Andrade "Cien" Almas (Non-title)
It was an odd jump for Almas to go from facing Sin Cara one week to Styles the next, but I didn't have an issue with it whatsoever because it gave Almas an opportunity to showcase his skills against an elite opponent. He had an excellent outing here by taking Styles to the limit and looking credible in defeat. Hopefully he turned some heads in the back and he'll have some sort of direction going forward. This was a very entertaining opener that made me want to see a full-fledged feud between them eventually.
Becky LYnch def. Mandy Rose
Lynch has quietly been putting together quite the winning streak over the last few months and that continued here as she successfully knocked off Rose. Speaking of whom, she looked much more comfortable in the ring than she has in the past, which is a plus, and that might have been due to Lynch being her opponent. I find it slightly strange that Lynch has to first beat Carmella next week to earn a shot at the SmackDown Women's Championship at SummerSlam, but if it gets us to that point, then so be it.
Samoa Joe def. Tye Dillinger
Although this match was originally slated to take place last week, I believe time constraints prevented it from making the air. I'm glad it happened at all because Joe annihilating his opponents will never not be fun. I loved Dillinger's brief flurry of offense only for him to be put down by Joe soon after. Joe would be the perfect opponent for Styles at SummerSlam if I do say so myself.
Daniel Bryan Crashed The Miz's Eulogy for Team Hell No
I never thought I would enjoy a eulogy as much as I did this one, if only for Miz's tremendous contributions on the microphone. He really is an amazing talker and his digs at Team Hell No in this segment were simply stupendous. I assume Team Hell No is truly over with due to Kane suffering a legitimate injury and getting ready to run for office in his hometown (thank the lord), which would leave Bryan and Miz to feud heading into SummerSlam. It has been nearly two years in the making, so here's hoping WWE gets it right.
Eric Young def. Kofi Kingston
I'm happy WWE didn't just move on from SAnitY vs. The New Day despite SAnitY beating them decisively in their Tables match at Extreme Rules. This rivalry has the potential to be good, but it would help if they had something to fight over (it doesn't necessarily be the SmackDown Tag Team Championship). Nevertheless, this was a solid matchup from Young and Kingston for as long as it lasted that had the right result.
Jeff Hardy def. United states Champion Shinsuke Nakamura by Disqualification
This was the match I was looking forward to seeing at Extreme Rules on Sunday before it was cut short, but better late than never, I suppose. I don't think it was as great as it could have been due to the injured Hardy's limitations, but I liked it for what it was even though the title never felt as if it was in jeopardy. The non-finish kept the title on Nakamura, protected Hardy, and further cemented Randy Orton's heel turn, so everything about this was effective. I never thought I would be so grossed out by a man pulling on another man's ear. That is what nightmares are made of.
Just because Raw has been underwhelming lately, I wouldn't suggest sleeping on SmackDown Live. There is plenty to get invested in on the blue brand at the moment between Bryan vs. Miz, Styles' next WWE Championship challenger (which we will find out next week), Joe killing fools, Lynch rising up to title contention, and Orton finally becoming interesting again. This was a very well-rounded show with a handful of quality matches and storyline progression. SmackDown surely has my attention now that the build to SummerSlam is underway.
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