By Graham "GSM" Matthews
John Cena def. Luke Gallows
Thankfully, for anyone expecting a straightforward squash like what we saw with Cena and Karl Anderson last month on Raw, this was more of a competitive contest, but was largely overshadowed by the interference by the rest of The Club as well as Enzo Amore and Big Cass at ringside. I wouldn't have had Cena pin Gallows, but we've had too many non-finishes in this feud already, so it didn't bother me too much. The babyfaces needed to get one over on the heels, so it was a logical win for Cena, and the match itself won't be remembered a week from now.
Darren Young and Zack Ryder def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz and United States Champion Rusev
This felt like such a mismatch on paper considering Young and Ryder were barely above enhancement level a month ago, but to their credit, they have really emerged as solid midcard competitors in recent weeks. While the in-ring action wasn't anything exciting, it successfully furthered the feuds involved and gave the babyfaces a much-needed momentum boost heading into Battleground. The crowd reacting quite favorably to Young locking in the Crossface Chicken Wing was a pleasant surprise, too.
Bray Wyatt def. WWE Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods
Woods is actually a much better wrestler than most might think given he tends to be limited as part of The New Day, but I was glad this match was more storyline-based than it was wrestling-oriented. They could have easily had a much better match, but I really liked how Woods sold his fear of Wyatt, especially the awesome finish with Wyatt stopping Woods right in his tracks by doing the creepy crab walk and following it up with Sister Abigail for the victory.
Kane vs. Kevin Owens Went to a No Contest
I'm sorry, but I have zero desire to see Kane on my TV in 2016. To me, he is significantly more bearable than Big Show, but he still serves no purpose at this stage of his career. Worse yet, he had to lay out Zayn and Owens for no apparent reason. I would have been more content with him laying out one or the other to establish him as a heel or face for the billionth time, but both? Come on. What a waste.
WWE Women's Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke def. Sasha Banks in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Considering she was all alone, Banks had a pretty good showing against the Women's Champion and Brooke. The knees to the outside to Charlotte looked great and the subsequent clothesline from Brooke to Banks was brutal. The match didn't last long but it didn't need to. It proved Banks is in need of a partner and is incapable of overcoming the odds on her own, and other than the chance of Bayley getting called up, I don't have the slightest idea who her partner could be.
Chris Jericho def. Cesaro
Although they were on opposite teams during Raw's tag match on Monday night, there wasn't a real reason why this match happened, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, nevertheless. They have always worked well together and I was happy they ended up on the same show so we can see more of their matches in the future. The finish looked fantastic with Jericho catching Cesaro out of nowhere for the Codebreaker. It made sense to give Jericho the win over Cesaro given he will be at Battleground hosting 'The Highlight Reel' in addition to how he was a higher pick in the Draft than Cesaro.
Alicia Fox vs. Natayla Went to a No Contest
Yes, Alicia Fox is apparently back, despite how I never noticed she was gone to begin with. But I appreciated how they came back from break with the brawl between Natayla and Becky Lynch. The match never getting started was too similar to what we saw earlier from Kane and Owens for my liking, but their feud getting airtime on the go-home edition of SmackDown Live was more important. Here's hoping we aren't in for a million matches between them since they will both be on SmackDown going forward.
WWE Champion Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins
Needless to say, Ambrose and Rollins have such stellar in-ring chemistry that it's near impossible for them to have a bad match. This matchup was no exception as they once again delivered a phenomenal performance with a fun pace and suspenseful nearfalls down the stretch. You can determine which bout was better between their Raw meeting and this one, though I'd said their SmackDown clash earned the edge. Either way, the clean conclusion was welcomed albeit shocking considering the controversy at the end of Raw this week.
So many draft picks were made throughout the show that I will have another article up here on the site soon enough with my full analysis of each pick, including those made on the WWE Network afterward. On the whole, I was happy with a majority of the selections and the format was fine. The drafting process ended on a lackluster note with Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus, but at least the night was capped off by an extremely well-wrestled championship main event. The rest of the matches were hardly anything of consequence, but they definitely did get me amped up for Battleground, which has been lost in all of the excitement surrounding the Brand Extension.
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