The Usos Interrupted Team Hell No
A lot of fans questioned the logic of Team Hell No reuniting last week after all the issues they've had over the years (in storyline), so I appreciated that Daniel Bryan brought up those issues in this segment by referring to all the times Kane attempted to end his career in 2014. It was also classic Team Hell No with the two arguing with each other and the crowd got a kick out of it. The teased tension with Team Hell No gave fans a reason to believe The Usos could beat them in the night's main event.
United States Champion Jeff Hardy def. The Miz
Almost every midcard champion in recent years has adopted the open challenge gimmick, so while it's become a bit redundant by this point, it felt fitting on this show considering Independence Day is tomorrow. Miz answering the invitation was a pleasant surprise and the two had an entertaining encounter similar to two months ago. Miz should have known better than to look like a moron at the end there, but otherwise, I enjoyed this. I was expecting Shinsuke Nakamura to attack Hardy afterward, but he may not be fully healed yet.
SAnitY Attacked The NeW Day
New Day were supposed to host some sort of pancake eating contest, which thankfully didn't come to fruition before SAnitY hit the scene. I assumed SAnitY was primed for a program with The Usos, but apparently not. Either way, I'm just happy SAnitY was allowed to bounce back after eating defeat in their debut match last week. This was a well-done angle that put them back on the map and kicked off a feud between them and New Day.
Asuka vs. James Ellsworth Ended in a Double Count-out
I didn't have high expectations for this going in simply because I wasn't looking forward to, yet I still managed to walk away from it disappointed. This was hardly a match, whereas they easily could have done more than they did and have Asuka give Ellsworth a fun beatdown. If nothing else, this didn't overstay its welcome and effectively put more heat on Carmella with Asuka getting blindsided by her post-matchup.
WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Aiden English (Non-title)
Needless to say, this was never going to be a competitive contest. Rather, it was designed to be a warm-up for Styles as he prepares to defend his WWE Championship against Rusev at Extreme Rules. Styles won with ease, but Rusev got the last laugh by laying out Styles afterward. I have no doubt Styles will successfully retain his title at Extreme Rules, but this was a basic segment that did its job in attempting to establish Rusev as a threat to Styles.
Becky Lynch def. Peyton Royce
I liked that Royce came across as more intense than usual before the bout. It was a step in the right direction for her character, despite her defeat here. This could have been much better with more time, but for what it was, the match was solid. Lynch continues to roll with another victory in the books and it's certainly looking like she will be in line for a shot at the SmackDown Women's Championship at SummerSlam.
Team Hell No def. The Usos
Considering this was the first ever face-off between these two tandems, I was slightly underwhelmed and expected more, but it was a quality main event that the crowd was hot for, nonetheless. I also don't mind WWE getting it out of the way if Team Hell No's reunion ends up being brief and we won't ever get to see this match again. The Extreme Rules implications made it a meaningful encounter and Team Hell No proved they're a cohesive unit all these years later.
With the holiday tomorrow, I feared WWE would phone it in with this edition of SmackDown Live and deliver a mediocre show, but ultimately, they took a straightforward approach and ensured everything served a purpose. Yes, there's a number of names on the roster that are without direction right now (Samoa Joe and Andrade "Cien" Almas come to mind), but at least the program has a good flow to it more often than not. As for this episode, there were enough above-average matches to make the two hours worthwhile.
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