Kevin Owens Lashed Outat Shane McMahon
I always knew Owens could be big as a babyface if booked properly and I think that was fairly evident here. The crowd ate up everything he said and treated him like a hero. I normally don't like it when talking segments open the shows, but this was great stuff and kicked off Owens' babyface run on a high note. I have no desire to see Owens rekindle his rivalry with Shane, and in fact, I think he'd benefit from working with a hot heel from the active roster.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor (Non-Title)
I've complained quite a bit about how Balor has been a complete afterthought since moving to SmackDown Live the 2019 Superstar Shake-up, but it's been even worse for Nakamura, who hasn't wrestled a televised match on the blue brand since April. That said, I'm all for a feud between these two over the Intercontinental Championship. They've faced each other only once in WWE (during their NXT days three years ago) and they still have terrific chemistry together. Nakamura's victory obviously sets him up to challenge for the title in the near future.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley and Nikki Cross Signed the Contract For Their Handicap Match at Extreme Rules; Cross def. Carmella
I realize the story is that Alexa Bliss is having Cross do all of her bidding for her, but it's strange that Bliss wasn't featured at all on Raw or SmackDown Live this week, days ahead of Extreme Rules. It really feels like it should be Bayley vs. Cross at the pay-per-view and not a Handicap match. This was a solid segment with nice mic work from both women, but I will agree with the masses that Cross definitely came across like the bigger babyface of the two here. Cross and Carmella had a competent contest and Cross maintained momentum with the win.
Otis def. Xavier Woods and SmackDown Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat Match
The "tag team summit" that preceded the Triple Threat was well done with all three tandems cutting entertaining promos. The New Day were outrageous as usual, Bryan generated good heat, and Otis was his over-the-top self. The match itself was nothing too special, but the in-ring action was decent and each of the competitors shined at one point or another. I love the call to have Otis go over and pick up a major victory before Extreme Rules.
Roman Reigns def. Dolph Ziggler
I knew this wasn't going to be anything out of the ordinary based off how close it started to the end of the episode, but to their credit, they made the most of the time they had and produced a perfectly fine match. The focus was mostly on the shenanigans with Shane at ringside and Owens laying him out with a Stunner Stone Cold Steve Austin-style brought a smile to my face. Perhaps there is an end in sight to his reign of terror after all. Needless to say, Reigns beating Ziggler was never in doubt, and I honestly almost forgot Reigns was teaming with The Undertaker on Sunday because of how he was nowhere to be seen or heard from.
In addition to everything discussed above, it was also revealed that Aleister Black's Extreme Rules opponent will be Cesaro. Yes, it was slightly underwhelming considering everyone is always hoping for a fresh face in a spot like that, but I have no doubt that it will be a blast of a bout. The rest of this show was a vast improvement over last week with Owens receiving the spotlight for a change and plenty of build for Extreme Rules. If nothing else, it was better than Monday's Raw, which bored me to tears.
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