The New Day and Breezango def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos and The Colons
It's funny that New Day's entrance with the marching brand came across as more special that what we tend to see on most WWE pay-per-views these days. That was cool. I enjoyed the brief promo exchange between New Day and The Usos while it lasted, but I wish we heard more from them instead of bringing out Breezango and The Colons to talk, who I assume will meet in a match at Money in the Bank. The eight-man tag team match was decent and ate up a good chunk of television time, further boosting New Day's momentum heading into their title match with The Usos.
SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi def. Tamina (Non-title)
I forgot how nice it was to have Tamina in tag team matches these past two months because she offers absolutely nothing on her own. In her defense, though, she held her own in this outing with Naomi and the match was fine for what it was. There were a few spots that weren't so pretty, but they managed to get through it. The build to the SmackDown Women's Championship match at Money in the Bank was pretty basic with Lana attacking Naomi afterward. We'll see on Sunday if she has anything to offer in the ring.
Randy Orton Attacked WWE Champion Jinder Mahal
When it was advertised coming into this show that Orton and Mahal would face off one final time before the pay-per-view, I had low expectations because I couldn't have cared less about them going back and forth on the mic. Thankfully, Mahal spoke for a short while before Orton emerged out of nowhere and laid him out with an RKO. As I've said before, this feud hasn't intrigued me at all, but this was probably the best thing from them up to this point.
Charlotte Flair def. Natalya
These two have had countless matches since 2014, but due to being separated in the Brand Split, this match felt fresh again, and they benefited from the roles being reversed this time as well. It was a very well-wrestled match and they obviously have great chemistry together, but it's hard to take Natalya as a threat to someone such as Charlotte or the briefcase given how much she has lost over the years. Despite that, this served its purpose in hyping up the women's Money in the Bank Ladder match.
Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura def. United States Champion Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler
As is usually the case with multi-man matches, the in-ring action was fairly formulaic early on, but they kept the pace consistent throughout and it was entertaining on the whole. Surprisingly enough, the final finishing sequence didn't consist of everyone hitting their signature moves, but I assume that's because the focus was meant to be on what happened afterward with everyone vying for the briefcase. Basically, with Shinsuke Nakamura standing tall at the end, don't place any bets on him to win on Sunday.
As much as I appreciate the "less is more" approach SmackDown Live takes with its shows most weeks, including this one, it's a shame stars guys like Tye Dillinger, Luke Harper and American Alpha are left off the program as a result. Regardless, I liked the format of this episode and the hype for Money in the Bank was well done. Every segment and match was meaningful in some form or fashion and the two hours flew by as always. I'm looking forward to Money in the Bank, and while only five matches are advertised, each one of them on paper piques my interest.
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