SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella Attacked Asuka
Carmella's mic skills are hit or miss more often than not, and unfortunately, this wasn't one of her better promos. It didn't help that she played the "humble" card before turning on the crowd soon after, which is exactly what Alexa Bliss did on Monday's Raw, and thus no one in the audience bought into it here. We were all hoping for some sort of an explanation for why James Ellsworth is back despite her turning on him late last year, but no such luck. It looks like this feud is continuing, so hopefully it will eventually end with Asuka taking the title from Carmella.
Becky Lynch def. Billie Kay
The IIconics have yet to impress me in any way since being called up to the main roster a few months ago, but this was easily the best one-on-one in-ring performance I've seen Kay have, either on SmackDown Live or in NXT. It was a well-wrestled affair with the right result as Lynch begins to work her way back up the ladder to title contention. I can tell you firsthand that Lynch was insanely over in Chicago at Money in the Bank, so here's hoping she is more of a focal point in the blue brand's women's division moving forward.
The Usos vs. SAnitY Went to a No Contest
It was about damn time SAnitY arrived on SmackDown. My first thought was why such a big match with The Usos would be thrown away on television for free right off the bat, but this was well-booked all around. Granted, their beatdown on The Usos wasn't exactly vicious, but they left the former multi-time SmackDown Tag Team Champions lying in their debut, so that's a solid start for them. If they beat them in their initial match (whenever that takes place), SAnitY will have a good amount of credibility from the get-go.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers def. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
I'm not sure what exactly Anderson and Gallows did to earn another shot at the straps after losing in decisive fashion at Money in the Bank, but this was a fun match and an improvement over their outing at Money in the Bank, nevertheless. It's so refreshing to see The Bludgeon Brothers actually have a competitive contest for a change, yet remain dominant with their win. Based off their interaction with Daniel Bryan afterward as they were walking up the ramp (and how they cost him the main event), it appears he will be their next rival, but who will Bryan choose to be his partner?
Rusev def. The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe and Big E in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's Gauntlet Match
This was a great, great Gauntlet match with a smart layout. Big E had a strong showing against Bryan and made the most of his time in the ring with him. He will be a breakout star for sure in time. I then enjoyed the encounter between Bryan and Joe as they rekindled their rivalry and gave fans a nice taste of what to expect when they engage in a full-fledged feud. Miz then picking up the scraps and pinning Bryan without giving away a true match between them was perfect, and then Miz vs. Rusev was a blast as well with the crowd very much behind Rusev. I would have been fine with any of these guys as championship contenders, but Rusev is a fresh face in the title picture and I'm excited for him vs. AJ Styles at Extreme Rules.
The first hour of this show didn't light the world on fire, but it was decent enough to keep me engaged with a few feuds being furthered and SANitY finally debuting, so it wasn't complete throwaway. The second hour was completely devoted to the Gauntlet match and I loved that a lot. It's worth watching as it set up several storylines for the July pay-per-view and never lost my attention. On the whole, SmackDown is much easier to watch than Raw these days and this episode was a prime example of that.
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