The Miz Hosted Miz TV with SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers
As expected, Miz carried this segment on his back by revisiting the tension teased between The Bludgeon Brothers and Daniel Bryan on last week's show. Bryan also played his role well here, setting up his match against Harper for later in the night nicely. One has to wonder whether Miz was merely a mouthpiece for the Bludgeons here or if it will eventually lead to him and Bryan engaging in a full-fledged feud.
Rusev def. Xavier Woods
Needless to say, Woods stood no chance of beating Rusev, but more than anything this was an opportunity for him to showcase his skills as a singles competitor and I'd argue he succeeded. It has been reported for a while that WWE plans on branching New Day off into one-on-one competition and this might have been the next step in seeing how Woods will fare on his own, and based off his performance here, I think he'll be just fine. This was an enjoyable outing designed to further Rusev's momentum ahead of his WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules.
Eric Young def. United States Champion Jeff Hardy by Disqualification
Hardy was originally scheduled to defend his title against Shinsuke Nakamura on this show, but an undisclosed injury kept Nakamura out of action (reportedly, he was bit by a police dog at the airport on Monday night... weird, huh?). Young was a fine replacement, and although this started out rough with that botched Twist of Fate, they managed to recover and have a good match. The Usos interfering turned this into a six-man tag team encounter...
United States Champion Jeff Hardy and The Usos def. SAnitY
The Usos and Jeff Hardy was a trio I didn't know I wanted until now. The awesome chemistry they had together made this an entertaining encounter and the audience was hot for everything they did. Unfortunately, SAnitY lost their first televised match as a unit on the main roster. I guess it's all about the aftermath, but between that and their delayed debut, I don't think the loss speaks too highly to how management currently views the stable.
Becky Lynch def. Sonya Deville
The story being told right now with Lynch is that she's on a mission to work her way back up the ladder and become a champion again. I'm happy she's finally being focused on again and victories such as this one will help establish her as a credible threat again. The match itself was well-wrestled and Deville held her own against the experienced Lynch with another impressive showing. She'll have a bright future ahead of her if she can continue to make strides in the ring.
SmackDown General Manager Paige Interrupted James Ellsworth
I can't say I'm a major fan of Ellsworth returning, but we'll see how much he adds to Carmella's act this time around. Speaking of whom, she was nowhere to be seen here, and instead, this segment consisted of Ellsworth calling out Asuka (who he already knew was away in Japan) and being told by Paige that he'll be facing Asuka one-on-one next week (in addition to Carmella and Asuka facing off in a rematch for the SmackDown Women's Championship at Extreme Rules). Ellsworth is no stranger to intergender wrestling, so that match should... interesting, I suppose.
Daniel Bryan def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Harper by Disqualification
As expected, Harper was on offense for the first portion of this match, but I was glad this wasn't a glorified squash and rather it became a competitive contest down the stretch. Everyone is aware of what these guys could do against each other and thus it was great they weren't held back. Kane coming to Bryan's aid afterward genuinely shocked me (what Brand Split?), but the crowd popped huge for the hug. Team Hell No reuniting for one final run could be fun, but whether Bryan deserves better/should be slated higher up on the card is the question.
A number of notable names were missing from this edition of SmackDown Live (Carmella, Asuka, Charlotte Flair, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe come to mind), but on the whole, it was a solid show capped off by a memorable moment. Despite not being the most newsworthy, this episode was above-average from an in-ring standpoint and therefore earns a thumbs-up from yours truly.
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