WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Rusev by Disqualification (Non-title)
Words can not describe how happy I am that Styles' feud with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and all the others is finally over. It wasn't the talents' fault, but the writing was so bland that it was difficult to care (especially when you knew Styles wasn't losing the title before WrestleMania). At any rate, the face-to-face confrontation between Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura before the bout was well done and was wisely kept short and sweet. Styles cut a very good promo while Nakamura tried the best with what he was given. I'm surprised Styles and Rusev had never clashed one-on-one prior to this point, but I enjoyed their encounter here. The non-finish was actually a pleasant surprise because it means officials didn't want Rusev to be beaten decisively two shows in a row. Look for this to lead to a tag team match pitting Styles and Nakamura against Rusev and Aiden English next week.
The Bludgeon Brothers def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso and Big E
I liked the idea of Jimmy Uso and Big E putting their differences aside and teaming up to wage war with common enemies in The Bludgeon Brothers. I also appreciated that Jey Uso and the other members of The New Day were left off TV to sell their "injuries" from Fastlane. Uso and Big E wasting no time to take the fight to their opponents was a nice touch and this turned into a fun little bout while it lasted. The Bludgeon Brothers emerging victorious by pinning Uso was the right call as they enter the SmackDown Tag Team Championship picture.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Asuka Came Face-to-Face
Charlotte's babyfaces promos aren't always the best, but this was quality mic work from her here. She did a terrific job of playing up how this is a dream match for the women and it certainly is. Asuka was also better than usual with the delivery of her lines. This wasn't a lengthy segment and it didn't need to be; it was exactly what it should have been. There's still plenty of time for them to build up tension with each other before WrestleMania.
Jinder Mahal def. Bobby Roode
I wouldn't have followed up that confrontation with the women with yet another talking segment, especially since it was basic at best. Randy Orton addressing the audience made his United States Championship win feel important, but the rebuttals from Roode and Mahal did nothing for me, similar to the subsequent Roode vs. Mahal match. I'm simply not invested in this storyline whatsoever, though I am curious if Orton will end up being bumped to the Kickoff show at WrestleMania because as it stands, this three-way feud is not WrestleMania-worthy.
Carmella def. Naomi
During a pre-taped promo beforehand, Carmella officially entered herself into the Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle royal and called herself the "Modern Day Moolah." I would certainly hope not after all those awful things came out about how terrible of a person Moolah was back in the day. As for this match, it was fine for what it was but hardly necessary. In other words, it was your typical filler. Thankfully, it didn't overstay its welcome and Carmella was allowed to maintain momentum by knocking off Naomi.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn Attacked Shane McMahon
Despite Shane saying that he'll be leaving his position as SmackDown Commissioner "indefinitely," I somehow don't think this is the last we've seen of him on the road to WrestleMania. The crowd cheered the announcement, which goes to show how overexposed he's been on WWE TV lately. Owens vs. Zayn straight up at WrestleMania would be sweet, but it makes zero sense after this attack, and it was super strong. It has to be Owens and Zayn vs. Shane and a partner at this point, right?
SmackDown now has a clear cut path heading into WrestleMania with a majority of the storylines set in stone, so that should help the quality of the show on the whole moving forward. This was much more bearable of an episode than we've come to expect from SmackDown in recent months and the two hours didn't drag as much as they usually do. In addition to offering follow-up from Fastlane, there was plenty of progression in regards to WrestleMania, so it was a success of a show all things considered.
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