The Miz Addressed Shane McMahon
I liked Shane's first promo since turning heel on last week's show, but Miz clearly cut the better promo here. I feel fans often forget how amazing Miz is on the mic, but he definitely reestablished himself as a tremendous talker with this segment. He was intense, focused and fired up about how he's earned the respect of the fans over the past 13 years. Props to Miz and Shane for getting me invested in a storyline I had zero expectations for when it started several months back.
The IIconics def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champions The Boss 'n' Hug Connection (Non-title)
From an in-ring standpoint, this was a pretty good match, but The IIconics haven't meant anything in some time, so it was honestly hard to take them seriously against Banks and Bayley. I realize the result was designed to incorporate The IIconics into the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania 35, but as I mentioned in my Raw review, I'd prefer a more standard two-on-two approach with The Divas of Doom challenging The Boss 'n' Hug Connection and nobody else.
Kevin Owens Hosted The Kevin Owens Show with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair
This Raw Women's Championship feud has been all over the place in recent months. It's weird that only now WWE is starting to separate the Raw and SmackDown Live ladies, and the timing couldn't be worse with WrestleMania right around the corner. The mic work from Flair and Lynch in this segment was fine, yet completely forgettable. I feel like I've seen them brawl a billion times over since the summer, so I can't say that their latest altercation did anything to get me more excited for the match than I was before.
WWE Champion Daniel Bryan def. Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, United States Champion Samoa Joe, Rowan, Cesaro and Sheamus in a Gauntlet Match (Non-title)
This was laid out exactly as I envisioned and the execution was excellent. Daniel Bryan's pre-match promo got the fans behind Kingston before the bout even began. Kingston's first match with Sheamus was very well-wrestled and set the tone nicely for the remainder of his run in the Gauntlet. His encounter with Cesaro was equally enjoyable (albeit predictable) and served its purpose in allowing Kingston to build momentum. Rowan intentionally getting himself disqualified made perfect sense, as it put Kingston at a significant disadvantage ahead of his outings against Joe and Orton. As expected, he came out on top and had the crowd behind him every step of the way. They told a hell of a story with his performance, but you just had to know Kingston's climb to the top wasn't over yet when there was several minutes left in the show. Bryan's clean victory stunned me, just because WrestleMania is in less than three weeks and we still have no WWE Championship match officially announced for the event. I assume that's coming, but this is an odd setback for Kingston so close to 'Mania. I'm intrigued to see what the followup will be, but either way, Kingston's eventual WWE title win is going to be glorious.
Needless to say, the Gauntlet match was the big reason to watch this show and is well worth checking out in its entirety (it took up the entire second hour). Kingston's WWE Championship chase remains the best story being told on SmackDown at the moment, but there are a few other programs that I find compelling as well. The women's tag team bout and The Kevin Owens Show both missed the mark for me personally, but Miz's terrific promo and the above-average main event were enough to make this a thumbs-up episode.
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