AJ Styles Threatened to Attack Shane McMahon
Styles was back to being cocky in this promo after showing more of an aggressive side last week, but I was fine with it because he thrives in either role. This program with Shane has been a pleasant surprise thus far, and for as great as Styles has been, I have to give Shane his props for holding his own as well. It's obviously the biggest story on SmackDown Live right now next to the WWE Championship picture, so Styles threatening to attack Shane again was a compelling hook for the rest of the show.
The Usos def. American Alpha to Win the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
I was so underwhelmed by the match they had in last week's main event because this was the matchup I knew they were capable of. Granted, the tag team division is dead right now and these two teams have had very little storyline support, but they managed to get the crowd invested in the action with their terrific chemistry. Usos have been much more refreshing as heels, and American Alpha could be better in chase mode, so I don't mind the title change at all. I just question why it had to happen so close to WrestleMania and not at the event itself.
Randy Orton def. Baron Corbin
For a first time ever outing, these two worked really well against each other and produced a pretty good match. Corbin looked like an equal to Orton throughout, which was encouraging considering Orton will be challenging for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. That said, it was logical for Orton to win here, but I'm glad Corbin was allowed to look strong in defeat (despite looking like an idiot for being distracted by Dean Ambrose on the forklift). And there was a strange, long pause before Ambrose was finally shown, but that's merely nitpicking.
John Cena def. Fandango
Maryse might be a more attractive Nikki Bella than the actual Nikki Bella. But hey, that's just one man's opinion. Meanwhile, Tyler Breeze dressing up as Nikki Bella was a sight I did not need to see. This match initially made absolutely zero sense to me, but then I realized it was Lance Catamaran vs. Chett Chetterfield from South Paw Wrestling and that's probably why WWE did it. Cena and Nikki are cringeworthy on TV together, but you can tell they're having fun, so there's that.
Becky Lynch vs. Carmella Ended in a No Contest
The build to the SmackDown Women's Championship match at WrestleMania 33 has left a lot to be desired, similar to the rest of the card quite honestly. This would have a fine follow-up to Carmella's ambush on Lynch last week, but the bout barely got underway before all the chaos. Alexa Bliss was finally the last one standing among the women, but I didn't come away from this match any more excited for the 'Mania matchup than I was before.
Shane McMahon Attacked AJ Styles
You had to know when Styles was underestimating Shane while walking to the ring that Shane was going to take the fight to him and ultimately overpower him, and that's exactly what happened. It's hard to suspend your disbelief watching Shane beat the crap out of Styles, who is in his prime, but they can't have Styles dominate Shane during the entire build-up to the WrestleMania match if Styles is winning (and he should). Hopefully their match exceeds expectations and possibly steals the show.
Between the two brands, SmackDown has definitely been delivering solid shows more consistently than Raw, but the hype for WrestleMania 33 has been lackluster on the whole in my opinion. I'm looking forward to the pay-per-view regardless because I'll be there, but I don't blame those who won't be in attendance if they aren't anticipating it as much. The stuff with Styles and Shane once again took center stage, and I thought it was well done, and the tag title match and Orton vs. Corbin were both entertaining, so this edition of SmackDown gets a mild thumbs up from me.
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