Intercontinental Champion The Miz Hosted Miz TV with Jeff Hardy
Orton doesn't intrigue me at all in his current role as a babyface, but he along with everyone else played their roles well here. A face vs. face feud with him and Hardy isn't too compelling on paper, but perhaps it will heat up at Backlash or afterward. You knew exactly where this was going once Shelton Benjamin crashed the segment, but it did a decent job of setting up the subsequent tag team match, nonetheless.
United States Champion Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton def. Shelton Benjamin and The Miz
Similar to the six-man tag team matchup on Monday's Raw, this was fairly formulaic, but the crowd ate up everything they did. It also killed a good chunk of television time. I like Benjamin, but I'm glad he was the one who got pinned here and not Miz considering Miz will be contending for the Intercontinental Championship this Sunday. Meanwhile, Orton hitting people with RKOs "out of nowhere" post-match is getting old for me personally, and I continue to believe he would be a much stronger heel.
Big Cass Attacked "Daniel Bryan"
While I've never been the biggest fan of Cass, there can be no doubt that he has comes across as much more comfortable as a character and on the mic since returning a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the material he was given to work with in this segment was pretty bad. If nothing else, he elicited great heat from the Canadian crowd, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he fares against Bryan in the ring come Backlash.
Samoa Joe Interrupted WWE Champion AJ Styles
The audience was into Styles from the start of the segment and he cut a solid promo on Nakamura, but Joe's promo blew his out of the water. I seriously do not think there is a better talker in WWE today than Joe. He was doing just fine on Raw before the Superstar Shake-up, but the cool thing about him now being on SmackDown Live is that it appears he'll immediately be entered into the world title picture post-Backlash. A Triple Threat between Styles, Nakamura and Joe could be something special. As for Nakamura's attack on Styles, it was well done, though it would be nice if Nakamura did more than low blow people all the time.
Xavier Woods def. Sheamus
This looks to be a secondary feud in the SmackDown tag team division while The Bludgeon Brothers and The Usos do battle over the belts (assuming that isn't over), and I'm all for it. Both tandems are talented and can have some entertaining matches together. This was a fairly standard singles outing from Sheamus and Woods. That said, I'd be shocked if The New Day vs. Sheamus and Cesaro ends up getting added to the Backlash card unless it's on the Kickoff show.
Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch def. SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella and The IIconics
The primary purpose of this bout was to further the feuds involved, and in that respect, it was a success. I can't say the in-ring work was particularly exciting, but the final stretch or so was enjoyable and each of the six stars had their time to shine. It helped that the crowd was engaged in the action as well. Asuka currently isn't booked for Backlash, but she deserved a notable victory following last week's loss.
It's possible they didn't have a choice, but WWE made a major mistake by holding Greatest Royal Rumble one week before Backlash, because as of now, I'm not too pumped for the pay-per-view. Thankfully, it does have potential on paper, but the build for the event has left a lot to be desired. As a go-home show, this edition of SmackDown didn't move the needle much for me, but it was a fun two hours all things considered and the electric atmosphere in Montreal played a significant factor in that for the second straight night.
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