Kevin Owens Interrupted United States Champion Chris Jericho and AJ Styles
I was hoping for an interaction between these tree when Jericho regained the United States Championship at Payback and I'm glad we got it. Jericho has history with both men and I was happy Styles brought up his former partnership with Jericho from last year. Everyone played their roles well and it was an effective way of hyping up the night's main event title match. Nothing is for certain regarding Jericho's immediate future with WWE, but I would love to see a Triple Threat match involving Jericho, Owens and Styles at Backlash or some other point.
Jinder Mahal def. Sami Zayn
Even though he's a "main event player" these days, Mahal is still a mediocre worker at best and thus I remain largely uninterested in his matches. Thankfully, he had a quality opponent in Zayn, who carried most of the matchup and helped make it passable. The interference from The Singh Brothers was also well done and a win over Zayn should give Mahal some credibility heading into his WWE Championship match with Randy Orton.
Tye Dillinger def. Aiden English
We saw this same squash match a few weeks ago, but it was another good victory for Dillinger, so I can't complain. Here's hoping it isn't much longer before he's put in a full-fledged feud with another member of the roster so he can finally find some direction. As for English, the singing shtick works for him as an undercard competitor, but his post-match meltdown was interesting. Is it actually leading to something or was it merely meant to set up the segment with Jericho backstage?
Carmella and Natalya def. SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi and Charlotte Flair
Charlotte certainly didn't come across like a babyface with her queen-esque promo earlier in the evening, but she did elicit a positive reaction in ultimately coming to the aid of Naomi. The match, while nothing special, was given a decent amount of time and was well-wrestled. I know a six-woman tag team match will be born out of what happened afterward, but Carmella should be rewarded a title shot soon for pinning Naomi.
Dolph Ziggler def. Sin Cara
Sure, Sin Cara wasn't too much of a threat against Ziggler, but this was a better way of killing time before Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura than another less-than-stellar talking segment. Cara scored some offense, but it was hard to believe into his pinfall attempts knowing he would lose. Besides, Ziggler has lost more matches than he won, so he undoubtedly needed this before the bout with Nakamura.
Kevin Owens def. Chris Jericho to Win the United States Championship
As seen at WrestleMania and Payback, it's obvious Jericho and Owens have tremendous in-ring chemistry together and this was another above-average outing from them. The attention to detail with Jericho focusing on Owens' injured hand, in addition to playing off past spots from their previous encounters, were excellent. The ending outcome was pretty predictable with Owens getting the belt back, but it was very entertaining, nevertheless. Of course, Owens' vicious attack on Jericho writes Jericho out of storylines for the foreseeable future, or at least until his Fozzy tour is over.
SmackDown has seemingly lost a little of its luster in recent weeks, but I'm hoping they will find their rhythm again in time once the acts they're attempting to push at the moment (Mahal, Breezango) are more established. Although this episode lacked star power with Orton and Nakamura noticeably absent, the main event was memorable with the U.S. changing hands, but the rest of the show was solid with some storyline advancement, just not must-see.
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