SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos Called Out The New Day
This was a solid follow-up to what we saw at Hell in a Cell between New Day and The Usos and it was a fitting end to their long-running rivalry (assuming it's actually over). It was a refreshing change of pace to see the tag team division of SmackDown Live showcased at the start of the show (as well as a welcome reminder that the brand has more than two tandems). It was pretty paint-by-numbers once everyone starting piling out of the locker room, but it did tie in nicely to the subsequent No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way match.
Shelton Benajamin and Chad Gable def. The Ascension, The Hype Bros, and Breezango in a SmackDown Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match
Yes, there is talent in the tag team scene on SmackDown beyond New Day and The Usos and this match was proof of that. Benjamin and The Usos are the freshest and most credible challengers to The Usos at the moment, so while it was obvious they were winning, this was a fun Fatal 4-Way while it lasted. The Hype Bros continue to tease tension and you have to think they'll be splitting up sooner rather than later. They can only lose so many matches before one of them snaps on the other.
Becky Lynch def. Carmella
I've mentioned in the past about how underutilized Lynch has been as of late, so I appreciated having her back on my TV again. Her match with Carmella wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it wasn't bad, either. The commentators played this up as a game-changing win for Lynch, but seeing is believing. I doubt she'll be contending for the SmackDown Women's Championship any time soon as long as Natalya is feuding with Charlotte Flair.
Sami Zayn Explained His Actions
There was plenty of speculation as to what Zayn's logic would be for aligning with Kevin Owens at Hell in a Cell, and although he looked conflicted at the event, he was over-the-top elated here to have finally expressed his true feelings about being overlooked on SmackDown since the Superstar Shake-up. Everything he said made perfect sense, and I already (unsurprisingly) love the chemistry he has with Owens as a heel duo. The question now is where these two go from here.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton def. Rusev and Aiden English
Uh, did Nakamura not remember when he last teamed with Orton and he was laid out with an RKO afterward? That aside, this was a decent tag team match that allowed Orton to seemingly finish up his feud with Rusev, and after beating him twice in singles competition, there's no reason for the rivalry to continue. Meanwhile, Nakamura got a bit of his momentum back with the win, and I'm not sure what's next for him if he's officially out of WWE Championship contention.
Dolph Ziggler Interrupted Bobby Roode
Roode is a fine face, but it's obvious he's much more comfortable in the heel role, so I hope it's only a matter of time before he transitions back to being that character that got him over in NXT. This was a passable promo from him and Ziggler's response was also acceptable, but this feud been basic so far and nothing about it has intrigued me. Henceforth, I can't say I'm excited for the eventual rematch, but maybe it will be better than their Hell in a Cell encounter.
United States Champion Baron Corbin def. AJ Styles
Corbin and Styles have worked well together in the past and they delivered another entertaining outing here. It was actually livelier than the Triple Threat match involving Tye Dillinger from the pay-per-view and there weren't as many dead spots. Corbin can hang with the top talent in the ring and he proved that with his showing in this matchup. More importantly, he emerged victorious in clean fashion, which was huge for him. Styles can sustain the loss and the hope is that he'll be next in line to challenge for the WWE title.
As a post-pay-per-view edition of SmackDown, this was a pretty good show on the whole. Of course, everyone was most looking forward to Zayn and Owens and what they had to say about the ending to Hell in a Cell, and that was easily the highlight of the night. Throw in an above-average main event, a treat of a Fatal 4-Way tag team match and the long awaited return of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a vignette and you have yourself an enjoyable episode.
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