Sami Zayn Confronted SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon
Apparently, Shane's logic for leading the SmackDown Live invasion on Raw was because he felt Kurt Angle bragged too much about Raw being the better show. Okay, then. He did acknowledge how Angle asked to use AJ Styles for TLC and for Raw the next night and how that literally opened the door for them to get into the building, but this entire "brand supremacy" storyline feels forced and rushed. As for Zayn, I loved his interaction with Shane and he has flourished in the heel role thus far. This also successfully hyped Zayn vs. Randy Orton for the night's main event.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin def. The New Day
These are the two biggest babyface tandems in the tag team division on SmackDown, so I figured it would be a while before we saw this match. They can always go back to it once Gable and Benjamin inevitably win the tag titles, and this was fun while it lasted. Benjamin and Gable winning by being opportunists was interesting and I'm glad they're gradually building momentum before they challenge The New Day.
Sin Cara def. United States Champion Baron Corbin by Disqualification (Non-title)
After Cara beat Corbin by count-out on last week's episode, I assumed Cara would somehow score another fluke win over Corbin here and that was exactly what happened. This was a bit longer and more competitive than their initial encounter, but it was still throwaway. Corbin's aggressive streak is a welcome change, but it's hard to take him seriously as a credible midcard champion when he's lost to Sin Cara of all people two weeks in a row.
AJ Styles def. Sunil Singh
Jinder Mahal's pre-match promo responding to Brock Lesnar accepting his Survivor Series challenge on Raw was about as basic as it gets, and nothing said about the bout this past week has made me any more excited for it than I was before. Meanwhile, Styles squashing Singh in the matter of a minute was predictable yet short and sweet. I'm sure it could have been a nice little match, but The Singh Brothers haven't been positioned as anything more than punching bags at this point.
Becky Lynch def. Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Naomi and Tamina in a Fatal 5-Way Match to Become the Captain of Team SmackDown Live
Ugh, another multi-woman match on WWE TV? What's WWE's obsession with these? Rarely ever are they good and this was another disjointed mess with no one standing out as special. Like I said in my Raw review, the role of captain is completely meaningless, but Lynch winning was a pleasant surprise. I did laugh about how Daniel Bryan said he wanted these women to band together before putting them in a Fatal 5-Way match on this show.
Randy Orton def. Sami Zayn to Join Team SmackDown Live
I appreciated that this was a fresh match and it was every bit as great as I expected it to be, but not too amazing that they went all out and delivered the blockbuster I'm certain they're capable of. It helped that there was something at stake, and Kevin Owens interfering at the end likely means we'll see something similar during Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura next week. All in all, this was a quality main event and I look forward to more matches from them in the future.
SmackDown did a better job of kicking off their road to Survivor Series than Raw, but this was still a forgettable show. I enjoyed the opening segment and Zayn vs. Orton, but per usual, Zayn and Owens are the only recurring highlights on the blue brand. I will say the tag team match was well-wrestled as well, but SmackDown needs help right now and I don't know if brand warfare is the answer. Speaking of which, the Raw roster was nowhere to be seen after what happened on Monday night, so that was weird.
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