The Undertaker Attacked Sami Zayn
WWE took the exact route I hope they wouldn't when it was announced that Undertaker would be appearing on SmackDown Live in Madison Square Garden. The crowd was certainly happy to see him, but he continues to cut the same promos time after time and never do anything of note. He'll hit a chokeslam on someone every now and again like he did here, but that's it. I thought this was a waste of The Deadman when he instead could have been used to put someone else over, like Bray Wyatt.
The Miz def. Andrade
Andrade went from almost advancing to the semifinals in the King of the Ring to losing to The Miz one week later. Part of me hoped that Andrade would win so he could be added to the Intercontinental Championship match at Clash of Champions, but no such luck. On the bright side, this was an entertaining outing with a win giving Miz a momentum boost going into Sunday. Meanwhile, Shinsuke Nakamura was terrible on commentary, which is exactly why he has a mouthpiece. I realize Zayn got attacked in the previous segment, but Nakamura should have either stayed silent or not been on commentary at all.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nikki Cross def. Mandy Rose
The WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match at Clash of Champions doesn't have much going for it heading into the pay-per-view, so WWE decided to put heat on Rose and Deville by having Rose take shots at Cross' looks. It was a pretty cheap tactic that didn't seem to work if the crowd's silence during their matchup was any indication. It was fine for what it was, but it virtually didn't matter who won.
Heavy Machinery def. Johnny Silver and Alex Keaton
I thought Heavy Machinery were on a roll and were getting over nicely when they were involved in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship picture a few months ago, but they haven't been on WWE TV much since then. The fact they picked up a decisive victory here over a pair of local athletes should mean that WWE plans on pushing them again, at least to some extent. This was quick and painless but felt out of place on the go-home show for Clash of Champions.
Roman Reigns and Erick Rowan Brawled
This is probably the most we've ever heard from Rowan on the mic. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's really difficult to care about this feud when victory for Reigns at Clash of Championship is basically guaranteed. The brawl was well done and all, but Rowan doesn't feel like a threat to Reigns in the slightest. Regardless of whether he's been behind the attacks or not, I maintain that Daniel Bryan will be feuding with Reigns before long. That said, I can't say this particular chapter in the story has been doing a lot for me.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley def. Ember Moon (Non-Title)
The crowd sat on their hands for Bayley vs. Moon at SummerSlam (despite how well wrestled it was), so I appreciated that there was more energy behind this. The commercial break took up too much time, but what we saw was solid. Bayley scoring the clean win was necessary, but she's still the same old Bayley we've been getting for years now. Seriously, nothing has changed about her character yet. Maybe they'll wait to go all the way with it, but so far, it's been confusing because fans don't know whether to cheer her or boo her.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton Brawled
I loved that the Kingston vs. Orton rivalry has come full circle in Madison Square Garden and that they acknowledged their history in the arena. The brawl was slightly similar to what we just saw with Reigns and Rowan, but it was still entertaining with Kingston standing tall after performing the same spot on Orton that he did a decade ago. I was left thinking that Orton could very well walk out of Clash of Champions the new WWE Champion, which would put Kingston in chase mode ahead of Hell in a Cell next month.
Chad Gable def. Shane McMahon in a King of the Ring Semifinal 2-out-of-3 Falls Match (Kevin Owens Served as Special Guest Referee)
Quite honestly, Gable beating Shane to advance to the King of the Ring finals probably means more than if he just beat Elias, which would have been predictable. Plus, even though I hate how overexposed Shane has been on WWE TV this year, he's obviously much more hated than Elias, so Gable felt like an even bigger underdog than usual here. The match itself was whatever and Shane firing Owens (again) was a ridiculously lame ending to the show, but on the bright side, I'm glad Gable is going to the finals.
Raw was a much hotter show on Monday night in MSG, and I'm not just saying that because I was there. The build for Clash of Champions on this edition of SmackDown was decent, but most of what happened just didn't pack a punch. Gable winning in the main event of MSG was huge and I liked what they did with Kingston and Orton, but everything else was average at best. Thankfully, Clash of Champions has a fairly loaded lineup, but this show didn't move the needle for me.
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