Erick Rowan def. Daniel Bryan
Bryan was back in babyface mode for the first time in nearly a year here, and it was glorious. While I think it's too early for him to revert back to his "Yes!" shtick, there's no denying that the crowd is always ready to rally behind him. Rowan is far from a master technician in the ring, but he held his own here and Bryan got the best bout he could out of him. They worked the perfect pace and Bryan was protected in defeat via Luke Harper's interference. Rowan picked up the huge victory, but Bryan and Roman Reigns stood tall afterward. This was really well done all around and made for a great start to the show.
Michael Cole Interviewed WWE Champion Kofi Kingston
I appreciate how Kingston always comes across as genuine in these types of interviews. He spoke about how he's thrived thus far as WWE Champion and how he isn't afraid of Brock Lesnar heading into their championship clash next Friday on FOX. Now the key is for him to walk into that match with actual intensity. By that I mean, it'd be a massive mistake for him to be his usual happy-go-lucky self and throw pancakes out to the card.
Chad Gable def. Mike Kanellis
Gable is gradually getting over and it's great to see. He's a tremendous talent and deserves all the opportunities he can get. Obviously, this was a nothing match, but the important thing is that Gable went over quickly and in decisive fashion. Elias resurfaced afterward and made short jokes at Gable's expense. They were supposed to face off in the semifinals of the King of the Ring tournament, so it's logical for Elias to target Gable now that he's back, but they need to stop with the jokes about Gable's height.
Sasha Banks and Bayley def. 24/7 Champion Carmella and Charlotte Flair
I really thought Carmella coming to Charlotte's aid last week against Bayley and Banks meant she was next in line for a shot at the SmackDown Women's Championship, but apparently not if her loss here is anything to go off of. I'm not complaining, nor can I say I'm surprised now that Carmella is the new 24/7 Champion. The match itself was decent and gave the heels another credible victory. Becky Lynch furthered her feud with Banks by running the heels off post-match.
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura def. Ali (Non-title)
I was hoping that Nakamura's attack on Ali last week would set these two up for an Intercontinental Championship match at Hell in a Cell, but WWE decided to blow it off on this show instead. It was a quality contest and both men had solid showings, but I'm slightly disappointed this feud doesn't appear to be continuing. Nakamura needs wins, but both guys desperately need some stable direction.
The New Day def. The B-Team
It's interesting that Big E and Xavier Woods appeared on this episode and not SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Revival. WWE must want to keep them strong by having them beat a bunch of losers, so I assume they aren't done in the title picture yet. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary about this whatsoever and felt like filler ahead of the Draft in two weeks.
The Kabuki Warriors def. Fire and Desire
I don't believe we've seen Asuka and Kairi Sane on SmackDown Live in months. In fact, this marked their first pinfall victory since May. That's almost unbelievable, but then again, I can absolutely believe that WWE wouldn't have anything for two stars of their caliber, like the rest of the roster. There were some sloppy spots here and there, but this was a fine match otherwise and the crowd popped for the finish. I realize the women's tag team division is thin, but I'd break up The Kabuki Warriors in the Draft. They've been wasted as a tandem since WrestleMania 35 and are better off apart.
Kevin Owens Challenged Shane Mcmahon to a Ladder Match
Needless to say, this storyline jumped the shark at SummerSlam and has hardly been compelling since then. The latest wrinkle with the lawsuit is stupid and doesn't get me excited for another match between them in the slightest. The Ladder stipulation seems strange considering we're so close to the TLC pay-per-view in December, not to mention how Hell in a Cell will already feature two matches of the same name. It's possible they blow this off next week on SmackDown, which wouldn't be the worst thing. Sooner the better so we can move on from this nonsense.
Banks ambushed Lynch to close out the show in angle that felt terribly rushed because they were running out of time. I've heard all this talk about how WWE will view SmackDown as the A-show starting next week when it moves to FOX, but time will tell because they didn't end the Tuesday night era on the highest of notes. This was a fairly mediocre episode that peaked early with Bryan vs. Rowan. I'm shocked not a lot is advertised for the FOX premiere show outside of Kingston vs. Lesnar and the women's tag team match. I know a handful of legends are set to appear, but you would never know based off WWE's hype for it.
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