By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose Interrupted The Wyatt Family
It would have been foolish of WWE to make The Wyatt Family look weak only days after they added a new monstrous member, but that hasn't stopped them from doing dumb things in the past. That said, I was glad they held off on having the two teams brawl and instead had them encounter each other. They saved the physicality for after the main event and teased what could be one hell of a Handicap/six-man tag match at some point down the line. I don't know if it quite captures the same magic the initial Shield/Wyatt Family matches did, but we'll see who ultimately joins Reigns and Ambrose.
The Dudley Boyz def. The Ascension
I'm still reeling from the return of The Dudley Boyz on Monday's Raw. What a moment! I've been watching them on TNA TV for years and even saw them in person just last year, but not comes close to seeing them in WWE again. The crowd was hot for their offense and The Ascension were the perfect opponents for them in their first match back because they can obviously take a loss. Anyone who says they were "buried" here is being ridiculous because those are the same people who were complaining they were being shoved down our throats earlier this year. The New Day coming out afterward with their self-made signs was hilarious and I'm anticipating the series of matches we're going to get from the two teams.
Kevin Owens def. Neville
We've seen some stellar matches between these two in the past and while this wasn't as great as their past encounters, it was still very enjoyable. It could have been more memorable with more time, but they made the most of the time they were allotted and both guys looked good coming out of it. It's great Owens is starting to pick up clean wins again, but my only fear for Neville was that they would start booking him like an afterthought following SummerSlam. This was more competitive than it was a squash, but the absence of Stardust leads me to believe their program might be over.
Team PCB def. The Bella Twins
The backstage talking segment prior to the match was much better than the awful 'Miz TV' segment from Monday, but they still have a ways to go. It's not a matter of Charlotte and Becky Lynch improving their mic skills because as seen on NXT, they're already exceptional in that area. Rather, as I mentioned in my Raw review, they're just scripted beyond belief. The match was also better from Monday, but having Brie taking the pinfall loss for her team made no sense. They're apparently teasing tension between Team PCB and everyone should want the title, but how is anyone going to get in title contention if Nikki continues to be protected?
WWE World Heavyweight Champion and United States Champion Seth Rollins Addressed Sting
This was a logical follow-up to the conclusion of Raw and Rollins' promo was once again excellent. He didn't do much other than run-down Sting and his accomplishments, but it was entertaining regardless, especially the line about Sting toiling down in the "minor leagues" in recent years. Hopefully this means this same promo won't be opening Raw this week, but I wouldn't be surprised. The logic of Rollins finishing off Sting after Triple H couldn't at WrestleMania is somewhat flawed since they shook hands after the match, but one can only hope that's addressed at some point.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback and Dolph Ziggler def. Rusev and Big Show
The in-ring action was enjoyable because Ryback and Ziggler make for a fun duo, but it leaves me wondering what's next for them going forward. Of course, the match was overshadowed by the events at the end that saw Big Show turn on Rusev after tension was teased between the two. Please for the love of God don't let this mean we've in for another Big Show turn. Not even a Big Show-Rusev feud interests me because we just saw it last year. If Ziggler was going to pin Rusev in this match, I don't understand they didn't have him beat Rusev at SummerSlam.
Sheamus def. Dean Ambrose
Sheamus and Ambrose have always had very good chemistry together and this was another quality contest from the two. It felt random because they haven't had any established issues as of late, so you had to know The Wyatt Family was going to make their presence felt at some point. I'm glad Sheamus scored the win because he needed it more and Ambrose was protected in defeat while his feud with The Wyatt Family was effectively furthered.
The hot momentum from SummerSlam and Raw managed to carry over onto Thursday night as this was an above-average episode by SmackDown standards. Most of the matches served a purpose and were entertaining, the Wyatt Family saga was able to take center stage, and the WWE Champion made an appearance as well. And of course, the damn Dudley Boyz! Seeing them back in action for the first time in 10 years in WWE made this show worth watching alone, so I'd recommend checking it out if you have the time to kill.
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