By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day Interrupted Chris Jericho
So, WWE advertised 'Miz TV' for this week's SmackDown on Raw, but not Chris Jericho making his first appearance on the blue brand in over a year? All right then. I'm sure fans won't be happy about Jericho spewing the "tooty fruity booty" line at New Day again, but mark my words: he'll be turning heel sooner rather than later. That isn't much of a bold prediction, I know, but keep that in mind every time you cringe when he says that. I was hoping he would mix it up with New Day in the ring before the Royal Rumble, but I guess they're saving his in-ring return for the Rumble match, which is smart. If nothing else, this set up the subsequent tag team match nicely.
Dolph Ziggler and The Usos def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day
While Ziggler is colder than ice at the moment, he can always be counted on for a quality in-ring performance and he gelled well with The Usos here. Anyone who is already bored by The Usos vs. The New Day must remember the feud only started a month or two ago. I don't blame you if you're bored by it, but it's the freshest thing we have in the tag team division at the moment and should hold us over until a new team comes up from NXT. Anyway, this was a fun six-man tag and The Usos winning made up for Jey Uso's singles loss from Raw this week.
Becky Lynch def. Alicia Fox
Once again, the match was hardly anything of note because it didn't last more than a few minutes and the ending outcome was never in doubt, but it was imperative to continue to build Becky's momentum as she prepares to contend for the Divas Championship on Sunday. This was a nice showing for her and I wasn't disappointed she didn't talk afterward since we heard from her on Raw. Charlotte and Ric Flair did well on commentary, but Charlotte's voice still sounds monotone. She's much better in the heel role, but her mic skills need work.
The Miz Hosted 'Miz TV' with Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens
'Miz TV' is rarely ever "must-see" as Miz calls it, so I really liked how they switched it up with this segment with Miz remaining a background player while Ambrose and Owens exchanged words on the mic and Miz sought revenge by attacking Ambrose, only for Owens to lay out Miz as well. Ambrose and Owens gave fans only a small preview of what they can expect in the upcoming Last Man Standing match and I can't wait for it.
Bray Wyatt def. Ryback
Wyatt vs. Ryback has never been a match I've gotten excited by seeing on paper, but at least it made sense from a storyline standpoint given they've been feuding in recent weeks and it hasn't been done to death. In my opinion, although it wasn't a classic by any means, the bout was better than I expected it to be and Ryback was well-protected by being outnumbered by The Wyatt Family. The fearsome faction continued their dominance heading into the Rumble with this win, but of course, it wouldn't be the last time we'd see them on this show.
Titus O'Neil def. Stardust
I'm sorry, but it's extremely hard for me to care about these matches between O'Neil and Stardust. I like O'Neil. I like Stardust. But their "feud" has done nothing for me. This was fine for what it was, but all of their matches just blend together. It doesn't help that O'Neil has won every time. Yes, I'm glad it's not a case of even-steven booking, but why are they having matches against each other to begin with? Other than Creative having nothing for them right now, obviously.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns def. League of Nations in a 4-on-1 Handicap Match by Disqualification
Did we not just see Reigns take on the entire League of Nations a month or so ago? As a result, the crowd sat on their hands for the match and I wasn't too invested in the action, either. League of Nations having very little if any heat right now also didn't help matters. It didn't last long at all before it ended on a disqualification, which was probably for the best since no one involved can afford a loss at the moment. The Wyatt Family decimating Reigns following the match (and The Usos thankfully made the save as they should have before getting taken out as well) was intriguing. I don't think they're winning the Rumble, but it will be interesting to see how they fare and how close they come. They're definitely a bigger threat after this week than they were before, that much is for sure.
It seems to be a tough task for WWE to build toward the Royal Rumble match every year without doing the obligatory "everyone runs down to the ring and throws each other over the top rope" segment, but I was pleasantly surprised they resisted doing that this year. None of the matches on this show were all that compelling, but as a go-home edition of SmackDown, I thought it was solid in furthering the feuds with the women, the tag teams, Owens and Ambrose, and even Alberto Del Rio and Kalisto with their backstage segment. I'm highly anticipating for Sunday night and look forward to seeing how everything plays out.
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