By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sasha Banks def. Dana Brooke
I don't know if it was because of the taped nature of the show or what (which won't be a factor anymore come next Tuesday), but I actually enjoyed this match more than their initial encounter on Monday's Raw. Perhaps it was because of the shorter length, though it was weird Banks had an easier time of putting Brooke away here than she did three days ago. Usually I prefer longer matches from the women, but Brooke is still very much a work in progress, so the shorter the better with her. Additionally, Charlotte tossing Banks over the announce table afterward was a great visual. Could Bayley be Banks' mystery partner at Battleground?
Dolph Ziggler def. United States Champion Rusev (Non-title)
Oh no, one of my least favorite feuds in recent years has been revisited! As atrocious as that angle was, at least they work well together and this was another decent outing from them. Then again, it was merely an afterthought as Zack Ryder coming down to ringside and aiding him to victory was the central focus. Who thought it would ever be Ryder helping Ziggler score an "upset" victory? Rusev shouldn't be suffering losses when it isn't necessary, but this was a fine furthering of the feud between Ryder and Rusev.
AJ Styles and Karl Anderson def. Enzo Amore and Big Cass
They told a terrific story here with Styles relentlessly going after the leg of Enzo, which ultimately played into the Calf Crusher finish. But even prior to that, they contested a good match similar to their matchup from Monday's Raw. I believe this might have marked the first pinfall loss for Enzo and Cass in standard tag team action since coming to the main roster, which is impressive considering they lost more often than they won in NXT. It was weird John Cena was nowhere to be seen afterward, yet not too surprising given it's SmackDown. Besides, it was important the heels got their heat back from Raw.
Kalisto def. Tyler Breeze
I always thought these two were capable of much more together, even dating back to their time on NXT. They never fail to produce a nice little match, but given how excellent of athletes both of them are, it seems like their talents are wasted in meaningless matches that are mere minutes long such as this one. The Lucha Dragons avenged their previous loss to Breezango with this win, but that was the sole purpose it apparently served.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz Hosted 'Miz TV' with Darren Young and Bob Backlund
Admittedly, I chuckled at Miz airing the biggest highlights of Young's career (or lack thereof). That was pretty funny. He hasn't had any... yet, and I honestly think this pairing with Backlund could work. Young doesn't get nearly enough credit for being as skilled of a worker and a talker as he is. He isn't world title worthy, but he is perfect at this midcard level, which is why I don't think it's unfathomable that he could win the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground. And I personally hope he does. This was a strong segment and an effective way of establishing more of a character for Young. Yes, this one segment was more successful than every one of those thousand vignettes of him and Backlund combined.
WWE Champion Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens by Disqualification (Non-title); Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens def. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn
I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times we've seen Ambrose vs. Owens in the last year, and while their matches are never below average, it's been done to death and is a tired matchup. Thus, I was glad that bout barely got started and we were treated to the tag team match instead. That was much more refreshing and I liked the heels going over to make Rollins out to look like a legitimate threat to the WWE Championship come Monday.
I wouldn't say this was on par with the other extremely entertaining editions of SmackDown from recent months, but it was a solid show, nevertheless. The main event was fun, 'Miz TV' was better than usual, the other tag team match was enjoyable, a new match was made for Battleground, and a few feuds were furthered. All things considered, it wasn't a poor two hours by any means, though I can't wait for the show to finally go live on a weekly basis starting next Tuesday.
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