By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens Interrupted Dean Ambrose
Did anyone else find it strange that Ambrose was back on WWE TV just days after getting attacked by Triple H on Raw and Roman Reigns is still out? I realize HHH busted Reigns' nose open, but Ambrose took a hell of a beating, too. Nevertheless, I can't complain about hearing from Ambrose and his response to the events from Monday were logical. It was nice to see and Owens share a ring again and have an enjoyable back-and-forth on the mic, setting up their main event for the later in the night. You would think Ambrose would have attempted to invoke his rematch clause since he never did after losing the strap late last month.
League of Nations def. The Usos
Well, at least it wasn't League of Nations vs. The Lucha Dragons again! In all seriousness, this was a solid tag team match from an in-ring standpoint, but I'm confused why fans are supposed to care about either tandem right now. The Usos haven't changed up their characters in seemingly forever while League of Nations are beyond boring, despite them stacking up wins as of late. I guess them coming out on top means they'll be going after the tag titles sooner rather than later. The Dudley Boyz' post-match ambush on The Usos was well done, but I'm still waiting on a promo from The Usos.
Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz
I didn't mind their match on Raw because it was decent while it lasted and I liked the surprising result with Miz scoring the upset, but what was the point in retrospect if they were going to give Ziggler his win back days later on SmackDown? This bout barely lasted a minute before it was over, so essentially, it was a waste. I was actually looking forward to seeing what Miz would be doing going into WrestleMania and if there would be a renewed focus on him, but apparently not. Rather, it was another case of even-steven booking in WWE at its finest.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch in a No. 1 Contender's Match for the Divas Championship Ended in a No Contest
Banks and Lynch have contested no less than a dozen matches against each other over the past year, yet all of them have been good to great. This encounter was no exception and they put forth a strong effort, though the ending outcome became fairly obvious as soon as Charlotte journeyed over to ringside. As I noted in my Raw review, I love the idea of a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania 32 because both Banks and Lynch deserve the opportunity, but why not do this finish on Raw instead of dragging it out?
AJ Styles def. WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston
The pop Styles got from his hometown crowd in Atlanta (even though he lives in Gainesville) was glorious. Then again, he receives a reaction in every city, which goes to show how well WWE has handled him thus far. It was cool for him to square off against Kingston for the first time ever and they made the most of the time they were given by having a fun match. Obviously, Styles building momentum going into Monday's WWE Tag Team Championship match was the right move.
Dean Ambrose def. Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens (Non-title)
Ambrose and Owens proved once again that they have excellent chemistry together, but what made this more than a standard SmackDown main event for me was Mauro Ranallo's call of it. He did a terrific job of giving the bout a big fight feel despite nothing being on the line. The final few minutes were especially entertaining, though Owens losing clean was questionable. I have no clue what's in store for him at WrestleMania, but hopefully it's something meaningful and not a throwaway multi-man match.
Last week's SmackDown suffered from having too many matches, and as I've always said, I prefer the "less is more" approach. This show featured an average amount of matchups and as a result, it was an improvement. Miz vs. Ziggler was the only blemish as everything else seemed to serve a purpose and/or hold my interest. That said, this edition of SmackDown was designed to build toward Monday's stacked Raw and it did so effectively, so don't expect anything too noteworthy from this show.
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