By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Chris Jericho Hosted 'The Highlight Reel' with Sami Zayn and Intercontinental Champion The Miz
It's great to have 'The Highlight Reel' back, especially with the heel Jericho as host (even though it was gone for all of three weeks). As I've noted before, he and Zayn have a great dynamic together and I hope there's a feud in their future. The main focus of the segment was on Miz and Zayn, but Jericho and Maryse also played their respective roles well, and it effectively set up the subsequent match between Miz and Zayn for after the commercial break.
Sami Zayn def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz by Disqualification (Non-title)
Zayn and Miz worked well together and contested a nice little match, but my enjoyment of the matchup was only enhanced by Kevin Owens coming out and doing commentary. If he doesn't take up a spot behind the booth once he retires from the ring, I will be extremely upset. Owens running in and causing the disqualification could be seen coming, but I liked the little wrinkle with Cesaro accidentally delivering an uppercut to Zayn afterward. I've been anxiously waiting to see them mix it up since Cesaro's return and their Fatal 4-Way with Miz and Owens should be a blast.
The Vaudevillians def. The Social Outcasts
Adam Rose is obviously suspended at the moment, but Heath Slater was conspicuous by his absence at ringside. He worked a Superstars match on Monday, but was left out of the No. 1 Contender's Battle Royal on Raw. Strange. Anyway, The Vaudevillians were on offense the entire time and they made quick work of The Social Outcasts as they should have. Colin Cassady held his own on the mic and I'm glad he will remain a regular on WWE TV even while Enzo Amore is injured. I thought he made The Vaudevillians look a little weak by disposing of them so easily, but perhaps they get their heat back the next time they cross paths.
Natalya and Becky Lynch def. WWE Women's Champion Charlotte and Emma
A few sloppy spots aside, this was a nicely paced and well put together tag team match from four of the women's division's strongest workers. Charlotte and Emma have good chemistry together and the crowd was solidly behind the duo of Natalya and Lynch. Two feuds were furthered with one match and I'm looking to see both of them continue in the coming weeks.
Rusev def. Zack Ryder
This was one of the most fun squash matches I've seen in some time. It wasn't that I wanted to Ryder get his ass handed to him (I'm actually a fan of his), but Rusev was in full beast mode here and this was a version of him we haven't seen in quite a while. The dominant Rusev was my favorite Rusev during the height of his momentum in 2014/early 2015, so hopefully this was a step in the right direction. I had no problem with Kalisto taking the fight to Rusev during the post-match because he was in and out of the ring in the blink of an eye before Rusev could even process what was going on.
The Usos vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows Ended in a No Contest
The match didn't last long before the interference from Roman Reigns and AJ Styles, which you had to know was only inevitable, but what we got prior to the non-finish was fine. They didn't give too much away, so they could always go back to the bout down the line if they wished (and they should). I was waiting for a McMahon to make this a six-man tag team match, but we found out after the break that Styles made the match instead. Do the McMahons simply not care about SmackDown?
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and The Usos def. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
Why wasn't this advertised in advance? It bothered me that the main event for this week's Raw didn't get the fanfare it deserved, and to hold the rematch days later on SmackDown without any hype was asinine to me. Nevertheless, this was as equally entertaining as their Raw match and I loved the chaotic feel of it, but I could have done without Reigns and The Usos getting their win back so quickly and so decisively. It felt too soon to for Gallows and Anderson to be beaten and I'd argue it did damage to Anderson and Gallows to be booked like the fall guys for Styles during his feud with Reigns.
This show didn't feel as must-see as past editions of SmackDown, but I thoroughly enjoyed the opening segment and match as well as the main event despite my qualms with it. Everything else that fell in between was solid, yet unspectacular. The card for Extreme Rules is coming together nicely, but here's hoping the hype kicks into a higher gear starting with next week's shows.
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