By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Wyatt Family Challenged The Brothers of Destruction; Braun Strowman def. Fandango
I liked how every member of The Wyatt Family was given some time to speak as opposed to Wyatt rambling on the entire time. I really think Luke Harper should be given more mic time on TV as he's proven to be quite good in the small roles he's had. They provided an effective hook for the remainder of the night as to how The Brothers of Destruction would respond to the Survivor Series challenge. Good for Fandango for always getting a reaction in England (the only crowd that seems to care about him nowadays), but there was no question Strowman was going to make quick work of him in their match.
Neville def. King Barrett in a Round 1 Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
I was pleasantly surprised by how much time these two ended up getting. I don't know if it was the England element or what, but both competitors were taken seriously in this match despite previously being established as losers. They made the most of the time with Barrett on offense for a majority of the matchup only for Neville to battle back and score the win. There's no doubt he'll fall to Kevin Owens in the quarterfinals, but it's nice WWE decided to throw him a bone for once.
Kalisto def. Ryback in a Round 1 Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
Firstly, I appreciated how fresh this match felt because of how it was something we'd never seen before. Secondly, WWE had to throw fans a a curveball given how predictable the Round 1 matches on Raw were. Kalisto and Ryback put together a very nice match with a simple David vs. Goliath dynamic. Kalisto picking up the upset win was a refreshing change of pace and Ryback lost nothing from the loss. The crowd came alive when Kalisto won because nearly no one saw it coming, so I'm excited for what it might mean for Kalisto in the rest of the tournament.
United States Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Stardust in a Round 1 Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament (Non-title)
I'm typically not a fan of heel vs. heel matches because there's no incentive to cheer for either guy and this was no exception. Alberto Del Rio's pre-match promo fell flat big time and Stardust has nothing going for him right now, so the match was hardly anything special. It was fine for what it was from an in-ring standpoint, but neither guy are particularly interesting at the moment, so the match was a flop as a result.
The Usos def. The Wyatt Family by Disqualification
Given the classic series of matches these two teams had last year, I would have waited to put them back in the ring together, but at least this technically wasn't a full-fledged match. Rather, it was only a small preview of what to expect when they eventually rekindle their rivalry. I don't know how wise it was to have The Usos get decimated shortly removed from their return, but it was important to get heat back on The Wyatt Family after The Brothers of Destruction annihilated them on Raw.
Thanks to the tournament, this was a more noteworthy edition of SmackDown than usual. The Del Rio vs. Stardust match was fairly forgettable, but the other two tournament matches were fun. Like on Raw, it was cool to see The Wyatt Family and The Brothers of Destruction take center stage and I'm glad their storyline didn't get cast aside with the tourney going on. For those wondering, The Undertaker did appear in front of the live crowd, but the segment where he delivered a few Tombstones to Barrett wasn't televised.
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