By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins Called Out Kane
Because Rollins didn't open Raw this week, I guess WWE felt they needed to make up for it by having him open SmackDown with a promo instead. It's not that I hate Rollins' mic work (in fact, he's improved immensely on the mic in the last year and is brilliant as a heel), it's just he's too overexposed and WWE rarely gives him new material to work with. Thankfully, he always makes the most of what he's given as he did here and the mind games Kane is playing with him have been fun. I wouldn't have had the segment last as long as it did since I found myself zoning out toward the end of it, but it was solid hype for the main event tag team match and Rollins' upcoming Steel Cage match with John Cena at MSG.
Team B.A.D. def. Team Bella
Can we please move past these awful faction wars? I hate to sound like a broken record, but they're not getting anyone over. The constant trading of the victories is ineffective booking, especially when a match is contested between two heel factions. I know I've said it before, but who was the crowd supposed to cheer for? I actually didn't mind most of the match and I appreciated the extra aggressiveness the ladies showed, but the faction wars made it difficult for me to care about who won. At the very least, it was nice to see Sasha Banks go over strong by forcing Nikki Bella to submit.
Ryback def. Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens by Count-out
Wow, WWE did such an excellent job of hyping this SmackDown title match on Monday's Raw (and if I had sarcastic font, I'd use it). That alone made the match feel inconsequential, but that aside, they put forth a good effort and produced a passable match. You had to know the match was going to have a screwy finish given what show this is, but the in-ring action was enjoyable while it lasted. I don't see Ryback regaining the gold from Owens, so if there was any place for him to finally hit the Shell Shocked on Owens, it was here. Thus, I liked how they saved it for the post-match assault and maintained Ryback's momentum.
Neville and The Lucha Dragons def. Stardust and The Ascension
These two trios work very well together and this was probably their best bout to date, but this whole feud feels directionless. As a match, it was a blast, but it didn't matter much who won because this feud has been so inconsistent in the past month. Plus, where was King Barrett? It was fairly odd to have him knock out both Stardust and Neville on Raw and not follow up on it in this match, but it's not like fans would have cared, anyway.
Roman Reigns Confronted Bray Wyatt
Wyatt's best promos seem to be the ones that aren't all over the place, so this was successful in furthering his feud with Reigns and addressing the ending to Raw. I also liked how he talked about how the end of their rivalry is drawing near and then Reigns teased Hell in a Cell. Normally, I'd only want one Hell in a Cell match at the pending pay-per-view, but if there's going to be two, that is the best possible match to take place inside the steel structure given the long history it has.
Kane and The Dudley Boyz def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day
Most of this match consisted of your typical Handicap match shennigans and fans were waiting until Kane got taken out before anything of note could happen. That said, the finish was predictable, but the live crowd ate it up and it gave The Dudley Boyz a boost before they contend for the WWE Tag Team Championship on Saturday, so you can't complain. Then again, Kane laid everyone out afterward, so did the win for The Dudley Boyz go to waste? Either way, it gave Kane a bit of his lost credibility back, but it leaves me wondering if fans will ever buy Kane as a legitimate threat to the title again after how badly he's been booked over the years.
It might have been just me, but I enjoyed this show more than I did Raw. The in-ring action wasn't exceptional on the whole by any stretch and there were an excessive amount of Raw recaps, but I was satisfied by the end of the two hours and wasn't bored to death by an endless series of squash matches. There was also hype for the MSG special and a few feuds were furthered as well, so I'd give the show a mild thumbs up.
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