By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Big Cass Saved United States Champion Roman Reigns From WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Rusev
I have no problem with them holding a handful of matches on these Tribute to the Troops shows, but kicking it off with a segment that belongs on Raw felt unnecessary. This was such a paint-by-numbers segment, which I'm sure was the last thing the fans wanted to see through after already attending SmackDown Live that same night. If nothing else, Owens' mic work was hilarious as always, and Rusev was humorous as well, so there was that.
Cesaro & Sheamus def. The Shining Stars, The Golden Truth and The Club in a No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match For the Raw Tag Team Championship
Although this was a fun Fatal 4-Way match, it was difficult to care about any of these tandems right now. Cesaro and Sheamus as well as The Club have lost to The New Day on a number of occasions, including as recently as Monday's Raw. As for The Shining Stars and The Golden Truth, they're filler teams and hardly anyone takes them seriously to begin with. That said, Cesaro and Sheamus were the right tandem to go over. The Club should get a run with the straps at some point, but WWE needs to justify putting Cesaro and Sheamus together by having them win the twin titles at Roadblock.
Apollo Crews def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (Non-title)
I was glad to see that brief backstage encounter between Miz, Crews and Gabriel Iglesias on SmackDown this week ended up leading somewhere. Miz and Crews have had a few matches in the past, so they have pretty good chemistry together. Iglesias is the perfect example of celebrity involvement done right because he is a die-hard fan of the product. I doubt Crews winning will lead anywhere since it looks like Miz vs. Dean Ambrose is the next feud over the Intercontinental Championship, but it'd be nice if they collided once again in a title match on an upcoming episode of SmackDown.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Wyatt Family def. Dolph Ziggler and American Alpha
Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and Luke Harper work really well as a unit and I'm thrilled all three of them are being officially recognized as tag champs. I don't think Ziggler and American Alpha had teamed up or even crossed paths prior to this point, but they all had strong showings and produced an enjoyable match. Since Zack Ryder suffered an injury in that Battle Royal on SmackDown, I could definitely see American Alpha becoming No. 1 Contenders to the tag titles in the near future.
Bayley def. Dana Brooke
Why are Bayley's matches set up in such stupid fashion? First, her match with Alicia Fox on Raw came about because of teddy bears. Then, she and Brooke faced off here because they argued over a dog backstage. Hey, Bayley's interaction with the dog was adorable, so I can't complain. The match itself was fine, but Brooke is still awful in the ring. Bayley building momentum ahead of WrestleMania 33 (where should challenge Sasha Banks for the Raw Women's Championship) is smart, though.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann, T.J. Perkins and Jack Gallagher def. The Brian Kendrick, Tony Nese and Drew Gulak
While this was the epitome of the Cruiserweight division in that there were bunch of flips and not much of a story told, it was a ton of fun. Plus, Swann, Perkins and Kendrick are currently feuding and will have a Triple Threat match on Sunday, so the match wasn't completely meaningless. Above all else, Gallagher took part in the match and was a total treat. The Cruiserweight matches are getting better by the week and I contribute a lot of that to 205 Live providing them a platform to further their feuds and develop their characters.
United States Champion Roman Reigns and Big Cass def. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Rusev
This match came across like a standard Raw main event, but that isn't to say it was bad by any means. It was well-wrestled and all four guys played their roles well. Cass is a relatively fresh face in the main event scene, and when limited, he can be good like he was here. This was a solid match and an effective preview for two bouts taking place on the pending pay-per-view.
The best thing on the entire show wasn't even a match; rather, it was that epic encounter backstage between The New Day, The Club and The Shield. Pure awesomeness. Teddy Long would have been ecstatic about the abundance of tag team matches that took place. In all seriousness, all of the matches on this show were passable to outright entertaining, though Tribute to the Troops isn't of course about the in-ring action. WWE always takes a classy approach with these specials, so if you like the video packages they play and don't mind a few matches added on, this is the show for you.
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