The Shield def. Samoa joe and Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro
This match was teased at the end of Raw two weeks ago, so it was merely a matter of time before it transpired. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a rematch on an upcoming episode of Raw. Nevertheless, this was a very good six-man tag team match for as long as it lasted and there never seemed to be a dull moment. These six Superstars have excellent chemistry together and have been holding down the fort on Monday nights with their entertaining encounters.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair def. Carmella and Ruby Riot in a Triple Threat Match (Non-title)
Going with a three-way here instead of a straight-up singles match was a wise idea because Riot should be protected this early into her main roster run and Carmella was kept limited. It wasn't without its issues, of course, but it was a good Triple Threat matchup on the whole. It also provided as a preview for what we can expect in Sunday's Lumberjack match at Clash of Champions considering all the women that surrounded the ring during this bout.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos and The New Day def. Shelton Benjamin, Chad Gable, Rusev and Aiden English
These eight men will meet in a Fatal 4-Way match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Clash of Champions, so this was a small sneak peek of that. All four tandems are terrific, so needless to say, they put together a solid matchup here. It was well-wrestled and I liked the finishing sequence. It was weird to see New Day and The Usos team up after the ruthless rivalry they had earlier this year, but The Usos might be on the verge of officially turning babyface soon.
Absolution def. Mickie James, Sasha Banks and Bayley
We were supposed to see this match on Raw earlier this month before Absolution laid out Bayley and James backstage beforehand. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville looked just fine in the ring and Paige (and their babyface opponents) carried them very well, so I have hope for their progress as wrestlers. Part of me thought the babyfaces might win because it is Tribute to the Troops after all, but I was glad that wasn't the case and the heel faction was able to continue building momentum with their victory.
WWE Champion AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton def. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Jinder Mahal
Given that Clash of Champions is this Sunday, it was cool that the Superstars of SmackDown Live took center stage on this show and had the chance to hype up the two biggest matches on that card. Plus, Styles, Nakamura and Orton are a hell of a dream team together, so although this was your basic house show-style main event, I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought everyone played their roles to perfection.
From an in-ring standpoint, this was better than most of the recent installments of Tribute to the Troops, especially since most of them tied into current storylines, weren't outdated, and even served as build to Sunday's Clash of Champions pay-per-view. However, these events are always about paying tribute to the troops (as the title suggests obviously), and WWE did a nice job of doing that as always with this show. I also appreciate how it took place outside again. It wasn't a major deal that they moved to indoor arenas a few years ago, but this did make it feel like the original Tribute to the Troops set-up and added to the atmosphere for sure. On a side note, Machine Gun Kelly performed as well, but I skipped over that portion of the show entirely.
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