Ronda Rousey and Naomi Attacked SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville During Their Contract Signing
I heard nothing but negative things about this segment coming into the show (specifically that botched spot with Rousey attempting to slam Flair's head into the table) and it was fairly obvious they edited the hell out of this. I appreciate the attempt to add some last-minute build to the bout, but good lord, this was an absolute mess. It was established that Rousey will have one of her arms tied behind her back for the tag team match, so if Flair and Deville can't win even with that advantage, then I don't know what to say.
Ricochet def. Sheamus
I thought we had seen the last of this "feud" (has it really been much of a feud?) a few weeks ago, but apparently not. Don't get me wrong, these two work well together and a majority of their matches have been enjoyable, but it's high time for both men to move on. On the bright side, they were given more than two minutes here and Ricochet picking up a rare win was a pleasant surprise. Frustrated by the loss, Sheamus turned on Holland afterward, so I'm curious who will be the babyface between the two going forward.
Ivar def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jey Uso by Disqualfiication
The build to the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at Elimination Chamber has been extremely weak, much like the SmackDown tag team division on the whole. I mean, WWE has barely even tried with this one. Jimmy Uso previously beat Erik, so it only made sense for Ivar to win here. Technically, he did, but only after interference from Jimmy, which was lame. I'm not sure who legitimately views The Viking Raiders as threats to the tag titles come Saturday.
Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss Interrupted Drew McIntyre
This feud has been horrendously awful and there's been zero signs that it's going to improve between now and WrestleMania 38. I give McIntyre credit for trying to make the most of the material he's been given, but it's impossible to care about any of this. I even feel bad for Corbin and Moss, who have been saddled with such shit characters. This was designed to hype up the Falls Count Anywhere match between McIntyre and Moss at Elimination Chamber, but I can't say I'm looking forward to that whatsoever.
Sami Zayn def. Shinsuke Nakamura to Win the Intercontinental Championship
It's amazing to think that WWE has held off (regardless of whether it was intentional or not) on doing Zayn vs. Nakamura at all since their first and only other one-on-one match at NXT TakeOver: Dallas nearly six years ago. That was Nakamura's NXT debut (as well as Zayn's swan song from NXT) and nothing Nakamura has done since then has come close to topping it. That said, this was a terrific match. I appreciated that they got as much time as they did and the various callbacks to their original encounter. The Intercontinental title has meant practically nothing for the last year, but this felt somewhat important. I would have preferred Sheamus taking the title off Nakamura, but Zayn has done awesome work lately and he was probably the next best choice. Now the question is if we get him against Johnny Knoxville at WrestleMania with the title on the line.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Goldberg Went Face-to-Face
There wasn't much of a "face-off" between the two as Reigns and Paul Heyman spoke for several minutes before Goldberg finally emerged and said a few words, but that was totally fine by me. Goldberg kept his promo short and sweet while Reigns and Heyman gloated in entertaining fashion as always. The match essentially sells itself, but this was a cool visual to end the episode with. God save us all if Goldberg takes the title from Reigns, but I'm largely confident that's not going to happen.
I didn't have high hopes for this show knowing it was pre-taped last week, and there were certainly segments that sucked, but I ended up enjoying this edition of SmackDown on the whole more than I thought I would. Granted, that's probably because the bar for the blue brand has been so low for months now, but it certainly wasn't a waste of two hours, at least in my opinion. The closing segment was what it needed to be, the title change was noteworthy and the match itself was very well wrestled, and Ricochet vs. Sheamus was a quality contest as well. Additionally, the video packages were excellently produced, the build for Elimination Chamber was decent, and that lengthy video package for The Undertaker going into the WWE Hall of Fame was beyond badass. Seek that one out when you can.