Drew McIntyre def. Sheamus in a Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match to Earn an Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Opportunity at Clash at the Castle
McIntyre and Sheamus never cease to bring the best out of each other. Yes, they've had what feels like a million matches over the last year and a half, but they always deliver and this was no exception. In fact, this was one of my favorite encounters of theirs. It was basically an Irish-themed Street Fight. They made excellent use of the weapons around ringside and beat the holy hell out of each other. I'm actually happy in retrospect this wasn't saved for SummerSlam because I doubt it would have been given nearly as much time. McIntyre winning was a forgone conclusion, but Sheamus almost had me convinced he had it won when he hit the Brogue Kick before McIntyre kicked out. Well done.
Shotzi def. Aliyah
Lacey Evans vs. Aliyah was once again advertised for this show and it looked like it was finally going to happen, but the commentators mentioned that Evans wasn't cleared to compete and had to be replaced by Shotzi. I assumed Aliyah would win since Shotzi didn't get a televised entrance, but I'm happy Shotzi won instead since she's been greatly underutilized since coming to SmackDown. There wasn't much to the match, but it was fine for what it was.
SmackDown Women's Champion Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey def. Sonya Deville and Natalya
Ahead of their SmackDown Women's Championship clash at SummerSlam, Morgan and Rousey had to tell the "can they coexist?!" story here. Morgan wrestled a majority of the match before Rousey tagged in and won it for their team, so it was simple stuff. Ultimately, the right role for Rousey will be as a heel, so hopefully Morgan retains at SummerSlam and that happens soon after.
Jeff Jarrett Was Caught in the Melee Between Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos and The Street Profits
We've seen pretty much everything from these teams in the last two months, so there really wasn't much more they could do to leave me looking forward to their tag title rematch at SummerSlam. Tension was teased when The Usos accidentally nailed Jarrett with a superkick, sending the message that Jarrett might cost them the titles on Saturday. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a special guest referee? Either way, this was a fine segment.
The Viking Raiders def. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)
I've been digging Viking Raiders as heels and we'll see if their push lasts a little longer than it would have with Vince McMahon in charge. This was the first match in the feud between these teams and Viking Raiders winning was the correct call as New Day can easily absorb the loss. This wasn't an all-out barn burner, but it did establish Viking Raiders as dominant and that's what matters. They attacked Woods afterward, so he may be kept off TV for a few weeks. He isn't injured as far as I know, so it's likely being done as part of the storyline.
Brock Lesnar Confronted Paul Heyman; Drew McIntyre Attacked Theory
Heyman has said it all at this point when it comes to Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, but what we did get from him here was effective in hyping up their upcoming Last Man Standing match at SummerSlam. I don't remember Lesnar being advertised for this episode ahead of time, so that was a pleasant surprise. He didn't get his hands on Heyman (which was smart), but he did get to rough up Theory a bit before McIntyre laid out Theory with a Claymore. Don't get worried about the staredown between Lesnar and McIntyre; I'm positive that was meant to be a red herring to make people think it will be Lesnar vs. McIntyre at Clash at the Castle when in reality it will be Reigns vs. McIntyre.
This was an interesting go-home show in that several of the matches had nothing to do with SummerSlam on Saturday. I'm not complaining, though, because everything was well booked and McIntyre vs. Sheamus specifically was fantastic. Definitely make time to seek that one when you can. The closing segment was also entertaining and everything in the middle mostly served a purpose, so I enjoyed this edition of SmackDown overall. That said, I don't think we'll see any major changes to the blue brand with Triple H in charge until after the pay-per-view.