WWE Champion Brock Lesnar Chased Paul Heyman
Cowboy Brock will never not be hilarious to me. He's been great on the mic during this latest run of his, though he didn't say much of note here. He simply called out Roman Reigns for what happened at last week's Madison Square Garden house show but got Heyman instead. Those two had an entertaining exchange on the mic before Lesnar did what no other wrestler seems to do by leaving the ring and chasing Heyman to the back and out of the arena. Lesnar and Reigns will go face-to-face on next week's show.
Sheamus and Ridge Holland def. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E)
Lots to unpack here. First of all, here's wishing Big E a speedy recovery from that broken neck he suffered on that botched belly-to-belly suplex from Holland. That was scary stuff, but a video he posted on Twitter later in the night indicated he'll be okay. Then there was the unnecessary rebranding of Pete Dunne, who will be aligned with Sheamus and Holland and will be now known by Sheamus' nickname for him, "Butch." You can't make this stuff up. He has history with Holland from NXT, so the alliance isn't the worst thing, but he should be on his own because SmackDown needs singles stars and calling him Butch is a career-killer. The match itself was an afterthought in light of these other things. It was well wrestled but will be quickly forgotten.
Drew McIntyre Fended Off Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss, Jinder Mahal and Shanky
A six-man tag team match was advertised pitting McIntyre and The Viking Raiders against Corbin, Moss and Mahal, but the heels ambushed Viking Raiders backstage beforehand, so this turned into an angle instead. McIntyre managed to save himself and overcome the odds, and although it was whatever, this entire storyline has sucked. McIntyre's sword stuff is so silly and the act of Corbin and Moss has been way too goofy. The quicker we can get past this program, the better.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair Interrupted Ronda Rousey
I was hoping this feud would improve going into WrestleMania 38, and there's still a chance it might, but it's been mostly mundane stuff so far. Unfortunately, this segment didn't change my mind much. Flair has been saying the same stuff for a while, and although Rousey's mic skills have improved slightly since returning, they aren't where they should be for someone about to headline WrestleMania. This was a fairly tame back-and-forth. At least they ended the night on a better note with their parking lot brawl.
Sasha Banks and Naomi def. Natalya and Shayna Baszler
Poor Baszler. She went from one dead-end team to another, assuming her alliance with Natalya lasts more than one week (and it's rumored to be). I thought the heels may actually win here so they could be added to the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match at 'Mania, but thankfully not. I guess they could still be included somehow, but their addition is obviously not necessary. The match was fine but too short to be anything out of the ordinary.
Rick Boogs def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jey Uso
The Usos attacked Nakamura and Boogs on the stage last week, so that led to the babyfaces interrupting Usos' promo here. Usos promised to give them a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania, and because Boogs won in a matter of minutes, that 'Mania matchup is now official. This was total throwaway. Are we sure Jey is the same guy who was competing for the Universal Championship at one point and won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal last year? Usos vs. Nakamura and Boogs is fresh, but the lack of creativity in putting this together is apparent and alarming.
Pat McAfee and Austin Theory Brawled; Intercontinental Champion Ricochet def. Sami Zayn
It was right before the bell rang that Theory came down to ringside and attempted to get in McAfee's face again only for McAfee to jump over the announcers' table and brawl with him. I liked that he didn't just sit there and take it, so that was a nice way to further that feud. Meanwhile, Ricochet vs. Zayn was a solid main event. They got more time than they did last week, but I actually preferred last week's outing because it was hotter and had more of a sense of urgency. Ricochet winning clean was interesting, though. WWE appears to be committed to pushing him finally, but how long it will last is the question.
Rousey and Flair brawled in the parking brawl to close out the show. It was a decent angle (and reminiscent of the final angle with them and Becky Lynch right before WrestleMania 35), but they'll need to do more than that to get a lot of people interested in their upcoming WrestleMania match. Unfortunately, SmackDown was back to the norm this week with a lame show that will only be remembered for the wrong reasons (Dunne being rebranded as "Butch" and Big E's awful injury). The SmackDown side of things en route to WrestleMania is seriously lacking and Lesnar and Reigns haven't been enough to salvage it. This wasn't an all-time terrible episode, but a lot of what happened in the middle was lackluster.