Roman Reigns def. Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura by Disqualification
I realize they went back and forth on Twitter on Thursday, but other than that, there was zero reason for this to be for the Intercontinental Championship. Fans haven't been as hostile toward Reigns lately as they have been in the past, but him winning the title here would have ruined that. Thankfully, WWE resisted the urge to pull that trigger and instead went with a non-finish. It was weak, sure, but at least the match itself was enjoyable while it lasted and successfully set up the night's main event.
Shorty G def. Curtis Axel
As if Shorty Gable wasn't bad enough, he officially changed his name to Shorty G during his post-match promo, meaning that the rumors we've been hearing for months were true and this is what WWE had in mind for him all along. I'm happy he's finally getting showcased as a singles star and it was cool to see him get the squash match treatment for once, but that name isn't going to do him any favors.
The New Day and Heavy Machinery def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Revival and Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Although this was fun from an in-ring standpoint, it didn't serve much of a purpose aside from hyping up the Tag Team Turmoil match at Crown Jewel in two weeks, which will apparently determine "the best tag team in the world." Unless WWE will allow All Elite Wrestling talent to take part as well, then that's just a crock of crap. I was surprised New Day never went back after the SmackDown Tag Team Championship after losing it at Clash of Champions last month, but with their win here, I assume they'll get their rematch with The Revival soon enough.
Nikki Cross and Dana Brooke Interrupted SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks on Miz TV
Heel Bayley has quickly become one of my favorite things in all of WWE. Her updated entrance is outstanding and compliments her new attitude and appearance well. She didn't the cut most amazing promo of her career or anything, but she did justify her actions last week by saying the fans weren't there for her after she lost the SmackDown Women's Championship (which is why she waited so long to snap). She only turned heel initially last month out of loyalty to Banks (who also played her role well here). Cross interrupting them essentially foreshadowed the finish to the subsequent Six-Pack Challenge, but it wasn't a major well. I love how they shoehorned Brooke in there too as a red herring, but no one in the right mind actually thought she was winning.
Nikki Cross def. Mandy Rose, Carmella, Sonya Deville, Dana Brooke and Lacey Evans in a SmackDown Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Six-Pack Challenge
Although very few of these competitors mean something currently, it was refreshing to see so many different women not named Charlotte Flair vying for the SmackDown Women's Championship for a change. Cross was the most obvious choice to win, but Carmella was a close second. My only issue with her as the number one contender is that we've seen her and Bayley clash countless times since the summer. It's not exactly new, but if given time and creative direction, they could rip it up together. The Six-Pack Challenge was chaotic with the pace never slowing down.
Braun Strowman def. Drew Gulak
This was exactly what I feared would happen with the Cruiserweights on Raw and SmackDown, and sure enough, all it took was four days for those fears to be realized. The dude just lost the NXT Cruiserweight Championship a little over one week ago (after reigning as champion for nearly four months), and has already been reduced to a laughing stock on SmackDown. I understand Strowman needs to look strong ahead of his encounter with Tyson Fury at Crown Jewel, but this was a waste of Gulak. Vince McMahon must have gotten a real kick of Gulak bringing back his PowerPoint presentations. Ugh.
Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns def. Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and King Corbin
We found out earlier in the evening that in addition to Reigns replacing Seth Rollins as the captain of Team Hogan at Crown Jewel, Hogan revealed himself over Skype that he has since recruited the likes of Ali and Shorty G (it pains me to write that) to his squad as well. Bryan and Reigns proved at Hell in a Cell that they can work as a cohesive unit, so it made sense for them to win as decisively as they did here. It was a well-wrestled main event and I assume Bryan pinning Nakamura means we're in for a feud between them over the Intercontinental title. Yes please!
Thankfully, WWE stuck to their promise by not featuring any Raw Superstars on this show, but how long that will last remains to be seen. Crown Jewel is already set to be an inter-promotional event, and then Survivor Series will immediately follow that, begging the question of why bothered to reinstate the Brand Split now as opposed to the end of the year. Nevertheless, this was a perfectly solid edition of SmackDown that kicked off a bunch of new storylines, featured some solid matches, and built toward Crown Jewel.