Universal Champion Roman Reigns Called Out Jey Uso; Uso def. AJ Styles
The stuff with Reigns and Uso continues to be the best storyline going in all of WWE today. Reigns continues to demand in this segment that Jey call him the "Tribal Chief" but Jey once again refused, leading to Reigns granting him another shot at the Universal Championship at Hell in a Cell in a match that will have "the highest stakes in WWE history." I've seen some speculation that it could mean Jey has to join Reigns if he loses, and if so, I'm all for that. Styles also played his roll well and set up his matchup with Jey nicely. It was pretty good and Jey's clean win over Styles was huge for him. I was left wondering if this means Styles is on his way back to Raw in next week's Draft.
Otis def. John Morrison
I'm a fan of Otis, The Miz and Morrison but this lawsuit storyline does nothing for me whatsoever and it definitely doesn't make me care about the Money in the Bank briefcase. If anything, it's simply serving as a sad reminder that Otis is in possession of it and that it won't mean anything as long as that's the case. Worse yet, this was a straight-up squash for Otis. I guess it was supposed to make Otis look more dominant, but all it did was make Morrison look weaker than he already has in recent months.
Sheamus def. Shorty G
We get it, Sheamus is superior to Shorty G. It's not like WWE hasn't hammered that home countless times since their initial feud earlier this year. Much like Morrison vs. Otis, this didn't last long at all. Sheamus hit him with multiple Brogue Kicks and won with ease. We found out that Sheamus will face Big E in a Falls Count Anywhere match on next week's show, but this a waste otherwise, specifically of Shorty G's talent. Does anyone have an idea of when his current contract expires?
Kevin Owens Hosted The KO Show with Alexa Bliss and Was Attacked by "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
If you're wondering why Owens was on SmackDown, it's because of the Brand-to-Brand Invitational. That doesn't make it any better (I personally hate that excuse because it defeats the purpose of the Brand Split and Survivor Series), but that was the storyline explanation. Owens' interrogation of Bliss was well done and it's cool that Bliss and The Fiend are finally a unit, supposedly. It was announced later in the show that Owens will be back on the blue brand next week to take on The Fiend in what will be The Fiend's first match on SmackDown ever.
Matt Riddle and The Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) def. King Corbin and SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
Riddle vs. Corbin is the rivalry that just won't end. Hey, I'm not complaining because at least their matches have been entertaining so far, but it definitely feels like WWE is killing time with them until the Draft. As a match, this was fun, but the bigger purpose it served was to further establish tension within Lucha House Party. Kalisto and Dorado were basically brawling afterward, so it looks like an official split is coming sooner rather than later.
Sasha Banks Challenged Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship Next Week
Banks' delivery here was solid and she showed some great intensity, but my issue with this whole thing is that WWE is rushing this rivalry beyond belief. Of course, their first match should have been saved for either later this year or early next year (potentially WrestleMania 37 if the company played their cards right), but at the very least, it should have been at Hell in a Cell. Instead, it looks like it's going down next week based on what we heard here. I typically hate the bait-and-switch approach, but I really, really hope that's what happens next Friday night. I realize it'll be Night 1 of the Draft, but unless they're going to separate shows (which is certainly possible), there's no excuse for their first major one-on-one encounter on the main roster not to be saved for a pay-per-view.
Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn def. Jeff Hardy
It's interesting that WWE is already moving on from this feud as opposed to having Hardy chase for the championship for at least a little bit. That seems like a tell-tale sign that one of them is going to Raw, and my guess is that it's going to be Hardy (even though I'd prefer he stay on Raw). Nonetheless, this was an above-average main event for SmackDown with strong work from both men. Zayn continued his gimmick of cheating to win (utilizing the exposed turnbuckle post), so Hardy was protected in defeat.
SmackDown has settled into a really nice rhythm these last few weeks. Not every episode is must-see and I didn't find this show to be all that newsworthy, but I assume that was done by design with the Draft coming up. Speaking of which, there was some effective hype for next week (three matches were announced in addition to the Draft) along with quality wrestling and successful storyline progression. Reigns and Uso have carried the blue brand lately, but there's plenty of other stuff that has held my interest as well (Fiend and Bliss, Zayn as Intercontinental Champion, Bayley and Banks, etc).