Miz TV with Team Hogan and Team Flair Descended Into Chaos
Considering Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair have appeared on Miz TV twice in the last month, it's somewhat sad that neither of them bothered to recruit The Miz to their respective teams. The segment itself was an absolute disaster. Everyone sounded scripted and the six-man tag team match could be seen coming from a mile away. if this was designed to get me to care about Team Hogan vs. Team Flair at Crown Jewel, it didn't work.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode def. The New Day
This match should have meant a lot more than it did but just ended up serving as hype for the Tag Team Turmoil match at Crown Jewel. What we got from them was decent but far from what they're actually capable of. It didn't help that the finish came completely out of nowhere, though I hope Kofi Kingston taking the pinfall loss for his team will factor into his frustration. In predictable fashion, The Revival and Heavy Machinery came out afterward while The B-Team and The Lucha House Party watched from the back.
Lacey Evans def. Camron Connors
Well, this wasn't much of a match. Evans ran down Connors before the bout, fled the ring when the bell rang, and ran back in to blindside Connors and pick up the win. I'm grateful that we didn't have to through a boring squash match for Evans, but I'm also glad she seems to be receiving a renewed push now that she's on SmackDown. The blue brand needs players in its women's division, so I only see this as a positive.
Kalisto def. Drew Gulak
As if getting squashed by Braun Strowman last week wasn't bad enough, Gulak lost to a dude who has publicly claimed that he can't wait to be a free agent next year. It doesn't get much worse than that, folks. The match was total throwaway and only existed so Strowman could come in again, beat up Gulak for the second straight week and send a message to his Crown Jewel opponent Tyson Fury. Yawn.
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn Confronted Daniel Bryan
Michael Cole questioned Bryan about whether the "Yes!" Movement has returned but was interrupted by Nakamura's entrance music before Bryan could give an answer. Zayn even showed footage of what Bryan said about the audience when he first went heel almost one year ago. Bryan walked out on Zayn and Nakamura, but I assume he's officially a babyface again based off what we've seen from him lately. As I mentioned last week, Bryan vs. Nakamura for the Intercontinental Championship is absolutely a program I can get behind.
Nikki Cross def. Mandy Rose
In all honesty, I was more focused on what Bayley was saying on commentary than the match going on in the ring. Perhaps that was the point, but it didn't hurt that Cross maintained momentum with another win this week. Cross vs. Rose was fine from what I saw. More importantly, I've been impressed with Bayley's evolution as a heel so far and how she's improved on the mic. Furthermore, I'm happy Sasha Banks isn't doing the talking for her and is just there to back her up.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar Attacked Cain Velasquez, Rey Mysterio and Dominik
First and foremost, why the hell was Mysterio there? Paul Heyman said on Monday's Raw that he can float between brands because he's an advocate for Brock Lesnar and is apparently exempt from the Brand Extension rules, but that shouldn't apply to Mysterio since he was drafted to Raw less than two weeks ago. The rest of this segment was solid. I was slightly disappointed we didn't get the face-to-face between Lesnar and Velasquez that was advertised, but Lesnar's brutal assault on Dominik and everyone else backstage more than made up for it.
Ali, Roman Reigns and Shorty G def. Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro and King Corbin
Cesaro felt like a weird replacement for Zayn, but I can't complain after he went undrafted for as long as he did. I'd say it was encouraging that he wrestled in the main event of SmackDown, but it was obvious from the get-go that he was involved solely so he could be the one to get pinned. Although this was a high-energy, entertaining multi-man match, it was hard to care knowing Team Hogan vs. Team Flair at Crown Jewel means nothing. Ali winning for his team was a nice touch, though. On a side note, Chad Gable's new gear looks completely ridiculous.
WWE was in complete promotion mode for Crown Jewel for this edition of SmackDown and it didn't make for the most exciting episode. The main event was well wrestled, I enjoyed the stuff with Bryan and Lesnar's latest attack on Dominik was strong, but the other half of the show didn't interest me at all. I can't wait for Crown Jewel to be over and done with so things can hopefully return to normal on the blue brand. We'll see then if WWE intends to take this Brand Split seriously or if anything about it will be different creatively than it was before the move to FOX. It's been business as usual for the past two or three weeks after an electric debut on the new network earlier this month and the ratings reflect that.