Universal Champion Roman Reigns Confronted Jey Uso
This storyline has been the best thing going in WWE since it started and even though Reigns has defeated Uso twice before, it's still continuing to capture my attention. They had a strong back-and-forth here with both guys cutting great promos. I loved the note they ended this segment on as they left you wanting to see what's going to happen next. It was also an effective hook for the night's main event.
Kevin Owens def. Dolph Ziggler to Qualify for SmackDown's Men's Survivor Series Team
Ziggler has been a tag team guy with Robert Roode for the better part of the past year, so you had to know he wasn't winning here. Owens advancing was a given, but it was a quality contest, nonetheless. These two have had plenty of matches together over the years, so that shouldn't have come as any surprise. Of course, the brand supremacy stuff means nothing, but it's nice that Owens will be representing the blue brand at Survivor Series. After that event, however, I really hope he can find some direction on the show because he's been floundering for a while.
Corey Graves Hosted a Sit-Down Interview with Lars Sullivan
Thankfully, this was pre-taped as it came off much better than it probably would have in the ring. That first promo he cut last year before getting injured was not good at all, so this was a vast improvement. It was wise for him to explain the roots of his "Freak" nickname and discuss his motivations. I know Sullivan isn't everyone's favorite, but this at least attempted to give viewers a reason to care about him and thus it gets a thumbs-up from me for that reason alone.
Bianca Belair def. Billie Kay and Natalya to Qualify for SmackDown's Women's Survivor Series Team
It's been clear for weeks Belair is who WWE is pushing, so the outcome was never in doubt here. That said, Belair was absolutely the right choice to qualify here. I'm happy WWE is doing more Survivor Series qualifiers for the women of SmackDown compared to Raw (four women were outright named for Team Raw and only the fifth and final member was determined via a qualifier), but I question doing a Triple Threat here when there are only nine women in SmackDown's women's division (not counting SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks). Why not save Natalya for a separate qualifying match?
Murphy and Aalyah Kissed After Rey and Dominik Mysterio Attacked Seth Rollins
It's the storyline that just won't end. To say it ran its course a while ago would be putting it nicely, because at this point, it's deplorable. Fans feared that Murphy and Aalyah teasing a friendship would lead to them becoming an on-air item, and sure enough, that's exactly what happened. I have less than zero interest in a 19-year-old professing her love for a 32-year-old. Yes, this could easily end in Murphy revealing it was a ruse from the start and that he's been using Aalyah (for what I don't know) this entire time, but it's awful either way. Even if Murphy goes back to being a heel, I don't want to see feud with the Mysterio family again. This whole storyline is a waste of everyone involved.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits def. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro (Non-Title)
As fun of a match as this was, I don't know why WWE would have given it away so soon after Street Profits were drafted to SmackDown. This is a potential tag team title feud, and although I understand giving Street Profits a win before they face The New Day at Survivor Series, a win for the heels would have set up a rematch for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at some point. Then again, part of me is happy to see Street Profits booked so strong as champions and not lose often. It's possible Nakamura and Cesaro will become number one contenders some other way.
Bayley Challenged SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks to a Rematch
Banks had to be the one to take the title from Bayley, but I'm curious if she's going to be portrayed as a babyface beyond this feud because she certainly doesn't come across like one. I was happy Bayley acknowledged how Banks has a terrible track record when it comes to retaining titles soon after winning them because it's the truth and it adds to the suspense heading into the rematch. I just didn't think we'd be getting the rematch as early as next week. Maybe the rivalry continues into TLC next month where they can blow it off in a match of the same name.
Jey Uso def. Daniel Bryan to Qualify for SmackDown's Men's Survivor Series Team
As I've said before, Uso has been a revelation as a singles star these past two months. While I remain skeptical that he could find success on his own after this angle is over, he's been picking up some notable victories lately, first over AJ Styles and now against Bryan. Bryan was my pick to quality because he's a bigger name, so Uso winning clean instead was pleasantly surprising. That was followed by Uso trying to prove something to Reigns (who stood at ringside during the main event) by viciously attacking Bryan afterward. I wouldn't call that a certified heel turn just yet, but if that's the direction WWE is going in with him, then I'll be ecstatic. I wonder why Jimmy will react next week.
Not everything on SmackDown is amazing (for example, the ongoing angle with the Mysterio family, Murphy and Rollins is complete trash), but it's crazy how much better it is than Raw seeing as how both brands are apparently written by the same people. How does that happen? Yes, having two hours to work with compared to three is an advantage, but the content itself is stronger, too. Reigns and Uso have me hooked, Bayley and Banks are doing their thing, and several stars are the ascent. It was weird to not hear from either Otis or Chad Gable after what went down with them on SmackDown last week and at Hell in a Cell and they could have at least advertised a segment with them for next week (like Carmella). Nonetheless, this was another enjoyable edition of SmackDown and I'm hoping the blue brand can keep it up in the remainder of the year. It's been a great while since the show was on this type of a roll.