Brock Lesnar Interrupted Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Attacked SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits
I loved everything about this segment. We've been wondering since SummerSlam where Paul Heyman's allegiance would lie, and we still don't know for a fact, but it was perfect how they kept us guessing. Lesnar is officially in babyface mode and we may have heard more from here than we have at any other point in the last few years of his WWE career. He kept what he had to say short, sweet and straight to the point. Lesnar nearly hitting Heyman with an F5 was a terrific tease and we got a small taste of Lesnar vs. Reigns, which will likely go down at Crown Jewel next month. This was a hot opening segment and the crowd ate up all of it.
Big E, Intercontinental Champion King Nakamura, Rick Boogs and The Mysterios def. Sami Zayn, Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode and Otis
Zayn bringing out Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young got the biggest heat of the night. I can't say I was familiar with Young at all prior to this (sorry, I hardly follow basketball), but it was a funny moment. The match itself was a random assortment of SmackDown's directionless midcard scene. Nakamura is over as hell, but they need a real rivalry for him to sink his teeth into as Intercontinental Champion. The rest of these guys have nothing going on at the moment outside of The Mysterios who I don't believe teased tension this week. It was well-wrestled affair while it lasted. The lack of Kevin Owens in this match on the show in general was interesting considering rumors were circulating that he could be AEW bound when his contract expires in January. Additionally, Big E cut a promo afterward teasing cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase soon. This was the most attention he's gotten as Mr. Money in the Bank since he won the damn thing two months ago. I maintain that Reigns should be the one he cashes in on, but not any time soon.
SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair Signed the Contract For Their SmackDown Women's Championship Match at Extreme Rules
It's a shame this was the only women's segment on the entire show (more on that later), but at least it was a good one. This was the third straight week that Lynch and Belair have exchanged words on the mic and it was once again excellent. Lynch's outrageous outfit was shades of what she was wearing before she took time off last year. She can absolutely be a convincing heel, but my problem is that I don't think she'll be overwhelmingly booed long-term. At least on this night, she received some boos and the crowd was behind Belair. Lynch also brought up a good point: What would have happened had Lynch not signed the contract? That was never answered. They set the stage nicely for their SmackDown Women's Championship clash at Extreme Rules which I'm looking forward to.
Seth Rollins def. Edge
I was super excited for this when it was announced a week ago because I thoroughly enjoyed their original encounter at SummerSlam. That said, I expected it'd be a television-type match that didn't last long with a non-finish, and we didn't get that at all. Rather, it was a pay-per-view caliber contest with suspenseful nearfalls, above-average action and an invested crowd. This was another fantastic piece of business from them. Rollins winning (relatively) clean was a pleasant surprise and I liked how Edge was stretchered out to play up the possibility of his career being over (which is how this whole feud started). I'm very much looking forward to that rubber match, whether it be at Extreme Rules or another time.
The Street Profits def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos by Disqualification
Because Lesnar attacked The Usos at the start of the show, I honestly believed we were getting a title change here to end the evening and send the crowd home happy. Little did I know what they'd close out the show with instead. Running a disqualification with these teams for the second straight week was disappointing, but I understand they probably wanted to keep the feud going without either team actually losing. The match itself was great (as we've come to expect from The Usos and Street Profits) and was given a ton of time. It was especially entertaining once they picked up the pace down the stretch and I can't emphasize enough how big of a breakout star Montez Ford is going to be once that day comes. Post-match, Reigns launched an ambush on Street Profits until the lights went down and "The Demon" Finn Balor emerged to a massive pop. We haven't seen The Demon on WWE TV since SummerSlam 2019, so this was a huge moment. Yes, it probably should have been saved for Extreme Rules, but it was a hell of a hook to end the episode with and it made for an amazing moment in Madison Square Garden. Well done.
This was without a doubt one of the best shows WWE has put on all year. Here are a few notes from being in the building for it. The dark match beforehand saw Charlotte Flair beat Rhea Ripley and the two matches afterward saw Drew McIntyre beat Happy Corbin and John Cena team up with The Mysterios to defeat the trio of Roman Reigns and The Usos. It was called Super SmackDown because of the Raw wrestlers in the dark matches, but I'm glad they weren't on the actual broadcast. Lilian Garcia sang The Star-Spangled Banner right before the show went live and it was beautiful, though I wish it was included in the show much like the first SmackDown after 9/11 20 years ago. All in all, this was an exceptional edition of SmackDown. It's a massive shame Zelina Vega's match was cut from the show given her ties to the occasion and they absolutely could have made time for it, but that was my only issue with this episode otherwise. The crowd was loud and rowdy all night long, the two hours flew by, Edge vs. Rollins was a banger, Lesnar's appearance delivered, and the return of The Demon was amazing to witness live. Why can't WWE put this type of effort into their weekly shows more often?