King Corbin and Sheamus Interrupted Jey Uso, Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman
While everyone played their roles well and I understood what purpose this segment served, it played out predictably and didn't kick off the show on a high note. It was so formulaic with everyone interrupting each other with the endgame being a tag team match in the main event. Another thing that bothered me slightly was how we didn't hear from Reigns much at all. Heyman is obviously excellent, but now that Reigns has been established as a heel, he should be speaking more.
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles Ended in a No Contest
Hardy vs. Styles should be a big deal considering this marked only the second time they've ever gone one-on-one in WWE, but it was barely advertised in advance and the outcome was never in doubt. It was solid from an in-ring standpoint, but they never had a chance to hit that next gear because of the obvious interference from Sami Zayn. It should be noted that Zayn attacked Styles first, but WWE.com listed this as ending in a no contest. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to the likely Triple Threat between these guys at Clash of Champions.
The Lucha House Party (Kalisto and Gran Metalik) def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura (Non-Title)
This was different from the first match these teams had together two weeks ago as Kalisto substituted for Lince Dorado. Much like Hardy vs. Styles, it was fun while it lasted, but I wasn't fond of the finish. The Street Profits distracting Nakamura and Cesaro from the Titantron and costing them the victory furthered their mini feud heading into their clash on Monday's Raw, but I hate whenever champions lose non-title matches unnecessarily. On the bright side, it may have earned Lucha House Party another shot at the straps at Clash of Champions, and because Kalisto won the matchup for his team, he gives him something to brag about (because he's been teasing a heel turn as of late).
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley Explained Her Actions
I didn't originally love heel Bayley and I thought she really struggled in the role for those first few months, but she's come into her own since the summer and I found this to be her best promo yet. She flat-out said she used Sasha Banks and admitted that she wouldn't have been SmackDown Women's Champion for as long as she has been without her. But once they lost the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship, she felt she had gotten everything she could out of her and kicked her to the curb. This was easily the highlight of the night for me. Now WWE has to resist the urge to bring back Banks in the near future and pull the trigger when the time is right.
Nikki Cross def. Tamina, Lacey Evans and Alexa Bliss in a SmackDown Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match
Holy crap, this match sucked. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised given Tamina was involved, but this had way too many sloppy/awkward spots and was just a mess all around. Plus, despite getting ambushed by Bayley from behind and getting betrayed by her best friend Alexa Bliss, Cross still managed to pull out the victory. Was she the best choice of these four? Perhaps, but Naomi should be the one competing for the SmackDown Women's Championship at Clash of Champions, not Cross. Cross has had three title shots against Bayley since late last year and she lost every time. Not only that, Bliss laid her out with Sister Abigail during this bout, so it's not like Bliss turning on her at the event would be any real shock because it's already happened.
Otis def. John Morrison
Heavy Machinery, Morrison and The Miz could not feel any more directionless at the moment. Yes, they're currently feuding with each other, but it isn't benefiting anyone and is more TV filler than anything else. Otis vs. Morrison was merely a backdrop for Miz attempting to steal the Money in the Bank contract from Otis again, even though he told Morrison last week that stealing it doesn't make you Mr. Money in the Bank. Morrison and Miz continue their losing ways. If they're headed for a split, WWE may as well get it over with soon so both guys can move on to bigger and better things.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Jey Uso def. Sheamus and King Corbin
There wasn't much time for this to be anything memorable, but it didn't need to be. Uso wrestled a majority of the match by himself, which was fine, before Reigns did exactly what he did at Payback by showing up at the last minute and winning for his team. It's a clever heel tactic for now, but it's going to get old fast if he keeps doing it. I was glad Uso didn't approve of his actions and acted annoyed that Reigns stole his thunder like that. I don't really care for Reigns vs. Jey Uso as a match, but the storytelling could be superb if Reigns gradually turns on him to cement his heel status.
Last week's SmackDown was one of the best episodes all year, but this week's edition didn't measure up in my opinion. Bayley's promo was the best part and the stuff with Reigns and Uso progressed nicely throughout the night, but the reveal of the newest member in the Firefly Fun House was a letdown, the Fatal 4-Way was pretty poor, Otis vs. Morrison was a waste of time, and Hardy vs. Styles could have been so much more had the finish not been telegraphed as soon as it was announced. SmackDown has done much worse this year, so hopefully this was a minor bump in the road considering how much stronger the blue brand has been on the whole since SummerSlam.