Sami Zayn def. Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles in a Triple Threat Match (Non-Title)
The "ascension ceremony" that preceded this match was really well done. Everyone got to make their case for why they should be Intercontinental Champion and why they'll win the Triple Threat Ladder match at Clash of Champions. The segment left me more excited for it than I was previously. My only issue with this was that, while it didn't have a stipulation, I wouldn't have booked a Triple Threat before another Triple Threat on Sunday. That said, it was obvious they were holding back a bit so they didn't give away their best stuff before then. It was a fun opener and between Zayn winning and Styles standing tall afterward, I'm more confident in picking Hardy to retain the title than I was earlier this week.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley Addressed Sasha Banks and Nikki Cross
There's been so much talk from Bayley about Banks in recent weeks that I guess it's safe to say that they'll be having their long-waited match sooner rather than later. That's a shame, just because I was really hoping WWE would hold off on it until early next year. Bayley's initial attack on Banks was brutal enough to write her off TV for a few months, but I assume they'd rather have her around leading up to the premiere of The Mandalorian Season 2 on Disney+ next month. Nonetheless, this was another good promo from Bayley, who continues to do some of her work on the mic ever. Cross felt like an afterthought here, so fingers crossed that doesn't mean Banks will help her win the SmackDown Women's Championship at Clash of Champions as a way of "shocking" people.
SmackDown Tag Team Champion Shinsuke Nakamura def. Gran Metalik
WWE appeared to show interest in presenting The Lucha House Party as actual threats to the SmackDown Tag Team Championship a month or so ago when Metalik beat Nakamura one-on-one and then Lucha House Party beat Nakamura and Cesaro in non-title action, but they've done a lot of losing lately. Thus, I'm not sure how anyone could buy into the idea of them taking the titles on Sunday. The match was decent while it lasted, but the booking was questionable. Lucha House Party is clearly headed for a split with Kalisto going heel. It's just more a matter of how that factors into the finish at the pay-per-view.
Paul Heyman Interrupted Jey Uso
I wasn't completely sold on Uso being in such a prominent spot on SmackDown when he became number one contender to the Universal Championship earlier this month, but to his credit, he has more than held his own. I appreciated how he addressed the look Roman Reigns shot him last week and demanded answers. Heyman was effective in his rebuttal, intentionally keeping it short and sweet in order to build to their face-off at the end of the night. And it worked.
King Corbin def. Matt Riddle
I don't think it was necessary for the feud to continue past Payback, but in all fairness, this was a damn good match and not just because of Riddle. Corbin can be quite great when in there with the right opponent and I find the in-ring chemistry these two have to be strong. It wasn't an amazing match by any means, but it certainly wasn't boring and both guys put in the effort. I'm fine with Corbin winning as long as Riddle wins a third match at some point.
Lacey Evans def. Alexa Bliss by Disqualification
I expected this to be all angle after what happened last week, so I was slightly surprised they were given as much time as they were. It was well-wrestled and whatnot, but I think everyone was waiting for something to happen with Bliss channeling her inner Fiend. Sure enough, she snapped at the end and got herself intentionally disqualified. I'm digging the storyline with her and Bray Wyatt, as long as the trance stuff stops because that was/is dumb. Could Bliss eyeing Reigns on her way out indicate that Wyatt is coming back after Reigns and his Universal Championship sometime soon?
Universal Champion Roman Reigns Attacked Jey Uso
This rivalry with Reigns and Uso just keeps getting better and better by the week. Both guys have been playing their roles remarkably well and this segment proved that. Reigns started out his promo by acting nice toward Uso before turning into a total dick, and Uso responded with a hell of a promo himself. No one actually expects Uso to walk out as Universal Champion on Sunday, but if this didn't make you want to see him win the title, then you have no heart. The best part was Uso walking to the back and being laid out by Reigns with a Superman punch, which tells me he will be in full-on heel mode come Clash of Champions. I can't wait to see how that will go down.
Needless to say, this was a much better go-home show for Clash of Champions than whatever the hell that was on Monday night. Not everything on SmackDown is lighting the world on fire (for example, I'm not invested in the Otis lawsuit angle at all), but the main storylines have my interest. The opening and closing segments on this show were strong, Riddle and Corbin had a quality match, the Bliss-Fiend storyline is progressing nicely, and Bayley delivered with her promo. The SmackDown side of things at Clash of Champions has potential, and while not every episode of this show is a home run each week, it's infinitely easier to sit through than Raw at the moment, so at least it has that going for it.