WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton Brawled
This Kingston vs. Orton feud is quickly becoming a retread of the rivalry between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe from last year, except not as entertaining. It started out with the two focusing on their history from a decade ago, which I liked a lot, but Orton targeting Kingston's family doesn't seem original. Their backstage brawl was fine, but I'm not as excited for their upcoming encounter at Clash of Champions than I was their SummerSlam match.
Ali def. Buddy Murphy in a King of the Ring First Round Match
Ali and Murphy had a hell of a series of matches last year on 205 Live, so it was cool to see them rekindle their rivalry in the King of the Ring tournament. As expected, this was an absolute blast with both men going all out and letting their terrific chemistry shine through. I thought Murphy winning here was a given coming off his huge victory against Daniel Bryan last week, but apparently not. Ali advancing was a pleasant surprise, but I'm not a fan of the inconsistency with Murphy.
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn Attacked The Miz
Like I said last week, I'm willing to give the odd pairing of Zayn and Nakamura a chance, if only because it should get them on television more often. Zayn did all the talking here while Nakamura laid out Miz. Nakamura vs. Miz for the Intercontinental Championship is a logical addition to the Clash of Champions card, but it's difficult to care when both men have been booked to look like losers lately, not to mention how meaningless the Intercontinental title has felt for a while now.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley def. Lacey Evans (Non-Title)
We haven't seen Evans on WWE TV since her loss in the main event of Extreme Rules over a month ago, though I don't think many fans were clamoring for her to return. This lasted way longer than it should have and definitely dragged. After several months on the main roster, it's safe to say that Evans isn't very good. Bayley was barely able to get a passable matchup out of her here after several sloppy spots and the crowd showing complete apathy. Bayley picking up another non-title victory was encouraging, but this didn't do much to sell me on her vs. Charlotte Flair at Clash of Champions.
Randy Orton def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Big E
Big E was all fired up after what Orton did to him on Raw last week, so I loved that he incorporated that intensity into this match. In fact, he was on offense for the better part of the bout and came across like an equal to Orton throughout. When the day inevitably comes that Big E is on his own again, this is the serious side of him that we need to see. Orton only winning after interference from The Revival was a nice touch because it effectively furthered the feud between The New Day and Revival.
Kevin Owens Attacked 24/7 Champion Elias; Drake Maverick def. Elias to Win the 24/7 Championship
It's a well known fact that anyone who sits in the King of the Ring throne and wears the crown before winning it, won't win it. It happened with Drew McIntyre on Raw, and that'll obviously be the case with Elias (who I assumed was losing in the quarterfinals, anyway). Owens was able to score a measure of revenge on Elias for beating him last week by costing him the 24/7 Championship. R-Truth nearly had the title won before Maverick pulled him out of the ring and snagged the gold for himself. Maybe now he can finally consummate his marriage.
Chad Gable def. Shelton Benjamin in a King of the Ring First Round Match
These two know each other very well as they were tag team partners for almost a year from 2017-2018, but WWE would rather focus on how short Gable is compared to Benjamin. Ugh. Fingers crossed all this talk about WWE registering a trademark for Shorty G won't amount to anything, at least for his sake. This was a well wrestled match while it lasted that I'm positive could have been better with more time. Unfortunately, the crowd could not have cared less because neither guy has been on SmackDown Live in ages.
Roman Reigns Attacked Daniel Bryan
Becky Lynch had to say sorry to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon earlier this year. Then, Owens apologized to Shane McMahon last week. Now, an entire episode of SmackDown is being built around Reigns apologizing to Bryan for accusing him of attacking him. When will it end? Thankfully, this was relatively short and sweet with footage being shown that revealed Erick Rowan was in fact behind the initial attack (where was this footage weeks ago?) and Reigns hitting a Spear on Bryan in the ring because he didn't buy his B.S. This is obviously leading to Reigns vs. Bryan, but I really wish they'd just cut to the chase already.
Raw and SmackDown have been better recently than they have been all year and that streak continued with this episode in my opinion. It was far from a home run, but the King of the Ring has helped a lot and I appreciated that the stuff with Shane (who was nowhere to be seen on this show), Owens, Reigns and Bryan was kept to a minimum for the most part. I also enjoyed what they did with Kingston and Orton, so I thought this was a solid show on the whole.