WWE Champion AJ Styles Interrupted SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon and SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan
After a few weeks of Shane and Bryan not bickering back and forth with each other, I had hope that storyline had been abandoned, but obviously that is not the case. It was so refreshing for Raw to kick off with a match on Monday, but it's a shame the same can't be said for SmackDown Live. One would assume Bryan will wrestle again at some point in WWE, but I still firmly believe that won't happen. On the bright side, Styles cut a good promo about being a fighting champion and got the last word in the segment.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair def. Liv Morgan (Non-title)
I wasn't too interested in this match on paper, but I did like how Charlotte was aggressive right from the get-go after The Riott Squad attacked her last week and nearly cost her the SmackDown Women's title. Charlotte was on offense for a majority of this matchup, which was probably for the better considering how inexperienced Morgan is. She nearly had a chance of winning when Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan attempted to interfere, but in the end, the champ went over as she should have. I'm curious as to whether Riott will get the next shot at the straps because no one else would make as much sense right now.
The Bludgeon Brothers def. Local Athletes
Another week, another Bludgeon Brothers squash match. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to watch to them completely dominate enhancement talent significantly smaller than them, but it's high time they started facing real competition. On the bright side, it looks like they are indeed heading toward a feud with SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos given how they crossed paths with The Usos once again this week as they were leaving the ring.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos Addressed the Audience
Did WWE really repeat what we saw last week from The Usos and The Bludgeon Brothers and switch their spots around on the show? That's pretty lazy. Although The Usos' latest promo virtually accomplished nothing, it was very entertaining, per usual. What made this even better than their promo last week was that no dumb graphics came across the screen to drag it down. Here's hoping that was a one-time thing and those horrendous graphics will never be brought back.
United States Champion Bobby Roode def. Rusev
Roode vs. Rusev isn't exactly enthralling from an in-ring standpoint on paper, but what made this match better than it had any right to be were the crowd reactions. Roode is popular as a babyface (even though he should be a heel) and Rusev is just a huge fan favorite at the moment (despite being a heel). It lasted a little longer than it needed to, but the final few minutes were excellent. I loved Randy Orton's post-match RKO on Roode, but I could have done without him laying out Rusev and Aiden English, too. I am all for a Roode vs. Orton feud for the United States Championship if it leads to an Orton heel turn.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin def. The Ascension
Gable and Benjamin beat Breezango last week, so I guess them beating Breezango's best buds The Ascension as well was only logical. As a match, this was totally lifeless and what you would expect from an Ascension outing. I'm happy that Gable and Benjmain are building momentum and are gradually bouncing back from their losses to The Usos, but the crowd simply isn't investing in them as heels. Evidently, more character work needs to be done with them.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's Match Ended in a Double Disqualification
Regardless of who's babyface and who's heel, you can always count on Owens and Zayn to deliver whenever they're up against each other. This was a strong main event match from them and I appreciated that they didn't hold anything back. Perhaps it will come out that they were in cahoots the whole time and they orchestrated the finish to ensure they both get the title shot at Fastlane, but I honestly thought it was an insanely stupid finish because it made Styles look like an idiot. I have no doubt Styles vs. Owens vs. Zayn will be a tremendous Triple Threat match, but this feud has really run its course.
By the way, the new SmackDown Top 10 is off to a poor start, because none of it makes any sense. Tye Dillinger at No. 10? The New Day higher than The Usos? Champions being a part of it? So dumb. As for the rest of this edition of SmackDown Live, it was solid. The main event is worth going out of your way to see and parts of the U.S. title encounter were above-average. Everything else served a purpose but was just kind of there. This show desperately needs a shot in the arm of some sort, to say the least.