Kevin Owens Crashed Shane McMahon's Town Hall Meeting
I can't stress enough how much I hate these segments where the authority figure stands in the ring cutting a promo while the rest of the roster stands on the stage looking like fools. It doesn't do anyone any favors, and more importantly, it simply isn't compelling television. Liv Morgan, Buddy Murphy and Apollo Crews were able to get mic time for a change, which was cool to see, and it looks like Kevin Owens vs. Shane at SummerSlam is all but a lock. Owens has been a tremendous babyface so far, but I really wish he'd ditch the Stunner as his finisher.
Aleister Black def. Cesaro
The match these two had at Extreme Rules was so great that it left fans begging for a rematch. Thankfully, we didn't have to wait long at all to get it. I've said before how it couldn't more apparent that Cesaro has been solidified as a stepping stone at this stage of his career, and although it's sad to see because we know he's capable of so much more, at least he's killing it every time he's in there regardless of who he's up against. This was hard-hitting, highly physical and just a ton of fun.
Charlotte Flair def. Liv Morgan
Morgan hasn't been seen on WWE TV since the Superstar Shake-up over three months ago, so I'm glad she finally resurfaced, even if she faced Flair in a losing effort. Speaking of Flair, we haven't seen her on SmackDown Live much over the past two months, so this was a refreshing match for a number of reasons. It was way too short to be anything of note, but Morgan yelling into the headset that she's going to be "real" when she comes back caught my attention. I've never been her biggest fan, but I'm all for a new face getting an opportunity in the women's division.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley and Ember Moon def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville
Rose and Deville have been bullying Moon and Carmella for weeks, so I figured it was only logical that Moon would choose Carmella as her partner here. Bayley teaming with Moon instead was a pleasant surprise, but the match being a minute long was disappointing. Post-match, Bayley made it clear that she'd like to defend her championship against Moon at SummerSlam. I don't believe we've ever seen them go one-on-one before, so I'm looking forward to that.
Randy Orton, Samoa Joe and Elias def. The New Day
Daniel Bryan was supposed to give a "career-altering" announcement prior to this, but he never said a word despite coming out multiple times. New Day instead took on the trio of Orton, Joe and Elias with each of the heels pleading their case for why they deserve a shot at the WWE Championship. The six-man tag team match that followed was the usual solid stuff from New Day with Orton pinning Kingston and presumably earning himself a one-on-one matchup with Kingston at SummerSlam.
The Kabuki Warriors def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champions The IIconics by Count-out
The fact this bout has barely been built up on WWE TV in recent weeks, along with how neither team received a full televised entrance, goes to show how little this company cares about those pointless tag titles. WWE then went on to give them a whopping minute and a half before The IIconcs intentionally got themselves counted out. Ugh. This entire division is a joke. I'm not sure what The Kabuki Warriors winning the belts would even mean at this point.
Apollo Crews def. Andrade
Crews and Andrade have been feuding for weeks, yet nothing about their program has stood out to me in the slightest. This felt a lot like what we saw on Monday's Raw with Cedric Alexander scoring an upsetting Drew McIntyre, except that was actually competitive. Andrade desperately needs wins right now too and has been floundering since getting called up to the main roster, so Crews' victory didn't pack as much of a punch as WWE probably thought it would. This was more of an angle than a true match. Here's hoping they can continue to push Crews and that this isn't a one time deal.
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler Ended in a No Contest
The only positive to this match happening again and lasting longer than it did at Extreme Rules was that it was a nice little sprint. Their chemistry isn't terrible, but it's so obvious that Ziggler is a glorified punching bag/minion for Shane. This didn't interest me much, but this did serve to further the feud between Owens and Shane. It ended the show on a bit of an anticlimactic note because, once again, nothing came out of Owens attacking Shane.
Let the record show that I stayed up until 1 a.m. to watch this show live in London (I now know how everyone in England feels every single week) and I'd say it was well worth it. No, it wasn't the most amazing SmackDown I've ever seen, but I'd argue the good outweighed the bad. The two hours didn't drag for me, more SummerSlam build took place, the women had more matches than usual (even if their combined television time was virtually nothing), and I wasn't overly offended by anything (except for possibly The Kabuki Warriors vs. The IIconics, that was a waste of time). However, the matches could have been better and this would have been a perfect time for them to take the "less is more" approach.