The New Day def. Randy Orton and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Revival
If it wasn't already clear on Sunday, Kofi Kingston's rivalry with Orton is officially over. Granted, Orton wasn't pinned here, but his team lost decisively and now there's no reason for him to get another shot at the strap. The match itself was very entertaining as all six stars filled the time exceptionally well. I assume Big E and Xavier Woods will go back after the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Hell in a Cell. Then, Brock Lesnar made a surprise appearance and laid out Kingston with an F5, laying the groundwork for their WWE Championship clash on SmackDown's FOX debut show on October 4th. That's a marquee matchup for such an important occasion and I'm psyched to see Lesnar back in action on WWE TV for the first time in over 15 years.
Michael Cole Interviewed Erick Rowan
I haven't been a fan of this storyline with Rowan and Roman Reigns in recent weeks, but they captured my interest when Luke Harper returned during Rowan vs. Reigns at Clash of Champions. Rowan's promo didn't do much for me last week, but he really shined in this sit-down interview and I thought he made the most of the material he was given to work with. I still don't take him seriously as a main event level talent, but at least he's improving from a character standpoint.
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn Attacked Ali
I was really disappointed Ali never ended up getting a shot at the Intercontinental Championship after beating Nakamura on an episode of SmackDown about two months ago, but we might finally be heading in that direction. This was a pretty simple segment with Nakamura and Zayn getting heat by beating up Ali, but it seemed to set up a future match between Nakamura and Ali, hopefully for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Kevin Owens Confronted Shane McMahon
Needless to say, this storyline jumped the shark at SummerSlam and the followup has largely been dumb, but the end appears to be near based off what we saw in this segment. Owens used the logic that because Shane attacked him last week on SmackDown Live while Owens was acting as an official, he has a case in court against Shane. Basically, this was designed to build to the two facing off again at Hell in a Cell, and if Owens wins, he can fire Shane. Everything about this angle has been convoluted, including this segment, but I'm just thankful it's almost over.
Charlotte Flair def. Sasha Banks by disqualification
It's hard to believe it's been over two and a half years since the last time Flair and Banks went one-on-one. In fact, it feels like it wasn't that long ago at all. Nevertheless, this was the usual quality contest from them, even if they weren't given a ton of time. Bayley interfering on Banks' half caused the match to be thrown out, and afterward, Carmella made the save for Flair. It's been established that Carmella and Bayley are friends, so that could very well be the next program over the SmackDown Women's Championship.
Chad Gable Crashed Baron Corbin's King of the Ring Coronation
I originally had no desire to see Corbin win the King of the Ring tournament, but in retrospect, it might have been the best possible decision. Not only can he run with that for a while, Gable will get more over by being in "chase mode" so to speak. He has yet to get any meaningful mic time, but taking the fight to Corbin and trashing all the stupid King of the Ring props was a step in the right direction. Even better, Corbin can't come out with the king crap anymore in the future, which he doesn't need anyway. I'm all on board with this being a full-fledged feud.
Heavy Machinery def. The B-Team
Heavy Machinery have been on a little bit of a winning streak for the past two weeks. Although the teams they've been beating haven't exactly been top talents, it's nice to see them build momentum. They once again had a fun showing here and the crowd was behind them from start to finish, which should only bode well for them after the Draft. For what it's worth, Otis debuted a new look and he continues to be super popular whenever he tags in.
The Bludgeon Brothers Attacked Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns
I was curious how Bryan would factor into what we witnessed go down at Clash of Champions, and as some fans figured, it looks like he'll be forming an alliance of sorts with Reigns against Rowan and Harper. This was a strong segment all around with Rowan cementing his split from Bryan (who I guess isn't the mastermind behind the attacks as I assumed) and The Bludgeon Brothers standing tall over two of the blue brand's biggest stars. It'll be an intriguing tag team affair come Hell in a Cell. As much as I'd love Bryan to reveal himself as the leader of Harper and Rowan, I don't want to get my hopes up.
Maybe I'm going crazy or maybe it's just me, but the last three shows WWE has produced (Clash of Champions, Raw and now SmackDown) have all been above-average and have gradually gotten better in my opinion. I've said before how WWE has made a noticeable effort to improve their programming, which is great with the Draft right around the corner. Plus, we have Hell in a Cell and the move to FOX happening in early October, so there's a lot to look forward right now if you're a WWE fan and I thought there was effective hype for all of that on this episode of SmackDown. Everything served a purpose and there were enough enjoyable segments/matches to make the two hours worthwhile, even if it was light on in-ring action.