By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Enzo Amore and Big Cass Interrupted The Club
Amore and Cass were the last people I expected to see confront The Club, but it was a pleasant surprise that made total sense given both tandems will be in the upcoming WWE Tag Team Championship match at Money in the Bank. They had an enjoyable back and forth on the mic, seemingly having more chemistry than The Club did with The New Day. While I'd rather have The Club remain serious, Enzo and Cass having fun with them was worth it. This was a solid segment to start the show with that led nicely into the subsequent tag team match.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass Ended in a No Contest
I really liked how Maruo Ranallo made this first time ever in-ring encounter between these two feel like a big deal, and while they wrestled a very good match, New Day served as a major distraction on commentary. Their comedy is hilarious more often than not, and sometimes they will add to a match, but that wasn't the case here. Honestly, it was almost a blessing when The Vaudevillians came out because that ultimately got New Day off the headsets. At any rate, the brawl that broke out between the four teams afterward was a small preview of what we can expect from them at Money in the Bank.
Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio def. Cesaro and Sami Zayn
The build to most Money in the Bank matches can be boring because the competitors involved don't have much history, but not only are this year's batch of combatants already feuding with each other, they're all excellent athletes as well. The various tag team and singles combinations we've seen as of late have resulted in a plenty of great wrestling and this match was no exception. It was nearly a singles match at one point when Zayn and Owens brawled to the back, but the match picked up the pace when they returned to ringside. It led to a chaotic albeit exciting final few minutes and I loved Owens cheering Del Rio on to hit his finisher on Cesaro only to throw him out of the ring and pick up the victory for himself.
Becky Lynch def. Dana Brooke
This marked the third time these two have faced off in the past month and this wasn't too different from their previous battles in that Lynch carried Brooke for a majority of the match. It was by no means terrible, but Brooke is far better off in tag team competition because she is still a work in progress in the ring. If nothing else, the anarchy at ringside with Charlotte and Natalya helped take viewers' attention away from Brooke for a bit and Lynch winning was a refreshing change of pace.
Baron Corbin def. Kalisto
I completely forgot all about Kalisto until now as he hasn't been featured since losing the United States Championship rematch to Rusev two weeks ago. He had a decent showing versus Corbin, but the focus was mainly on Corbin and more so on Dolph Ziggler on commentary. He wasn't as distracting as New Day were earlier on, but at least he attempted to get his feud with Corbin over (which desperately needs to end). This was a standard squash match, though Kalisto did sell very well for Corbin's offense.
Chris Jericho def. Dean Ambrose
I appreciated how highlights of the rivalry were replayed and revisited throughout the night, making the match more meaningful in the process. Their Asylum match from Extreme Rules was criticized by fans, but when it's a straight-up singles match as seen at Payback, they can produce entertaining matches like they did here. Jericho finally scoring a win over Ambrose was a smart move to help him build momentum going into Money in the Bank. Meanwhile, Ambrose lost nothing in defeat since he got the upper-hand afterward and him jumping off the ladder onto Jericho was a cool visual.
The "less is more" approach definitely worked for this edition of SmackDown as everything seemed to serve a purpose. The two matches involving the Money in the Bank competitors were the best bouts of the night and while Lynch vs. Brooke and Corbin vs. Kalisto weren't anything out of the ordinary, the featured feuds were furthered effectively, along with the WWE Tag Team Championship picture. Basically, the two hours flew by and it continued the strong quality SmackDown has had going for months now. Two thumbs up!