By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Miz Hosted 'Miz TV' with Sami Zayn and Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
Far too often does WWE expect its fans to know who these NXT call-ups are, and while more people are aware of NXT than ever before, they simply can't assume that everyone watches the product. Thus, I was very happy that 'Miz TV' was able to serve as a platform for Zayn to give his backstory and more importantly explain his rich history with Owens. Speaking of whom, Owens' rebuttal was quite good and I'm already excited for what should be a hell of a match between them at WrestleMania. In so many words, this was one instance where 'Miz TV' wasn't completely meaningless.
Sami Zayn and Neville def. Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens and The Miz
It would have been nice if Zayn's first ever match on SmackDown had been advertised in advance and not thrown together as an impromptu tag team match, but that's merely nitpicking. His teamwork with Neville was tremendous, though that should come as little surprise to anyone who watched them work together during their time in NXT. Owens walking off on Miz was logical for his character and Zayn scored his first win as a main roster performer. Hopefully he faces Owens one-on-one at WrestleMania and it isn't some sort of multi-man match involving Neville, Miz and others. That would be a waste.
Brie Bella def. Summer Rae
This was significantly better than their short-lived affair on Raw, though I realize that isn't saying much. Brie isn't actually as awful in the ring as most fans think she is, and I'm glad she's finally settling into the babyface role instead of constantly going back and forth between face and heel. She avenged her loss against Summer, but was once again ambushed by Lana. I've already said this a few times before, but I have zero desire to see them face other at WrestleMania 32.
Chris Jericho Explained His Actions
Heel Jericho is absolute money. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being able to cheer Y2J when I can, but he really turns it on when he's working as a villain. Some might say he repeated the same shtick from 2008-2012, but it's been so long since then that it feels refreshing and his points about AJ Styles made sense after all that has happened between them. The burning of the Y2AJ shirt was just the cherry on top, and I'd advise anyone who ordered that worthless piece of merchandise to do the same. Then again, it could be a collector's item down the line, so maybe not.
League of Nations def. The Lucha Dragons
Right when I thought Kalisto was going to start branching out on his own again after what we saw from him on Raw, he was back to teaming with Sin Cara like nothing had ever happened. Ugh. On the bright side, Ryback was shown watching his match on the monitor backstage and he cut a promo on the Dragons, so that feud is still happening from what it seems. The match itself was well-wrestled, but nothing new and it was largely designed to boost League of Nations' momentum going into their WWE Tag Team Championship match at WWE Roadblock.
Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler and The Usos def. The Wyatt Family
Not even the pre-match promo from the babyfaces could make this match worthwhile for me. It was entertaining from an in-ring standpoint and everyone involved worked well together, but in the end, what was the point? Ambrose is contending for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in two days, Ziggler is directionless, and The Usos are feuding with The Dudley Boyz who were nowhere to be seen. And oh yeah, The Wyatt Family are dead in the water. Let's all starting taking bets on how long it takes Brock Lesnar to decimate Bray Wyatt in their match on Saturday. I say two minutes and 37 seconds.
The two segments that were hyped ahead of time ('Miz TV' and Jericho's explanation) met my expectations and were worth watching for, but the rest of the episode was mediocre at best. As I've always said, I appreciate the "less is more" approach, but the three tag team matches were average and the women's match was passable. All in all, not the most must-see edition of SmackDown in recent memory.