SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day def. The Bar
New Day and The Bar have always worked well together, so unsurprisingly, this was another quality contest from them. It was smart for this to kick off the show because it was enjoyable and the crowd was invested in the action even though the outcome never truly felt in doubt. I'm a fan of The Bar, but New Day are still early into their run as tag team champions and should hold the gold for a little longer.
Charlotte Flair def. SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch by Disqualification
Despite what WWE wants you to believe, Lynch is very much the babyface in this storyline based off the reactions she gets every time she appears in front of an audience. It's been that way for a month and a half and I don't think it will change any time soon. Nevertheless, this was a great match between them, though it was apparent that they were holding back a bit because of the non-finish. I was fine with the disqualification as it prevented Flair from getting pinned again in addition to keeping the rivalry alive.
John Cena and Bobby Lashley def. Elias and Kevin Owens
You had to know going in that this match wasn't going to be anything out of the ordinary. Sure enough, it was a straight-up house show-style matchup with the heels dominating Lashley for a lengthy period of time before Cena tagged in to hit his signature spots and pick up the victory. He's sporting a bit of a different look with longer hair and a leaner build, I believe because he's currently filming a move in China. He admitted afterward in a promo that he didn't know what the future holds for him, which is probably a shoot since he hadn't been on WWE TV since Greatest Royal Rumble in April prior to this pay-per-view.
The IIconics def. Naomi and Asuka
If this event didn't take place in Australia (which is where Billie Kay and Peyton Royce call home), I would have called this a waste of time. I mean, it was a waste of time anyway and one of the weaker matches on the entire how, but at least it served some sort of a purpose with The IIconics scoring what was easily the biggest win of their careers. It's a shame the match itself was abysmal, but thankfully it was kept on the shorter side.
WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Samoa Joe in a No Count-out, No Disqualification Match
The WWE title receiving the midcard treatment has been bothering me for months and there was zero reason for it to be held fifth on this card as opposed to right before the main event. My only guess is that WWE didn't want two No Disqualification matches happening back-to-back, but they should have thought twice about doing two of the same match type on the same show in the first place. That aside, this was an excellent affair with some stellar storytelling. I appreciated the callbacks to their last few meetings and they were given the time they deserved. Styles retaining the title wasn't the worst decision because he's been an awesome WWE Champion, but Joe should have won the title at some point during this feud and I have no clue where he goes from here.
Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins def. The Riott Squad
If you've seen any combination of Rousey and The Bella Twins against The Riott Squad in recent weeks, then this was exactly what you'd expect it to be. Brie Bella didn't legitimately hurt anyone this time, so that was a plus. In all seriousness, the focus wasn't so much on the match as it was the tension teased between Rousey and Nikki Bella early on over who was going to compete first. It didn't ultimately lead to anything, but I imagine that will be addressed this week on Raw or sometime soon before Evolution.
Buddy Murphy def. Cedric Alexander to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Most people might not know that Alexander and Murphy had one of my favorite matches of 2018 in WWE so far back in May when they clashed for the Cruiserweight Championship on an episode of 205 Live. Alexander successfully retained the title in his hometown on that show, whereas Murphy had the hometown advantage this time around and therefore it only made sense to pull the trigger on a title change. This was the best bout of the night in my opinion as they made the most of the 10 minutes they were allotted and went all out in what was a tremendous sprint. Both guys had spectacular showings and it was so cool to see Murphy finally get his moment, especially when you consider everything he went through to get to this point even prior to his arrival on 205 Live earlier this year.
The Shield def. Braun Strowman and Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre
I assumed it was obvious that Ambrose wasn't turning on his Shield brethren despite all the attention WWE paid to that angle over the past two weeks, but it looked like there were some fans who actually thought he would turn on them here. Ambrose accidentally getting hit by Roman Reigns on the apron by a nice touch, but it still didn't make me think that The Shield was splitting up so soon. The match wasn't nearly as forgettable as I figured it would be and all six stars had their time to shine, though I wasn't particularly thrilled with Strowman losing yet another high-profile bout.
Daniel Bryan def. The Miz in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
Was either competitor previously hurt? Was their time cut? If the answer to both of those questions is no, then I'm not sure why this was so brief and not what it had the potential to be. I loved their one-on-one clash at SummerSlam and was hoping they'd have an equally entertaining match here, but no such luck. Instead, it was over within three minutes and Bryan won in confusing fashion. On the bright side, we're getting Styles vs. Bryan for the WWE Championship at WWE Crown Jewel next month, but I have a feeling this feud isn't finished yet.
Triple H def. The Undertaker in a No Disqualification Match
I'm slightly shocked this match wasn't advertised as being No Disqualification beforehand. The build for the bout was already excellent, but I think it would have helped send the message that Shawn Michaels and Kane getting involved was all but guaranteed. Normally, I wouldn't want that telegraphed ahead of time, but fans were aware from the get-go that they would interfere, so the company might as well have come out and said it. At any rate, this really wasn't that good. They tried to justify it lasting nearly 30 minutes with all the bells and whistles, but it ended up being one giant slow-paced mess. It was honestly embarrassing at certain points to see them go for spots and completely botch or mistime them. Triple H's win as well as the post-match attack from The Brothers of Destruction essentially confirms the rumors that a tag team matchup is in the works for Crown Jewel.
First and foremost, it must be mentioned that WWE can't be praised enough for the presentations of their biggest events (at least the ones they actually put effort into). The crowd wasn't electric all night long (perhaps they were poorly mic'd?), but I always appreciate it whenever WWE travels to new countries to tape their shows and therefore I enjoyed this atmosphere. At the end of the day, however, it was a glorified house show. Only one title changed hands, and while there were a handful of above-average matches, there weren't enough memorable moments to justify this being broadcast on the WWE Network. The main event in particular was poor, regardless of what it will be leading to. If nothing else, the show was cut down from five hours to four, so I'm happy almost every match was given an ample amount of time and not cut short/dragged out (with the exception of Undertaker vs. HHH).