By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan: A hot open with Bryan issuing a challenge to Rowan to face him in an impromptu match. Bryan did a great job of selling for Rowan, and the involvement of Luke Harper set the stage for Roman Reigns to make the save. I like that Bryan didn’t just accept Roman’s offer to help him up after he made the save. There’s still some tension between the two, which there should be given how far Bryan went with his heel persona.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair and Carmella: Banks needed a clean and decisive win and she got one over Carmella. I could have done without Becky Lynch roughing up Banks and Bayley afterward. It was another showing of Lynch’s dominance over Banks when it feels like they should be booking this as a showdown match between two in-ring equals. It was nice to see Banks get one up on Lynch at the end of the show, but even that was framed as happening only because Banks jumped the Raw Women’s Champion from behind.
Big E and Xavier Woods vs. The B-Team: A quick and painless bounce back win for the New Day duo after dropping the tag titles at Clash of Champions. The post match bit with the pair celebrating with 49ers’ tight end George Kittle at ringside was good fun and should give Fox some footage to run during their NFL coverage this week.
WWE Smackdown Hits
Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens: How many times will WWE tease viewers with the possibility of Owens quitting, being fired, or being forced to leave WWE based on a match stipulation? Here’s hoping they live up to the stipulation this time and the feud actually ends when these two meet on next Friday’s Smackdown on Fox premiere.
Kofi Kingston sit-down interview: I’m not even sure what they were going for. Kingston came off like his usual happy go lucky self and didn’t move me in any way when it comes to next week’s WWE Championship match with Brock Lesnar. I guess the idea was to show that Kingston is confident going into the match. I wish they would have gone for confidence with some anger given the way Lesnar manhandled him last week.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ali in a non-title match: A minor Miss. The match was off early with Ali having a “near miss” moment with the header he took while performing a suicide dive. Once they returned to the ring, Ali threw a dropkick that looked clunky. It got better from there and I liked the finish with Ali chasing Sami Zayn only to eat a Kinshasa, but these two are capable of a better match and hopefully they will get a chance to show it. By the way, where’s the followup to those strong Ali vignettes?
Asuka and Kari Sane vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville: It was hard to take this match seriously after watching the participants chase the WWE 24/7 Champion earlier in the night. Seriously, this is what it’s come to for Asuka, who was the best thing going in the women’s division before she lost her undefeated streak and the company had no plan in place for her coming out of that loss. What a waste.
Chad Gable vs. Mike Kanellis: Will WWE ever move on from the tired and repetitive short jokes? Could they possibly find more generic sounding entrance music for Gable? Speaking of music, I thought Elias said he was done with his musical performances. And since we’re talking music, Dolph Ziggler’s entrance theme is still the worst. Yeah, I know he wasn’t on TV his week, but I won’t let that stop me from my crusade to put that horrible theme to rest.