SmackDown started off well and didn’t lose steam throughout the show. A decent card with a variety of talent put on a good performance for the paying fans. The first 15 minutes was taken up by a Highlight Reel segment featuring Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn before The Miz interfered. This confrontation led to a match between the Zayn and the Miz. This is a good example of how a short talking segment can have an immediate payoff, something which has been lacking on WWE’s flagship program. The match itself saw Kevin Owens – who makes a fantastic commentator – attack Sami. Cesaro would later come out and deliver a flurry of uppercuts to all three men before holding the title high. I really hope the Swiss Superman wins the gold at Extreme Rules. He is just so damn good!
The Vaudevillans kept up their unbeaten streak with a very easy, very short match against Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel of the Social Outcasts. I feel sorry for the Outcasts as they are just treading water and not going anywhere. Following Ryback‘s recent rant on Tumblr, I wouldn’t be surprised if other Superstars follow suit considering the surplus of unused talent on the roster. One man who is being utilised well, however, is Colin Cassidy who, in the wake of Enzo Amore‘s injury, seems to be a one man wrecking machine of late. If Enzo and Cass were ever to split, Cassidy would do very very on his own – even with his limited moveset.
The only Women’s match of the night saw a tag match between Becky Lynch and Natalya against Charlotte and Emma. It finally feels as though Emma might be on the verge of a break in the division, even though it may hold down other talents such as Sasha Banks and Paige. Natalya looked strong going into her title match with Charlotte in a couple of weeks, although I still can’t see her winning the gold. She shouldn’t become champion.
The final two competitors in the battle royale on RAW put on a very short match which can only be classed as a toilet break. Zach Ryder may have done his best to break Rusev‘s face seriously, the size of the bump on his forehead was amazing!) but tapped to the Bulgarian Brute in double quick time. The former Intercontinental champion appeared on all three WWE shows this week and came away with three losses. Poor Long Island Iced Z, he must know the fans want him to do well, it’s a shame the management don’t agree. Following the match, an uncharacteristic attack from Kalisto lasted all of ten seconds before running back up the ramp to gather his belt. This must have been one of the shortest, least effective post-match attacks in SmackDown history!
The main event (or first main event it would turn out) saw The Usos take on Anderson and Gallows, with Roman Reigns and AJ Styles at ringside. Call me crazy, but I am certain almost all of the crowd noise was doctored throughout the match to make the Samoans seem more liked. The crowd was way too loud, even at the smallest thing like a chop! The match itself was short before Anderson’s boot to the face of Roman saw a brawl break out. Shortly after, a six-man tag match was started. This would be classic WWE booking to make Roman look strong! I genuinely think Anderson thought he’d won it off a Spinebuster, something which would probably get him fired in this day and age. Imagine Vince’s face is “the guy” was beaten by half a tag team! From the feel of the match, it seems like two things are being set up: the turn on AJ by his friends; or the fall of Roman from his podium. Surely it’ll only be so long before Creative decide enough is enough. But whether they can book a legitimate fall for the Samoan Badass is another thing. Either way, I believe he’ll walk out of Extreme Rules as champ.