Since the brand split was announced a couple of weeks ago, it has become evident that SmackDown has improved immeasurably. This week’s show very much set the tone for things to come.
The show’s opening match pitched The Club against Enzo and Cass with The New Day on commentary. This match was set after a war of words at the outset of the event which really solidified AJ Styles‘ newly defined heel status. The match itself was a good, technical tag team bout, mostly dominated by Anderson and Gallows. The match is particularly memorable for the extremely entertaining commentary of Woods, Kingston and Big E. A hot tag for Big Cass really upped the tempo before the introduction of The Vaudevillans sparked a mass brawl between all four teams. Enzo and Cass stood tall at the end – a sign of things to come?
In classic WWE style, the next match on the card was a tag encounter containing four of the six men who will take part in the Money in the Bank ladder match. This time round, the chosen four were Sami Zayn and Cesaro teaming up against Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio. By this point, Cesaro and Zayn must be working quite well as a team, considering they’ve been doing it since Wrestlemania. True to his character, Owens decided to leave Del Rio to fight on his own and left the arena, with Zayn chasing him in hot pursuit. The two remaining men put on a decent match between themselves before their partners returned, exchanging blows all the way down the ramp. This led to something of a breakdown whilst the Mexican and the Swiss continued to battle. Eventually, ADR managed to hit the Swiss Superman with a Double Stomp only for KO to tag himself in and make the pin.
The main feud in the women’s division continued at a slow pace this week with Becky Lynch taking on Dana Brooke with Natalya and Charlotte at ringside. This short match didn’t have much to shout about until the referee ejected both Natalya and Charlotte for brawling at ringside. Following this, Becky won very quickly, locking in the Disarmer forcing Brooke to tap out.
The penultimate match of the night saw the former US Champion Kalisto face the Lone Wolf, Baron Corbin. Despite Corbin being in the middle of a push and Kalisto on the decline following his title reign, this felt like a rather long match. It wasn’t the usual dominant, physical match we have come to expect from Corbin, but instead the Lucha Dragon controlled the majority of the bout. However, Kalisto did end up meets the End of Days allowing Baron to walk away with yet another scalp. At least he’s started fighting different opponents.
The main event saw Chris Jericho go one-on-one with Dean Ambrose. It could be because we’ve seen this match one too many times recently, but this really didn’t interest me. However, the two did put on a fairly length bout at quite a slow pace. It didn’t really have a main event feel at all. Things got a little more lively as the pace picked up towards the end, with Jericho taking the win after hitting the Codebreaker on Ambrose. Jericho then preceded to bring a ladder into the ring, only for Ambrose to use it against him and drop a big elbow. Dean may have his head held high, but he picked up yet another defeat to Jericho.