Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre kick things off this week to talk about how Roman Reigns can’t fight his own battles, so they’ve joined forces to even the odds (again, not that Strowman should even require backup as he’s taken on multiple opponents by himself before and defeated Reigns on multiple occasions…). The Shield takes offense to their words and a big-ass brawl ensues, which results in Baron Corbin having all of the Shield arrested.
Nikki and Brie Bella take on Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan next, and obviously win; I mean, sure, the Bellas have been out of the ring and off television for absolutely ages now but Evolution is right around the corner and of course they’re going to be there because they’re such trendsetters, and that means they have to win this match…never mind that Liv and Sarah needed the win more than those two clowns.
The Ascension competed in a handicap match last week, which means they’re a thing again, so they get to compete in a tag team match this week…against Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. Despite being a slapped-together team with no experience tagging together, Roode and Gable won, meaning that the Ascension cannot win when they have the two-on-one advantage and also cannot win when they go up against a nonsense tag team. Great stuff.
Elias pops out to, once again, make fun of the audience; this week, he draws out Alexa Bliss and gets a much better result than last week. This then transitions into a match between Alexa ad Natalya, with Ronda Rousey, Mickie James, and Alicia Fox at ringside (because Evolution!). Because Ronda’s so ineffective, the interference is enough to cause Natalya to tap out to a pretty weak-looking Arm Bar. Afterwards, though, Ronda beats the heels up a bit.
Since they kicked the crap out of the Revival backstage, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre got the title shot against the B-Team this week and, wouldn’t you know it, won the damn belts! So, after weeks of the Revival trying to get a foot in the door and losing their title shot, only to then beat the champions to justify a rematch, and the entire narrative about them wanting to restore glory to the Raw Tag Team Championships, and the overall story of the B-Team lucking into their wins, Ziggler and McIntyre just randomly beat them and won the belts without any real issue. Fantastic! I mean, it’s not as if there’s that many credible face tag teams to feud with them!
Case in point: the Authors of Pain then destroyed some jobbers, but gained a new mouthpiece in Drake Maverick…which is weird, as I thought he was the General Manager of 205 Live but…whatever, I guess. Afterwards, the Undertaker actually shows up to have a bit of an in-ring chat with Shawn Michaels to hype up his match against Triple H at Super Show-Down. So, Undertaker can’t show up to hype up his matches with John Cena or Rusev but can show up for this throwaway match? Got it. Anyway, ‘Taker takes umbrage to HBK picking Triple H to win and vows that he will destroy Hunter again and even teases that he’ll do the same if Shawn ever decides to come out of retirement.
Sasha Banks and Bayley then defeated Dana Brooke and Ember Moon, which makes sense as Sasha and Bayley have teamed before and are supposed to be best friends (I think). The loss was, apparently, enough for Dana to walk out on Titus Worldwide though; oh, no! Afterwards, Bobby Lashley had a thing with Jinder Mahal but it was quickly derailed by…Kevin Owens, who attacked Lashley and hit him with his Apron Powerbomb. Wow, what a shocking return an entire week after “quitting”! Poor Owens.
Braun Strowman and Finn Balor got the main event this week; Drew and Ziggler were at ringside but didn’t really factor into the match. These guys worked their typical big man/little man style, with Balor using his speed and technical ability to attack Strowman but getting get off by Braun’s power. Balor had Strowman in a Sleeper Hold and some kind of Triangle Choke but Strowman muscled him into the Running Powerslam for the win. After the match, Strowman, Ziggler, and McIntyre attacked Balor until the Shield arrived in a police van (kind of cool). However, Owens, Mahal, and the Ascension all arrived to attack them! The heels all beat the absolutely shit out of the Shield, even managing to draw blood. You know, I’m still not really a fan of this; I liked that Strowman had a mutual respect with Balor. Couldn’t they have used that, tied into Balor and Lashley’s issues with Corbin, had had Strowman, Balor, and Lashley form a face trio to battle the Shield? Strowman’s heel turn is nonsensical and this whole angle was so clearly manufactured to try and get people to cheer Reigns when we could have had a nice little face vs. face feud going on that starts off about mutual respect and then descends into anarchy as tensions rise. But, no, gotta have all the heels attack Reigns, even guys like the Ascension who weren’t heels until last week.
It’s Brie and Bryan time again as Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella start things off to stoke the flames for their match against the Miz and Maryse at Hell in a Cell; they want payback from the beating they took last week, so Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega again interrupt them and we get a rematch from last week between Almas and Bryan. This showcased a bit more of the potential Almas has to be a top star on SmackDown! Live, though again I doubt he’ll actually be given that opportunity, and actual led to a conclusive finish this week as Bryan got the win after the Running Knee. I’ll never get tired of the WWE actually allowing Bryan to put on these mini clinics but they have to do something with it; don’t make Almas into the next Tye Dillinger!
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair had a bit of a bitch-fest next; they were in separate locations because the blood feud is so real, which made for a nice change of pace. Naomi and Peyton Royce followed this, which wasn’t nearly as intense, and resulted in Naomi getting a win. Afterwards, she got beaten up a bit by the Iiconics until Asuka saved her ass; so I guess Asuka has been relegated to a generic female face who helps other generic female faces and occasionally tags with them? Nice.
Samoa Joe is next on the mic, again playing his mind games by talking about AJ Styles’ wife; you know what would be better, though? How about a good, old-fashioned Attitude Era-style home invasion? Anyway, Styles eventually takes the bait and they get into a brawl, which leads to a good, old fashioned Attitude Era-style separation of the two.
The tournament to crown the next number one contenders to the SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championships continued next as the Usos took on Killian Dain and Eric Young and Rusev and Aiden English. On the plus side, this was non-stop action from all three teams who worked surprisingly well together; on the down side, SAnitY didn’t get the win. Instead, Rusev and Aiden English got the chance to face the Bar next week for the title shot, which is great news for Rusev because he gets to be involved in a title picture again, but why do is suspect that this is still part of a larger plan to have these two break up and feud in dull matches?
Former Tag Team Champions collide in the main event as the Miz takes on…R-Truth. R-Truth? In the main event? What is this, 2011? Anyway, this was a surprisingly decent match; it’s almost as if featuring in a match on one of the WWE’s two shows actually motivates their workers! Even more surprisingly, interference from Bryan and Brie caused enough of a distraction for R-Truth to roll Miz up and score a surprise win. After the match, Miz and Maryse managed to scarper off before a beat down could happen when Almas and Vega tried to help them out and took the beating instead. I would say it’s too bad that nothing will really come from this win for R-Truth but…it’s R-Truth, and the WWE washed their hands of him a long time ago.