Roman Reigns isn't quite satisfied with the contract. Paul Heyman brings it back to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville, and it's with a No DQ stipulation, but Reigns doesn't want that. He wants Last Man Standing, and Heyman is going to have to make him. Heyman's nod to Adam Pearce's wrestling career was a nice touch.
Apollo Crews is shown backstage getting some advice from Roman Reigns. Apollo Crews being in the general vicinity of Roman Reigns is good shit pal.
Adam Pearce has swerved them, and Owens is replacing him due to injury. Pearce's mic cut out during things.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jey Uso
Jey Uso tells everyone that his family is taking over WWE, and they all need to be thankful that Roman Reigns provided for them. Uso has turned into a non-threatening lackey, which I think is the point, so he's doing it well. Shinsuke Nakamura comes out to his original theme, and calls Uso Reigns' little puppy.
This segment gets a huge amount of time. From the opening promos, through a commercial, into the match and another commercial. The first quarter of the show is effectively dedicated to Shinsuke Nakamura beating a guy who hasn't won in a while, but has been a top personality on the show. This was another good match. It certainly seems like they're setting up Nakamura for a Reigns match after Royal Rumble. When WWE wants to heat someone up quickly, they can. They're doing it right with Nakamura so far
Cesaro came out for commentary and announce he's in the Royal Rumble. I love Corey Graves mentioning Cesaro won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to put over his chances to win the Royal Rumble.
Street Profits cut a promo about the legacy they've tried to build in the tag team division. This is the best promo they've cut on the main roster. So awesome. Smackdown rules.
Carmella and Reginald are backstage, and Sasha Banks attacks. Sasha will give Carmella a title shot if Reginald faces her first.
Natalya (w/ Tamina defeated Liv Morgan (w/ Riott Squad)
No mention of Liv Morgan vs. Natalya being WrestleMania caliber! Booo announce team, booooo. The work in this match is very good, and Liv Morgan is getting an opportunity to show what she can do. Billie on commentary is great. Billie Kay in the Riott Squad already rocks. This usually ends with some sneaky roll up or something, but there are some good nearfalls and this gets time. Oh, wait. There is is. The shitty sneaky distraction roll up pin.
King Corbin defeated Rey Mysterio
Dominik is not very good at this commentary thing. Mysterio and Corbin have great in-ring chemistry as the power-speed element works really well in their favor. Unfortunately we got back-to-back shitty distraction finishes, but at least you can make sense of both of them from a story perspective and both weren't goofy roll up pins. Corbin's End of Days continues to be super protected.
Bianca and Bayley
I laughed at the first g-u-EST, Bianca Belair. Bayley is dressed like Sally Jessy Raphael and makes Bianca ring the doorbell. Bianca steals Bayley's seat, and Bayley challenges her to an OBSTACLE COURSE next week. I can't wait. This was fun.
Cesaro defeated Daniel Bryan
I LOVED the Daniel Bryan promo. Exactly what I mentioned last week what I hoped they would do. He gave Nakamura respect (while hilariously training with Team Alpha), and Cesaro tried to trash talk him. Sure wish I could have seen most of this match, but Youtube TV is trash. The twirling superplex from Cesaro was magical. Cesaro gets a win over Daniel Bryan clean with the Neutralizer. This is great. I don't have a problem with Daniel Bryan losing on his way to a potential Royal Rumble win, because that's the point of the Royal Rumble -- anyone is supposed to be able to win.
Apollo Crews defeated Sami Zayn
Big E has a couch and fridge at ringside and is lounging and doing commentary. Smackdown did a great job of switching up the aesthetic of tonight's show and making it feel less redundant. Suplexes all over the place, as Big E criticizes them. Sami Zayn gets caught cheating, but Apollo wins in the same manner -- handful of tights that Big E says is "KNUCKLE DEEP." The face off between Big E was great, natural and just good TV.
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!