|No Xavier Woods? No problem|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
ALL POSITIVE EVERYTHING: Seth Rollins and Cesaro
I would have been jazzed about this match-up no matter what, and it was as fun as it could be even with multiple attempted walk-outs and potential inference from Stardust that ended up going nowhere. Cesaro continues to be the most impressive dude on my television, and he's charming as fuck to boot. Manhandling Rollins to the mat and then posing on top of him? Amazing. Forcefully sitting Rollins on the turnbuckle and dropkicking him? AMAZING. It was also nice to see Rollins win and actually look like a competent champion for once.
ALL POSITIVE EVERYTHING: Nikki Bella and Paige
My favourite version of Nikki Bella showed up for this match: methodically dismantling Paige, taking time out to taunt Charlotte at ringside, and generally just looking like the supervillain that she can be. I have no idea what's going on with Paige, but I kind of loved the transparent desperation that led her to basically throw herself in front of Bella in order to win back Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Even better were the latter two buying absolutely none of her bullshit and spending the entirety of the ensuing match looking unimpressed and giving precisely zero fucks. Tough-love Charlotte is now right up there with cocky monster heel Nikki Bella on my list of favourite things.
ALL POSITIVE EVERYTHING: Sheamus, King Barrett, and the Lucha Dragons
I am loving Rusev with Sheamus and Barrett. I doubt that it's going to lead to anything long-lasting, but he's just so dang zealous and intense about everything, bless his Bulgarian heart, and Sheamus and Barrett seemed to be into it. Rusev was at ringside while his new friends took on the Lucha Dragons, and at one point he came barreling in to shove Barrett out of harm's way, only to be taken out by Kalisto in turn. That's the kind of guy you want on your team. I also enjoyed that after Sheamus pinned Kalisto, all three guys posed with their chosen props. Adorable.
ALL POSITIVE EVERYTHING: Ryback and Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas was on my television, yaaaaaay!
ALL POSITIVE EVERYTHING: Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and the New Day
At some point the New Day will have to reach some sort of cap on their creativity and loveability, but it was not on this Smackdown. From their sad unicorn salute to the missing Xavier Woods, to protesting Kane's ability to play the invisible trombone, to Kofi Kingston yelling “hopscotch!” before the Boom Drop on Ambrose, it was another banner night for them even though they lost. On one hand I didn't like seeing the tag champs lose with the implication being that they are only the champs because they normally have three dudes working together – I prefer to think that each of them are strong on their own and that their success isn't just due to the “numbers game.” On the other hand, I also always love a friendship narrative, and the idea that Kingston and Big E just don't feel complete without Woods around and are so bummed about his injury that they can't give 100 percent to their matches is fine with me.