12. Andrade 'Cien' Almas & Zelina Vega Vs. Rusev & Lana - Kickoff Match
This should be quite "fun!", which is a marked downgrade from the emotional adrenaline festivals that were Andrade's classic matches with Johnny Gargano in NXT, but there you go.
Because SmackDown has improved immeasurably since the early '18 days of squabbling authority figures, Top 10 lists and ghastly, searingly pointless WordArt graphics, it seems churlish to criticise this Kickoff match with too much in the way of cynicism. Road Dogg et al. have done much to ward that sentiment off. It's a different spin on a meaningless Kickoff match that should remind those watching that, in small doses, Zelina Vega is not an abject pro wrestler but a fiendishly effective valet. It will probably go eight minutes. It will probably end after Aiden English does something stupid. It will not do anything of significance for the Andrade 'Cien' Almas character beyond advance him past the Kickoff portion of pay-per-views he's far too good to toil away in to begin with. Almas and Vega will win a fun match in a vacuum, and with a Creative Team in rare form, we can see it as both daft fluff and an actual platform for progression.
There's nowt doomy about it, and that's as much as we can cling to for a recent NXT graduate.
Predicted Star Rating: **1/2