John Cena returns to SmackDown to take on Alberto Del Rio.
Fine opening segment featuring John Cena and Alberto Del Rio. Cena's promo was nothing special, but it helped hype his on-going angle with AJ and Dolph Ziggler and to give viewers an incentive to tune into the upcoming edition of Raw. Del Rio was pretty bland on the mic as expected, but I appreciated the fact they mentioned their feud from last year instead of completely ignoring it.
Entertaining match between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio. Both guys hit their signature spots and the crowd was definitely into the near-falls down the stretch. Sure, the inevitable outcome of Cena emerging victorious was never in doubt, but it didn't take away from the exciting action whatsoever. Having Dolph Ziggler attack Cena from behind on the stage following the bout was also smart booking.
Throwaway match between The Great Khali and David Otunga. We saw this same exact match a few weeks ago, so what was the point of having it again? The in-ring action was obviously terrible, but thankfully, it lated a mere minute. Khali's association with Hornswoggle doesn't help matters, either.
Solid six-man tag team match with Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No defeating Wade Barrett and the Prime Time Players. It was given great time and the styles of all six competitors meshed nicely. Everyone was given an equal amount of time to shine and the finish was very unique. I have no complaints with the faces going over, as they needed the victory more than the heels here.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Entertaining opening segment involving Bully Ray, Brooke Hogan, Hulk Hogan and Austin Aries. I'm not a huge fan of affair angles (see: John Cena/AJ) , but this one has some potential given the talents involved. Aries was hysterical in this segment and Ray can also hold his own on the mic. Brooke might not have to do much in her role, so that's assuring to see. Hogan played his role nicely as well as the overprotective father. This story-line could go downhill fast, but I enjoyed it this week.
Nice match with Mickie James defeating Gail Kim. We've seen these two wrestle each other countless times, so the action was nothing out of the ordinary, but it was still good. James and Kim and two of the best workers in the Knockouts division and probably deserved more time, but they made the most out of what they were given.
The Shield make their presence felt by attacking Kane.
Basic match with Ryback defeating Titus O'Neil. Having Ryback kick off the show yet again shows they still have faith in him, so that's good to see. The outcome of this match was never in doubt, but O'Neil still had a nice showing against Ryback while it lasted. It didn't feel completely random, either, as Ryback attacked O'Neil on last week's SmackDown as well. Ryback's subsequent promo was very well done and he's certainly improved on the mic in recent weeks. It was also an effective way of hyping his TLC match with WWE Champion CM Punk at next month's pay-per-view.
Fine match with Alberto Del Rio defeating The Great Khali. Although the build to this match was insanely stupid, at least it makes sense and it was given a reason to happen. It was a good win for Del Rio, but his potential relationship with Rosa Mendes is what really has me reinvesting in his stale character. As for Khali and Hornswoggle, well, I hope that partnership ends as quickly as possible.
Strong interview with The Shield hosted by Michael Cole. Each member of the newly-formed stable played their role excellently, as all three NXT stars shined in their own way. Dean Ambrose was golden on the mic as expected, Seth Rollins was undoubtedly impressive for someone for normally isn't that good of a speaker, and Roman Reigns looked very intimidating by speaking as little as possible. Personally, I've been calling for a Nexus or an nWo reunion for the longest time now, so it was nice to see Ambrose nonchalantly shoot down both ideas. This group has a lot of potential, and I surely hope that WWE continues to conduct interviews as intriguing as this one.
Brief match with Tamina Snuka defeating Alicia Fox. Tamina was recently reintroduced to the audience as a dominant Diva by attacking AJ, so it seemed logical to give her a victory here over Fox. The action was quick, painless and accomplished the task at hand. For those wondering, Divas Champion Eve and Layla (along with The Miz and R-Truth) were not present on the show due to being in Iraq with the troops, hence why their story-line wasn't furthered on this show.
Typical segment featuring John Cena, AJ, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. It wasn't as bad as what we've seen in previous weeks, but it still felt like it was treading water. Both Ziggler and Cena had good performances on the mic, but it didn't nothing to get my excited about this asisine angle whatsoever. If nothing else, it helped hype the Ziggler vs. Cena matchup for later in the night.
Good match between Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and Tensai. After losing quite a bit in recent weeks, it was nice to see Kingston score a victory here in what was a pretty decent contest against Tensai. Similar to last week's SmackDown, Wade Barrett once again did a superb job on commentary. I'm loving this Intercontinental title feud and it truly makes the prestigious prize feel somewhat relevant again.
By Kendall Portis
After NXT rookies Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose attacked Ryback twice in one week, what's next for them? Will CM Punk finally make an "alliance" with these three men or will they make a statement of their own? My predictions on this is that Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns are going to attack Ryback once again and then comment on why they have been doing this. Sort of like the way 3MB made their debut. If they are a team, what will be the position of all three rookies? I've been waiting for Seth Rollins to debut, but honestly, just not this way.
Other than that, more AJ/Cena/Ziggler drama will happen. After John Cena attacked Dolph Ziggler on SmackDown, will Dolph look for retribution and attack Mr. Cena himself or do what he do best and use his mic skills to call Cena out? I'm not too into this feud with AJ involved and that's why I hope they somehow start the AJ and Tamina feud and Cena and Ziggler can have an old fashioned feud.
Tune into Monday Night Raw on USA Network at 8/7c.
Tweet me predictions At @AllThingsRyder1.