By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Randy Orton Addressed the WWE Universe
This was your typical monotone Orton promo, but he did an effective job of recapping his rivalry with Roman Reigns and hyping his match with Rob Van Dam for later in the night. This wasn't Orton's strongest promo in recent memory, but nevertheless, I've been enjoying this new aggressive attitude from Orton and it's where he's most comfortable. Anything is better than the cowardly character he was portraying before.
Seth Rollins def. Jack Swagger by Count-out
Rollins vs. Swagger felt fresh since it's a match we haven't seen before. They worked well together and kicked off the in-ring action portion of this show on a high note. Swagger is still over with audiences and Rollins has been flourishing as a heel. Rollins needed the win more than Swagger, but it was encouraging to see Swagger protected via the count-out loss. It appears they're setting up a Swagger vs. Bo Dallas feud which I'd be fine with as long as it doesn't lead to Swagger going back heel so soon.
Rusev def. Sin Cara
This was the same match that occurred entirely on the WWE App a few weeks back. If fans didn't care about it then, why would they now? It was a basic squash match for Rusev, but they couldn't another enhancement talent to lose to Rusev? The post-match angle with Henry and Rusev was well done and I look forward to them finally clashing sooner rather than later.
Rob Van Dam def. Randy Orton by Disqualification
These two have had a series of great matches in the past, so I was slightly disappointed this was more of an angle than it was an actual match. RVD has meant much of anything these days, so a beat down on him doesn't pack as much of a punch as it would have a while ago. Even still, Orton looked vicious in his assault on RVD and the RKO on the chair was very cool. As noted before, Orton has done a great job in reigniting his heel persona in recent weeks and this was a nice way for him to get his heat back after losing at SummerSlam and on Raw.
Natalya def. Divas Champion Paige (Non-title)
Similar to their Raw match from Monday, this was too short to be anything of note. They had a nice match in the brief period of time they were allotted, but it left a lot to be desired considering the awesome matches they've had on NXT in the past. It was essentially the same thing we saw on Raw with AJ costing her the win. I hate when champions lost non-title matches for no reason, but I hope they'll at least give Natalya a title shot sometime soon to justify her beating Paige twice.
Goldust and Stardust def. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
The action was enjoyable, but these tandems haven't been credible in quite some time and thus it was difficult to invest in any of it. Goldust and Stardust are great wrestlers, but the gimmick does nothing for me. Harper and Rowan haven't been used correctly since losing the WWE Tag Team Championship match to The Usos at Battleground last month. They've lost so much as of late that a win over them hardly benefits the Dust brothers. I know this was done to build toward an Usos vs. Stardust and Goldust match, but until they add an extra layer to the latter team, I can't get excited about it.
Roman Reigns def. The Miz
This was the same exact match we saw last week on SmackDown, so I'm confused as to why it had to happen again. It harmed Miz and Reigns already solidified his dominance over Miz last week. There was no sign of Miz's rival Dolph Ziggler and this match was more of a way to justify the post-match brawl between Reigns and Randy Orton than anything else. The brawl was fine for what it was, but anything Orton gained from attacking RVD earlier in the night was erased when Reigns got the better of him at the end of the show.
There was very little if anything about this show that made it worthwhile. Seth Rollins vs. Jack Swagger was a good match, but that was about it. The entire night was dedicated to furthering the feud between Randy Orton and Roman Reigns, but nothing they did got me more excited about their rivalry than I was before. This edition of SmackDown felt like it tread water as we head into what should be an interesting episode of Raw.