By Graham "GSM" Matthews
John Cena and Daniel Bryan Interrupted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton
Orton's promo wasn't necessarily bad, but it certainly wasn't anything of note. Cena's promo was much of the same, and I dislike how he comes off as superior to Bryan. In a way, he is, but they should be portrayed as equals on television. It was good to see Bryan finally get mic time and show some aggression when confronting Orton. There was a good deal of foreshadowing done here with Bryan teasing a potential rematch with Cena down the road. The Shield's interruption and CM Punk making the save helped set up the main event match for later in the night.
Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston def. Jack Swagger (Non-title)
This was a nice follow-up of the tag team match between The Real Americans and Langston and Mark Henry from Raw this past week, but I don't see what point it served aside from furthering Langston's momentum. I am very high on The Real Americans as a team, but it doesn't look like they'll be branching off in singles competition to chase the mid-card titles any time soon. It was a basic squash for Langston, which is a shame given the fact Swagger was a force to be reckoned with earlier this year.
Brie Bella def. Tamina Snuka
I am confused as to whether The Bella Twins (specifically Brie) is still chasing the Divas Championship or not. This win, as well as her post-match push to AJ Lee at ringside, seemed to indicate that she is, but it is still undetermined. The win didn't do much for Brie considering the match lasted only mere minutes, and having Snuka lose so decisively in such quick fashion was a mistake.
Sin Cara def. Drew McIntyre
With two wins over Alberto Del Rio under his belt, defeating McIntyre essentially means nothing for Sin Cara. The match was relatively quick and painless, but was easily forgettable. JBL stated on commentary that this is a new Sin Cara we are seeing, but I am hoping that he was just trying to be clever and not trying to signal that Hunico is really under the mask. Do we really need another atrocious Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara feud?
Tensai def. Brodus Clay
While I am all in favor of turning Clay heel (which was long overdue), I couldn't care less about his current feuds with Tensai or Xavier Woods, and I think the live crowd felt the same way. The match was deplorable and Woods distracting Clay with his own entrance music was cheap. Clay should be stacking up wins as a heel, not being outsmarted by Woods on a regular basis. I am a major advocate of Woods, but both he and Clay deserve better than this.
Luke Harper and Erik Rowan def. WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust (Non-title)
Should it really come as any surprise at this point that these two teams put on a great match? The Rhodes brothers have been consistently having awesome matches in recent months and this bout was no exception. The Rhodes brothers battled back against The Wyatt Family after being brutalized for most of the contest only to come up short. I usually don't like it when champions lose non-title matches, but this sparks a title feud between the Rhodes brothers and The Wyatt Family, which could be exciting. Daniel Bryan making the save during the post-match was fun and helped further the feud between him and The Wyatt Family, which is apparently continuing after all.
Damien Sandow def. The Miz
These two have had entertaining matches in the past, so the fact this match was cut short only a minute in was rather disappointing. They grappled briefly before Miz immediately went for the Figure Four Leglock. How ridiculous. If nothing else, Sandow's pre-match promo was good and helped hype the Christmas-themed episode of Raw for next week (which I am sure the ratings will be through the roof for). I have simply accepted the fact that Miz is a tweener and won't bother complaining about his constant flip-flopping.
Fandango def. Kofi Kingston
How many times have Fandango and Kingston faced each other in the last few months? And how many of those matches actually mattered? They are capable of having good matches together, but this match was utterly meaningless. I assume it was done to give Fandango his heat back after losing to Dolph Ziggler on Monday's Raw, but does anyone honestly care by this point?
John Cena and CM Punk def. The Shield by Disqualification
In theory, Punk and Cena could have easily won this match considering Punk beat The Shield all by himself at TLC, but I guess that logic was thrown out the window for this match. Even still, it was a very good matchup with enjoyable action. It was given great time and the non-finish protected The Shield in defeat. Big E Langston making the save in the post-match was a pleasant surprise, so it is cool to see him being featured alongside the main event stars. It also helps make the Intercontinental Championship feel a bit more prestigious as well.
The show started off strong with the opening segment, but it all went downhill from there. The Wyatt Family-Rhodes brothers tag team match as well as the main event were worth watching, but everything else was pure filler. Nine matches on a two hour show? Raw had less match this week! They probably figured SmackDown would have a lower audience anyway given that it is a holiday week, but I don't find that to be much of an excuse.