By Graham "GSM" Matthews
J&J Security Interrupted Edge and Christian
Of all the segments Edge and Christian were involved in this week, this was probably the weakest. Their comedy with J&J Security was a swing and a miss, but it wasn't entirely bad. I love the duo of Edge and Christian as much as the next guy, but their overexposure this week on WWE programming worked against them here. Nevertheless, they set up several big matchups for the remainder of the night.
Bray Wyatt def. Erick Rowan
It bothered me when they gave away Luke Harper vs. Rowan a few weeks ago on Raw without any prior build-up and this match was no different. Why did this match need to happen? Wyatt and Rowan spent over a year together in The Wyatt Family, yet their first one-on-one encounter came in a throwaway four minute match. For what it was worth, I liked how they tried to tell the story that Rowan should have laid down for Wyatt but Rowan refused. This match could have meant something down the line, so it's shame it was given away for no good reason.
R-Truth and WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos def. Adam Rose, Goldust and Stardust
I was fine with The Usos clashing with longtime rivals Gold and Stardust this past week on Main Event, but I'm really hoping they don't continue to face each other past this point. I don't know if I could stomach another drawn out feud between them. The match was rather forgettable and I can't say the involvement of Truth and Rose enthralled me much. This should be a one-off between them as well since the idea of a Rose vs. Truth feud does nothing for me.
Big Show def. Ryback by Count-out
I had higher hopes for this match, so perhaps my disappointment with it was my own fault. It was slow for the most part, but Show working over the leg that Ryback injured many years ago (that he talked about in his promo from Raw) was a nice touch. It found a rhythm down the stretch, but Ruev's interference was only inevitable. I feared Ryback taking the loss by pinfall, but thankfully it was only by count-out. As I've said several times in recent weeks, I'm highly anticipating the match between Rusev and Ryback. They've done a great job of building it up so far.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro def. Los Matadores
Despite being cast as singles guys on Raw this week, it appears Kidd and Cesaro are still a team. Of course, I'd rather see them pushed in singles competition, but it's obvious that's not happening any time soon, so keeping them as a team for the time being is a smart move. These two teams had a much better much on Superstars a few weeks ago. Is there any team other than Los Matadores that Kidd and Cesaro can beat?
Dean Ambrose vs. Curtis Axel Went to a No Contest
Part of me was actually kind of glad the match didn't come to fruition. I'm a huge Ambrose fan, but Axel bores me to tears, regardless of how good of a wrestler he is. It gave Ambrose more momentum going into his upcoming Ambulance match with Wyatt on Raw and the promo he cut on his rival was well done. I'm ready for this feud to reach its end, but they've done a solid job of making the blow-off match mean something.
The Ascension def. Local Athletes
This brought back dreadful memories of the never ending squash matches The Ascension had down in NXT. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don't let this become the norm. Unlike many, I'm a fan of The Ascension act and this was a better showing for them than they had on Raw. I'm still confused as to whether they're supposed to be heels or faces, but I guess we'll find out in time.
Roman Reigns def. United States Champion Rusev by Disqualification
As big of a match as this was, the ending result was never in question which hurt my enjoyment of it. WWE is in the midst of pushing both guys as unstoppable forces right now, o you had to know neither guy was going to take the pinfall lose. The non-finishes to matches have grown tiresome, but Reigns' post-match brawl was Big Show was logical and gave him his edge back at being taken out by Show on Monday night.
I was excited for this show on paper because it featured several fresh matchups. Although I appreciated that aspect of it, the two biggest matches I was looking forward to (Ryback vs. Show and Reigns vs. Rusev) didn't deliver in the way I thought they would. It was a fairly boring edition of SmackDown to kick off the year with, but at least most of the matches served a purpose and furthered storylines.