CM Punk delivers a flying elbow to Kane from the top rope.
Fine segment to kick off the show featuring World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, David Otunga, and Alberto Del Rio. Everyone here played their parts well, but the show almost always kicks off in the same. It needs a newer change of pace that makes the overall broadcast feels fresh.
Good return for Sin Cara with his victory over Heath Slater. I didn't notice any obvious botches in his moveset and seemed much more smoother. Slater sold well and put over Sin Cara nicely. Hopefully, they take it slow with Cara and continue to build him back up to an important status.
Impressive showing from Damien Sandow by defeating Ezekiel Jackson in under a minute. Granted, Jackson hasn't meant anything in ages, but he's still an intimidating force nonetheless and having Sandow dominate him made Sandow look strong. I'm loving everything Sandow is doing at the moment, as he could really be a valuable player in WWE if built up correctly.
Strong match between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler was able to get in tons of offense, and looked very credible in defeat. After walking out on Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero this past Monday night on Raw, I was a bit surprised to still see them involved in his match, but it might be a slow break-up. Regardless, Ziggler sold like a champ per usual for the Celtic Warrior and made his moves look ten times more vicious. I would have loved to see Ziggler pick up a victory to regain some momentum, but this was a great showing against the World Champion.
Typical squash match from Ryback yet again. We saw him dominate two local athletes last week, so this week was much of the same. However, I'll never grow tired of seeing him execute his finisher on two people like that. An astonishing sight to say the least. Anyways, he needs to move into a real feud soon or risk being lost in the shuffle on the blue brand.
Sheamus executes the devastating White Noise on Dolph Ziggler.
Throwaway tag team match with United States Champion Santino Marella and Zack Ryder defeating Darren Young and Titus O'Neil. The bout was too short to really mean anything, and the fact Young and O'Neil lost directly after naming themselves "Prime Time Players" was a bad move. Although that loss was quickly erased by Big Show's ambush on Ryder and Santino afterward, it still shouldn't have happened. Show's pure dominance was still a good way to garner heat, though.
Brief match between Cody Rhodes and Tyson Kidd that didn't meet my expectations at all. Both guys are agile in-ring performers, but the fact this only went a minute or two disallowed them from doing anything more than the basics. Of course, the focus of this contest was to give Rhodes some momentum back, and it was successful in that aspect. Christian was a nice addition on commentary as well. By the way, Kidd should really revery back to shorts, as the long tights don't do much for me.
Solid WWE Championship match between defending champ CM Punk and Kane. Despite this title bout being promoted as the first time in four years that the prestigious prize was being defended on SmackDown, it didn't at all feel special. I never had a doubt in my mind that Punk would walk out as champ with some Daniel Bryan interference thrown in. The chemistry between Punk and Kane is good and made for a well-wrestled match, but the fact that we knew Bryan would be interfering took a bit out of this match. The announcement that followed from John Laurinaitis was terribly done, and was way too quick to let it sink in before the show went off the air.
Overall, an uninspiring show that dragged on throughout the night. Although some of the matches served a purpose in helping get talent over, they were all way too brief in order to be relevant. The true highlight of this broadcast was Ziggler vs. Sheamus, which is something you should go out of your way to see. Other than that, this show felt a bit disappointing after doing well the last few weeks. I originally thought CM Punk's appearance on this show would help matters, but it was greatly overshadowed.