Randy Orton hits an RKO on Kane for the victory.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sheamus def. Damien Sandow in a Dublin Street Fight
It's rare to see a match kick off the show, so I'm glad that this fun fight was the opening bout. The Irish props at ringside were a bit corny, but Sheamus and Sandow made great use of them over the course of the contest. I'm a bit surprised that Cody Rhodes didn't interfere given the fact there were no disqualifications, but that is excusable. I would have loved to see Sandow win, but Sheamus winning was fine with me since it was predictable from the start. You can't deny the fact that he is heavily over as a babyface and the reaction he received from the live crowd after he won is a prime example of that.
"Miz TV" Featured Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman
Any ordinary viewer should have known that Heyman wasn't going to reveal any new information regarding Brock Lesnar's attack on CM Punk in this segment, so the fact he was treading water in his promo came as no surprise. It was a nice segue to bring in Axel, who has been seemingly feuded with Miz in recent weeks. They had an entertaining verbal exchange and Axel's attack on The Awesome One was also well done. I was glad to see Miz display his serious side for once and I hope it continues to shine through as he feuds with Axel. Since neither of them were announced as participants in the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder match, I expect them to fight for the title in the pre-show at the event.
Natalya def. Divas Champion AJ Lee (Non-title)
We've seen Natalya and AJ face off numerous times in recent months, so I wasn't at all disappointed that the match didn't go longer than it did. The true focus of the match was Kaitlyn imitating AJ at ringside (quite well, might I did), which made sense since AJ did the same thing to her on Raw this week. It furthers the feud between the two and keeps things interesting.
The World Heavyweight Title Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match Participants Were Revealed
After all the top names were announced for the WWE Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match, I figured all the up-and-coming stars would be involved in the SmackDown version. That being said, I'm fine with the fact that all the participants are heels. There are so many potential winners in this match that I'm extremely excited to see who ultimately wins the blue briefcase. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Fandango and Jack Swagger will be taking part in it, both of whom are currently out with injuries.
Randy Orton def. Kane
Orton and Kane have always worked well with one another, so the fact they worked another solid match on this show was unsurprising. However, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. Daniel Bryan was intriguing on commentary and seemed amused that Kane lost. I surely hope this is merely build for the Money in the Bank match both of them are competing in and not foreshadowing an actual feud between the two. Bryan is destined to be a top babyface in the company and should be positioned as such.
Ryback def. Justin Gabriel
To my knowledge, Ryback has defeated every original member of the Nexus group since returning from injury last year except for Wade Barrett (I don't count Michael Tarver because he was released two years ago). Anyways, the match was fun while it lasted and gave Ryback another win he desperately needed. His feud with Chris Jericho feels rather random, but they did a nice job of adding heat to it by having Jericho mock Ryback. I fully expect Jericho to put over Ryback at the event, which is necessary since Ryback hasn't won a pay-per-view match in nearly a year.
Christian and The Usos def. The Shield
WWE Main Event hasn't been relevant in months, so I'm glad they used that show to build this tag team match for SmackDown. The action itself was very enjoyable and helped put The Usos over big time. Christian pinning Dean Ambrose made sense if they're going to be feuding over the United States Championship in the near future. I have no problem with The Shield losing since they've already lost their first match. The Usos need to look like a legitimate threat to the tag titles at Money in the Bank and this did a nice job of accomplishing that.
Dolph Ziggler Crashed World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio's Fiesta
Del Rio has become much more interesting on the mic since turning back heel. This promo wasn't a home run by any means, but it was exceptional enough to draw a significant amount of heat from the live crowd. Ricardo Rodriguez acting snobbish, too, was also a nice touch. Ziggler's attack on Del Rio and Rodriguez was great and well received by the live audience. I find it interesting that Ziggler has yet to cut a promo since turning babyface. Either way, he's getting the right crowd reactions and his face run is already off to a good start.
It seems as if a fire was ignited underneath WWE's Creative Team at the Payback pay-per-view a few weeks back and the product has been flourishing since then. Raw has been extremely entertaining in recent weeks and SmackDown has been no different. This show had its fair share of enjoyable action and successful storyline progression. There was also plenty of hype for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, so I'm happy to see WWE kicking off the build to the event this far in advance.