By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Triple H and Seth Rollins Addressed the Audience
Nothing notable ever happens on SmackDown, so if expected Rollins to gully explain his actions from Raw, I'm afraid I've got some bad news! In al seriousness, this was a big talking point coming out of Raw, so they were smart to kick off the show with it. Both HHH and Rollins were good on the mic and Ziggler, being as over as they are, was a nice foil for them. It was also a nice tie-in to the subsequent match between the two, concluding what was a solid segment.
Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler
It's a well-known fact that both Rollins and Ziggler are awesome bumpers, so it was a foregone conclusion going in that they would have a very fun match. They definitely delivered and the action was entertaining. Given Ziggler's current position in the company, I was happy to not see him treated like an enhancement talent and instead as an equal to Rollins. The spotlight is on Rollins at the moment so it was only logical that he picked up the win. I'm curious as to whether Rollins will change his ring gear by Monday's Raw.
WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos def. Rybaxel (Non-title)
After losing to The Wyatt Family on various occasions in recent weeks, this match was necessary in rebuilding The Usos' momentum. It was a fine matchup while it lasted, but it was nothing out of the ordinary considering how many times they've clashed in the past. Rybaxel always wins a string of matches only to lose to the tag champions within minutes. I'm not a fan of their tandem regardless, but their booking has been very strange.
Rusev def. Xavier Woods
Man, and I thought we've seen The Usos vs. Rybaxel countless times. It's ridiculous how many matches these two have had together in the span of only a few months. The issue is that the ending result is never the same and it never goes longer than a minute or so. I'm not saying that Woods should have won, but why not pull Yoshi Tatsu or JTG off the bench for once instead of feeding Woods to him every single week? Rusev wearing the medal is a silly addition to the act, but officials continue to push the Russian aspect of his character more and more with each match he has.
Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett def. Rob Van Dam and Cesaro in a Triple Threat Match
All three competitors worked together to have a highly enjoyable match. The pace was kept consistent throughout, they developed fun chemistry and the bout felt longer than it actually was (and I mean that in a good way). They made the most off the time they were allotted and the final few minutes were especially entertaining. RVD sold Barrett's Bullhammer finisher like a total champ. I've really been loving the treatment of the midcard titles as of late and how they're finally starting to mean something again. Here's hoping this is for the long-term and not just for now.
Natalya def. Alicia Fox
Well, it appears Fox was nothing more than the flavor of the month now that she's back to her losing ways. Come to think of it, the only match she won was against Paige in England and she hasn't won since. How does WWE expect fans to take Fox seriously when all she does is come up short? Her post-match meltdowns will only get her so far and it's not like she can't freak out if she wins.
Bo Dallas def. Santino Marella
It was a standard squash match for Dallas and his post-match promo was equally as generic as all of his previous ones, but this match served as a sad reminder that Santino and Emma are still together. What's even the point anymore? Dallas can have a very good match with the right opponent, but all of his matches since his re-debut have been against enhancement talent so he hasn't had the chance to show his full potential in the ring.
Big Show def. Randy Orton by Disqualification
Show and Orton had easily one of the worst pay-per-view main events of 2013, so I was initially dreading this match when it was initially announced. Thankfully, it was kept relatively brief and the action wasn't too bad or boring. Seth Rollins interfering was predictable, but his post-match attack on The World's Largest Athlete was a cool visual and it put a good deal of heat on him. It was also a great cliffhanger going into next week's episode of Raw as to what's next for Evolution and The Shield.
The first hour of this show was very hot but things cool down considerably after the great Intercontinental Championship match. Even still, everything that followed was solid for the most part and served a purpose, so I can't complain. This show was all about establishing Seth Rollins as a heel and I'm glad they didn't wait until Raw to further his story. It was a fun night of action as a whole that left viewers looking forward to the upcoming edition of Raw.