By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Triple H Addressed the "YES!" Movement
This was a pretty standard segment and a logical following from the Occupy Raw segment from this week's Raw. Triple H played his role well and succeeded in coming off as a complete jerk, a role he plays oh so well. The way he called out Damien Sandow was interesting, and I'm starting to think that Sandow is in the midst of a character change. Perhaps it's time for him to go from Hunter Hearst Helmsley to the anti-authority D-Generation X version of Triple H.
Seth Rollins def. Damien Sandow
I was highly intrigued by this match on paper given that both Rollins and Sandow are technically heels at the moment, but after watching the opening segment, I have a feeling Sandow will be the one to go face first. The match itself was well wrestled and felt fresh given how we had yet to see these two face off. Sure, it's another loss for Sandow, but it at least appears WWE is finally going to be doing something with him going forward.
Intercontinental Champion Big E def. Fandango (Non-title)
It's a match we've seen a million times in the last few months and the ending outcome is never any different. It did nothing for Big E and it was far too short to mean anything anyway. I suppose it was used to hype the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30 since both men will be participants, but it didn't get me excited about it in the slightest. Big E should be defending his Intercontinental title at The Show of Shows, and it's sad to see (yet unsurprising) Fandango doing absolutely on the road to WrestleMania one year removed from defeating Chris Jericho on the grand stage.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust def. The Real Americans
These two teams have had some very good matches and this was no exception. They were given great time and took full advantage of it. Although the focus of this match was mostly on The Real Americans and the tension teased between Cesaro and Jack Swagger, the Rhodes brothers had a nice showing as well. I would like to see the Rhodes brothers involved in the tag team title match at WrestleMania instead of being overshadowed in the battle royal. Can we please skip to the part where Swagger and Cesaro split up and Cesaro officially turns face?
Bray Wyatt def. Kofi Kingston
Wyatt has been riding a wave of momentum in recent months, but facing midcarders with very little credibility won't do him any favors. Take nothing away from Kingston, who sold well for Wyatt here, but a win over him nowadays hardly means anything. Even still, it was a nice showcase for Wyatt as he prepares for his blockbuster bout against John Cena at WrestleMania 30. Additionally, his promo later on in the show was also excellent.
Nikki Bella def. Tamina Snuka
I initially dreaded this match after seeing it on paper, but it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. While there is still room for improvement, Nikki has come a long way in the ring and Tamina carried her to a passable match. It's obvious WWE is aggressively pushing Nikki toward the Divas Championship, so I have the feeling she will more than likely contend for the title at WrestleMania 30. It's either that or she's winning more matches to hype up the return of Total Divas this weekend, or both.
Dolph Ziggler def. Alberto Del Rio
I can't recall ever seeing these two work a bad match with each other. Say what you will about his blatantly boring character, but Del Rio can flat out go in the ring while Ziggler can always be depended on for a great match. They were given a sufficient amount of time to shine and the near-falls were exciting down the stretch. I was glad to see Ziggler score a clean victory over Del Rio for once and his post-match promo was also a nice touch. Sure, he will be one of 30 men in a battle royal at WrestleMania, but at least he attempted to make it feel meaningful.
Big Show def. Kane
In no way, shape or form should Big Show vs. Kane be headlining an episode of SmackDown (or any WWE program for that matter) in the year 2014. Big Show is no different than he was before he was taken off television a few months ago and Kane is making the most out of the stagnant corporate character he is being forced to portray at the moment. The match was mediocre at best, painful to watch at worst, but it was thankfully kept relatively brief. The Shield went from being at each other's throats to uniting against Kane and The Authority. It's cool to see them cast as faces for once (or anti-heroes), but I'd rather see them face each other at 'Mania as opposed to being involved in a throwaway match with Kane and whoever else. However, if it means The Shield will be sticking together for a little while longer, then I'm all for it.
We have had better episodes of SmackDown in recent months, but we have also had worse, so this was more of a middle-of-the-road show than anything else. The tag team match between The Rhodes brothers and The Real Americans was solid and the Ziggler vs. Del Rio was also great, but everything else either didn't excite me or was filler. This edition was more of a massive promo for Raw, since multiple recaps videos aired throughout the night. Then again, that is to be expected with WrestleMania right around the corner.