By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kane Addressed the "YES!" Movement
Opening a show with a Raw recap is risky, especially when it runs as long as this one did, but the conclusion of this week's Raw was so great that it was a rare exception. It also pertained to Kane's promo, where he declared the "death" of the "YES!" Movement. I found it odd that he didn't at all address his attack at the hands of The Shield from Monday night, and I was surprised The Shield didn't hit the ring. That being said, this segment was mostly useless and didn't need to open the show.
Fernando def. Fandango
Not only was this match completely random, but it was strange for it to be the opening match on the show. The only way this match could make sense is if Fernando is announced as a participant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but even then I still wouldn't care. The match was fine for what it was, but a win over Fandango is hardly an upset at this point. It was sad of the commentators to mention his win over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 29 given where he is today.
Dolph Ziggler def. Damien Sandow
These two have clashed on multiple occasions in recent months, but they always find new ways to make their matches fun to watch. Granted, fans haven't been given any incentive to care about either one of them as of late, but they still worked hard and had a good match. It was a nice to see Ziggler pick up another win, but Sandow shouldn't be losing, either, as both guys are in need of victories right now.
United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. The Real Americans vs. 3MB vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback in a Fatal-4 Way No. 1 Contender's Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships Went to a No Contest
The match itself was well wrestled, but since The Shield were the only babyfaces involved, it was hard to get invested in the action until the end. Not only that, but The Shield have yet to firmly establish themselves as faces, so the crowd didn't have any incentive to cheer for one team or another. Regardless, Ambrose and Rollins were the MVPs of this bout and the final few minutes were fun. The attack from Kane and The New Age Outlaws was logical and it potentially sets up a six-man tag team match for WrestleMania. I'm fine with it if only because it keeps The Shield together for a just a little bit longer. The non-finish also allows the tag title match at 'Mania to involve multiple teams including The Rhodes brothers and The Real Americans.
The Miz Hosted "Miz TV" with Participants in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
It's been a while since we last saw Miz on WWE TV, so I was glad to see him back. His character is still questionable, as the crowd wasn't sure whether to boo or cheer him here. This segment was nothing more than a giant (no pun intended) plug for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with a few more names added to the mix. It disappoints me that Cody Rhodes and Goldust are being wasted in the match, but that's another rant for another day. It broke down into the typical brawl you expect it would with Big Show standing tall. Show seems like a far too obvious winner for the match, so I hope WWE throws us a curveball by having someone more deserving emerge victorious.
Alberto Del Rio def. Intercontinental Champion Big E (Non-title)
The only purpose this match served was that it hyped the Battle Royal at 'Mania since they're both participants, but that was about it. Aside from that, this match was meaningless. It was over within minutes and did nothing for either guy. Del Rio could have easily absorbed the loss, so why have your Intercontinental champion take the clean loss? Big E hasn't been booked well since the start of the year and the fact he isn't defending his title at 'Mania is another wrong move.
The Bella Twins def. Natalya and Summer Rae
Babyface Natalya teaming up with heel Summer was a strange sight. While I realize it was because of their "relationship" on Total Divas, people who don't watch the show wouldn't know that, so this might have been confusing to them. Hell, I don't even think the commentators made mention of that fact. It was your basic Divas match in that there was nothing wrong with it but it was hardly given enough time. The only thing worth noting coming out of this bout is that AJ Lee is entertaining on commentary.
John Cena def. Luke Harper
Aside from a few clunky spots in the early going, Cena and Harper established good chemistry together and had an enjoyable contest for a match that only lasted five minutes or so. They surely made the most of the time they were allotted and Harper had an impressive outing against the former multi-time world champion here. Cena's decisive victory was predictable, but Harper looked credible in defeat where the loss didn't damage him. I would've liked to see this feud furthered more than it was on this show, but at least Bray Wyatt's promo earlier on in the night somwhat accomplished that.
With WrestleMania 30 only a few weeks away, you would think WWE would be putting forth a stronger effort to utilize SmackDown to establish the undercard matches at the event. They did that to an extent on this show with the Fatal 4-Way, but everything else felt random or jumbled together. The main event match between Cena and Harper was enjoyable while it lasted, but they could have cut out one of the other matches to give them a bit more time. This wasn't a terrible edition of SmackDown, but utterly forgettable. At least the two hours didn't seem to drag on this week, which was a plus.