Ryback clashes with Chris Jericho on The Highlight Reel.
Good segment to kick off the show with Ryback joining Chris Jericho on The Highlight Reel. Ryback has struggled to garner heat as a heel up to this point, but Jericho was the perfect face for him to work with. It's not often that Jericho brings out his serious side, so it was nice to see Y2J treat Ryback like an actual threat unlike John Cena has in recent weeks. Both guys played their roles well and showcased solid mic work that set their stage for their main event match later in the evening.
Fun match between United States Champion Kofi Kingston and Cody Rhodes. Aside from the fact the match was given only mere minutes, they made the most out of the time they were allotted. The final few minutes were nicely paced and led to a cool finish. Kingston and Rhodes work well together and I would like to see a future feud between the two for the U.S. title at some point down the line.
Solid segment between World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio. I was glad the match between Swagger and Big E Langston never got started, as it wouldn't have made much sense with both guys being heels. Nonetheless, the subsequent brawl between the three competitors in the World title match at Extreme Rules was well executed. Del Rio getting the upper hand over Swagger and Ziggler doesn't bother me in the slightest, as Del Rio should be made out to look like a credible challenger going into the event.
Excellent match with Dean Ambrose defeating WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan by disqualification. As expected, the two instantly clicked when they locked up in the squared circle and put on an absolute clinic. Bryan and Ambrose have faced one another in the past, but with this being their first match together in WWE, it certainly felt like it was something special. The disqualification loss protected Bryan and Kofi Kingston's interference foreshadowed an exciting six-man tag team match at Extreme Rules.
Impressive segment with Mark Henry pulling two cars across a parking lot. It was made clear on commentary that Henry shattered a world record in the process, but I'm unsure as to how truthful that statement really is. Additionally, Henry easily could had help from people pushing the trucks from the back, but the segment still established the World's Strongest Man as an absolute beast. This didn't do much to further the feud between Henry and Sheamus, but I'm glad we didn't get yet another stupid segment involving those two for no apparent reason.
Meaningless match with Big Show squashing Tensai. Tensai was able to get a few shots in before being ultimately decimated by Show, but it still felt like a colossal waste of time. If nothing else, Randy Orton's running RKO on Show after the match was well done and made for a cool visual. However, it doesn't make me any more excited for their upcoming match at Extreme Rules than I was before.
Great match between Chris Jericho and Ryback. The commentators did a nice job of emphasizing that this was the first time these two had clashed, thus making it feel fresh. Jericho sold well for Ryback's aggressive offense and carried The Human Wrecking Ball to a solid matchup. Ryback getting himself disqualified was a weak finish, as I don't see why Jericho couldn't have taken the clean loss here. Nonetheless, Ryback maintained his strong momentum by attacking Y2J after the bout and walking out to mild heat from the live crowd.
Overall, an enjoyable edition that was heavy on awesome in-ring action and successful story-line progression for next Sunday's Extreme Rules event. The show dragged on at some points, but that was mostly due to the excessive amount of recaps shown. Aside from that, everything else seemed to flow smoothly and provide a great deal of entertainment for this viewer. This marks the third consecutive week that SmackDown has been better than Raw, so I look forward to what else the blue brand brings to the table in coming weeks.
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