By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Wyatt Family def. Sheamus and WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos
It would have been nice if they showed footage from this week's Main Event as to why this matchup came about, but that's just nitpicking things. It was a very solid match that was given good time and everyone involved was able to work in their spots. The final few minutes were fun and chaotic and The Wyatt Family going over was a smart move, giving Bray Wyatt even more momentum going into his battle with John Cena at Extreme Rules. The post-match beatdown on the face team added the extra exclamation point and made The Wyatt Family look even stronger. I could certainly see Luke Harper and Erick Rowan contending for the WWE Tag Team Championships some time in the near future.
Hornswoggle and El Torito Signed the Contract for Their WeeTLC Match
Yes, this was an insanely stupid segment, but what did you honestly expect going into it? This whole program is a complete joke, but at least if some people are enjoying it, then there's that. Past crowds have been flat for the matches between El Torito and Hornswoggle, but the crowd on this show was anxious to see them get physical, so at least is wasn't pointless. It's a match virtually no one wants to see, but it has had proper build up to this point, so I can't completely crap all over it.
Rob Van Dam def. Jack Swagger
Aside from Monday's Raw, not much of an issue had been established between RVD and Swagger, so this match was necessary. It had the potential to be good, but it was far too short to mean anything. Cesaro attacking RVD afterward boosted his momentum, but that was about it. Why not cut the entire contract signing in order to give this match more time? That's what mind boggling to me. The build for the Triple Threat match at Extreme Rules has been odd and it hasn't received much attention, so it'll be hard for people to care about who wins on Sunday especially since there is nothing on the line.
Alexander Rusev def. R-Truth by Disqualification
This was the same exact situation we saw occur on Raw this week except with the roles reversed between Truth and Woods. Would it have killed Creative to switch it up a bit? That aside, it was smart to have Truth and Woods look somewhat strong going into their upcoming Handicap match against Rusev. Sure, it isn't one of the most anticipated matches in history, but it's important that the "feud" isn't completely one-sided.
Kane Interrupted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan
Bryan's promo started off a bit strange when he was talking about people's families, but other than that, this was a very solid segment. The latter half of his promo was strong and intense, which is exactly what was needed going into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match on Sunday. I'm glad he didn't break out into a "Yes!" chant and instead kept it serious. Kane's promo wasn't as good, but he played his part well for the most part. This feud has been better than expected thus far and I have hope their Extreme Rules match will deliver.
Dolph Ziggler def. Damien Sandow
You had to know this match was going to happen based off what happened between them on Raw. The only thing I didn't see coming was Sandow wrestling in his Magneto costume. Was that really necessary? I got a kick out of it on Monday night, but I really had no desire to see it again here. The match wasn't given the time it deserved and was therefore forgettable. Needless to say, both guys deserve better.
Intercontinental Champion Big E def. Titus O'Neil by Disqualification (Non-title)
I figured this would just be a standard squash match for Big E going into his title defense on Sunday, but apparently not. That being said, the way they went about this with both Big E and O'Neil showing more of an aggressive side was far more interesting. O'Neil showing more aggression should get him a substantial feud at some point, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Big E has been a complete afterthought in recent months and I liked the approach taken here that he's fed up with being overlooked. Granted, it should have happened on Raw instead, but at least it happened at all.
United States Champion Dean Ambrose def. Alberto Del Rio, Ryback and Curtis Axel in a Fatal 4-Way Match
There have been constant complaints (some coming from yours truly) from fans that Ambrose hardly ever defends the U.S. title. Well, you got your wish! I do agree that he probably shouldn't be holding it while in feuds with Evolution and others, but it isn't the worst thing in the world. I would've been fine with him dropping the strap here, but the match was entertaining enough to hold my interest and it was definitely better than I originally expected. Ambrose looked great coming out of this, as did the entire Shield, who were over like crazy. WWE has struck gold with The Shield over the last 18 months and one can only hope that they keep the act hot going forward.
For a go-home show, I'd say it succeeded in building toward the pending pay-per-view. It might not have been the most exciting episode in recent memory and there were certainly segments I could have done without (the contract signing, Ziggler vs. Sandow), but the opener as well as main event made up for them. Many matches didn't receive the time they rightfully deserved, but that has usually been the case with SmackDown, so I can't complain. I, for one, am extremely excited for Extreme Rules and this show only helped further that.