Daniel Bryan lands a vicious dropkick on Dean Ambrose.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Good match between WWE Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins and Kane. The two had an interesting dynamic with one another and kept the pace consistent throughout. The interference from Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns at the end was well organized and a nice set-up for the subsequent match involving those two. It always feel fresh to kick off the show with in-ring action rather than the ordinary promo we're accustomed to seeing in the opening spot.
Solid match between WWE Tag Team Champion Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. Similar to the previous matchup, Rreigns and Bryan worked a nice David vs. Goliath match that resulted in an entertaining clash of styles. The disqualification loss for Bryan teases tension between him and Kane while also giving Reigns his first win as a singles competitor. I also liked the fact that both of these matches were given a considerable amount of time to shine and weren't wasted within mere minutes.
Throwaway segment featuring Damien Sandow and Sheamus. This was almost the exact same garbage we witnessed last week, so why bother doing the exact same thing a week later? It ended the exact same way as well, with Sheamus attacking Sandow for no good reason and further solidifying himself as a bully. It's possible that this could be leading towards a potential feud between Sheamus and Sandow, but I have a feeling that's not the case and this was instead a giant waste of time.
Brief match with Curtis Axel defeating Sin Cara. Once again, Axel showed improvement as well promise on the mic during his promo. The match was a bit shorter than it was last week, but it was necessary in making Axel look like a threatening force to be reckoned with. Bonus points go to the multi-generation star for using his father's finisher (The Perfect Plex) to finish Sin Cara off in this bout.
Decent match between Big E Langston and Alberto Del Rio. This was the fourth time these two have faced each other in the last two weeks, so it certainly wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Due to that, the match felt unimportant and repetitive since we've seen it so much as of late. Nonetheless, I'm glad Langston scored the victory here, but I'm not sure how it will tie into the World Heavyweight Championship match at Payback.
Fun match with Ryback defeating Kofi Kingston. It wasn't given much time, but Kingston sold for Ryback's offense exceptionally well with Ryback looking like a beast throughout the bout. The post-match attack on Kingston was effective in portraying Ryback as a destructive monster, which will only be beneficial going into his match with WWE Champion John Cena at Payback. It's been reported that Kingston will be taking time off to undergo elbow surgery, so here's hoping he returns with a refreshed and rejuvenated character.
Nice match with Chris Jericho defeating Cody Rhodes. With this being the first ever encounter between the two, I felt it it met my expectations of being a well wrestled contest filled with enjoyable action. It was blatantly obvious Rhodes would be coming up short, but he still managed to hold his own against Y2J, regardless. To my knowledge, Jericho is on a five match winning streak, which is pleasantly surprising given the fact he's usually the one to put others over.
Great match between Randy Orton and United States Champion Dean Ambrose. They utilized the outside environment to their advantage and made this into a hard-hitting brawl for the most part. The disqualification loss protected Ambrose, so I'm glad he didn't lose cleanly like most other mid-card champions would have. Daniel Bryan's flurry of offense on The Shield to close the show was amazingly awesome and truly showed the potential he has a top babyface in the company.
Overall, an enjoyable edition that was filled with well wrestled matches and exciting moments that opened and closed the show, respectively. Aside from the Sheamus and Damien Sandow segment, everything on the show served a purpose and furthered feuds going into the pending Payback pay-per-view. SmackDown continues to be a highly underrated, must-watch show each and every week with its entertaining action and superb story-lines. This show was an improvement over last week's edition and is worth going back to watch for anyone that might have missed it.