By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Michael Cole Interviewed Triple H
WWE has done a great job of making the multi-man main event at Survivor Series mean something and this was an effective way of driving home its importance. Cole was fine in his role and HHH drew strong heat with his lines about being better than everyone from the Attitude Era. The addition of the "everyone gets fired on Team Cena if Team Authority wins" is an intriguing one. Usually, it'd guarantee that the babyfaces win on Sunday, but I'm not so sure since I still believe it's not the right time to eradicate The Authority.
United States Champion Rusev def. Dolph Ziggler (Non-title)
These two haven't faced off much in the past, so it felt fresh and they proved they can work well together. It could've gone a little longer than it did, but for the time it was given, they had a nice matchup with a fun finishing sequence. The crowd popped big when Ziggler hit the Zig-Zag, which goes to show that the crowds are getting more and more desperate to see Rusev lose. It's going to be a major moment when he finally does.
Los Matadores def. The Miz and Damien Mizdow
The build for the multi-team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Survivor Series has been pretty standard so far and this was more of the same. There wasn't anything necessarily wrong with the match, but Stardust, Goldust and The Usos were fairly distracting on commentary and that didn't do the match any favors. Man, and I thought three man booths were a mess!
Bray Wyatt Interrupted Dean Ambrose
This feud has gotten more and more compelling by the week and this was another strong segment from the two. I really liked how Ambrose revealed more about the background of his character while Wyatt didn't repeat himself as he tends to do from time to time. They had an enjoyable interaction and it was a nice final segment as their Survivor Series encounter draws near. I'm sure their verbal exchanges will only continue to intensify as the rivalry progresses.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Brie Bella (Non-title)
I got a kick out of AJ dressing up as Nikki Bella after Brie did the same thing as AJ on Raw this week. It wasn't only the fact she did it but how dedicated she was to it, implants and all! Sure, it was silly, but it was harmless fun. The match was overshadowed by the silliness and I have no complaints since it wasn't anything special to begin with. At least AJ is winning non-title matches unlike most other champions right now in WWE.
Erick Rowan def. Cesaro
I'm curious to see how well and quickly Rowan gets over as a babyface. The crowd reacted to him well here, but that could have easily been piped in since this is SmackDown after all. This was a glorified squash match and I wouldn't have been bothered as much had the person Rowan dominated was some jobber and not Cesaro. Granted, I guess one can classify Cesaro as a jobber given his countless losses, but he deserves so much better. In other news, the sky is blue.
Ryback and Big Show def. Seth Rollins and Kane by Disqualification
Ryback and Big Show teaming up made for an interesting dynamic and they had surprisingly good chemistry together. The match was solid while it lasted, but nothing memorable. The post-match attack from The Authority on Team Cena (sans Cena) was extremely well done and put a great deal of heat on them going into the pay-per-view. There has been a lot of hinting toward Triple H vs. Ryback as of late and I'd love to see that transition into a WrestleMania feud between the two. Then again, they did the same with HHH and Roman Reigns and nothing ever came of that, so we'll see.
Obviously, this edition of SmackDown was all about hyping up Survivor Series, so it succeeded in that respect. It wasn't as entertaining as last week's episode, but it did a great deal in getting me excited for the upcoming event. Not much was noteworthy about it outside of the new stipulation being added to Team Cena vs. Team Authority, but the Authority attack at the end of the show is worth going out of your way to see.