By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust def. The Real Americans
The action was very enjoyable throughout and proved that these two teams worked very well together. The Rhodes brothers have been doing phenomenal work since pairing up over a month ago, so there was no real reason to take the titles off them this soon. The Real Americans will be title holders at some point down the line, but they had a strong showing against the current champs here. The live crowd was hot for the final few minutes and the match also built toward the traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match on Sunday.
Ryback def. The Great Khali
I read recently that Ryback will be holding another open challenge of some sort at Survivor Series, so if this is storyline for the foreseeable future, then it is rather reminiscent of what Gail Kim is doing right now in TNA. As expected, it was a throwaway match with Khali getting in more offense than he should have. Sure, Ryback hitting the Shell Shocked on Khali to pick up the win was impressive, but it wasn't anything we haven't already seen in the past.
The Funkadactlys def. Divas Champion AJ Lee in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
I realize AJ and Vickie Guerrero have history together, hence why Vickie put her in a a handicap match, but it still seems asinine to me. AJ came off as the underdog in this match, which I don't think was the purpose since she is a heel. I have a feeling the Total Divas team will be winning on Sunday, so why not put heat on the heel squad by having AJ surprisingly score the win in this bout?
Rey Mysterio and The Usos def. The Shield
I would have liked to see this match hyped a bit more in advance considering it was Mysterio's first match since February, but at least the commentators hyped it up throughout the show. The Usos have great chemistry with Mysterio, so they made for a very fun team. They made magic with The Shield and had an entertaining contest that was rapid fire down the stretch. I would usually be disappointed with a mid-card champion taking the pin-fall loss, but I am hopeful that it might lead to a Mysterio/Ambrose U.S. title feud at some point soon. Furthermore, this match was successful in building toward the upcoming Survivor Series elimination tag team match.
WWE Champion Randy Orton Interrupted Big Show
As it stands, I couldn't care less about the WWE Championship matchup between Show and Orton at Survivor Series. This segment was effective in attempting to build towards it, but I am no more excited for the match than I was beforehand. However, Orton and Show both cut quality promos and it was clearly established that Orton will have no help in defending his title come the pending pay-per-view.
Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston and Dolph Ziggler def. Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow
It was strange to see Langston and Ziggler pairing up only a few months removed from their heated rivalry, so I felt as if that should have been addressed. The match itself was over within mere minutes and obviously should have been given more time to shine. Langston looked like a star coming out of this match, but the fans have no incentive to believe Axel has a chance of winning the title back at Survivor Series. Oh, and Sandow is still highly underutilized.
Daniel Bryan def. Luke Harper
Similar to their match two weeks ago, Bryan and Harper work well together and had another solid contest on this show. Harper held his own against the former WWE Champion and the match was given great time. CM Punk's interference gave Harper an out for losing via a roll-up and The Wyatt Family's attack on the two babyfaces shortly thereafter gave them the edge they desperately needed going into Survivor Series. This was a very well booked segment all around and made for a nice closer to the episode.
SmackDown did a much better job of hyping Survivor Series than Raw did this week, but I am still very underwhelmed by the event. The card has the potential to be solid, but WWE hasn't given its fans any incentive to care about most of the matches in recent weeks. It is a massive shame, especially since Survivor Series is supposed to be one of their "big four" pay-per-views. If nothing else, this show was entertaining for what it was with three enjoyable matches over the course of the night.