By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Tag Team Champions Gold and Stardust def. The Usos in a Steel Cage Match
Just when you thought you've seen enough matches between these two teams, they face off yet again! I'm not complaining, though, as they always have great matches and this was no exception. The only issue is that this should have been a feud-ending match, but it appears we might be for multi-team match at Survivor Series, so I don't know what purpose this was supposed to serve. Plus, The Usos never earned their shot at the twin titles, but neither did Big Show and Mark Henry, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Nevertheless, this was a much better way of kicking off the show than the usual talking segment.
Ryback def. Cesaro
Kane's pre-match promo was a logical follow-up to the events that occurred at the end of this week's Raw, but I hated how his announcement of his Steel Cage match with Dolph Ziggler later on in the night came off as so anti-climactic (more on that later). I was intrigued by Cesaro's interruption because I'd love to see him join Team Authority only to turn on them and finally go babyface. As happy as I am for Ryback's rejuvenated push, I really wish they were doing more with Cesaro.
R-Truth def. Adam Rose
The match was the basic comedic filler you'd expect given who was involved, but the sole reason I even bothered paying attention to it was because of the subtle tease of a heel turn for Rose last week on SmackDown. That was effectively furthered here with The Bunny inadvertently costing Rose the match and Rose pushing him down afterward. He received very good heat for it and I actually found myself feeling bad for The Bunny. Only time will tell as to whether Rose will revert back to his old NXT persona Leo Kruger in turning heel.
Christian Hosted 'The Peep Show' with Dean Ambrose
As a major "peep" myself, I was very happy to see Christian back and looking healthier than ever. It still boggles my mind that WWE isn't doing more with him from an in-ring standpoint if he is indeed cleared to wrestle. Anyway, this was an enjoyable interaction between Christian and Ambrose and the stuff with Bray Wyatt was the best thing we've heard from him yet. The mention of Ambrose's father was what this feuded needed because up until this point, fans had zero idea why it was even happening. However, the rivalry will need more build if these two are going to face each other at Survivor Series in a few weeks.
Summer Rae def. Natalya
I'm positive these two could have a better match if they were given the time, but they at least attempted to make the most of the time they were allotted. Obviously, most of the focus was on Tyson Kidd on commentary and he was the highlight per usual. I've been pleasantly surprised with how well this angle between Natalya and Kidd has been handled in recent weeks and how it's led to more TV time for Kidd. I don't know what the end game will be, but I'm interested in seeing what it will be.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler def. Kane in a Steel Cage Match (Non-title)
Two cage matches in one night is absolutely ridiculous, especially when this one in particular didn't need the stipulation at all. I would've been fine if the title was up for grabs considering Kane beat Ziggler last week on SmackDown, but it didn't matter much. The itself was good (or as good as a Kane match can be in 2014), and a lot of that be attributed to Ziggler carrying Kane to a decent bout, but don't think for a second Kane didn't hold his own. I was glad Ziggler picked up the victory (I figured The Authroity was going to interfere as they always do) and looked strong for once.
This was a better edition of SmackDown than what we're usually accustomed to. Christian's return and the two Steel Cage match (also the second one was unnecessary) made it noteworthy and the in-ring action on the whole was solid. All I hope for now is that WWE start the strong build for Survivor Series. Yes, they've invested a lot of time in the Team Cena vs. Team Authority storyline which is good to see, but the rest of the undercard for that event needs to be filled out as well.
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