By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Triple H Interrupted Big Show
I have grown so tremendously tiresome of this ongoing angle with Show having financial issues and I can't stress enough how much I want it to end as quickly as possible. If it is leading to a heel turn for Show, no one will care. If it isn't, then they need to skip ahead to the pay-off because this segments are the same thing every week. The mic work from Show and HHH here was fine for what it was, but it was more of the same for the most part.
Rob Van Dam def. Fandango by Disqualification
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the last match between RVD and Fandango end in a count-out? What is with all the cop-out finishes to Fandango's matches? He has nothing to offer at this point and isn't currently doing anything of note, so why not have him take the clean fall here? I understand it was used to set up the post-match attack from RVD to hype Sunday's Hardcore match, but the match itself was a waste of time.
Ryback def. R-Truth
The lines from Ryback and Paul Heyman calling Truth a bully were humorous, but this was another match that didn't need to happen. WWE gave Truth his first "big" win (if you could even call it that) over Curtis Axel on Raw, but follow it up by having him lose quickly and decisevely to Ryback on SmackDown. It helped Ryback gain momentum going into Battleground and I like the fact that they put some effort into hyping the Intercontinental Championship match, but it doesn't make Truth look like a threat to Axel going into Sunday.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler (Non-title)
As expected, these two had an excellent match filled with exciting action and suspenseful near-falls. They have such great in-ring chemistry together that it makes me sad that their feud from this past summer was cut short. Sure, Ziggler lost yet again and Damien Sandow interfering could have been a nice out for him losing, but it establishes Del Rio as a credible champion for winning in clean fashion. Speaking of Sandow, he was entertaining on commentary and heavily hinted at cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Sunday, so only time will tell as far as that goes.
Los Matadores def. 3MB
This was essentially the same match that we saw on Raw this past week, not that there is anything wrong with that. I guess it help exposes them to the SmackDown viewing audience, but is there anyone nowadays who only watched the blue brand and not Raw? As I stated in my Raw review, I don't mind Los Matadores, but I'm not jumping on the band wagon just yet. They have the potential to get over big with live crowds, but I can't see them being legitimate contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championship any time soon.
Brie Bella def. Aksana
Is it just me or does Aksana actually look better with her new hairstyle? Anyway, this was basically what one would expect: a train wreck. It wasn't truly terrible, and aside from a few botches here and there, it was passable at best. In a nutshell, it was short and sweet and helped promote the Divas Championship at Battleground. I'm glad they gave the match some focus with AJ Lee's post-match promo, but her mic work is usually solid, which is why I was disappointed by her confusing, rambling promo here.
Kofi Kingston def. Big E Langston
What in the blue hell was this? Langston returned to television on Monday night and something of a competitive match against Punk, only to lose to Kingston in a match that was less than a minute long. Langston has a way bigger upside at this point in his career than the stagnant Kingston, so jobbing him out so quickly obviously won't do him any favors. It appears Bray Wyatt's confrontation with Kingston on Raw wasn't random after all, as the two are set to do battle at the pending pay-per-view. However, with wins over Kane and Ziggler in the past, what will a victory over Kingston do for Wyatt?
Big Show def. Randy Orton and The Shield in a 4-on-1 Handicap Match by Disqualification
I have seen my fair share of Handicap matches in the last two months and can do without seeing one for the next decade. That being said, this was a brutally boring matches that saw everyone get their turn at Show before the bout's abrupt ending. The Usos and Daniel Bryan coming to the aid of Show awoke the crowd, but we have seen it all before by now. If nothing else, it made up for the attack Bryan took on Raw, leading me to think Orton will regain the WWE Championship at Battleground.
The action as a whole was ultimately uninspiring, but there was a substantial amount of built for Battleground, which was crucial. I'm still not at all excited for the event, but this show did its best to hype the pending pay-per-view to the best of its ability. If anything, I would go out of your way to see the great matchup between Ziggler and Del Rio, but skip everything else on this forgettable edition of SmackDown.