By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Miz Interrupted Triple H
It was good to see HHH back to his heelish ways instead of shamelessly pandering to the audience like he has been in recent weeks. Miz and HHH were good on the mic here and both individuals played their respective roles well. Similar to Monday's Raw, this segment was successful in establishing Miz's serious side while also hyping his match with Randy Orton for later in the night.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. R-Truth (Non-title)
To my knowledge, this is the third time these two have clashed in singles competition over the last month, so why was the point in having this match yet again? Truth is far from relevant, and Del Rio needs victories over credible faces. However, it's hard to complain about Del Rio winning cleanly, which is far and few between for most heel nowadays. The post-match attack from Rob Van Dam was rather basis and built towards the World Heavyweight Championship match at WWE Battleground. By the way, a Battleground Hardcore Rules match? Really?
The Real Americans def. The Prime Time Players
Both teams are tremendously talented, so it is a shame that neither of them are currently involved in anything meaningful. However, they managed to have a fun match in the small window of time they were allotted. The swing remains one of the most enjoyable moves to watch in wrestling today. Sure, there were a few sloppy spots in the bout, but that was mainly because Titus O'Neil was still dizzy and disoriented. It didn't matter much who won, and I don't expect The Real Americans to be inserted into the tag team title picture any time soon.
Bray Wyatt def. Zack Ryder
Didn't Ryder send out a tweet a few months back saying that he should probably learn how to counter Wyatt's finishing maneuver? That seem to work out too well for him here. In all seriousness, this was a short and sweet match obviously designed to further Wyatt's momentum. He remains undefeated in singles competition, but he hasn't done anything of note since SummerSlam. Can we please move on to the next chapter with this act? I say that only because they have a massive amount of untapped potential and shouldn't be allowed to waste away.
Dolph Ziggler def. United States Champion Dean Ambrose by Disqualification
The moment Ziggler emerged from the back with Rob Van Dam and Kofi Kingston in tow, it became instantly obvious that this would become a six-man tag team match at some point. That being said, I didn't expect this match to end a mere minute in. Ziggler and Ambrose are capable of having a great match together, as seen a few weeks ago on Raw, so why can't WWE just let these two go all out? Here's hoping a title rematch is made for WWE Battleground to make up for this.
The Shield def. Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam and Kofi Kingston
The action was solid at first, but it gradually picked up the pace down the stretch. It grew to the point of being extremely exciting after the commercial break and everyone was able to hit their signature spots. The final few minutes were very well done and the crowd certainly seemed to be engaged in the action. If Ziggler is set to go after the U.S. title gold again, though, this loss ideally wouldn't put him back in contention.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Cameron (Non-title)
If it wasn't already obvious, Namoi is the much better wrestler of the Funkadactlys. Come to think of it, I don't think I have ever seen Cameron in singles action prior to tonight, and I am glad I didn't. Needless to say, this was a train wreck of a match, but AJ saved it from being truly terrible. I know AJ wants to run through the entire "Total Divas" roster, but Cameron should have never been allowed to step in the ring. By the way, weren't AJ and Tamina Snuka bitter rivals at one point last year? The again, WWE doesn't expect us to remember that, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Paul Heyman Addressed CM Punk
Heyman has always been a strong mic worker, so I think it goes without saying that this promo was no exception. He recapped the attack on Punk from this week's Raw nicely and provided a great deal of hype for Punk's pending match with Ryback at Battleground. Heyman stressed that Punk will be the underdog going in and that Punk won't have a chance of winning, which will give viewers an incentive to buy the event to see if The Voice of the Voiceless can overcome the odds stacked against him. Is it just me or is it always Punk and Heyman doing all the selling for recent pay-per-views?
Santino Marella def. Heath Slater
Since returning to the ring, Santino has scored victories over the likes of Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger and Damien Sandow. With that in mind, it was pretty predictable that Santino would be going over here. Besides, it would have been absolutely asinine for Santino to lose to two jokes in the span of one week (he lost to Fandango on Monday's Raw). The match itself was your typical garbage and easily some of the worst attempts at comedy that I've seen in quite some time. I suppose that is what happens when you pair the most obnoxious acts (Santino, The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and 3MB) in WWE today together for a match.
Randy Orton def. The Miz in a No Disqualification Match
Most of the match(es) felt rushed with only 10 minutes remaining in the show, but Orton and Miz made the most of it. Triple H restarting the match after Orton intentionally got himself disqualified put him over as a heel and it allowed Orton to deliver another brutal beating to Miz, who came off as a sympathetic figure. I have been loving the recent mean streak of The Viper and I hope Miz can continue to benefit from being in the ring with him.
For the first time in a long while, this week's SmackDown felt like a chore to watch, as the two hours dragged for this viewer. There was a handful of matches, but none of them were particularly memorable outside of the six-man tag team match. Sometimes quality is more important than quantity, so take note of that, WWE. There was some hype for Battleground next Sunday, but WWE has a lot of work to do next week in order to sell viewers on the event, as only three matches are confirmed for the card as of now.
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