Randy Orton attacks Daniel Bryan from behind.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Triple H Held an Open Forum for All WWE Superstars and Divas
Some may say that Triple H is hogging all the spotlight in this Corporation angle at the moment, and while that might be true, I still think he's doing an excellent job of portraying a heel. HHH hasn't been this interesting in years, and WWE is obviously building towards a match between him and Daniel Bryan down the line, so it makes sense for them to feature him as much as they are. HHH appearing on SmackDown is a rare occurrence, so his appearance on the show should have been hyped ahead of time. Nonetheless, this segment help set up various matches for later in the night.
WWE Champion Randy Orton def. Rob Van Dam (Non-title)
I enjoyed their initial encounter from a few weeks ago a bit more, but this was still an awesome match filled with enjoyable action. RVD and Orton work so well together that they are simply incapable of putting on a bad match. Alberto Del Rio attacking Ricardo Rodriguez at ringside furthered their feud while also building towards the world title match at Night of Champions in the process. Orton has been on fire as of late, so his win over RVD didn't come as much of a surprise. It was nice to see Del Rio be the final man standing for once, especially since he hasn't garnered much momentum in recent weeks.
Ryback def. Dolph Ziggler
This was essentially the same match from this week's Raw, only in a shorter amount of time. Despite that, they made the most out of the time they were given and their styles once again meshed surprisingly well. Dean Ambrose played his role well at ringside and him costing Ziggler the victory builds towards their eventual United States Championship match. This was another good win for Ryback, but he needs a solid storyline to sink his teeth into and fast.
Kofi Kingston def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (Non-title)
While there wasn't all that extraordinary about this match, it was certainly well wrestled. These two were a pairing on NXT's second season, but I'm unaware if the announcers made reference to that on commentary. The crowd didn't care much for the match, but I'm glad the bout received a substantial amount of time. Kingston's win seemed to come out of nowhere, but at least it was done in a way that it protected Axel. As much as I don't want it to happen, my guess is that Kingston takes the Intercontinental title off Axel sometime next week so Axel won't have to defend at Night of Champions.
Naomi vs. Brie Bella Ended in a No Contest
Essentially, this match was over before it even got started. Naomi and Brie Bella have had exceptional matches in the past, but it was better off going to a no contest. I'm enjoying AJ Lee's involvement in this feud with the "Total Divas" cast and having her align with Layla, Alicia Fox and Aksana was interesting, but where was Natalya for all of this?
The Real Americans def. The Usos
The match was only mere minutes long, but it was fun while it lasted. They didn't allow enough time for most of the moves to truly sink in, but the finishing sequence was well done. Antonio Cesaro's uppercut is one of the most awe-inspiring moves in all of wrestling today and I'm honestly appalled he isn't receiving a bigger push right now. This was a good win for him and Swagger, and it didn't do much damage to The Usos, either.
Big Show def. 3MB in a Handicap Match
This was a basic squash match designed to make Big Show look like an absolute beast, so it succeeeded in that aspect. Some of Show's chops on Jinder Mahal were pretty vicious and this bout allowed him to take out some of his (kayfabe) pent-up frustration. There isn't much more to say that, but this contest served its purpose to say the least.
Daniel Bryan def. WWE Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins
Bryan and Rollins always have fantastic matches with one another and this was no exception. The action was extremely exciting and they managed to keep the crowd engaged the entire time. Mark my words: These two will be fighting over a world title someday. Bryan overcoming not only Rollins but also the other members of The Shield put him over in a big way and definitely made him look like a main event player. Randy Orton's attack from behind could be seen from a mile away, but it was a logical move. The heels have consistently gotten the better of Bryan for weeks on end now, so I'm ready for a change of pace.
This show was only worth watching for the opening segment, the main event match and RVD vs. Orton. Everything else was filler for the most part, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most of the matches could have used more time to feel memorable, but they are still served a purpose and weren't completely meaningless. As a whole, though, the two hours flew by rather quickly and provided a decent amount of hype for Night of Champions.