By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sheamus Won a 20-Man Battle Royal for the United States Championship
I liked the idea of this match kicking off the show as it gave viewers an incentive to tune in. I've been saying since the start of The Shield face turn that it didn't make sense that The Authority wasn't relinquishing Dean Ambrose of the U.S. title or at least forcing him to defend it more frequently, so this was good timing considering Evolution lost to The Shield at Extreme Rules. The battle royal was decent enough, but my excitement for it dwindled as the favorites (Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, the Rhodes brothers, etc.) were eliminated one by one. It's a shame Cody Rhodes eliminating Goldust wasn't made out to be a bigger deal and was instead an afterthought. It was interesting that the match came down to Sheamus throwing out Ambrose to win when they could have easily had it come down to Sheamus and a heel, so it seems as if the seeds for a Sheamus heel turn have officially been planted. He's been directionless for so long that he'll probably do much more with the belt than Ambrose was. Speaking of Ambrose, he looked strong in defeat and the announcement of The Shield facing The Wyatt Family later in the night gave viewers something to look forward to for the rest of the show.
Rob Van Dam def. Cesaro by Disqualification
This was an improvement over their last match against one another a few weeks ago, but it still lacked excitement. It was given good time, but it never left first gear before the disqualification finish. They don't have strong chemistry together, but good enough that they can continuing feuding for the time being. Cesaro needs to maintain his momentum going forward and a mini-feud with RVD can accomplish that.
Bray Wyatt Addressed the WWE Universe
As always, Wyatt cut a good promo recapping his win over John Cena at Extreme Rules and "exposing" him as a liar. My problem wasn't with the fact that Wyatt didn't say anything new, but rather that this feud is actually continuing. It's been going on since the Royal Rumble and it's high time for both guys to move on, but I guess WWE feels the need to hold a rubber match at Extreme Rules. The feud was fine just last week, but it jumped the shark at the pay-per-view and I have no desire to see the rivalry resume. On the plus side, The Wyatt Family didn't come out with the demon kid in tow, so I guess it was only a a one-night occurrence.
Ryback def. Cody Rhodes
Ryback and Curits Axel have admittedly gone on me as a tag team, but crowds still don't care for them. The Rhodes brothers have been misused for so many months that they're reactions have gotten smaller and smaller, which is a shame. The match was decent enough, but nothing special. It was well-wrestled, but it was obvious that the sole purpose it served was to further the tension between Cody and Goldust. On an unrelated note, Ryback held his own against Cody here and sometimes doesn't get the credit he deserves for being a good worker.
3MB Interrupted Los Matadores' Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
I was fine with Los Matadores holding a fiesta in observance of Cinco de Mayo, but is it really necessary to continue their feud with 3MB? It's pure comedy that, based off the reaction from the crowd, no one is into. They hardly even popped for El Torito tackling Hornswoggle. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the Hornswoggle vs. El Torito WeeLC match from Extreme Rules, but I was hoping that'd be the end of the feud and both teams could move on. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since this feud has been going on for the last eight months.
Rusev def. Kofi Kingston
The artist formerly known as Alexander is the latest Superstar to get his first name dropped for reasons unknown. It was smart for Lana to once again associate herself and Rusev with Vladimir Putin, but it's only a matter of time before someone from the media takes it seriously and goes off on WWE. Then again, WWE loves the controversy and attention. Anyway, the match was a standard squash from Rusev and at least it wasn't Xavier Woods on the receiving end this time. Kingston is an established Superstar, so Rusev's win at least meant something.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan def. Alberto Del Rio (Non-title)
He's not interesting when he isn't in the title picture (though I'm not saying he should be), but there's no doubt that Del Rio is great in the ring. He worked a very solid match with Bryan with some very good action down the stretch. It was a nice win for the champion over a more notable name that could afford the loss. I didn't really care for the post-match bit with Kane chasing Bryan and Brie Bella down backstage. It felt like I was watching a bad horror movie. Their Extreme Rules match was better than expected, but Bryan needs challengers that can be seen as a threat.
Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett def. Big E
The competitors encountered the same issue they did the night prior: Big E just isn't over. Barret gets a good reaction from live crowds, but probably not the one he's supposed to. I like Big E and all, but fans have been given zero incentive to care about him in recent months and he hasn't been allowed to showcase his personality. They worked a good match, only slightly better than their bout at the pay-per-view. The crowd awoke for the finishing sequence, but that was about it. I'm surprised they blew through the rematch this quickly, as I figured they'd stretch it out until Payback. If that's the case, I'm curious as to who will be next to contend for the Intercontinental Championship.
Adam Rose Interrupted Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter
As a major fan of the Adam Rose gimmick, I'm glad to see him promoted to the main roster, but I'm not sure how much lasting power it will have. Similar to Fandango, he's a very good worker, but it will probably be his catchy entrance that will be over a month from now and not him. I guess only time will tell. As far as this segment goes, it was kept short and sweet and the live crowd was chanting his theme as he made his awesome entrance.
The Wyatt Family def. The Shield
It may not have been as chaotic as their past clashes, but it was still a great matchup that had its moments. It was given a substantial amount of time to shine and everyone involved was able to wok in their signature spots. The interference from Evolution gave The Shield an out for losing and prevented Bray Wyatt from looking weak for the second straight night. The post-match beatdown on The Shield from Evolution was well done and Batista mocking Roman Reigns as he did his finisher on him was brilliant. This indicated that a rematch between the two teams is in the works for Payback, which I couldn't be more excited for given that their last match was so great.
This was a good fallout show from Extreme Rules that furthered feuds and featured entertaining action. The United States Champing changing hands made it newsworthy and I love how they hyped a title match for SmackDown as well as an appearance from John Cena on WWE Main Event. Speaking of whom, it was refreshing to not see Cena on the show at all and all refreshing that most of Evolution was kept off TV until the final few minutes. Granted, Payback is looking like a repeat of Extreme Rules, but hopefully they can make the build interesting enough that it won't feel exactly the same.