By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Randy Orton Interrupted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins
I was hoping we're hear from Rollins regarding his huge championship win at WresteMania and he was given the chance to do some gloating here. He also addressed the events from Raw involving Brock Lesnar and what's next for him as champion, which was the perfect tie-in to Orton's interruption. I really liked Orton acknowledging the fact that he has yet to get his rightful one-on-one rematch for the title, in addition to the fact he beat Rollins earlier in the evening at WrestleMania. His subsequent match with Big Show wasn't an intriguing hook going into the commercial break, but I appreciate the effort.
Randy Orton def. Big Show by Disqualification
What a waste. The match didn't last a full two minutes before J&J Security got involved, calling for the disqualification. Then again, it might be a blessing in disguise that a match involving Show was cut short, but it felt inconsequential given that a future WWE World Heavyweight title shot was on the line. Ryback was over with the crowd during the post-match attack, but it didn't make the match feel worth it.
Naomi def. Natalya
Although the women were given an ample amount of time to go on Raw, this match wasn't anything out of the ordinary. They worked a very match in the time they were allotted and The Bella Twins were fine on commentary. I'm totally content with Naomi being set up as the next challenger to the Divas Championship as it's about time she got her due, but what happened to AJ Lee forcing Nikki to submit in their tag team match at WrestleMania? I figured that would lead to a title match between the two, but it's always possible the title match at Extreme Rules involves multiple women.
Byron Saxton Interviewed Roman Reigns
Reigns always cuts better promos when in a pre-taped environment and he did well for himself here. This was the Reigns we need to see more of, not Reigns the storyteller. He said everything you would expect him to coming out of his loss at WrestleMania, but the way in which he said it was calm, cool and collected. It'll be interesting to see where he falls in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture going forward since he technically lost fair and square and doesn't have a claim to contend for the gold.
The Miz def. R-Truth
The match wasn't anything of note whatsoever (it's hard for me to care about anything involving R-Truth), but it was a good win for Miz as he gets set to feud with Damien Mizdow. Speaking of whom, it was cool to see him get his vengeance over Miz after getting attacked on Raw. He was over huge with this crowd, but I continue to wonder what the future holds for him once he eventually becomes Damien Sandow again.
Rusev and Lana Interrupted United States Champion John Cena
Cena's pro-USA promo was campy at times, but I liked his line about USA being the land of opportunity and how he plans on giving Superstar opportunities as champion. Rusev and Lana were good in their rebuttal to Cena, but a split between them is definitely being foreshadowed. It's a shame since I have a very bad feeling Rusev will flounder without her at his side. And was it just me or did it seem like Lana's accent here wasn't as strong as it usually is?
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper Ended in a No Contest
Although the set-up to this match with Ambrose taking a crap in Kane's "executive" bathroom was stupid and silly, it got a chuckle out of me. I figured this would be a one-off match to give Ambrose an easy win and they'd move on from there, but I'm glad it ended up being more than that. As you'd expect, the match itself was very good and these two always have great chemistry together. The non-finish protected both guys and Harper putting Ambrose through the commentating table was a sick spot. Ambrose rebounded from that ladder spot pretty quickly this past week, so don't be surprised to see him on Raw this upcoming Monday.
Sheamus def. Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan by Count-out (Non-title)
First off, it's great that Sheamus has a new entrance theme to go along with his new look. I love how they're completely repackaging him and it makes him feel fresh for the first time in a long while. Sheamus was made to look like a beast throughout this bout and Bryan is always perfect in the underdog role. They worked a solid matchup that had the right finish. I'm never high on champions losing non-title matches, but in this case it made sense given that Sheamus is fresh off his comeback and it sets up a championship rematch for Extreme Rules. Bryan bleeding was a nice visual as well, even if it was by accident.
Obviously, this edition of SmackDown paled in comparison to the shows we got on Sunday and Monday of this week, but by SmackDown standards, it was a good show. The stuff at the start of the night with Orton and The Authority was forgettable, but the showcasing of the midcard champions was particularly strong, especially the final two matches. With Cena and Bryan holding both belts, I hope SmackDown slowly starts to become their show as it will only elevate the titles and make the blue brand feel more important as a result.
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