By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bad News Barrett and Sheamus Interrupted Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan
As I've said time and time again, it's great that SmackDown is slowly being centered around the Intercontinental title. Bryan's promo, along with everyone else's mic work for that matter, was kept short and sweet, but I wish he would have addressed nor he or Barrett were on Raw this past week. At the very least, he hyped his title defense against Barrett at Extreme Rules in addition to setting up Sheamus as a potential challenger down the line. The set-up for the six-man tag team match was fine, but it's ridiculous that they changed the advertised main event of SmackDown two weeks in a row.
WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd def. The New Day (Non-title)
Please don't tell me that The New Day are going heel yet keeping their current gimmick. I'm as happy as anyone that they're finally acknowledging the boos they've been getting after all this time, but the point still stands that they need to ditch the happy-go-lucky crap. These three guys deserve so much better, and as a dominant heel trio, they can be great. The match itself was quite fun with Kidd and Cesaro portraying the babyfaces and it was nice to see them score the non-title victory.
Neville def. Curtis Axel
While this match was a bit longer than their initial encounter a few weeks ago, it was essentially the same. It was a showcase for Neville with him being on offense for the most part and impressing the audience with his surreal Red Arrow finishing maneuver. I realize crowds at SmackDown are altered, but it seemed like they were genuinely excited for him when he came out. He has a bright future ahead of him if WWE can keep the course and handle his push with care and patience.
Natalya def. Alicia Fox (Cameron as Special Guest Referee)
It was encouraging to see a Divas match not involving the champion actually have meaning for once. It may not have been much, but the pre-match backstage segment at least made this match make sense. It was fine for what it was, but the biggest issue with it was that none of these ladies have any character development at the moment. Technically, they're all heel, so who was the crowd supposed to cheer for? If nothing else, it built toward the No. 1 Contender's Battle Royal for the Divas Championship on Raw this coming week.
Bray Wyatt def. Erick Rowan
I'm still frustrated they wasted this potential money matchup instead of saving it for when it could have meant something, but they gave up on that long ago, so why complain about it now? Wyatt's pre-match promo acknowledged their history, so that was better than nothing. Plus, we don't often see Wyatt in action nowadays, so this felt somewhat special. The match wasn't much of note and it was difficult to take Rowan seriously since he's been marginalized for so long. Furthermore, this didn't tell us anything more as far as what's next for Wyatt.
Summer Rae and Damien Mizdow Interrupted The Miz on 'Miz TV'
As much as I like Summer, her performance her wasn't good at all. Is the acting going to be that atrocious in "The Marine 4," too? The segment didn't need her involvement, but I'm fully aware that it was done to plug the movie coming out tomorrow. The furthering of the feud between Miz and Mizdow was well done and the crowd popped big when Mizdow slugged his former employer. I'm still looking forward to an eventual Extreme Rules match between the two despite the odd booking on Monday's Raw.
Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Roman Reigns def. Bad News Barrett, Sheamus and Big Show
As noted, I wasn't thrilled with the main event being changed for the second consecutive week, but what we got instead was still very good. They were given an ample amount of time and everyone involved was given a chance to shine. The final few minutes were fantastic with all six competitors hitting their signature spots and the live crowd was certainly invested in the entertaining action. Reigns being added meant he'd be the one spotlighted coming out of this, but I was glad Bryan and Ziggler weren't completely overshadowed.
The show was filled with a strange array of matches, but the most important matches and segments (the main event and 'Miz TV') delivered. Neville's SmackDown debut was noteworthy and Wyatt-Rowan was solid, but the rest of the matches were forgettable at best. As a whole, it was a middle-of-the-road episode that effectively built toward Raw on Monday night as well as the upcoming Extreme Rules event.
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