By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins Dared John Cena to Confront Him on Monday's Raw
Rollins continues to thrive every time he has a microphone in his hands. It was essentially the same promo he cut last week and on Monday's Raw, but it was still fun for what it was. It also confirmed the champion vs. champion match for SummerSlam as well as gave viewers an additional incentive to tune into Raw to see him and John Cena go face-to-face one last time. Neville coming out followed by Cesaro was a bit too reminiscent of the opening to Raw, but everyone played their parts well and it set up the main event tag team match nicely.
Charlotte def. Naomi
After all the other outstanding outings from we've seen from the women as of late, this bout seemed to pale in comparison. Even still, it was a good, competent match by Divas standards and both Charlotte and Naomi put forth a decent effort. The faction wars, to me, have already grown old, but I can't complain about seeing the ladies get much more TV time lately and the elimination three-way tag team match at SummerSlam should be special.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback Addressed the WWE Universe
After a month's absence, it's good to see Ryback back and it looks like the WWE Universe feels the same based on their reaction to him here. He, like Rollins, has vastly improved his mic skills since initially arriving on the scene by adding more dynamic to his voice in his promos. It was a short and sweet promo that served as simple hype for the pending Intercontinental Championship match. I was fully expecting either The Miz or Big Show to interrupt, but I'm actually glad they didn't take that predictable route.
Roman Reigns def. Luke Harper by Disqualification
Reigns' matches have gradually gotten better over the course of 2015, but one opponent he always tends has quality matches with is Harper. They work so well together and this bout was no exception. Not only was the match hard-hitting and enjoyable, but Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt definitely added an extra element to it by being at ringside. The disqualification finish was understandable as it protected both guys, but the post-match brawl was only a small taste of the chaos we'll likely see at SummerSlam and I'm excited for it.
WWE Tag Team Champions Prime Time Players def. The New Day (Non-title)
The tag team division is so dead right now that all of these matches feel meaningless. It was a well-wrestled match and it wasn't bad by any means, and although I enjoy both tandems, I couldn't have cared less about the ending outcome. It was a nice non-title win for the tag champs and I guess it was one way of furthering the feud, but it did make me any more excited for the Fatal 4-Way WWE Tag Team Championship match.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens def. Cesaro and Neville
We saw something similar a few weeks ago with Dean Ambrose in Neville's spot and although I enjoyed that match slightly more, this was still a very fun tag team main event. Who would have thought several years ago that these four former top independent names would be headlining an episode of SmackDown? They all have such excellent chemistry that they weren't going to deliver any less than an awesome match and they succeeded in doing so. The finishing sequence was also well done and I liked the heels won one for once (making this Owens' first televised win in nearly two months). Then again, Owens was double-teamed by Cesaro and Neville afterward, so how much did he really gain?
This was a better edition of SmackDown than usual with plenty of hype for SummerSlam and some solid in-ring action. We were treated to a quality women's match, a nice Ryback promo, a good match from Reigns and Ambrose, a decent tag team outing, and an entertaining main event, making this a thoroughly enjoyable episode on the whole. It seems as if all of WWE programming has been benefiting by the strong SummerSlam build these last few weeks.