By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Intercontinental Champion Ryback vs. Big Show Ended in a Double Count-out
I don't know what it was, but I enjoyed this encounter between Ryback and Show significantly more than their match from Money in the Bank in June. A lively crowd can make all the difference, I suppose. Not only that, but they never slowed down and kept things interesting throughout, even though it was a brief bout. It was hard-hitting and highly physical, which is exactly what I hope to see in their Triple Threat at SummerSlam. I would have been fine with Show taking a loss here, but I can see why they went with the double count-out finish. I loved how the commentators mentioned that The Miz will benefit from these two being hurt going into their match.
The New Day def. Los Matadores
This might be the only time ever that I didn't completely dread a match involving Los Matadores. Then again, most of that is due to how The New Day manage to make anything they're a part of entertaining. Xavier Woods and El Torito had something brewing for a while, so at least this match wasn't totally worthless. Plus, how can I complain about a match that featured El Torito getting destroyed? How glorious would it be if that spelled the end of El Torito as an on-air character? One can only hope.
Rusev and Summer Rae Interrupted Dolph Ziggler and Lana
This garbage needs to end, seriously. Ziggler seems happy to be back and he's trying his best to make this storyline work, but it's too late for it to be salvaged. Ziggler and Lana never really had a point to what they were saying, they were just out there rambling about their love for each other like heels would. Rusev wasn't much better, and this segment simply served as a reminder of how much I hate this program and how much I wish it'd end with the Ziggler vs. Rusev match at SummerSlam.
Neville def. Bo Dallas
Remember when Dallas was almost a threat to Neville at one point a few months ago? Neither do I. This was a standard squash match that was ultimately forgettable, but the post-match promo from Stardust very well done. I continue to dig what he's doing right now, and although I desperately want to see the Cody Rhodes character return, I wouldn't mind seeing him do this for a little while longer.
Brie Bella def. Becky Lynch and NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat Match (Non-title)
I've noted before how the women need more mic time to further establish their characters, and it looks like I got my wish with the pre-match promos from each team. While I appreciated the effort, most of the mic work was total trash. I don't blame that on the women as much as I do the writing team for over-scripting everything they say. They sounded like they were reading off cue cards! The match wasn't anything special for the time it was given, but at least it served as a decent preview for the upcoming three-team elimination match.
Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Cesaro def. Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt, Sheamus and Kevin Owens
Yes, I'm a firm believer that multi-man matches can sometimes be a lazy way of furthering feuds, but this was a lot of fun. They could have benefited from some more time, but I enjoyed it while it lasted and everyone was able to get their signature spots in. We don't get matches like this too often, so it felt special even if the ending outcome of everyone hitting their finishers and the babyfaces going over can be predictable.
This was a refreshing change of pace from the go-home shows we usually get from SmackDown. Most of the matches held my interest and more importantly there was plenty of hype for a majority of the matches on the SummerSlam card. Maybe it's because it's SummerSlam and they're trying to do all they can to make it feel as big as possible, but this was an effective use of two hours that only enhanced my excitement for the event. As I mentioned in my Raw review, I won't be offering live coverage here on the site as it airs because I'll be in attendance, but my review should be up sometime Monday. Enjoy the stacked SummerSlam weekend!