By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and J&J Security Addressed Their Actions From Raw
Ah, another Authority promo kicking off a wrestling show, how original. In all seriousness, this really wasn't that bad. If nothing else, it was kept relatively short and sweet and didn't drag on forever like the opening to Raw did this week. It was also successful in setting up the night's two headlining matches and putting more heat on Rollins by having him brag about his recent attacks on Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, so it wasn't a colossal waste of time.
Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose
For whatever reason, I didn't love their feud from last fall, but almost all of their matches were good to great with this one being no exception. It was the perfect match to kick off the in-ring portion of the show with and the two kept things interesting by constantly shifting the momentum back and forth between them. Additionally, they brought a few new maneuvers and counters to the table that made this different than their past battles. Wyatt winning clean was a pleasant surprise, but then again, he's the one with a major match set for Battleground and Ambrose doesn't.
R-Truth def. Adam Rose
You likely already knew this, but I couldn't have cared less about this match. My God, what a waste. Rose continues to flounder in a pairing with Rosa Mendes with whom she has absolutely zero chemistry with and Truth is just... well, Truth. Some people find him entertaining and he can be at times, but the "king" stuff has got to go, for both him and Barrett. I had hope (I know, that was my first mistake) that this was Barrett's time to shine, but putting him in a never-ending feud with Truth hasn't helped anyone involved.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback def. Mark Henry (Non-title)
Ryback and Henry have had what feels like a thousand matches against each other before (and I don't care about what propaganda the commentary team tries to spread, their feud from 2013 was never at any point "iconic"), but to my memory, this was the best bout they've had to date. It wasn't the quick squash match they had on Raw a few weeks back since they were given more time, but it had a nice flow to it and didn't suffer from the usual slow big man vs. big man algorithm. Ryback hitting the Shell Shocked on Henry never ceases to impress me, but the commentary team questioning whether he could hit it on him or Big Show was comical seeing as how he's done it before to both men.
Brie Bella def. Naomi
I likely would have ranted about this match regardless, but it was sad to see the women back to competing in nothing matches after the great bout Paige and Alicia Fox contested on Raw this week. Fans still have no incentive to cheer for Naomi after all the heelish things her character has done in recent months, so why is WWE persistent in putting her up against The Bella Twins all the time? The match quality was fine, but the booking of the women continues to bother me to no end.
WWE Tag Team Champions Prime Time Players def. The Ascension (Non-title)
It's no secret I'm a major advocate of the Prime Time Players, but even I found it difficult to get invested in this match. It was a decent tag team outing while it lasted, but it felt very formulaic, especially the final few minutes. The hot tag to Titus O'Neil always electrifies the crowd, but they need to innovate and find other ways of getting to that point without doing the same thing in every match. It also doesn't help that there doesn't feel like there's a real "feud" between the Players and The New Day. It's a tag team title rematch and nothing more.
Rusev and Summer Rae Addressed Dolph Ziggler and Lana
Wow, could this angle with Rusev, Summer, Ziggler and Lana get any worse? This was atrocious, and that's coming from someone who enjoys Ziggler's work greatly. The Ziggler-Lana pairing was a bad idea from the start and dragging Rusev down to that level ruined anything he had going for himself earlier this year, which comes as no surprise because we figured this was bound to happen eventually. Their logic for what they did on Raw was stupid and it's as if whoever is writing this garbage has never been in a relationship before.
Roman Reigns def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins by Disqualification (Non-title)
This should have felt like a bigger match than it did. It was a logical follow-up to the events of Raw, and as much as I love any interaction between the former Shield members, it would be best to keep them separate for a while. Rollins is fresh off his feud with Ambrose and Reigns is currently focused on Wyatt, so why simultaneously feud with Rollins? The match wasn't given much time at all before it abruptly ended with the non-finish, so I was curious as to why they bothered to do the match at all. Reigns and Ambrose ending the show standing tall sent the crowd home happy, but I'd rather have Rollins fully focused on Brock Lesnar and no one else as Battleground quickly approaches.
The only truly exceptional segment/match from this show was Wyatt vs. Ambrose as everything else felt like filler. Granted, SmackDown typically consists of filler and Raw replays and whatnot, but it was more obvious than usual this week because half the roster was overseas in Japan already. Due to that, this was a lackluster show without many redeemable qualities and your two hours are likely better spent watching the Beast in the East live special or just waiting until Monday's Raw.