Smackdown was another solid show last night. While the Blue Brand is not always noteworthy, the two hours is always well done.
With No Way Out in about two weeks, I expected to see a few matches set up for the pay-per-view. On that note, I got what I wanted. As for all the extra segments, it was a little hit or miss. On my grade scale, WWE gets a B-.
What were the highlights? Let's find out!
Titus O'Neil and Darren Young are now the Primetime Players.
That is a nice name, but the team does not mean much right now.
They lost in two minutes to Santino Marella and Zack Ryder. It is a mind-boggling decision, but I won't worry too much about it.
With the tag division still just being "there," we will see what happens next.
Tyson Kidd was debuting a new look for the Smackdown audience.
In the end, he lost very quickly to Cody Rhodes. With Kidd being a nothing and Rhodes looking strong, it was the logical move.
Christian was on commentary during this. You have to assume he will be defending his Intercontinental Championship against Cody very soon.
I still worry about fans cheering for Christian again. He returned as a face for no reason a few weeks ago. Since then, his crowd reactions have not been very good.
All he needs is one good promo segment against Rhodes, and he should be just fine...
Can we move Sheamus away from the authority figures now?
The Celtic Warrior is great. However, I do not care about his interactions with Eve Torres, David Otunga or John Laurinaitis.
Alberto Del Rio getting to pick Sheamus' opponent was a nice hook for the rest of night. This opening was good, but it was easily something you could skip.
Damien Sandow defeated Ezekiel Jackson in short order.
It reminds me of the laughable reports that come out every few months proclaiming a new push for Big Zeke is coming. I love those WWE stories!
Sandow looked impressive, but wearing the color pink is not going to last long. Bret Hart made it work, but that was a rare exception.
With Dolph Ziggler already wearing a little bit of pink, one will have to switch. It seems like a small detail, but I fully expect one or the other to change colors very soon.
Big Show appeared and destroyed a few stars.
It was a fun couple of minutes. The man is a top heel going forward. Thus, every bit of "heat" possible needs to be on him until No Way Out.
This was a fine way to do just that.
I continue to enjoy the mind games being played with AJ. The backstage segment with her and Daniel Bryan was very entertaining. This will end eventually, but I am still enjoying the story.
Is she still going for CM Punk?
Will AJ and Bryan get back together?
What about joining up with Kane to take out the other two that turned her down?
Antonio returns to Smackdown next week.
As I wrote about in April, it was inevitable for some of the new talents to be forgotten about. There was just way too many coming in at the same time. It had to happen.
Hopefully, Antonio will be back on track.
Another note about this show was the format. There were only a few backstage segments all night. Most of the action took place inside the ring.
It happens a lot on the Blue Brand. For one reason or another, I really noticed it last night.
It was nice to see WWE Championship get the main-event slot.
CM Punk defending his gold against Kane was very entertaining. The title was never going to change hands, but I wanted to see how well the match went.
Both men delivered a quality showing. My only gripe was waiting for a disqualification the entire time. I couldn't get excited for any of the near falls.
Daniel Bryan did run in to end the match. Kane took out Punk and Bryan to stand tall. As the show closed, we were informed of the WWE Title match at No Way Out.
Punk will face Bryan and Kane in a triple threat match.
That does present a few options. The likely option is Punk retains. However, taking the title off of him through Kane being involved in the pin fall is an interesting choice.
One day, Ryback will have to face real competition.
One day, Ryback will be put to the test.
One day, Ryback must actually wrestle a real match.
Hopefully, that day is not near.
I still enjoy him crushing local talents. The man continues to win in decisive fashion, and he is still worth watching when his music hits.
First, I must mention that Vickie Guerrero looked stunning last night.
As for the match, it was great to see Alberto Del Rio select Dolph Ziggler to face Sheamus. It put a huge spotlight on the man and made him seem legitimate right off the bat.
Sheamus and Ziggler have had many battles before. They always were very good. This was no different. It was given plenty of time, and I enjoyed it.
The Jack Swagger appearance was a waste of time, but that was to be expected.
In the end, Sheamus (rightfully) pinned Ziggler after a 10-minute match. The World Champion continues to win, and Ziggler builds a little bit of credibility for his "new" singles run.
You know what?
There were tons of things to like about Sin Cara returning last night. As I wrote about last week, it was a much-needed move by WWE.
First, his new color scheme was nice to see. When somebody returns, it is good to keep everything fresh for viewers. It can't just be the "same old thing" after a long absence.
Also, I loved his re-introduction.
Lilian Garcia hyped up his return and called him an "international sensation." Automatically, he was treated as a big deal. Even if you have never seen his past work, you knew he was important right away.
His ring entrance was another good change. Using the trampoline to enter the ring each week was a risky move. Sometimes, it looked great. Other times, it was rough. Getting rid of it will cause one less problem for him.
Finally, the fans loved him defeating Heath Slater. Nobody in an arena is going to cheer for Slater, so it was an easy night to display Cara's high-flying offense. Sin Cara is back, and I am willing to see if he can prove his doubters wrong.
His 2011 campaign was one disappointment after another. Even as a fan, I can admit that. However, I am all for second opportunities. Let's see what the man can do and give him another chance in WWE...