WWE Friday Night SmackDown opened with the new Intercontinental champion, the Miz. He thanked Christian's fans since they were the ones that voted for him to defend his title. That would bring out Christian, who stated that he was invoking his rematch clause right then and there.
This was a rather short opening segment, which was good because it set up a match. The Miz didn't say much, but he was solid on the mic, while Christian delivered a few solid lines as well.
I really want to see them go at it verbally in a longer segment, perhaps in Christian's Peep Show. If given the time, Miz and Christian could deliver a very entertaining segment.
The Miz vs. Christian: Intercontinental Championship
The Miz retained his title after the Rollup of Doom. This was a great match that saw a lot of back-and-forth action. This match was even throughout the time they were given, as both superstars delivered in a big way.
I thought this match was better than their match on Raw, mainly because it wasn't hindered by an injury.
The Miz taking a break to shoot his movie was a blessing. His character was getting a bit stale, but now he has come back rejuvenated and ready to go. The Miz looks great in the ring and things are definitely looking up for him.
Christian has been at the top of his game since his return at Over the Limit, and he continued that here. Captain Charisma is one of the best overall performers in the WWE and he shows that week in and week out.
There is no way that this match was the end, as I can see a major feud developing between them. If it does happen, they could possibly steal the show at SummerSlam.
Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal
Ryback picked up the victory by countout in what wasn't the typical Ryback squash match. Mahal actually dominated part of the match, which was good to see. Not only did he get a chance to shine a bit, but Ryback looked human.
I've noticed WWE has been doing that more and more, most recently in his matches with Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks. I think this is going to evolve into Ryback's first real feud and with the look on Mahal's face as he was counted out, it may be against Jinder Mahal.
I really don't care who his first feud is against, just as long as he's not destroying a different person every night.
Backstage, Sheamus approached Daniel Bryan and he went over Bryan's mishaps on Raw. Bryan angrily responded, so Sheamus gave him his wedding gift. It was a book entitled, "How to Last Longer Than 18 Seconds."
This was a short, entertaining segment. Both of them delivered solid little promos while the book was just hilarious.
Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes
Sheamus picked up the victory with the Brogue Kick in what was a very good match. Both the world heavyweight champion and Rhodes performed great here, as they gave fans quite the match to watch.
Sheamus continues to look strong and look good in the ring. The Celtic Warrior is going to be around for a long, long time.
It was good to see Rhodes on SmackDown after he appeared on Superstars last week. Even though he's not the champion anymore, his reign as intercontinental champion really shot him to the top. His in-ring work is always great and his mic work is solid.
He showed here that he can perform at a main-event level. He may not have won the match, but Rhodes went toe-to-toe with the holder of the World Heavyweight championship. If he can have a great match with the world champion, imagine what he could do with other main-event stars, or even if he himself was the world heavyweight champion.
It may not happen this year, but the title is no doubt in the future of Cody Rhodes.
Post-match, Dolph Ziggler teased cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, but he didn’t do it. Instead, Chris Jericho threw him back into the ring to get a Brogue Kick, and later a Codebreaker.
I was worried that this feud wasn’t going to get any attention on SmackDown. I can see the match for SummerSlam getting booked within the next week or two, and I can’t wait to see it!
Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino Marella
Cesaro picked up the win after he avoided the Cobra and hit his finishing move. This was a decent match that was back and forth throughout, but it was hindered by time constraints. If this contest went longer, this could have been a very good match.
Both superstars were good in the ring here and Santino didn't really do any comedy. While the Cobra is ridiculous, it's his finishing move, so I don't really classify it as comedy anymore.
With Cesaro's victory, I have a feeling that fans may have seen the setup of the next feud over the United States Championship. While Cesaro doesn't get much of a reaction, the WWE Universe could grow to hate him if he defeats Universe favorite Santino Marella.
Cesaro could make a good champion if booked well, but he needs to get over as a heel first. Facing off against fan favorite Santino could do just that.
Damien Sandow vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Sandow squashed Tatsu here and gained victory with his neckbreaker finisher. Hey WWE, I want to see Sandow wrestle a match! At least Brodus Clay and Ryback actually get hit a few times now, but Sandow continues to dismantle his opponents.
I was hoping that his little feud with Zack Ryder was going to lead to something, but all it led to was Sandow destroying the Long Island Iced Z for a few weeks.
He's getting over as a heel with his character, as he can rile everyone up with his words. His mic work is strong, but I'm waiting to see him have a match.
Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio: No. 1 Contenders Match
Del Rio would become the No. 1 contender after stealing the victory from Rey Mysterio. I thought this was a great match. There wasn't a dull moment, as all four superstars delivered.
Mysterio is definitely back to his old self. He's flying around the ring and wrestling quite well. The master of the 619 was certainly missed on SmackDown, and his presence adds some depth to the main-event scene.
I felt that Kane was the star of the match, as he was truly at the top of his game here. It's almost like reuniting with the Undertaker on Raw this past Monday lit a fire under him. Kane has been very good since his feud with Randy Orton, and he continues to deliver in the ring each week.
Bryan exited the slump he entered into on Raw here. After being left at the altar, Rock Bottomed by the Rock and challenged by Charlie Sheen, the former world champion certainly wasn't looking too good. He bounced back big time in this match!
Del Rio continues to impress me and I'm actually glad that he won the match. He has to win the title at SummerSlam, though. He's been in the title picture since his return in the spring and he has failed each time he has battled for the title. He needs to win this match to look like a credible threat.
If he loses again, then the WWE Universe will never believe that he can defeat Sheamus and WWE would be better off taking him out of the main event as a result.
Overall, I thought this was a good episode of Friday Night SmackDown. This episode featured a number of good matches and possible setups for future feuds.
For the first time in a long time, WWE has had a great week! Raw was strong and very entertaining, SmackDown was good and the online shows were good as well. I really hope WWE can keep riding the momentum created by the 1,000th episode of Raw.
If they can, the rest of the summer is going to be great!