With only nine days remaining until WWE Night of Champions, this week's excellent edition of Friday Night SmackDown featured further build towards the pay-per-view as well as some solid action thrown into the mix. In a night filled with returns and rivalries, it was certainly a good show to kick off the new month.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of aftermath and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
Boring opening segment featuring Alberto Del Rio and Co. While I have been enjoying Del Rio's recent re-build lately, his promos are still as boring as ever.
I tuned out for a majority of what he said, and the same goes for David Otunga. I appreciate the fact they're trying to make this "banning of the Brogue Kick" into a storyline, but we've seen so much of this law involvement in wrestling as of late that it's grown tiresome with this viewer.
Nonetheless, props to Ricardo Rodriguez for selling that "injury" like a beast.
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Cody Rhodes
Great tag team match with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeating Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Cody Rhodes. Although we saw this same exact matchup a few short weeks on SmackDown, I still throughly enjoyed the action, as the chemistry between all four guys is simply phenomenal.
I've been loving this partnership between Mysterio and Cara in recent months and hope to see it lead to an eventual pairing or a run with the tag titles at some point. While I'm not high on the heels losing here, it gives Mysterio a reason to go back after the Intercontinental title at Night of Champions after pinning Miz here.
Zack Ryder def. Daniel Bryan via referee reversed decision
Nice little match between Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder while it lasted. I definitely would've liked to see more from these two, but what we got was fun.
Granted, it was more focused on Bryan's character rather than the actual match itself, and it succeeded in that aspect as well.
Ryder was made to look like a complete doofus by accepting Bryan's phony hug, but thankfully was able to defeat the former World Heavyweight Champion by technicality since the referee reversed the decision in the end.
Randy Orton def. Damien Sandow via count-out
Solid match between Randy Orton and Damien Sandow. Honestly, I found this contest much more enjoyable than Sandow's match with Sheamus from last week, mostly since Sandow didn't run outside the ring as much here, but instead was able to score some offense in on Orton.
I knew there was a very slim chance that Sandow would be upsetting the Viper, so I wasn't surprised when he eventually bolted and Orton picked up the count-out victory. It protects Sandow, while also allowing Ziggler and Orton to brawl afterwards.
Speaking of Ziggler, he played his role well on commentary and definitely put over his ongoing feud with Orton.
The Prime Time Players def. The Usos and Primo & Epico to become the No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championships
Fun tag team match with the Prime Time Players defeating Primo and Epico and the Usos to become the No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championships once again.
The fact none of the teams except for the champs received an entrance made this this match feel a bit meaningless, but the action was entertaining and kept a nice pace.
It would've been nice to see a fresh matchup at Night of Champions over the straps, but I'm hopeful this will eventually lead to Young and O'Neil finally winning the titles at the event.
Wade Barrett def. Yoshi Tatsu
Quick squash match with Wade Barrett returning to action for the first time in nearly seven months to dominate Yoshi Tatsu. I greatly appreciated the change of look for Barrett, as it's a nice touch that goes with his new character.
This match was, of course, structured to show off Barrett's bare-knuckle fighting abilities, which makes him took even tougher than he did before.
His promo that followed the victory was well done and established that he doesn't need squash matches, but instead is looking to make an immediate impact regardless of whether it's in the title scene or not.
World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus def. David Otunga (non-title)
Throwaway main event match with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus defeating David Otunga. It lasted only a few minutes, so it baffled me as to why this specific match had to close the show.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't anything terrible, but it just felt pointless. I also don't really see the point in banning the Brogue Kick either, as Sheamus already has a handful of finisher, but at least it adds some innovation into the Celtic Warrior's matches.
Overall, a pretty good show that featured solid action and successful build for next Sunday's Night of Champions event. I had very few complaints about this week's broadcast and enjoyed almost everything the show had to offer. Fingers crossed they kept up the momentum heading into their go-home edition next week.
For my full thoughts on SmackDown, watch my latest WrestleRant video.