Only nine days away from the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Friday Night SmackDown once again presented a night of solid action that helped further build toward the highly anticipated event. Also, an entertaining opener and exciting ending certainly made this an enjoyable edition that flew by fast.
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.
Miz TV Featuring The Miz, Team Hell No, Big Show and Dolph Ziggler
Entertaining opening segment featuring The Miz, Team Hell No, Big Show and Dolph Ziggler on Miz TV. Miz was hilarious on the mic here with the WWE Tag Team Champions, and the verbal exchange also including Show and Ziggler was well done.
Miz calling out Booker T on making predictable matches was nice to see, which subsequently set up matches for later in the night. This is how Miz TV can be both entertaining and effective simultaneously.
Randy Orton def. The Miz
Good match between Randy Orton and The Miz. Both of them scored offense on one another, thus making for an enjoyable opening bout.
Sure, having Miz compete for the third time this week was a bit much, but I give him props for working a good match with the Viper that received great time as well. Alberto Del Rio watching from the box seats and being interviewed by Matt Striker was also a nice touch in making his rivalry with Orton feel meaningful.
Rhodes Scholars def. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
Nice tag team match with Team Rhodes Scholars defeating Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel. Their styles meshed nicely and made for a fun matchup while it lasted.
Of course, Kidd and Gabriel deserve better, but they weren't completely squashed. Besides, the purpose of this contest was to further the momentum of Rhodes and Sandow, so the bout was successful in that aspect.
WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan def. Dolph Ziggler and Big Show (non-Title)
Great match with WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan defeating the tandem of Big Show and Dolph Ziggler. While it looked obscurely random on paper, it was given some meaning earlier in the night, so it was somewhat logical.
The antics of Team Hell No have cooled off as of late, but they're allowing their amazing abilities inside the ring to speak for them, which is a great change of pace. I didn't mind Ziggler taking the loss here since Show will be contending for the World Heavyweight Championship next Sunday, but it was still awesome as always seeing him sell like a champ throughout the bout.
Having Rhodes Scholars attack Team Hell No following the bout was smart booking, as it helps build toward the pending WWE Tag Team title match at Hell in a Cell.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro def. Ted DiBiase (non-Title)
Decent match with United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeating Ted DiBiase. Obviously, the match was focused on Cesaro and making him look credible, which is a true shame since DiBiase has a lot of upside and a ton of potential.
It was a glorified squash match for Cesaro, but I would like to see this transcend into a feud at some point, since DiBiase could portray the patriotic babyface while rivaling the ruthless foreigner.
Heath Slater (w/Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal) def. Brodus Clay
Throwaway match with Heath Slater defeating Brodus Clay. Of course, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal may look completely ridiculous and out of character as part of Slater's stable, but it's simple silliness.
It can't possibly hurt their careers since they can't go much lower than where they're already at, so it's nice to see them pushed somewhat aggressively on both shows. I was pleasantly surprised to see Slater score the victory here, so WWE might be determined in giving these guys something of a push in the coming weeks.
Layla def. Natalya
Fine match between Layla and Natalya. The action was exactly what you'd expect from the two and wasn't bad at all, but once you've seen one of their matches together, you've seen them all.
The lack of creativity and innovation in the division is what's hurting the predictable matches, but at least they have a storyline going for them at the moment between Layla and Divas Champion Eve.
World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus def. Wade Barrett in a Lumberjack Match (non-Title)
Extremely solid Lumberjack main event match between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Wade Barrett. Regardless of their previous two encounters on Raw in recent weeks, their matches never seem to get old to this viewer.
They have outstanding chemistry in the ring, and the Lumberjacks helped enhance the contest by interfering at certain points. Given the stipulation, you would've thought they would've given Barrett the win following some dirty shenanigans at the hands of Show, thus protecting everyone involved.
Although they didn't take that route, Barrett still looked strong in defeat against the Celtic Warrior. The ending of the show was a bit convoluted and complicated, with Ziggler once again attempting to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase only for Show to knock him out at the last possible second.
It could very well be foreshadowing something at Hell in a Cell, but it was intriguing, to say the least.
Overall, a good show that featured some solid action and decent build toward the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view next Sunday. The beginning, middle and ending of the show were certainly the highlights, while everything else mostly felt like filler.
However, most of the filler served a purpose and nothing was unbearable to watch. The two hours quickly flew by and didn't feel like it dragged along whatsoever.
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