On the premiere episode of Friday Night SmackDown in 2013, a number of solid matches were held that provided some quality entertainment for the most part. With the new year finally upon us, that could only mean that the road to the Royal Rumble is sure to follow.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of prediction and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
Decent opening segment featuring Randy Orton, Sheamus, world heavyweight champion Big Show and United States champion Antonio Cesaro. Each individual promo wasn't all that great, but it was an effective way of building toward the main event later in the night.
Orton and Sheamus announcing they'll be competing in the Royal Rumble match later this month made the match feel meaningful with both guys being top-tier talent.
The Miz def. Heath Slater
Good match between The Miz and Heath Slater. Going into it, I was expecting a glorified squash match, but it was much more than that.
It was given great time and involved some nice action. Sure, it could've been a bit shorter since the ending result was never in doubt, but I won't complain about longer matches.
Miz is incredibly over with the audience, and I look forward to seeing him develop more as a fan favorite in coming months.
The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya def. Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes
Throwaway six-person tag team match with The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya defeating Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes. Obviously, the action was mostly comedic and basically what you'd expect.
Thankfully, it was kept short and wasn't dragged on for very long. Even still, it's a true shame to see Primo and Epico used as fodder for Khali and Hornswoggle for no apparent reason.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Kofi Kingston
Great match with Wade Barrett successfully defending his Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston. These two have awesome chemistry and they provided yet another excellent contest.
Furthermore, the finish with Barrett hitting the Bull Hammer in mid-air on Kingston was very well done. I'm surprised they blew off the feud this early with the rematch occurring in the same week Barrett won the title, but it's possible they could continue the rivalry in coming weeks.
Tamina Snuka def. Layla
Fine match between Tamina Snuka and Layla. It wasn't long and it didn't need to be, as it was mostly used to showcase Tamina's dominance.
Also, both are good workers, so the match was well-wrestled for the most part. I'm not sure how'll they get Tamina in the Divas title picture with Eve as the current champion, but I expect 2013 to be a breakout year for Tamina.
Randy Orton and Sheamus def. World Heavyweight Champion Big Show and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
Solid tag team match with Randy Orton and Sheamus defeating world heavyweight champion Big Show and United States champion Antonio Cesaro. There was nothing out of the ordinary, but there wasn't anything necessarily bad about it, either.
I'm glad Cesaro got some rub from being in the ring with three top stars, despite the fact he took a pinfall here. Of course, this match was mostly used to establish tension between Orton and Sheamus, which could very well be foreshadowing a future feud between the two.
Overall, a decent show that mostly featured filler with nothing outside of the Intercontinental Championship match worth a second look. However, some minor build was done for the Royal Rumble match, so this edition of SmackDown wasn't completely meaningless.
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