With WrestleMania 29 right around the corner, the stars of WWE SmackDown presented a solid show on Friday night that helped build toward the spring spectacle. Furthermore, most of the matches and segments on this week's edition served a purpose and planted the seeds for other potential matchups at 'Mania.
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 the coming weeks.
Miz TV Guest-Starring Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show
Decent Miz TV segment to kick off the show guest-starring Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show. Everyone played their roles exceptionally well, but no one's mic work was all that intriguing.
It was a standard segment that established the main event for later in the night as well as the six-man tag team match at WrestleMania 29, so at least it was effective in that aspect.
Mark Henry def. Zack Ryder
Basic squash match with Mark Henry dominating Zack Ryder. We've been seeing the same shtick from Henry for weeks, so this was nothing out of the ordinary.
Ryback's ambush on Henry was well done, but it wasn't absolutely necessary. I would have liked to see these two kept apart going into their clash at 'Mania, but I'm content with the approach they're taking instead.
Dolph Ziggler with AJ Lee and Big E Langston def. Kofi Kingston
Good match between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. It was basically a retread of what we saw on this week's Raw, but it was still well wrestled regardless.
Ziggler could use all the momentum he can get after being booked so poorly since the start of the year. More decisive victories like this one will only benefit him. Kingston, on the other hand, is in desperate need of a gimmick change. He has maintained the same stagnant character since his debut more than five years ago.
Jack Swagger with Zeb Colter def. Chris Jericho
Great match between Jack Swagger and Chris Jericho. Although their main event match last week was quite similar, I still enjoyed this bout nonetheless.
Swagger and Jericho have awesome chemistry with one another, so I wouldn't be against a full-fledged feud between the two down the line. Fandango's interference wasn't surprising, but it was impressive.
While he may be a great athlete, I'm still confused as to why Fandango is getting a WrestleMania match before established stars such as Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, among others.
Brodus Clay and Tensai vs. Team Rhodes Scholars Went to a No-Contest
This throwaway tag team match had Brodus Clay and Tensai take on Team Rhodes Scholars. The contest lasted a mere minute before mayhem ensued at ringside with everyone attacking each other.
The involvement of the Bella Twins and the Funkadactyls leads me to believe that we'll be seeing a mixed eight-person tag team match at 'Mania. I don't have a huge problem with that match, but it's a shame that Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow will not be a part of a more meaningful match at the event.
The Miz def. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro (Nontitle)
The brief match between United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and The Miz was over before it even started. Miz locked in the figure-four leglock two minutes into the contest and forced Cesaro to tap out immediately.
I don't understand why WWE continues to have Cesaro lose meaningless matches for no reason, which devalues the title and its credibility. There's a slight chance that this could have set up a Triple Threat match between Miz, Cesaro and Wade Barrett at WrestleMania, but that's doubtful.
Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus def. 3MB
Typical six-man tag team match with Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus defeating 3MB. Since it happened so late in the show, you knew it wasn't going to last long, so that didn't come as much of a surprise.
However, I liked how tension was teased between Orton, Sheamus and Show, as it gives the impression they won't be able to co-exist at WrestleMania. Furthermore, it was nice to see The Shield make an appearance, even if all that they did was to stare down their 'Mania opponents.
Overall, it was a decent show that didn't feature many noteworthy moments, but nothing terribly bad, either. Of course, the only match worth watching for a second time would have to be Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger, but everything else could have been missed .
However, I appreciate the effort that was put into building a number of matches for WrestleMania 29 in just over two weeks.