As WrestleMania 29 draws near, this week's edition of WWE SmackDown did quite a bit to build excitement for the highly anticipated event. From John Cena vs. The Rock to Chris Jericho vs. Fandango, most matches on the 'Mania card were heavily hyped on Friday night.
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.
John Laurinaitis returned to interrupt WWE champion The Rock
It was a fun promo from The Rock and the returning John Laurinaitis. Although The Rock's promo catered to the live crowd more than it did to hyping his match with Cena at WrestleMania 29, I was fine with it.
I didn't care for the return for Laurinaitis, but he did have an enjoyable exchange with The Great One. The People's Elbow to Big Johnny was predictable, but it was a nice treat for those in attendance.
Chris Jericho def. Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett (non-title)
Solid match between Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett and Chris Jericho. It felt fresh, and the two managed to work very well together.
They developed some awesome chemistry with one another and the finish with The Miz distracting Barrett to allow Jericho to pick up the victory was well done. Jericho's post-match promo was a nice way of furthering his feud with Fandango as well.
Josh Matthews interviewed Paul Heyman
Great promo from Paul Heyman discussing Brock Lesnar's upcoming match with Triple H at WrestleMania 29. Needless to say, Heyman is easily one of the best mic workers in WWE today, so this segment was an automatic hit.
He showed true emotion when speaking and made the career-threatening stipulation for HHH feel important. I didn't have high hopes going into this feud, but it's definitely been a much better booked event, thus far, than originally expected.
Mark Henry and Ryback participated in a weightlifting competition
Decent weightlifting competition between Mark Henry and Ryback. Although Henry breaking the apparent record was impressive, it was pretty predictable once it was mentioned.
This wasn't necessarily a bad segment, but it definitely didn't bring much excitement to the show either. If nothing else, it gave Henry some strong momentum going into his match with Ryback at 'Mania.
WWE Tag Team champion Daniel Bryan and Divas champion Kaitlyn w/Kane def. Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee w/Big E Langston
Brief mixed tag team match with WWE Tag Team champion Daniel Bryan and Divas champion Kaitlyn defeating Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee. I was expecting much more from this match than what we got, so it certainly should have been given more time.
Nonetheless, the action was enjoyable while it lasted with both the Superstars and Divas hyping their respective matches for WrestleMania. It would have been nice to see AJ score another victory over Kaitlyn, but that's just nitpicking things.
Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter vs. The Great Khali w/Hornswoggle and Natalya went to a Double Count-out
Fine match between Jack Swagger and The Great Khali. I appreciate the effort in making Swagger look dominant over Khali, but why not have him win the match instead of having it go to a double count-out?
Even still, the brief brawl between Swagger and World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio was intense, but nothing we haven't seen before. Their pending match at 'Mania should be great, but the feud itself has been rather stagnant from the start.
Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show def. United States champion Antonio Cesaro and Team Rhodes Scholars
Standard six-man tag team match with Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show defeating United States champion Antonio Cesaro and Team Rhodes Scholars. The match was formulaic for the most part, but still well wrestled.
Everyone was able to hit their signature spots, but the outcome was never in doubt. The face trio standing tall at the end was a nice visual, but makes me fearful that they might actually win at WrestleMania.
Overall, a solid show that furthered a number of feuds going into WrestleMania, but nothing all that entertaining was featured. That being said, I'm glad that no time was wasted on pointless promos or meaningless matches this week.
The action as a whole was average, but nothing on this show was worth watching for a second time. With one week remaining until the biggest show of the year, it was important for this edition of SmackDown to fully focus on the event, so at least it was successful in that aspect.