As the week nears its end, WWE presents a new episode of Friday Night SmackDown!
WWE’s Friday night show has been quite good lately, and that looked to continue this week. Four matches were featured on this edition, while segments and the actions of Superstars helped build up the very first Payback pay-per-view.
The June 7 episode of SmackDown kicked off with Miz TV.
Things kicked off with a new edition of Miz TV with former WWE champion The Miz. His guests this time were Kane and Daniel Bryan of Team Hell No and Randy Orton.
Bryan started by apologizing for blaming Orton for the loss on Monday’s Raw, and he also apologized to Kane by saying that he’s the best partner a guy could ask for.
The Miz quickly stirred the pot, though, so apologies turned into arguing. Kane left the ring out of frustration, which got Teddy Long to make the main event of The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton.
I tend to enjoy Miz TV when it’s featured on Raw or SmackDown. I couldn’t really get into this edition, though. Everyone was great on the mic, especially Bryan, but it all led to the same thing that’s been happening in recent weeks.
All Team Hell No have been doing since losing the titles is arguing, and Orton has been added to the mix after a match with Dean Ambrose a week or so ago. That’s what this segment was: arguing.
It did lead to Kane leaving, which makes the breakup of Team Hell No seem more likely, but other than that, it didn’t really do much for me.
Chris Jericho vs. Curtis Axel
After a distraction from CM Punk’s entrance theme, Axel rolled up Jericho for the victory. This was an overall solid match. Jericho and Axel gave fans a good back-and-forth contest, which kept the new Paul Heyman Guy looking strong.
Jericho also continues to put talent over. The win may not have been totally clean like past jobs he has done, but he was still pinned by Axel unlike Triple H and John Cena.
Heyman getting up onto the announce table and screaming “It’s clobbering time!” was a great way to cue CM Punk’s music. Just playing it would have been effective, but Heyman’s actions made it even more so. The reaction his theme got was huge. When he returns, people are going to go nuts, especially in his hometown of Chicago.
Post-match, an angry Jericho ran back into the ring to attack Axel. When it was all said and done, Axel was laid out by a Codebreaker.
While Axel did just beat another former World champion, he was left down and out. He was a victim of circumstance. Jericho can’t go after Punk just yet, so Axel was the next best thing. For the first time since his debut, Curtis Axel’s momentum took a hit.
Ryback’s Rules Don’t Apply
Kane then bumped into Ryback backstage. Ryback thought that Kane wanted to put Bryan through a table, but they were still partners. Kane wanted to see if he could him through a table.
Ryback simply said “Ryback Rules,” to which Kane ran down his deeds including Tombstoning a priest, setting people on fire and burying The Undertaker alive. Ryback’s rules didn’t apply and Kane walked away, leaving an angry Ryback behind.
This was a pretty intense segment. Nobody has really called out “Ryback Rules” since the debut of the phrase, but Kane was the perfect one to do so. There’s no one better than a monster to call Ryback out.
Hearing some of Kane’s past exploits brought back some good memories; memories of when Kane truly was a monster. Ryback knew that he was put in his place as well. The look and anger on his face really showed that.
The Showoff Returns
Alberto Del Rio vs. Heath Slater was supposed to happen next, but Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal attacked Del Rio instead. Del Rio soon got the upper hand and took out all three members. The segment also saw Ricardo Rodriguez climb to the top rope and fly, taking out 3MB in the process.
Well that was kind of random. I guess since Del Rio is done with his mini-feud with Big E Langston WWE needed to keep him looking strong somehow.
Seeing Ricardo fly was awesome! I was a bit shocked when he started to climb to the top. I know that he is a wrestler, but his character isn’t. Perhaps fans will begin to see him in the ring more.
Dolph Ziggler then returned via satellite. He revealed that he was medically cleared to return to the ring, and would be doing so on Monday’s Raw.
It’s great to hear that Ziggler is healthy and cleared to compete again. The World Heavyweight Championship scene was really taking a hit with the champion missing in action. With him back, things can get back on track with the title picture. Del Rio will most likely get his match at Payback.
Kane vs. Ryback
Kane took the victory via disqualification when Ryback powerbombed him through a table. Kane and Ryback had a solid, hard-hitting match here. Both Superstars performed quite well in this match as they just went at each other.
The finish keeps Ryback looking strong in his feud with John Cena. He has taken out Kofi Kingston with three tables, and has put both members of Team Hell No and John Cena through a table as well.
Ryback is looking like a beast with the table, but I think it’s all going to come crashing down on him. I have the feeling that Ryback will win the Lumberjack match, which will result in Cena putting him through a table to tie the match up to make way for the ambulance.
All of this carnage will ultimately lead to Ryback losing the second stage of Three Stages of Hell.
Beating a Super Computer with One Move
Damien Sandow then appeared in the ring. Neither Sheamus, nor the fans, were his intellectual equal. His next challenge was defeating the super computer Deep Blue at chess, which was apparently so smart that it talked back to him.
After just one move, Sheamus made his way out. He claimed that he could beat Deep Blue with only one move. Sandow took the challenge, and the Celtic Warrior succeeded with a Brogue Kick. Sandow then attacked Sheamus, taking him out after bashing his head into a table multiple times.
Well that was interesting. I get the feud, which is intelligence vs. power, but these segments are a bit ridiculous. I find it weird, though; that everything Sandow is saying is true. At least that’s the way the storyline is playing out.
Sandow’s argument is that Sheamus is just a brute with no intelligence. When Sheamus can’t succeed in the challenge, he resorts to brute force. Sandow is right in terms of how it’s all going down.
This time around, Sandow was the one who resorted to violence. It’s about time, too. Sheamus has had the upper hand in this feud with his attacks on Sandow, so it was about time for him to gain some momentum.
A match will no doubt happen at Payback, but I hope it’s the only one. I don’t really want to see any more of these segments.
Tension Between Partners
Backstage, Randy Orton informed Daniel Bryan that Kane was in the trainer’s room. Bryan didn’t care since he didn’t ask Kane to defend him.
Orton wanted him to put the problems aside so that that can beat The Shield, but Bryan declared that he had no problems. Orton didn’t like Bryan, and he left the room to end the segment.
I smell an RKO in Bryan’s future. Whether it’s during the main event or next week on Raw, Orton will be laying out Bryan very soon.
Bryan’s disinterest in his partner being with the doctor only adds fuel to the fire that will eventually lead to Team Hell No’s demise. I give it until Payback to happen.
Fandango vs. Zack Ryder
After Ryder got in a few big moves, Fandango picked up the victory with his top rope leg drop. This match was short and sweet. Fandango controlled the beginning, Ryder hit some of his signature moves to the delight of the hometown crowd and then Fandango won.
The Miz was on commentary to advance his feud with Fandango and hype the Triple Threat Intercontinental Championship match at Payback between them and champion Wade Barrett. Miz was great on commentary, but other than Ryder’s huge hometown response, there really isn’t much to note here.
The Secret Admirer Soon to be Revealed
Backstage, Natalya was walking when she saw Kaitlyn. Natalya started to talk, but the Divas champion cut her off to reveal that she was going to meet her secret admirer on Raw. Natalya questioned a meet on Raw and felt it should be in private.
Kaitlyn didn’t think she was happy for her, and when the former champion said he could be a creep, Kaitlyn fired back with “If he was a creep, he wouldn’t be texting me. He’d be texting you.”
Harsh words from Kaitlyn there. It’s about time WWE reveals this secret admirer, though. I actually want to see who it is. The WWE Divas don’t get actual storylines very often, so it’s great to see when one finally occurs. It’s even better to see one payoff!
I do have the feeling that it’s going to be a huge letdown. It’ll end up being The Great Khali, which would explain his and Natalya’s involvement since the start, or somebody like Hornswoggle.
It could be AJ Lee, who would be screwing with her leading to their eventual title match. That would work in terms of storylines.
When Natalya brought up that he could be a “creep,” there is somebody that did go through my mind, though. Who is on the verge of debuting and is quite creepy? The answer is Bray Wyatt.
Could he be the admirer and try to recruit her for his Wyatt Family? That’s something that would actually be a pretty good payoff. At the same time, I still suspect a letdown.
The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton
The match ended in a disqualification when Dean Ambrose broke up Bryan’s No Lock applied to Seth Rollins. I thought that this was a good tag team match. It featured fast-paced action and was very back-and-forth throughout.
Daniel Bryan was without a doubt the star once again. Rollins, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton all performed very well in this match, but they didn’t compare to Bryan.
His “weak link” gimmick is bringing out the American Dragon in him. I feel like I’m watching him as Bryan Danielson in Ring of Honor. The man is on a roll. WWE would be crazy not to put him into the title picture once Team Hell No does eventually break up.
The tension between him and Orton leads me to believe that a feud between them is inevitable. What happened post-match only got me thinking that more.
After Ambrose broke up the No Lock, The Shield attempted to continue attacking Bryan, but the former World champion got the better of them. He didn’t get much time to celebrate, though, as he got an RKO from Orton.
Orton has already stated that he didn’t like Bryan, and him getting dropkicked in the face isn’t helping matters either. I wouldn’t doubt if these two had a match on Raw at the very least.
Overall, I thought this was a good episode of Friday Night SmackDown. Of the four matches featured, three of them were quite good. Segments were either solid, or at least got the job done in terms of storyline development.
WWE’s Friday night show has been very good lately. At times, I feel like I’m watching the SmackDown of old. I think that the blue brand is typically better than Raw each week, too. The two hours of SmackDown is just more entertaining to me than the three hours of Raw.
I hope SmackDown can keep up the good work!