The best news to emerge from this week’s SmackDown is that no one got hurt. When you have a major pay-per-view like Money in the Bank coming up in just a few days, that is the best you can hope for if you are WWE management.
The second best news to come out of SmackDown is that for a go-home show, it was extremely entertaining. Normally, the stars go into cruise control on these weeks to avoid any injury, but from the opening match to the main event, the performers gave it their all.
The small but highly engaged crowd in the Hampton (VA) Coliseum had to have gone home feeling like they got their money’s worth.
For a show that was supposed to be from the SmackDown brand, however, it definitely had a Raw feel to it. The first and last matches featured participants in the Money in the Bank All-Star contest Sunday—Daniel Bryan and Christian in the opening act, and Sheamus and Randy Orton in the finale.
Two other matches were considered unfinished business from previous Raw shows—The Miz against Ryback and World Champ Alberto Del Rio against Sin Cara, who turned out to be Dolph Ziggler in Sin Cara gear.
And even Vickie Guerrero, who had just been “fired” as Raw’s managing supervisor the night before, showed up. She ramped up the heat with her screeching voice and histrionics before Teddy Long ordered security to escort her from the building, even though she claimed she was a legitimate ticket buyer.
Any distinction between WWE brands definitely was blurred on this night.
The only match that was close to even smelling like SmackDown was the match between Fandango and Wade Barrett, two of the participants in the MITB contest for the World Heavyweight Championship. If you blinked, though, you missed it, but WWE used the match as an opportunity to bring out the rest of the combatants in the battle for the blue briefcase.
WWE did something on SmackDown that is almost unheard of on its main TV shows. It devoted an unusually large amount of time to the Divas when AJ Lee and Kaitlyn held their contract-signing ceremony for the Divas Championship match on Sunday. I thought that skit was only used for the men. But Lee and Kaitlyn actually made it enjoyable.
However, the ceremony still reflected the paltry state in which the WWE Divas Division finds itself. The entire Diva roster was in the ring for the event—all eight of them, including the signers.
It’s really too bad that Chris Jericho is prepping for yet another tour of duty with his rock band and will not be on TV much in the coming weeks. His match with Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel was one of the surprises of the night. This could be one of the better feuds in WWE going forward if Jericho were going to be around more.
The weakest match of the night featured Seth Rollins of The Shield going against Jey Uso. Uso and his brother, Jimmy, will face Rollins and stablemate Roman Reigns for the Tag Team Championship on the MITB kickoff show, so everyone knew going in that this match would be quick and not much to it.
Fortunately, for the viewing audience and the fans in Hampton, the rest of the show more than made up for that weakness. Overall, it was one of the better go-home shows in recent WWE memory.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.