Every week here on Bleacher Report, I will take an in-depth look at SmackDown, recapping all the action, offering analysis and grading the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show, as well as provide some predictions on the direction of storylines heading into SummerSlam.
I was able to attend this week's show on Tuesday, and it was a great show to see live. The matches for Main Event were good, and most of the matches for SmackDown were entertaining as well.
The opening and closing matches of SmackDown were worth the price of admission alone, but the whole show was quite entertaining. WWE even gave us a new match for SummerSlam with Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn taking on AJ and Big E Langston.
SummerSlam is going to be a very interesting show, but for now, let's get into the action from SmackDown with the first match of the night, RVD vs. Randy Orton.
This was a very entertaining match that really had the crowd going back and forth. Orton and RVD both got in a significant amount of offense, allowing them to hit all their favorite moves.
Everyone was eating it up. Orton and RVD are both babyfaces, so there wasn't a single moment of heat during the whole match, and that made for a very hot crowd.
RVD has been on fire since returning to WWE. Any match he has seems to be a show-stealer, but there is a match that is still coming that will give this one a run for its money.
I am still curious as to why RVD hasn't been put in a real feud yet, but matches like this make me just appreciate the fact that he is back.
Some notes from the match:
- The guy with the whistle definitely knew he was on TV.
- WWE might have edited out some chants. It seemed like there was barely a five-second gap where people weren't yelling something.
- Somehow the pace of this match felt faster when I was watching it live.
This segment did better than expected. Talk shows in WWE can be very painful segments sometimes, but AJ was on point and Ziggler's pop got people excited again.
Miz was supposed to just have on AJ and Big E Langston, but Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn came out. Miz felt like he had the power to make a match.
We now have a mixed-tag match with Ziggler and Kaitlyn taking on Langston and AJ. It's funny how Kaitlyn has forgiven Ziggler so easily for all the times he helped AJ make her life a living hell.
This segment got a few good crowd reactions, and it helped make one more match for SummerSlam. There isn't too much to complain about.
Some notes from the segment:
- AJ's line about Kane wearing a mask "During everything" had half my section in stitches.
- Kaitlyn's line about being able to "Touch AJ" brought on a lot of cheers, too.
- I was seated in a way that made me have to see the back of the MizTV logo. Seeing that it is just some unpainted wood on the back side was kind of disappointing.
This match wasn't too long, but it had a quick pace, and it seems to indicate the start of a feud between the two men since they are now 1-1.
Kofi seems like he hasn't lost a step after being out for a few months, and his new look suits him well. Hopefully, Kofi gets a decent push in the coming months.
Summer Rae was more over than anyone. People were chanting her name throughout the match, though you could hardly hear it on TV.
Overall, I would say this match was pretty solid, but nothing more than a basic match.
It is insane how over Daniel Bryan is with the crowd. People were chanting "Yes" way before the show even started.
These two men know each other very well, so they were able to pack a lot of things into a very small amount of time to make this a decent match.
Wade Barrett brought an electric shaver with him to the ring, and at one point in the match he tried to use it but failed to get any of Bryan's beard.
It's funny to think that these two started on NXT together, and Barrett seemed like the one who would be fast-tracked to the WWE or World title. Here we are a few years later and Bryan is a former World champion who is on his way to becoming WWE champion, and Barrett is getting his beard cut off on Raw.
Bryan picked up the win in a quick but competitive match using his signature Yes Lock.
Some notes from the match:
- Barrett should grow the beard back right away. He looks weird without it now.
- This match came off better on TV than it did in person.
Kane squashing the entire group really made him look dangerous, but it really shows how low 3MB are on the roster right now.
There is really nothing to say about this match. Kane won in about a minute by chokeslamming Jinder Mahal. It was the promo from Bray Wyatt on the Titantron after the match that made things interesting.
Wyatt gave his usual intense performance while Kane watched on from the ring. The Ring of Fire match is on for SummerSlam after Wyatt accepts Kane's challenge.
Grades: (Match, C-) (Promo, A)
Some notes from the match and promo:
- You have to give Heath Slater credit for still trying after all the abuse his character has taken.
- Wyatt's proclamation of "I'm already dead, Kane. I'm already dead." really sent this whole segment home. Wyatt is such a rare talent, and this character is giving him the chance to showcase what he is capable of.
Alberto Del Rio was very aggressive early on in this match, but Christian turned things around pretty quickly. The early part of this match was typical back-and-forth stuff, but over time the match picked up in a big way.
Christian ended up picking up the win in this great match with a roll up. The match lasted three full segments, and it really made it feel like the money we paid for out tickets was worth it.
Damien Sandow came out at the end of the match to cash in his briefcase once Christian had taken out Del Rio with a Killswitch, but Cody Rhodes was right there to stop him.
Some notes from the match:
- Some of Del Rio's kicks to Christian looked really stiff. I would not be surprised if Christian had a bruise or two after this match.
- Christian has been running on all cylinders lately. It seems like he can't have a bad match.
- The top-rope hurricanrana from Christian was both unexpected and awesome.
Attending the show live might have skewed my perception of things, but I thought this was a very good episode of SmackDown.
The RVD vs. Orton and Christian vs. Del Rio matches were both incredible, and the other matches that filled up the card at least helped with some storyline progression.
The Shield had wrestled on Main Event prior to the SmackDown tapings, and in a dark match after the show, so it was no surprise not to see them on SmackDown, but it was a bit of a shock not to see any tag team wrestling whatsoever.
Monday is the final Raw before SummerSlam, so expect WWE to push hard one last time to make sure people pay up to watch the show.
I also have to point out that two of my predictions from the July 26 show came true during this week's show. The first prediction that came to fruition was the mixed tag match at SummerSlam involving AJ, Kaitlyn, Ziggler and Langston.
The second prediction was a little more specific. Here is my exact phrasing from the article:
Damien Sandow will replace the Halliburten he lost with a leather attaché case just to show how classy he is.
That is exactly what he did Friday night. You're welcome.
- WWE will start handing out goat masks if Bray Wyatt ever turns babyface.
- Kane will be taken out during the Ring of Fire match so he can go film See no Evil 2.
- Miz will get involved in at least one match at SummerSlam to set up a future feud.
- Paul Heyman will take a GTS during The Best vs. The Beast match at SummerSlam.
- Ricardo Rodriguez will cost Alberto Del Rio the World title.
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.