This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown emanates from Charlotte, N.C., and follows a fairly unremarkable episode of Monday Night Raw.
The main takeaway from Raw was that Big Show has now taken Daniel Bryan’s place in the Superstar’s war against The Authority. That angle is absent from the show, which instead focuses on The Wyatts' conflict with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk and John Cena’s feud with Alberto Del Rio.
With WrestleMania XXX coming up in the distance, now is about the time where seeds are planted for the huge show’s card. With this episode of SmackDown, we also get a better idea of what to expect out of Survivor Series.
The following are complete spoilers for this week’s edition of SmackDown (courtesy of WrestlingInc.com).
• CM Punk opens SmackDown by calling out The Wyatt Family. He gets Curtis Axel instead, who challenges Punk to a match. Punk wins. During the match The Wyatts’ music played and the lights went out and came back on, but they never actually appeared.
• AJ and Tamina defeated The Funkadactyls after AJ made Cameron tap out.
• Alberto Del Rio came to the ring and called out John Cena. Cena hit the ring, but Vickie Guerrero stopped them before they could fight. She announces that the two men will face each other at Survivor Series. She then makes Del Rio vs. The Great Khali and Cena vs. Ryback.
• Del Rio makes Khali submit to the cross armbreaker.
• The Usos and R-Truth got a pinfall victory over 3MB.
• Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper ended in disqualification after Erick Rowan interfered. Bryan is beaten down by The Wyatts until Punk makes the save.
• John Cena defeated Ryback after hitting an Attitude Adjustment. After the match Del Rio comes out to attack Cena, but Cena starts to get the upper hand. SmackDown ends with Del Rio escaping the ring and staring down the champ.
• Dark Match: John Cena faced Alberto Del Rio in the dark match of the night. As you’d expect, Cena gets the win to send the crowd home happy(ish).
Indie Kings vs. The Wyatts
Daniel Bryan is officially out of the main event and now finds himself in a program with CM Punk against The Wyatt Family.
Bryan and Punk are two of the WWE’s biggest babyfaces, so it’s likely that the company is saving big things for their respective WrestleMania seasons. This is certainly true of Punk, who has been kept out of The Authority angle via his feud with Heyman and is now entangled with The Wyatts.
That makes Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt more roadblocks than legitimate opponents for the two indie kings, as they’re essentially just keeping the babyfaces busy for a few months. Still, they’re getting a good rub from being in such elite company. Look for The Wyatts to supplant The Shield as the dominant heel faction in the company.
The Second City Saint got a pinfall victory over Luke Harper on Raw, but Daniel Bryan wasn't able to secure a victory over the hillbilly brute—at least, not before Erick Rowan interfered. As much as The Wyatts are a placeholder program for the two big stars, this rivalry is interesting, at the very least.
And if any two stars in the company can come out on top of a feud and have their opponents look just as good, it’s Daniel Bryan and CM Punk.
The World Heavyweight Championship and You
The World Heavyweight Championship matters again!
The last time SmackDown closed with an angle involving the big gold belt was back in early August when Christian defeated Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam to earn a No.1 contendership spot for the title.
The Mexican Aristocrat has been booked strongly throughout the year, with big wins over the likes of The Big Show, Christian, Dolph Ziggler and most recently Rob Van Dam.
The problem is, none of those stars, big as they are, are of the same echelon as John Cena. As a result, despite being world champion for the majority of the year, Del Rio still doesn’t feel like real competition for the 14-time champion.
But then again, that’s the type of thing that happens when you have a Superstar win 14 world championships. The World Heavyweight Title’s value is rising steadily, and right now that’s really all that matters.
Is It Time for 3MB to Rise Above?
Poor 3MB. Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre have a rough job.
Personally, I find Slater and McIntyre dull in the ring, and Mahal seemed very green when we last saw him as a singles competitor. Still, perhaps the WWE should give them a shot at being a proper team.
Either way, a new jobber crew needs to take their place, because every 3MB match just screams filler content. It really does no service to the team that beat them—part of the reason Los Matadores have been so underwhelming is because they only ever seem to face 3MB.
The Three Man Band should be given a lot of credit; they’re essentially three Superstars arbitrarily placed into a faction and given a ridiculous gimmick, but the fact that they haven’t horrifically crashed and burned certainly says something.
Build them up, break them apart, whichever. WWE really should do something with 3MB.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @dvanboom