The Good, the Great and the Awesome from SmackDown 2/21/14
The final SmackDown before Elimination Chamber is in the books and was headlined by a huge main event pitting two of the six competitors in this weekend's WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against each other.
On last week's show, Sheamus accidentally caught Christian with a Brogue Kick, costing both men and partner Daniel Bryan a six-man tag team match against The Shield. This week, newly minted villain Christian looked to unload his frustration on the Celtic Warrior.
With only two days before what will be a war against The Shield, The Wyatt Family was in action against the Rhodes Brothers and Rey Mysterio. Would the trio be able to focus, or would their attention be on their Elimination Chamber opponents, allowing the highly talented babyfaces to score an upset victory?
Daniel Bryan, fresh off an assault by Kane on Monday's Raw, took on Jack Swagger in one-on-one competition. How would he fare, and more importantly, would it be his only match of the night?
All of those questions would be answered just two days before the final pay-per-view until the road to WrestleMania kicks into high gear.
What was good, great and awesome about this week's show?
Find out after the jump.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Titus O'Neil
Ziggler did an outstanding job of bumping around the squared circle in an attempt to help put over former Prime Time Player O'Neil on this week's show.
To his credit, the former Florida Gator kept up with Ziggler and looked primed to make an impact at this Sunday's Elimination Chamber. Unfortunately for him, former partner Darren Young was commentating at ringside and provided the distraction that ultimately led to his one-time friend's downfall.
Ziggler picked up a rare win, while Young once again got one over on his former partner heading into this weekend's match.
Effective if not predictable booking.
Jimmy Uso vs. Road Dogg
A very basic match that relied too heavily on rest holds despite its rather short length.
With that said, the booking was crisp and clean. Jimmy's victory gives The Usos a clean sweep over the tag team champions, The New Age Outlaws, having defeated them in both singles and tag team competition.
It creates questions as to whether the twins have the champions' number and really puts over the babyfaces as legitimate threats to the Outlaws' reign.
A pedestrian match that showcased Road Dogg's weaknesses at this point in his career but the booking was enough to keep it from meaning nothing.
Cody Rhodes, Goldust and Rey Mysterio vs. The Wyatt Family
If one thing is clear, it is that WWE has perfected the six-man tag team match formula, and it was once again on display this week as The Wyatt Family defeated Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and Goldust to continue rolling as it heads into Elimination Chamber and what should be a war against The Shield this Sunday night.
The match was solidly wrestled, and the closing moments, as has become the norm for matches of this sort, were wild, chaotic and energetic and really popped the crowd.
The blind tag to Bray Wyatt, which caught Goldust off guard and ultimately led to his demise, was really well done and led to Sister Abigail from Wyatt for the win.
OK, so it was not really great, and it may not have even been good.
But this writer marks out for Emma, so deal with it.
In all seriousness, regardless of the overall quality of the actual competition between the rookie Diva and Summer Rae, the company has done a good job of pairing Emma with an over midcard act such as Santino, and thus far, she has benefited from it.
Rather than debuting her and forcing her to get over on her own, which would be a struggle for any Diva given the way the ladies are booked, the WWE partnered her with a one of the most perennially over stars on the roster and let her get heat via association, all the while allowing her character to grow and build over time.
It really is something the WWE should try with more of its young Superstars and Divas.
The trials of Bryan
This week's SmackDown kicked off a lot like Monday's Raw did, with Daniel Bryan being forced to compete in two matches, thanks to Director of Operations, Kane.
Bryan defeated Jack Swagger in a good match to start the night's festivities. Then, at the behest of SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero and Kane, it was announced that he would take on one of his five opponents at Elimination Chamber this Sunday night, Cesaro.
The two former Ring of Honor standouts had a tremendous match that ended in disqualification when the Big Red Monster interjected himself in the contest just moments after Bryan caught Cesaro with the running knee to the face.
For the second time this week, Bryan found himself on the receiving end of a chokeslam.
All signs seem to point to a Bryan-Kane feud that will continue to play out over the coming weeks. While the program makes sense given their history together, one has to hope that the goat-faced Superstar will be involved in something more meaningful come WrestleMania.
Sheamus vs. Christian
An excellent, hard-fought main event to cap off Friday's show.
Christian is a natural heel, and his work is stronger when he is in that role. His opponent, Sheamus, is one of the better babyface workers on the roster, and the two Superstars have solid chemistry with one another, as evidenced by this and prior matches.
Could Christian have used a victory heading into Sunday? Yes. But at the same time, the emphasis for the heel turn was the frustration he was experiencing following the series of losses he has collected since returning from injury, so it works in that context.
The win gives Sheamus the opportunity to have the spotlight on him, something that has not really happened since returning at the Royal Rumble.
A quality main event from two respected pros.