Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian
The opening match of the evening featured WWE's resident Showoff, Dolph Ziggler, taking on Christian in singles competition. Alberto Del Rio, whom Ziggler defeated with the assistance of Breaking Bad and Need For Speed star Aaron Paul, was on commentary for the bout and would play a major role in the conclusion of the match.
Ziggler and Christian delivered a very solid, if not somewhat lackluster, match that played to both of their strengths. Unfortunately, it was marred by interference, as Del Rio stood on top of the commentary table (as Paul had Monday night) and provided a distraction that allowed Christian to deliver the Killswitch and pick up the win.
Del Rio and Ziggler have outstanding in-ring chemistry with one another, which was on display on several occasions in 2013, and a program between the two heading into WrestleMania would make for a very entertaining undercard bout on the show.
For fans to really invest or care about the feud, however, the creative team absolutely must do a better job of protecting the talent and allow them to pick up wins heading into the show.
Otherwise, it will be a tall task for the company to ask fans to get up for a match between two guys riding losing streaks into the biggest show of the year.
As for Christian, he continues to enjoy a run that has him more relevant than he has been in two years. His feud with Sheamus, whom we will get to in a moment, should provide Captain Charisma with the most high-profile singles WrestleMania match he has had since 2004.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
Four days after a vicious backstage assault at the hands of Christian, the "Celtic Warrior" Sheamus returned to the ring for a showdown with former rival Alberto Del Rio.
The competitors have tremendous chemistry with one another, the result of working together as much as they did in 2012, and again provided fans with an entertaining bout on SmackDown.
Del Rio, as he typically does, worked over the arm of his opponent in hopes of applying the cross armbreaker. Sheamus fought back and eventually scored the Brogue Kick for the pinfall victory.
It can be argued, and rightfully so, that Del Rio needed the win much more than his opponent. If he and Ziggler are to feud heading into WrestleMania, they both need to amass some momentum, and a win for Del Rio over someone with the star power of Sheamus would have done wonders.
That Sheamus had a built-in excuse in the arm lacerations he suffered at the hands of Christian on Raw would have made it so that the Celtic Warrior lost nothing in defeat.
On the flip side of that argument is that Sheamus vs. Christian is a more relevant midcard 'Mania match than Del Rio vs. Ziggler would be, and as a result, the focus should be shifted in that direction.