The Shield Wages War
The story of Friday's SmackDown was The Shield's refusal to sit back and allow themselves to be beaten down by 11 other Superstars for the second time in as many weeks. Instead, they opted to take them out one by one until only a select few were left.
They started with Jack Swagger, following the former world champion's disappointing loss to Cesaro. They followed with a beatdown of 3MB in the backstage area and then added Raw general manager Brad Maddox to their list. A sick triple powerbomb to Fandango, off the stage and through two tables, ended the ballroom dancer's night and brought a "this is awesome" chant from the crowd in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Curtis Axel was apparently attacked off-camera, according to commentator Michael Cole, which left Titus O'Neil, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio, Bad News Barrett and Ryback to battle the Hounds of Justice in the night's main event.
Despite taking a pounding from the opposition, Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose fought back and dispatched their opponents with methodical precision. Sandow, as has become the case with the former Money in the Bank winner, ate the pinfall following a Spear from Reigns and O'Neil, and Ryback also suffered the brunt of the punishment after the bell had sounded.
As The Shield stood united in the center of the squared circle, it was clear that this week's show belonged to them. WWE may have something special on its hands if it can resist the urge to split them too soon and if they can maintain the momentum they have built over the last month.
Kudos to the creative team, which perfectly crafted a story that ran throughout the show and had viewers wanting to see what The Shield would do next—where they would come from and which unlucky Superstar would be the latest to suffer at their hands. WWE should try utilizing this excellent storytelling more often.
Bray Wyatt Promo
The best talker in wrestling delivered once again this week as he discussed his upcoming Steel Cage match against John Cena at Extreme Rules. He said Cena would be trapped in a cage with a snake in Wyatt, who was still full of venom.
He discussed the fact that the fans turned on Cena Monday night by selecting him to compete in a three-on-one handicap match against the Wyatt Family.
While the point was the same as it has been throughout the feud, Wyatt's delivery, cadence and conviction continue to be head and shoulders above everyone else on the roster and in the business, making him the most engaging and captivating talker in pro wrestling.
Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger
While wrestling may not have been prevalent on this week's show, the opening match of the evening was a stellar, hard-hitting and hard-fought battle between Real American tag partners Cesaro and Jack Swagger.
Cesaro utilized uppercuts to his advantage, while Swagger repeatedly tried for the Patriot Lock, which the Swiss Superstar was able to counter. The Cesaro Swing stunned Swagger, and the Neutralizer finished him off as a joyful Paul Heyman watched at ringside.
Cesaro's win seemingly ends the program between him and Swagger, but with the vendetta between Colter and Heyman looking far from over and the Extreme Rules pay-per-view coming up in a matter of days, do not be surprised to see a rematch of sorts, perhaps even including the managers.