The Good, the Great and the Awesome from SmackDown (August 15)
The final SmackDown before SummerSlam is in the books, and Roman Reigns is charging into Los Angeles with a head of steam following his victory over Intercontinental champion The Miz Friday night.
After being disrespected numerous times by the Hollywood star, he blasted Miz in the face with a hard right hand, then promised more of the same for the dangerous Randy Orton come SummerSlam. His victory over Miz in the main event helped him build even more momentum, which he hopes to ride into Staples Center as he attempts to knock off the Viper in one of the night's marquee bouts.
Speaking of The Miz, his feud with Dolph Ziggler over the prestigious Intercontinental Championship intensified this week, thanks to Ziggler preventing his SummerSlam opponent from bailing out of his match with Reigns.
Big Show and Mark Henry continued their winning ways, defeating Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a surprisingly good match, while Jack Swagger defeated Bo Dallas just two days before his huge Flag match against Rusev.
The biggest show of the summer is just over 24 hours away. Relive the best from the last SmackDown on the road to SummerSlam with this week's Good, Great and Awesome!
The Big Show and Mark Henry vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
While there will be many who question putting Big Show and Mark Henry over at the expense of Luke Harper and Eric Rowan, those same fans cannot deny the quality of the match from Friday's show.
Far better than it had any right to be, the contest was a hard-fought one that put four Superstars lost in the SummerSlam shuffle in the spotlight.
That Big Show as the babyface in peril was a bit of a surprise, but his tag to Mark Henry set up a hot finish in which the World's Strongest Man caught Rowan in a powerslam position, holding him while Big Show blasted him with the knockout punch. From there, Henry planted him with the World's Strongest Slam and picked up the win for his team.
It remains to be seen if this was merely the beginning of a program between the two teams or if it was simply a way to kill television time on the final show before a major pay-per-view event. Either way, it was a solid addition to a very good episode of SmackDown.
Eva Wins Again and Paige Gets the Last Laugh
After suffering a humiliating loss to Eva Marie on Monday night's Raw, AJ Lee attempted to right a wrong Friday when she met the Total Divas star in a rematch. Unfortunately, more interference from Paige cost her a second time, though via count-out instead of pinfall. Enraged by the former Divas champion's presence, AJ attacked her at ringside, losing track of the referee's count and leading to another defeat at the hands of the fiery redhead.
Paige took advantage of an opening, blasted AJ with a kick and flattened her with the Paige Turner. She skipped away, knowing that she had once again gotten the best of the champion.
Commentator Michael Cole brought up the fact that AJ lost her cool by attacking Paige and that the No. 1 contender could use that against her Sunday night and potentially beat her for the Divas Championship. It should be interesting to see if that is the case or if AJ retains outright.
The Intercontinental Championship Gets the Spotlight
One of the running stories throughout Friday's SmackDown was the increased television exposure for the Intercontinental Championship match at SummerSlam.
Current champion The Miz kicked off the show by hosting Roman Reigns on Miz TV, then was booked in a match against the surging star after having his lights punched out moments earlier.
No. 1 contender Dolph Ziggler had a much better start to the evening, defeating one-half of Slater Gator, Titus O'Neil, in a fairly competitive contest. It gave him momentum entering Sunday's extravaganza, especially after Monday's loss to O'Neil's tag partner, Heath Slater.
Later in the night, as Miz attempted to escape his match with Reigns unscathed, Ziggler showed up and sent Miz back into the squared circle, where he fell victim to the former powerhouse of The Shield, losing just days before his huge title defense.
It is rare to see a secondary title get as much attention paid to it like the Intercontinental title did Friday night. It instantly helps bring recognition to the feud but it also elevates it in terms of importance. Sure, it would have been nice to see that sort of exposure come on Raw, when most of the wrestling world is watching, but with so many other rivalries unfolding on the flagship program, SmackDown was the next best setting.
Good stuff that should do wonders for the heat surrounding the title match come Sunday night.
Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro
No matter how many times Dean Ambrose and Cesaro wrestle, they never fail to have a good match. Friday night, the Seattle crowd greeted their work with chants of "This is awesome," and while the quality was not up to par with their great No Disqualification match from a month ago, it was still a very competitive bout that got Ambrose ready for what should be a war with rival Seth Rollins at SummerSlam.
Speaking of Rollins, he emerged from the backstage area and cut a promo on Ambrose, reminding him that the Lumberjacks who will be surrounding the ring Sunday night are as much enemies of the Lunatic Fringe as they are of him. He then vowed to win the match like any good heel would.
It was short, sweet and to-the-point booking that reminded fans of the rivalry and put the final touches on it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Bo Explains His Loss
After a quick submission loss to Jack Swagger, Bo Dallas attempted to explain away his defeat. "Silly ref! I was trying to to climb toward the ropes and my hand accidentally hit the mat."
It was a very small moment but it added to the Dallas character, who is supposed to be this inspirational figure but clearly is not above busting out excuses when things do not go his way.