For the first time in nearly eight months, I return my ranting reviews of WWE programming back to Bleacher Report, this time reviewing this week's extremely solid edition of Friday Night SmackDown.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show, as well provide a combination of aftermath and wishful thinking as to what I predict we will hope to see in coming weeks.
CM Punk Confronts Christian
Quality promo to kick off the show from SmackDown General Manger Teddy Long, Christian and CM Punk. Although Punk wasn't as edgy on the mic here as usual, he was still able to provide an entertaining war of the words with Christian.
Teddy Long succeeded in hyping both the main event and the aftermath of Vengeance's World Heavyweight Championship match.
Awesome Truth defeated WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom (non-title)
Extremely fun match between WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom and Awesome Truth. These two teams have excellent chemistry, and were able to match their performance from Night of Champions last month.
The double-team finish from Awesome Truth was very well done, as well as their promo that followed after losing heat on Monday night.
Wade Barrett Defeated Trent Barreta
Quick, yet very effective squash match between Wade Barrett and Trent Barreta. Both Superstars manage to put on a quality performance every time they cross paths, as shown by the impressive series of moves to conclude the contest.
I'm glad Barrett is finally getting the meaningful push he deserves, and hopefully Creative can stick behind him so he can once again regain credibility going to WrestleMania 28.
Randy Orton Defeated United States Champion Dolph Ziggler (non-title)
Another solid match from Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler. They were given great time, and Ziggler was able to shine in numerous moments throughout the match.
Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes added to the bout and his rivalry with Orton respectively on commentary as well. However, Rhodes must regain the lost momentum he's suffered in recent weeks if the feud looks to continue for the foreseeable future.
Hunico Explained His Unmasking
Huncio's promo left a lot to be desired, but I wasn't expecting much from a guy who just recently debuted and can hardly speak English. The loss of his identity doesn't intrigue me at the least; neither does his on-going rivalry with Sin Cara.
WWE must establish Hunico as a threat to Sin Cara if this is the case, and the best way to accomplish that is to give him efficient squash match victories in coming weeks.
Daniel Bryan Defeated Tyson Kidd
Good match from Daniel Bryan and Tyson Kidd, but too short of contest to mean anything. I enjoyed the fact that they gave somewhat of reasoning behind this match with the backstage segment that aired earlier in the show, but these two high-flyers are capable of much more time-wise.
Sure, this is Bryan's first win on SmackDown in nearly three months, but it was against a guy like Kidd, who means little to nothing at the moment. If WWE wants Daniel Bryan's inevitable cash-in at WrestleMania 28 to mean anything, they must start building him to that main-event level before it's too late.
World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry Confronted Big Show
Decent promo from World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry and Big Show. Show's go-happy mood in the first portion of this segment was completely unnecessary, but luckily Henry saved it with his involvement.
I'm not a huge fan of his feud, but as long as it means it ends with the World's Strongest Man successfully retaining the belt against Show at some point, then I'll attempt to stay open-minded.
CM Punk Defeated Christian
In what won the award for Match of the Night, CM Punk vs. Christian was the highlight of the show without a doubt given the bout's suspense, anticipation and fast-paced action. It's no secret these former World Champions can work within the squared circle, but putting them in the ring together at the same time made for a tremendous main event.
Although the three interferences from WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez and Sheamus was a bit much, I'm glad it occurred mostly due to the fact that it saves a clean finish in a future rematch between Punk and Christian during a rivalry somewhere down the line.
The contest succeeded in furthering both feuds showcased, as well giving the SmackDown audience a must-see match this viewer has been dying to see for quite some time.
Overall, a very good show that gave us the backlash from Vengeance, but did not rush into things with Survivor Series a far month away. There was no pointless Divas match to drag down the action of the night, with every contest included on the card being very entertaining indeed.
The promos were limited, but serving a purpose, causing the broadcast to go by quicker than it actually did. There has been a significant ratings increase for SmackDown as of late, so here's hoping they continue to produce strong shows to keep the hot streak alive.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as my WrestleRant andSpoilers podcasts for more of GSM's thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, recaps and more. Follow me on Twitter @SAVE_US_GSM.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!