Last night, WWE provided us with one of stronger episodes of Friday Night SmackDown has produced in a good while, with its intense action and pleasant surprises. 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.
Randy Orton def. Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes in a Street Fight (non-title)
Extremely enjoyable opening match to kick off the show from Randy Orton and Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes. Both former Legacy members got their respective offense in, as well as fully utilize the near-25 minute time slot they were given. Hopefully, this isn't the blow-off to this rivalry since I'd much rather see Rhodes get the upper hand to conclude the feud, but the Viper bagging Rhodes following the contest has me losing faith.
Ted DiBiase def. Tyson Kidd
Short, yet effective match with Ted DiBiase going over Tyson Kidd in a three-minute contest. I believe there is much potential in DiBiase as a top face, and these wins will help him establish himself to the SmackDown audience. Both DiBiase and Kidd have had quality matches over on WWE Superstars before, but this bout was fine for what it was.
World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry confronted Daniel Bryan backstage
Mark Henry's confrontation with Mr. Money in the Bank Daniel Bryan was something out of the ordinary, which is actually what I was anticipating to see. It's a nice change to see the World Champion actually challenging the Money in the Bank holder for once instead of vice-versa, and both Superstars here played their roles perfectly.
Alicia Fox def. Natalya
Too quick of a match between Alicia Fox and Natalya to really mean anything. If Creative is determined to get Fox over with the crowd, then why isn't she number one contender to the Divas Championship instead of the stale Eve?
This contest wasn't horrible, but it amazes me as to how Natalya continues to job to Divas not as great as she is in the ring. With that being said, it could always lead to Natalya's eventual face turn after being fed up with all of her recent losses.
Christian interrupted Big Show
Quality promo from Christian and Big Show that got a chuckle from this viewer. Show wasn't as campy as last week, and I'm glad Christian pointed out the fact as to why Show deserves another shot at the World Championship. Sure, it made Christian look weak, but Captain Charisma hasn't meant anything in ages, so no harm done.
Wade Barrett (with Christian) def. Sheamus
Solid match from Sheamus and Wade Barret, as I seeing another contest between Christian and Sheamus might of had me changing the channel. Giving Barrett the much-needed win was a smart move, and alligning the former Nexus leader with Christian could help both foreign Superstars in the long-term. More than likely, this series of events will be used to hype an eventual Survivor Series tag team match at the event, but I'm also interested to see if Sheamus and Christian continue to feud.
Sin Cara def. Epico by disqualification
Contrary to what some might be thinking, I'm actually intrigued as to how the debuting Epico will contribute in this on-going story-line between Sin Cara and Hunico. The match itself was good, and the disqualification finish sets up an apparent alliance with Hunico and Epico. As much as I do not enjoy this entire angle, Hunico and Epico could a great cohesive unit in the resurrected tag team division, despite the fact that Hunico looks like a rip-off of Homicide and Anarquia.
World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry def. Daniel Bryan by disqualification
Fantastic main event match between World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan that certainly lived up to my expectations by succeeding in all areas. The contest itself was fun to say the least, with Henry logically getting the better of Bryan, only for the American Dragon to fight back with a flurry of offense much to the liking of the crowd.
Big Show's interference saves this David vs. Goliath match for a future date (preferably WrestleMania), while also making both Bryan and Henry looked strong by Bryan attempting to cash-in his briefcase, only for the World's Strongest Man to surprisingly pummel the American Dragon to the ground. Moments later, Henry slammed Show to to the mat in an impressive fashion, finally getting some momentum after being decimated for weeks.
I could have done without the announcement of another match between Henry and Show at Survivor Series, but at least it helps build towards the pending pay-per-view.
Overall, a very strong show that included great action for the most part, useful segments, and great booking all night long. Even the filler matches succeeded in effectively getting someone over despite being quick, while other contests were definitely worth-watching for a second time.
With Survivor Series a mere two weeks away, it's good to see WWE make somewhat of an effort to build towards apparent match-ups that look to transpire at the event.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as my WrestleRant and Spoilers podcasts for more of GSM's thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, recaps and more. Follow me on Twitter @SAVE_US_GSM.