For the fifth week in a row, WWE presented yet another enjoyable edition of Friday Night SmackDown that not only focused on the aftermath of Survivor Series, but featured controversy and chaos over the World Heavyweight Championship.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of aftermath and wishful thinking about what we hope to see in coming weeks.
Big Show confronts World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry; Daniel Bryan nearly cashes in
Hot start to the show with Daniel Bryan coming close to capturing the World Heavyweight Championship. However, it was illogical in the sense that Bryan comes off as a hypocrite—as stated by Michael Cole—for not waiting until WrestleMania, as well as the fact that the Money in the Bank briefcase is applicable to any champion at any time, injured or not.
Despite that, it succeeded is furthering the feud between Big Show and Henry in addition to setting up the main event nicely.
Hunico def. Justin Gabriel
Fun match between Hunico and Justin Gabriel in the opening contest. They have great chemistry and both are adrenaline junkies inside the ring, so hopefully we see more from these two down the line.
Although both Hunico and Gabriel need wins at this point to get over, it's important Hunico regains the heat he may have lost over the past few weeks.
Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and Natalya def. AJ and Kaitlyn
Brief Divas tag team match with Divas champion Beth Phoenix and Natalya quickly defeating AJ and Kaitlyn served its purpose. Much like last week, AJ did most of the work for her team, which made for some great offense while it lasted.
There seems to be drama ensuing between AJ and Kaitlyn, which gives me hope they're finally doing something with the Divas on SmackDown. As much as I dislike the "cry time" the Divas of Doom provide after their matches, it at least is helping them regain momentum as the dominant forces in the Divas division.
Zack Ryder and Sheamus def. United States Champion Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger (with Vickie Guerrero)
Strong tag team match with Zack Ryder and Sheamus defeating the dynamic duo of United States Champion Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. It received suitable time, while Ryder continues to impress me with how much the crowd is really getting behind him during his matches.
The on-going program between Ryder and Ziggler continues with the U.S. Champ once again taking the pin, but Ziggler really needs to start picking up victories to avoid becoming a weak champion who only wins when the title is on the line.
Ted DiBiase def. Heath Slater
It was a painless enhancement match with Ted DiBiase going over Heath Slater. These victories continue to benefit DiBiase in the way that he's finally getting over, moving closer back into the Intercontinental Championship picture.
The real story coming out of this contest is the apparent rivalry between the former Million Dollar Champion and Jinder Mahal, a superstar with potential who desperately needs direction on Friday nights if he's ever going to mean anything.
Daniel Bryan def. Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Randy Orton in a Fatal Four Way to become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship
Solid Fatal Four Way main event match with Daniel Bryan triumphing over Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, and Randy Orton to secure number one contender-ship to the World Heavyweight Championship next Tuesday.
Although there were a few dull moments during the contest, especially during the awkwardly-placed commercial breaks, everyone involved pulled off some exciting spots that provided an entertaining contest.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Orton not pick up the victory here, and his nod of respect to Bryan was a nice touch. Even though he may already possess a World Championship match inside his briefcase, it was a very smart move to give him a scheduled match against Mark Henry next week, regardless.
Overall, it was another excellent show that contained enjoyable action all night as well as signaling some intriguing rivalries for the blue brand. Less is more for the Big Show, and to see his television time limited was a nice change of pace.
This broadcast was a nice break from Survivor Series, but provided significant build for the upcoming live holiday special next Tuesday.
With the World Heavyweight Championship being defended inside a steel cage and Mick Foley being advertised as the night's host, I'm highly anticipating the next exciting edition of SmackDown to be just as impressive as past weeks have proven to be.