Entertaining edition of WWE Friday Night Smackdown. While the build for Smackdown’s own Money in the Bank match continued to be lackluster, a solid wrestling card and other final pushes made this a go-home show worth watching. Take a look:
Daniel Bryan vs. Christian: Hot match to kick off the show. JBL did a good job early on selling Christian as a credible threat to win by mentioning his successes in early TLC matches. Both Bryan and Chrstian looked very game here, exchanging in a fun back-and-forth match that highlighted both their in-ring skills and their high-bump potential. The veterans put on a showcase that would’ve been at home on any WWE Pay-Per-View. Enough said.
Teddy Long/Dolph Ziggler Backstage Segment: Teddy Long gave Ziggler the night off, and Ziggler said he didn’t want the night off. Classic babyface characteristics. Long said he was protecting himself from having the same fate as Vickie Guerrero. Overall, this segment served its purpose.
Seth Rollins def. Jay Uso: Jay Uso showed shades of Rikishi throughout the match. This was a great way to sell the PPV on Sunday, and at the same time highlight both of these teams. Rollins and Jay did a solid job inside the ring; likewise, Reigns and Jimmy made things interesting outside the ring. Short, but sweet.
Jericho def. Curtis Axel via count-out: Good continuation of their fight from Raw.Axel has a solid build, and every bit of offense he gets against Jericho makes him look more like a superstar. Jericho eventually hit the codebreaker through the ropes, which caused Axel to fall outside the ring and get counted out.
I’m buying another win for Jerich as momentum towards Money in the Bank. I also really liked the finish, because it didn’t feel like “more of the same” we saw earlier in the week. Plus, it gave Axel a reason to act angry and frustrated after the match. It also gives casual fans a reason to doubt Axel’s chances on Sunday.
The Miz vs. Ryback: Ryback suckered The Miz in with a “hurt knee,” before capitalizing with a victory. While I think both of these guys put in a solid effort here, it still felt like a “been there, done that” segment. Good momentum for Ryback. Plus, I think the knee will come into play on Sunday.
Divas Championship Contract Signing: The rest (or part of?) the divas division surrounded the desk. AJ talked herself up, claiming that nobody cared about the Divas division before she was champion, and that she’s the best, yada yada… Teddy interrupted and said that “we ain’t got time for all that.” Funny. After the match was official, AJ pulled out her phone and started going over all the texts Kaitlyn sent her secret admirer. Kaitlyn got mad and hit the desk, and AJ mocked her, saying “Hulk Smash!” Kaitlyn finally got serious. She claimed that she lost her friends, title, and herself, but she would never let a “man-crazy psychopath” destroy her again. Everything erupted into a brawl, ending with Kaitlyn slapping Big E and giving AJ a sphere.
Fantastic segment. This was the kind of go-home segment this rivalry needed. I love AJ in this smart-alex heel role, and Kaitlyn has done such a fantastic job selling her need for revenge. To top it all off, both of these ladies can actually go in the ring. I don’t remember the last time I was this pumped for a Divas title match.
“Sin Cara” vs. Alberto Del Rio: “Sin Cara” ran into the ring and attacked Del Rio, before hitting him with the Zig-Zag. My favorite part was how Michael Cole played dumb throughout the segment. Putting Dolph Ziggler in the mask was a fun surprise, and an effective way to send this feud towards the PPV on Sunday.
Vickie Guerrero Showed Up: She showed up to plead with the audience, and claimed that Teddy Long is a spineless puppet. Teddy Long said, “on Monday night Stephanie McMahon had two words for you – You’re Fired! Tonight, I have one word for you… Security!” Fun, if pointless.
Sheamus vs Randy Orton ends in count-out: These guys locked horns inside the ring before spilling over to ringside. Orton went into the commercial with the upper hand. After the break, both guys exchanged in a pretty entertaining back-and-forth that saw both men taking the advantage.
Finally, Daniel Bryan came out and hit both men with a ladder. Just as he was climbing for the briefcase, Sheamus knocked him off and took his spot (sidenote: it looked silly to see them going after the blue Smackdown briefcase). At the end, Orton climbed the ladder and ended up on top.
The no-finish here made sense. Furthermore, it was refreshing to see somebody other than Bryan on top. I really like how Michael Cole put over the fact that Randy Orton has never won the Money in the Bank briefcase, and I think sending him out on top will give his fans the incentive to buy Sunday’s PPV. Great all the way around.
Fandango def. Wade Barrett: Very short match, where Fandango grabbed the tights and stole the victory. Meanwhile, Rhodes Scholars and Zeb Coulter’s stable argued at ringside. This segment was a complete throwaway. I know it was supposed to sell all of the participants, but I wonder why everybody from the Smackdown MITB was pigeon-holed into one segment, while the “All Stars” were highlighted throughout the night. Remind me again how both titles are “equal”?
JBL: He argued that this Sunday, the Usos will finally face “a real team.” You mean Team Hell No, with Team in the name and an 8 month title reign, wasn’’t a real team?