With only nine days remaining until the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, this week's WWE SmackDown provided a fun night of action that did its best to build toward next Sunday. While this week's show may not have been as entertaining as last week, it was still decent enough to receive a mild thumbs up from this viewer.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of prediction and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio's Celebratory Fiesta
Nice opening segment featuring World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show and Sheamus. It was simple and effective in setting up the night's main event tag team match without having it being bland and boring.
The fiesta spiced things up a bit and was a fun way to kick off the show. Also, the Texas crowd was very response to Del Rio, which was assuring to see.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro def. Kofi Kingston (non-Title)
Brief match between United States champion Antonio Cesaro and Kofi Kingston. These two could've gone much longer than the mere two minutes they were given, but they made the most out of it.
As always, Kingston and Cesaro produced a quality contest that was enjoyable while it lasted. The finish was incredibly unique and was excellently executed.
The Great Khali with Natalya def. Tensai
Harmless match with The Great Khali defeating Tensai. The match was over within a minute, so there's nothing really to complain about other than the fact that this bout seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever.
However, I do appreciate the fact that this match was at least fresh in being something we've never seen before (and something we'll hopefully never see again).
Randy Orton and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No def. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett and Team Rhodes Scholars
Fun six-man tag team match with Randy Orton and WWE Tag Team champions Team Hell No defeating Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett and Team Rhodes Scholars. Aside from the fact we've seen a handful of multi-man matches on the blue brand in recent months, this bout was very well paced and featured a number of exciting spots.
Everyone was able to hit the signature spots and create a fun final few moments of the matchup. I'm fine with Orton's team going over here given the fact he lost cleanly to Barrett on Monday's Raw.
The Miz def. Primo with Epico and Rosa Mendes
Good match between The Miz and Primo. On paper, this match seemed somewhat random, so it was nice to see it have some reasoning behind it with the pre-match promo backstage.
The action was fine for what it was, but the outcome was obviously never in doubt. I'm skeptical about Miz using the Figure-4 Leglock, though, as I don't wish for him to become a Ric Flair wannabe similar to how AJ Styles was in TNA a few years back.
Divas Champion Kaitlyn def. Aksana (non-Title)
Fine match between Divas champion Kaitlyn and Aksana. They've had worse matches in the past, so at least this was a better outing from the two.
Neither are the best in-ring workers, but Kaitlyn has been gradually getting better inside the squared circle. The live crowd popped for the finish, and it's nice to see that Kaitlyn is starting to get more and more over with the WWE Universe.
The Shield Send a Message to Ryback, Randy Orton and Sheamus
Effective promo from The Shield. I like the style of the group's vignettes and how mysterious the three members come across, as it gives them a sense of ambiguity.
They delivered their message loud and clear regarding Ryback, Randy Orton and Sheamus and furthered their feud with the trio in the process. As awesome as this was, it would've been better off in the ring, as The Shield is in desperate need of something new if it wants to remain relevant.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus def. Big Show and Dolph Ziggler
Solid tag team match with World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus defeating Big Show and Dolph Ziggler via count-out. The action was pretty formulaic, but it was mostly standard with everyone getting their respective moment to shine.
It received some great time but ended in weak fashion. However, I was glad neither Show nor Ziggler took the pin here, so at least that's a benefit from the non-finish.
Overall, a good show that didn't feature anything as monumental as last week, but almost everything seemed to entertain me one way or another. With next Sunday being the Royal Rumble, they did a decent job of hyping the event and the matches already advertised for the card.
Since this was the 700th episode of SmackDown, I'm disappointed they didn't do more with it or make a bigger deal out of it, but I didn't have my hopes high for anything anyways.
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