Only four days removed from Monday Night Raw’s remarkable 1,000th episode, SmackDown presented a fallout show that provided plenty of build towards the upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view. With new, ruthless rivalries and intriguing angles starting to form on the blue brand, Friday nights are slowly becoming more and more entertaining by the week.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of aftermath and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz def. Christian
Great match to kick off the show with The Miz successfully defending his Intercontinental Championship against Christian. I was pleasantly surprised not to see a main event star in the opening segment, but rather the new Intercontinental champion, so that was a refreshing change of pace.
Miz cut a pretty good promo, as did Christian. Putting the title on the line in the opening contest gave it some prestige and importance. They worked a fun match, and although I would’ve liked to see Miz win clean, having him win via dirty tactics maintains his heat and gives Captain Charisma an out for losing, thus continuing the feud.
I’m excited for what the “Awesome One” will do as champion going forward.
Ryback def. Jinder Mahal via count out
Fine match between Ryback and Jinder Mahal. I actually don’t mind Mahal getting offense in and making Ryback look somewhat vulnerable, as it helps Mahal’s credibility and chances of winning.
It doesn’t take away anything from Ryback, who ended up winning anyways via count out. Given the non-finish, I expect this to develop into a feud, which is exactly what Ryback needs right now.
Sheamus def. Cody Rhodes
Solid non-title match between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Cody Rhodes. They had excellent chemistry and I’d love to see this develop into a feud at some point soon.
Rhodes looked strong in defeat and this contest only elevated him. My only complaint is the predictable finish, as Sheamus setting up for the Brogue Kick and then hitting it happens every time and has always annoyed me.
Regardless, Dolph Ziggler teasing cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase was nicely established as was his feud with Chris Jericho. Y2J has foreshadowed a face turn in recent weeks, so I’m really looking forward to their expected match at SummerSlam.
Antonio Cesaro (w/Aksana) def. Santino Marella
Painless match with Antonio Cesaro defeating United States Champion Santino Marella in a non-title contest. I was afraid that Cesaro would be Marella’s latest victim, but I was thankfully wrong.
The action was only under two minutes and was fine for what it was. I like the idea of pushing Cesaro, but he needs more television time for the fans to care about him. Anything to get the United States Championship off Marella at this point.
Damien Sandow def. Yoshi Tatsu
Brief match with Damien Sandow squashing Yoshi Tatsu. Sandow showed awesome intensity and aggression against Tatsu, which will only help him look more like a threat in the ring.
He cut a decent promo following the bout that mentioned his beat down from DX on Raw 1,000, so I’m glad to see that it wasn’t a one-night deal for Sandow. Hopefully, they throw him in a legitimate, lengthy feud soon with someone in order to maintain his hot streak he has going.
Alberto Del Rio def. Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, and Kane to become the No. 1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship.
Entertaining Fatal Four-Way with Alberto Del Rio emerging victorious as the No.1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship yet again. Everyone incorporated their spots into the contest and made the four-man formula work very well.
Each near-fall was suspenseful and kept the crowd alert, especially in the closing minutes. While I don’t like the idea of Del Rio once again contending for the world title, it’s always possible we see Rey Mysterio added into the mix at some point to make it a triple threat match at SummerSlam, but time will tell.
Overall, a great and very enjoyable edition that featured some solid matches and advanced a handful of storylines. There is still a few weeks until SummerSlam, but they’ve given us plenty to look forward to on the blue brand in coming weeks.
SmackDown has provided entertaining shows consistently in recent weeks, so I’m glad they’re keeping things fresh and hopefully they continue to do so going forward.