Christian scores a surprise victory over Randy Orton.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
SmackDown General Manager Interrupted World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio
It was nice to see Alberto Del Rio acknowledge the fact that no one cared about him during his first reign as World Heavyweight Champion and how he's changed his ways since then. Say what you will about the man, but I've found him much more entertaining on the mic since he turned heel back in June. Vickie Guerrero played her role well as she set up the night's Triple Threat main event. This was a decent segment as a whole that succeeded in giving viewers something to look forward to for the remainder of the show.
Cody Rhodes def. Jack Swagger
Given the fact that this was the first ever one-on-one meeting between the two, I would've liked to see the match go longer than only two minutes. Nonetheless, they made the most out of the time they were allotted and had a fun, brief bout. Swagger doesn't mean much nowadays, but it was still a nice win for Rhodes, regardless. Rhodes' backstage promo was great and Damien Sandow's ambush of his former tag team partner was even better. This feud has been brilliantly booking thus far and I hope their SummerSlam match is made official sooner rather than later.
Big E Langston def. Sin Cara
We haven't seen much from Langston in the ring since his debut, and he hasn't picked up enough victories to be considered a real threat to Dolph Ziggler. That being said, this win was crucial in helping Langston build momentum going into SummerSlam. He looked like Ziggler's equal on Raw, but it's the little matches like this that help Langston in the long term.
CM Punk def. Fandango
WWE did an excellent job of hyping this match throughout the night and made it feel somewhat special in the process. The commentators put Fandango over in a big way during the contest and stressed the fact that he was only a rookie, so he didn't lose anything here. The action was enjoyable and made Fandango look strong in defeat. Fandango's gimmick isn't main event worthy, but his matches have proven otherwise.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Kaitlyn
Is it just me or do their matches get shorter and shorter each time they face off? This match was fine for what it was, but it was too short to mean anything. Layla's heel turn was pretty predictable, but I'm glad they finally got it over with since it's been teased for months on end. I'm not sure how Layla factors into the apparent mixed person tag team match at SummerSlam, but I guess only time will tell.
Christian def. Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam in a Triple Threat to Become the No. 1 Contender to the World Heavyweight Championship
The styles of all three competitors meshed extraordinarily well and the action was exciting throughout the spot. Everyone was able to hit their signature spots, which kept the live crowd engaged the entire time. The fact it exceeded the 20 minute mark was pleasantly surprising and everyone involved put forth a strong effort. Christian winning was a great choice, as he's a fresh face in the world title picture and definitely deserves it. Del Rio's post-match attack on Christian was an effective way of kicking off their feud, which was smart booking seeing how SummerSlam is only mere weeks away.
This was an average edition of SmackDown for the most part that featured an excellent main event and other decent matchups. Punk vs. Fandango was well wrestled, but everything else was mainly filler. Thankfully, though, said filler served a purpose and wasn't completely random. Layla's heel turn and the naming of a new No. 1 contender to the world title made this show noteworthy, but I'd say only the main event match was worth going out of your way to see if you happened to miss it. On a side note, as much as I enjoy JBL, it was refreshing to hear Alex Riley on commentary and I hope he's exposed to the main shows more often going forward.
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