By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Triple H Interrupted Batista
I love how much history (and truth) was incorporated into this segment, fully making it feel like the "Reality Era". Both individuals delivered their lines well and planted the seeds for a potential collision at WrestleMania. Triple H was right in that Batista hasn't been the same since he returned, though I still enjoy him and believe he works far better as a heel. Hopefully that line will light a fire underneath him going forward. This was a solid segment to kick off the show that also helped hype the main event between Batista and Sheamus.
United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins def. 3MB
For those that have been pitching for a Shield vs. 3MB feud... well, here you go! In all seriousness, it was a complete squash for The Shield, but they still managed to make it fun. The crowd was as into the action as I would have expected them to be, but The Shield's opponents were 3MB after all, so I guess that shouldn't surprise me. Kane putting them in another match against Ryback and Curtis Axel was a nice lead into the commercial break.
United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins def. Curtis Axel and Ryback
My disdain for the team of Ryback and Axel is well-documented, but The Shield got a good match out of them. They're another tandem who has no heat on them at the moment, so the crowd didn't really come alive until Rollins and Ambrose hit their signature spots toward the end. I'm all for seeing two Shield matches in a row, but couldn't this have been saved for Raw for next week?
Sin Cara def. Damien Sandow
The only difference between this match and their encounter from Raw is that a talking dog wasn't at ringside. It was obvious Sandow wasn't going over when he received the jobber entrance, but did it really need to be another minute match? Sin Cara didn't gain anything from this and it only solidified Sandow's burial. Yes, I used the word "burial" because it definitely applies here. I was hesitant to use it when he first lost to John Cena in October, but it's ridiculous how badly he's been booked since then.
Fandango def. Goldust
Is Fandango supposed to be feuding with the Rhodes brothers? This was his third match against one of them in the last week. Even if they are feuding, I don't see why aside from the fact they're all in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This was a better match than the first time they clashed, but I still couldn't care less. Fandango was bound to get a win at some point after weeks of losing, but it's a shame it had to come at the expense of Goldust, who I'm sure didn't returned to the company to job out to an enhancement talent.
Sheamus def. Batista by Disqualification
This was one match I'd been looking forward to ever since 2010, so I had high hopes for it. That being said, it failed to live up to my expectations. It may not have been a bad match, but there were a few clunky spots and felt flat. I would have loved to see Batista go over clean and Sheamus would have been able to absorb the loss since he isn't doing anything of note at the moment, but the non-finish was fine by me. Batista's post-match attack and promo tied into Triple H's line of him not being the same animal he was before he left, so that was well done.
The Bella Twins def. Divas Champion AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka
We've seen this match a thousand and one times in the last six months, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It was fine for what it was, but the focus was on the tension teased between AJ and Tamina. All signs to them splitting at WrestleMania, so don't be shocked if Tamina wins the Divas Championship to lead to a feud between the two. When Vickie Guerrero said on commentary that she isn't sure of the rules of the Divas Invitational yet, I'm sure the Creative Team isn't sure, either, which is sad.
Jack Swagger def. WWE Tag Team Champion Jey Uso
This was a decent match while it lasted, but its brief length made it forgettable. The Usos are fun in the ring and The Real Americans have great chemistry together, but the two teams are better against each other in tag team action than in singles competition. It was a logical win for Swagger to put heat on The Real Americans going into WrestleMania, but the tag team title match as it stands isn't exciting me in the slightest at the moment.
Mark Henry def. The Miz
Could either of these guys mean any less at the moment? I'm glad Miz actually wrestled for the first time in months, but the crowd didn't react to anything in this brief bout, and it's hard to blame them. Neither Miz nor Henry have any sort of direction at the moment and haven't been utilized correctly for the longest time. Thus, their match was a complete dud and didn't make me any more excited for the Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
Bray Wyatt def. Big Show
It may not have been a technical masterpiece, but this was still a solid match. Wyatt dominated most of the match and was made to look like an equal to Show. It could have used a few more minutes to feel more memorable, but the important thing is that Wyatt went over via pinfall. Granted, it came after interference from Luke Harper at ringside, but it's better than the match going to a disqualification. Wyatt hitting his finish on Show was also a cool visual.
Since this show emanated from Boston (which isn't too far from where my campus is), I could've gotten tickets to go, but I am beyond glad I didn't. This was an extremely boring show and easily on the worst in recent memory. The opening segment was good, but everything that followed it was downright mediocre or forgettable. All eyes are on Raw, of course, so I can't say I'm surprised WWE half-assed this episode of SmackDown, but I expected a better effort.
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