By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sheamus def. Dean Ambrose
These two have had a few matches against each other in the past and almost all of them to my memory have been good to great, so I'd love to see them in an actual program at some point. They told a solid story throughout the bout with Ambrose selling his arm injury, though it was interference from The Wyatt Family that ultimately cost him the win and helping them get their heat back from Raw in the process. It's a shame Sheamus has very little going for him as Mr. Money in the Bank right now. They need to be more consistent with his wins and hopefully this was the start of that.
Neville def. Adam Rose
I figured Neville as well as Stardust being left off Raw this week meant their matches last week were for nothing, but it looks like they well be feuding after all. Thus, that begs the question: why the hell weren't they mentioned on Raw at all?! I don't mind the feud because the matches have the potential to be enjoyable, but both guys need wins right now. There was also a mention of Neville's "Red Arrow" during Stardust's promo, so perhaps this is filler before Stardust faces Stephen Amell from "The Arrow" at SummerSlam. As for this match, Rose was squashed. What else is new?
King Barrett Addressed the WWE Universe
The Barrett character has a million different problems at the moment, but I'll address just one of them. I think the best thing he can do at this point to garner actual heat from the audience is cut promos because that's what he's best at. Beating people the fans don't care about won't do him any good. However, the issue is that fans can't take anything he says seriously because 1) he always loses and 2) he's got the dumbest gimmick of anyone in WWE right now. It could have worked when he first won King of the Ring if he didn't turn it into a joke. I'm glad he's getting TV time, but I simply have zero clue what they do can reinvigorate his career at this point.
Rusev def. Kevin Owens by Count-out
Is it just me or does it seem like they're slowly turning Rusev babyface? You would never assume that from the way he treats Lana, but during the last few matches he's had, he's come off like the babyface. This was the latest example where although the crowd didn't have any incentive to cheer for either guy because they're both heel, they sided with Rusev at various points which I found interesting. They contested a quality match and the count-out finish was logical because they want to protect both men. I also liked the promo Owens cut about how he wanted to "live to fight another day," but why wasn't that on Raw where it would have mattered most?
The Bella Twins def. Team BAD
I'm all for giving the women for time and they definitely maximized their minutes in this contest by having a decent match, but the character development is still an issue. I really liked the video package that aired earlier in the evening highlight the NXT women and their personalities, but during this match, The Bella Twins were acting like complete babyfaces, pandering to the crowd and all. They're supposed to be the biggest heels in the division! While I appreciate WWE hyping a match for SmackDown for once (let alone one that involved the women), the heel vs. heel dynamic didn't work as well here as it did in the previous match.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. Cesaro (Non-title)
To my knowledge, we have never seen these two do battle before in singles competition in WWE, so it was great for this match to finally come to fruition. As expected, they had an excellent match filled with plenty of counters and awesome nearfalls. It was a step up for Cesaro that continued his recent streak of strong matches and Rollins did everything he could to cheat to win and in the end, that's exactly how he won. It put good heat on him while also making Cesaro look credible in defeat, so I give this main event two thumbs up. Fingers crossed it won't be the last time we see them square off. As for Owens' post-match attack on Cesaro, it's encouraging they have direction for both men going into SummerSlam and they won't be left off the card after all.
By SmackDown standards, this was an above-average episode where almost everything served a purpose and was entertaining. The main event between Rollins and Cesaro was far and away the best thing on this show, but Owens vs. Rusev was fresh, the opener was enjoyable, the Divas match (albeit strange) was very well-wrestled, and the rest of the night filled out nicely. Additionally, there was some more build toward SummerSlam that left me looking forward to seeing what the aftermath will be Monday on Raw.
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