By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sheamus and Kane def. Dean Ambrose in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match by Disqualification
Sheamus' pre-match promo was well done and I continue to think that he could fare well as Mr. Money in the Bank if he's booked properly and cashes in successfully. However, while watching this segment, I got the feeling that they might transition to the briefcase over to Ambrose, which would be cool by me considering he wasn't allowed to compete for it and he was original pick to win months ago. I couldn't have been happier when the match was cut short because I've had my fill of Handicap matches over the last two years, and it set the stage for the main event nicely. I was also a fan of JoJo announcing the result of the match because that's something they don't normally do. On a side note, did anyone else find it odd that Ambrose didn't hobble down to the ring? I know Money in the Bank was a few days ago, but it still feels too soon for him to stop selling his injuries.
Brie Bella def. Paige
I really enjoy Paige and I don't mind Brie much, but I honestly couldn't care less about the Divas division right now. The rally Paige attempted to lead on Raw seemed pointless in retrospect, though all I can really hope for is that a call-up from one of the ladies from NXT is looming. This match wasn't anything special, but I guess we finally got confirmed that Alicia Fox is a heel when she helped Brie win. That is, until she turns back babyfaces a month from now.
Dolph Ziggler def. Bo Dallas
The pairing of Ziggler and Lana is fine on paper, but they've been spinning their wheels since Rusev got injured a few weeks ago and now it just seems random. I guess it's one way of keeping her presence alive on TV while he's out hurt, but it's doing next to nothing for Ziggler. I'm always down for a Ziggler win, but it's a shame it had to come at the expense of Dallas. I've never been the biggest "Boliever," but he's a talented dude and it disappoints me that they stopped featuring him following his short-lived feud with Neville going into Elimination Chamber.
Neville def. Xavier Woods
I'm not exactly sure what this match supposed to accomplish other than getting them both on the show, but it was a fun little match. They worked well together, but the only sense it made was that they were in the same six-man tag team match on Raw, that's it. It didn't do much to further the feud between The New Day and the Prime Time Players, and while Neville's great and all, I wish they'd rather use this time to establish the Players' characters a bit more so they can click with the audience.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins Addressed Brock Lesnar
Rollins is on the money on the mic, no doubt. I don't know if I'd go so far to say that he's among the best promo guys in the company, but he could very well be up there as this was another good promo from him. It was a logical follow-up to the events that concluded Raw this week and I like how he showed fear toward Lesnar. Now he can't back down from The Beast Incarnate the next time they come face-to-face, and he's stood up to him before so this time should be no different.
NXT Champion Kevin Owens def. Cesaro (Non-title)
I was highly anticipating this match as soon as I heard it was taking place and it certainly lived up to the standards I set for it. Granted, they had to adhere to the WWE style, but it was still a well-worked match that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm also positive they could deliver an even better match with more time as it felt like they were taking it to the near gear before the bout concluded, but for what this was, it was quite good. Here's hoping this isn't the last we see of them in the ring together.
Sheamus and Kane def. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
The match was mostly formulaic tag team match, but it was relatively solid on the whole. The main focus of the matchup were the mind games Bray Wyatt has been playing on Reigns this last week, so that effectively played into the finish. I have no idea where they're going with Reigns' daughter thing, but fingers crossed they having an end game in mind. Meanwhile, the other three competitors in this contest held their own and I was surprised Reigns took the pinfall loss for his team given Ambrose had an out for losing via his leg injury.
All of WWE's shows seemed to range from good to great this past week and I'd add this edition of SmackDown to the former category. Some matches were mediocre, didn't interest me or serve no purpose, but all of the key components of this show (Rollins, Owens, Reigns/Wyatt, etc.) delivered in a big way and made the show worthwhile. With a little over four weeks to go until Battleground, WWE has plenty of time to allow the card for the event to flesh out, but let's hope they don't procrastinate by waiting until the last possible minute to start hyping everything.
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