By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Dolph Ziggler def. King Barrett by Disqualification
Barrett's pre-match confrontation with Jerry Lawler was decent and it seems to be the norm for all King of the Ring winners to go after him. I'm glad it didn't lead to a match between them (though it's possible they go back to his down the road) because I'll be content if I never see Lawler wrestle on WWE TV again, but it was a nice lead-in to his match with Ziggler. They put together a good match as they always do and it was solid while it lasted. Sheamus' interference was inevitable, but it was a smart hook to tease a tag team match between Ziggler, Neville, Barrett and Sheamus going into the commercial break.
Dolph Ziggler and Neville def. King Barrett and Sheamus
This was the third time we've seen this match in the last two weeks, so while it didn't feel as special this time around, I still enjoyed it. All four competitors have such great chemistry that their matches are always a treat and this was no exception. I would have kept Barrett on a winning streak coming out of his King of the Ring win, but giving a win to the babyfaces (as well as planting the seeds for another match between Barrett and Neville at Payback) was logical coming off their loss on Raw.
Luke Harper def. Fandango
Fandango was slightly more over than usual, but that was to be expected with a hot crowd in Canada. This was exactly what it should have been: a glorified squash win for Harper. The guy is in desperate need of some victories, and while a win over Fandango may not mean much, it's a step in the right direction. What really peaked my interest, however, was Erick Rowan attacking Fandango afterward as Harper watched. Please let this be a sign that they're getting back together. Both of them could use each other and they'd be an excellent addition to the tag team division.
Rusev Addressed United States Champion John Cena
They continue to heavily tease a babyface turn for Lana, which I strongly hope ends up being a swerve. Rusev gains more heat for it, but as I've said time and time again, he'll be dead in the water if he loses to John Cena again at Payback. Nevertheless, he cut a good albeit unspectacular promo regarding his upcoming encounter with Cena and vowed he wouldn't quit, though there wasn't much to it than that.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Ryback
Ryback gelled well with Cesaro and Kidd and only added to the excitement of the matchup. The in-ring action was entertaining and much like at Extreme Rules and on last week's SmackDown, the two teams contested a very enjoyable contest. The finshing sequence was fun and Bray Wyatt's "distraction" protected the babyfaces in defeat while also giving the heel tag champs (who are coming along nicely in their new role) another good win.
Naomi def. Emma
Week by week, Naomi seems to be more and more comfortable working as a heel, and I really like the addition of Tamina Snuka to her act. I know Tamina was essentially doing the same thing when she was with AJ Lee a few years ago, but it's better than having her flounder on her own. The match itself was well wrestled, but the crowd was quiet for most of it, and why wouldn't they have been? They've been given no reason to care about Emma as of late, which is shame given her tremendous talent and potential to be a breakout star in the Divas division. Also, and Naomi needs a new finisher. That will make her repackaging complete.
The Lucha Dragons def. Los Matadores
The Lucha Dragons have taken a backseat in the tag team division since Cesaro and Kidd turned face and The New Day won the tag titles, but I'm hoping they'll be in contention for the championship before long. They were able to showcase their skills in this match and Los Matadores were the perfect opponents for them. Their gimmick is insanely stupid, but they're still excellent athletes that can have a pleasantly surprising match and that's what this was. The post-match bit with tension being teased between Los Matadores gives me hope that a split between them is on the horizon and they can finally go back to being Primo and Epico.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose Signed the Contract For Their Fatal 4-Way Match at Payback
You see one contract signing, you'e seen them all. It's such a cliche concept in 2015 that it has to be great in order for it to be worthwhile. Although I didn't think this was exceptional, it was entertaining and all four competitors have an interesting dynamic with each other. You have some history there with the former Shield members while Orton adds a little something special himself. It broke down into a brawl as expected, but I love how everyone hit their signature move on the person who laid them out on Raw (basically in reverse order), leaving Rollins as the last man standing.
Last week's edition of SmackDown felt hotter, but this was still a solid show on the whole. There wasn't anything too special, but the contract signing, the six-man tag team match, and the opening tag were all entertaining. Even the filler was fun while the Harper-Rowan tease intrigued me. There isn't much need for you to go back and watch this show if you missed it live, but if you did tune in, you didn't have your time wasted.
©2010 - 2017 Next Era Wrestling, Inc. All Rights Reserved.