By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Jack Swagger def. Cesaro
It's amazing to think these two were teaming only a few short months ago because they've both evolved so much since then. Cesaro has flopped as a "Paul Heyman Guy" while Swagger has flourished as a fan favorite. Who would have ever thought Swagger would be the more over of the two all this time later? They worked a well wrestled match and developed nice chemistry with each other. While it bugs me to see Cesaro tap out clean, it was a big win for Swagger, so there's that. Zeb Colter's post-match verbal exchange with Lana was effective in setting up the Swagger vs. Rusev match for SummerSlam. I'm no fan of anything on a Pole matches, but it makes sense within the context of this feud.
Randy Orton Challenged Roman Reigns to a Match at SummerSlam
Orton looked more vicious than he has in a long, long time during his attack on Reigns this week on Raw and this was a very good follow-up from him. It seems that he's finally settling into his own skin as The Viper again and I surely hope he isn't back to being cowardly and The Authority's lapdog by next week. If Orton can maintain this intensity going forward, then his career might just be revitalized. I had no interest in seeing him take on Reigns at SummerSlam as of last week, but their building of the feud this past week has changed my feelings regarding it dramatically.
R-Truth def. Bo Dallas by Disqualification
I'm not a fan of Dallas losing matches (especially to someone as irrelevant as Truth), but is brought out his aggressive side for the first time since his debut. I don't want to see him losing matches become a regular thing (see: Cesaro) and not have it lead to anything, but it has succeeded in adding an extra layer to the Dallas character. Besides, at least Truth didn't win this match via pinfall like he did on Raw. I also hope this doesn't transition into a feud between the two. Dallas is over with the audience and Truth isn't a face fans can get behind right now.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Rosa Mendes (Non-title)
Words can't describe how ecstatic I was when this match ended as quickly as it did. Rosa is absolutely atrocious in the ring and the fact she didn't even get one move in was smart booking. What happened afterward was somehow even better when Paige shoved AJ off the stage. It was a cool visual and something we haven't seen done with the Divas in a long time, if ever. I also liked how the commentators kept the viewers updated on AJ's condition throughout the show. It's the small things that count sometimes. It's great that the face and heel have been clearly established in this feud and their SummerSlam match is shaping up to be amazing.
Seth Rollins and Kane def. Dean Ambrose in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match by Disqualification
Ambrose took most of the offense throughout the bout, but received a nice reaction whenever he managed to overcome the odds. In that respect, it was a logically booked match and I liked that the non-finish didn't hurt either team. Rollins escaped Ambrose's grasp once again, but Ambrose was able to exact a measure of revenge on Kane afterward. Ambrose vs. Rollins continues to be a red-hot rivalry, so here's hoping their can maintain this strong momentum going into SummerSlam.
Diego def. Fandango
Wasn't this the same garbage match we got on Raw this week? It's one thing to repeat the same shtick with Summer Rae and Layla distracting Fandango during his matches and costing him victories, but to do the same match we saw only days prior without any alteration is a bit lazy. What, Justin Gabriel was busy? Please, WWE, do us all a favor and end this godforsaken angle now.
Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler
Del Rio and Ziggler always have great matches together, but there's only so much they can do during a four minute matchup. They made the most of the brief time they were allotted, but how many times can we see the same match with the same finish every time? Yes, Ziggler had an out for losing with The Miz serving as a distraction at ringside, but Del Rio gained absolutely nothing from this win because he's been floundering forever. If nothing else, I've been enjoying the attention this midcard feud between Miz and Ziggler has been getting as of late.
Chris Jericho def. Erick Rowan
Although he may be the worst worker of The Wyatt Family (which sounds harsher than it actually is considering the other stablemates are Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper), Rowan had a great showing against Jericho here. Granted, Jericho carried most of the match, but Rowan played his role as the dominant monster heel well. Jericho sold nicely for his offense and his victory was logical. Rowan's loss banning him from the SummerSlam match between Wyatt and Jericho was an intriguing twist. Why wasn't that stipulation advertised in advance? Expect that same stipulation to be added to a future match between Harper and Jericho.
The show had a strong first half with an entertaining opener, a good promo from Orton, a solid Handicap match and an excellent angle from the Divas, but the next two matches (Diego vs. Fandango and Ziggler vs. Del Rio) dragged the show down a bit. However, SmackDown concluded on a high note with a strong main event. Those two low points prevented this from being a great episode, but it was certainly very good and it succeeded in furthering my interest and excitement for the biggest party of the summer.
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