By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Miz Hosted 'Miz TV' with Roman Reigns
Needless to say, Reigns is not the strongest talker in the world, so it was smart to keeping his promo time limited. Miz was a background player anyway, so I didn't mind how he was taken out early by Reigns. Miz's gimmick is to run away and be a coward, so I don't agree with the sentiment that this made him look weak. Reigns' promo hyped his SummerSlam match with Randy Orton as well as his main event match with Miz.
Dean Ambrose def. Cesaro
It's a shame how underutilized Cesaro has been over the last few months, but you can always count on him for a great match. Ambrose is no different in that sense and they once again had an instant classic. Granted, it could've gone longer, but they packed quite a bit of awesome action in the time they were allotted. It was nice to see Ambrose pick up a clean win via pinfall for once without any interference from Seth Rollins. Speaking of whom, Mr. Money in the Bank had one of his best showings on the mic in recent memory that succeeded in getting fans excited to see Ambrose finally getting his hands on him at SummerSlam.
Dolph Ziggler def. Titus O'Neil
Although O'Neil scored a sufficient amount of offense against Ziggler, this was nothing more than a glorified squash match, as it should have been. Ziggler is only days away from contending for the Intercontinental Championship and he needed a quick win after losing to Heath Slater on Raw. On that note, this was a logical follow-up to that with Ziggler beating his tag team partner. I'm still not thrilled with the idea of the Slater Gator tag team, but at least they seem to be making the most of it.
Mark Henry def. Luke Harper by Disqualification
This match felt random on paper since these two have no reason to be facing each other, so it was pretty obvious that it'd have a non-finish especially since Big Show and Erick Rowan were present at ringside. While it lasted, the contest was slow and plodding, which was to be expected, but thankfully it didn't last long before setting up the subsequent tag team match.
Mark Henry and Big Show def. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
The action was decent for the most part, but a match involving Show and Henry can only be so good. With that said, Harper and Rowan carried them to a passable bout that the crowd was invested in. While I'm not surprised with the ending outcome, I certainly don't agree with it. The Wyatt Family has a much brighter upside than the duo of Show and Henry. Just because Harper and Rowan are contending for the tag titles right now doesn't mean they should be losing consistently. Unless this was building toward a tag match on the SummerSlam pre-show, this match served no purpose.
Eva Marie def. Divas Champion AJ Lee by Count-out (Non-title)
Similar to Raw, the focus was more on the angle between AJ and Paige than it was about the actual match. I figured AJ would get her win back over Eva, but apparently not. I hate to say it, but after beating the champ twice, doesn't Eva deserve a shot at the title? It's not that I want to see it happen, but it's only logical from a storyline standpoint. Anyway, the furthering of the feud between AJ and Paige was well done with Paige's post-match attack on AJ packing a punch. I'm more than looking forward to their upcoming rematch over the Divas Championship.
Jack Swagger def. Bo Dallas
What's with the current booking of Bo Dallas? The guy had his undefeated streak snapped, which I was fine with since it brought a new-found aggression out of Dallas, but this was just ridiculous. The match was over within a minute and Dallas looked like an enhancement talent. I realize they acknowledged his post-match promo on the WWE App, but even still. Meanwhile, Swagger looked good here and his post-match stare down with Rusev was a nice way of hyping their SummerSlam match one last time.
Roman Reigns def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (Non-title)
While it was a solid match, it was totally unnecessary. There are plenty of other people Reigns could have faced except for the Intercontinental Champion. I hate whenever midcard title holders lose clean and don't defend their belt against the person who beat them, but it was important to give Reigns one last boost of momentum before Sunday. If nothing else, I liked how they were able to feature the feud between Ziggler and Miz during the main event. I can't remember the last time that was done for the Intercontinental title. Also, it was surprising Randy Orton didn't make an appearance at all.
The go-home shows WWE usually does for SmackDown are always forgettable and this episode was no exception. There was some good hype for SummerSlam with almost every match on the current card being hyped in some form or fashion, but none of the matches on this show (outside of maybe Cesaro vs. Ambrose) were all that memorable and nothing featured made me more excited about the pending pay-per-view than I was going in. It's a good thing I'm already pumped for SummerSlam because this edition of SmackDown didn't nothing to peak my interest in the event.
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