Christian hits the Killswitch on Alberto Del Rio.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kane Engaged The Wyatt Family in Pre-SummerSlam Free-For-All
Wyatt's feud with Kane hasn't received much attention up to this point, but this was an effective promo that did a lot in getting this viewer excited for their upcoming clash at SummerSlam. It never ceases to amaze me just how compelling Wyatt is on the mic, and this promo was pure proof of that. I surely hope that The Wyatt Family getting the better of Kane in this segment doesn't mean Kane goes over on Sunday, as I think making Wyatt lose this early into this act would be a major mistake.
Christian def. Damien Sandow
This was a nice, competitive contest that saw Christian and Sandow coming out of it looking good. Both competitors need wins going into their respective matches at SummerSlam, but the roll-up finish protected Sandow in defeat. Alberto Del Rio's attack on Christian following the bout was well done, but was it really necessary for Christian to get the upper hand over the world champion? It makes it rather obvious that Del Rio will be going over on Sunday. Regardless, the commentators did a nice job of making mention of the fact that this might be Christian's last shot at the golden prize.
Divas Champion AJ Lee and Layla def. Kaitlyn and Natalya
This was an exceptional match that wasn't as horrendous as your typical Divas bout. All four lovely ladies are decent to good workers inside the ring, so it accomplished what it set out to do in hyping the mixed tag team match at SummerSlam. It also established AJ's pairing with Layla and teased a future feud between AJ and Natalya over the Divas title.
Rob Van Dam, Mark Henry and Big Show def. The Shield
Being the marquee match that it is (not to mention Show's first official match back), I was surprised not to see this bout advertised prior to this show. Regardless, it was a highly entertaining matchup that could have easily gone longer than it did. They made the most out of the time they were given and everyone involved got their signature spots in towards the end. With this being The Shield's third loss in six-man tag team action, it's a shame that the face team's win didn't feel as monumental as it should have.
The Miz def. Jack Swagger
While it was a nice match while it lasted, I fail to see what purpose it was supposed to serve. Yes, I realize Miz is the host of this year's SummerSlam, but what's his beef with Swagger and company? A little build-up would have gone a long way in making this match mean more. Nonetheless, it's a shame to see Swagger fall so far after headlining WrestleMaina for the World Heavyweight Championship earlier this year. On the flip side, it's good to see Miz back in the ring for the first time in a while.
Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. Zack Ryder (Non-title)
A basic squash match used to give Axel a nice win under his belt, so it was successful in that sense. It was short and sweet, but featured nothing out of the ordinary. It's good that Axel is building momentum on SmackDown, but he should being overshadowed in CM Punk's feud with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman has prevented him from getting more attention on the flagship show. Heyman's post-match promo was excellent as expected and provided some strong final hype for The Best vs. The Beast on Sunday.
Daniel Bryan def. Wade Barrett in a No Disqualification Match
After weeks of ranting and complaining about short matches between Bryan and Barrett, I finally got my wish on this show. They early action was very exciting and the competitors utilized the extreme environment nicely. The shenanigans surrounding the referees grew to be a bit silly, but it's obviously a sign of what is to come at SummerSlam. Even still, the crowd was very hot for the final few minutes and made for a great conclusion to the show. This was also Barrett's best match in quite some time, so I hope he benefits from this bout in some form or fashion going forward as well.
Not everything on this show was all that entertaining, but most of the matches and segments were successful in building towards SummerSlam on Sunday. If nothing else, the main event match is definitely worth going out of your way to see if you happened to miss it. All in all, though, this was a quality edition of SmackDown that left this viewer eagerly anticipating the pending pay-per-view.
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