By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Dolph Ziggler def. Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper by Disqualification
Ziggler and Harper worked another good match against each other, but the finish was never in doubt, especially since the stipulation for their match at TLC has already announced earlier in the week. Why not just wait until the announcement was made on this show? The crowd was flat for the post-match bit, and it's hard to blame them. This is the third consecutive title defense for Harper that has ended in a non-finish. I understand they want to protect the guy, but it puts heat on the company for screwing the fans out of a clean finish yet again.
Seth Rollins Addressed John Cena
So, is The Authority (Rollins, Kane, J&J Security and now Big Show) still around even though Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are no longer on TV? Rollins' promo here was good and he did a decent job of hyping up his Tables match with Cena at TLC, but we've heard better from him on the mic and it still doesn't feel like there's a big enough issue between the two to warrant a pay-per-view match. If nothing else, the segment was successful in establishing the main event for later in the night.
The New Day def. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
I'm curious as to whether the pairing of Kidd and Cesaro is here to stay or if they were put together for only this week to do the job for The New Day. This could've been a much better bout given who was involved if they were allowed to have a competitive match, but it was mostly one-sided in favor of The New Day. The post-match promos from Stardust and Xavier Woods were fine, but it still feels like people are struggling to get behind The New Day act. Maybe in time, though.
Bray Wyatt Attacked Dean Ambrose
Ambrose's promo was well delivered and showed good fire, but it didn't reveal much more about his feud with Wyatt than what we already knew. I was content with the match between Ambrose and Rusev not happening since it's fresh and I'm sure they'll collide down the road anyway. Wyatt's attack on Ambrose was strong and despite what I said earlier about Ambrose's promo not being too significant, their rivalry has been progressing nicely since Survivor Series.
WWE Tag Team Champion The Miz def. Jey Uso
I've been really impressed with how well this feud between Miz and Jimmy Uso has been handled so far. Granted, it hasn't even been a week since it started, but the mic work and the backstage segments have been simple and effective. The match wasn't anything special since it lasted all of a minute, but it helped Miz rebound from his loss to Jimmy on Main Event.
Naomi def. Brie Bella
While Nikki Bella has shined in her role in recent months, I don't know if the same can be said for Brie. I still maintain that she'll turn back face when all is said and done, but she's in an odd position right now (insert your own sex joke here) where the fans don't know whether to boo her or cheer her. The match was a complete afterthought to AJ Lee on commentary, but it's nice to see Naomi score another win.
Ryback and Erick Rowan def. Seth Rollins and Big Show
It's been pleasantly surprising to see Rowan featured in such prominent fashion in recent weeks, but good for him. I'm glad they aren't wasting him like I initially expected them to when The Wyatt Family broke up. The match itself was solid albeit a bit boring which wasn't too surprising since Rollins was the only one involved who could really work. I could have sworn this was going to end in a disqualification and I was happy it didn't. I was shocked Ryback cleanly pinned Rollins to win given that Rollins will be headlining TLC against John Cena next Sunday, but it was a major victory for The Big Guy.
There wasn't anything all that notable about the show, but it's hard to call it a bad episode because nothing of what was featured was at all terrible. On the whole, it was a solid SmackDown with a few good matches and some storyline progression, which is what all I really ask for at the end of the day. You aren't missing anything if you don't check out this show, but you aren't completely wasting your time, either.
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