Randy Orton plants Dolph Ziggler through a table.
Refreshing change of pace to open SmackDown with the visual of Booker T left lying at the hands of Cody Rhodes. It goes to show that anything can happen prior to the broadcast going live, as well as the fact that the Intercontinental Champion gets some nice heat here. If nothing else, it was pleasant not to hear Booker on commentary for the second week in a row.
Better than expected match between Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson in the Beat the Clock Challenge. Given the fact that these two rivals have provided boring bouts in the past, their styles meshed nicely during this contest that ended an extremely impressive slam from Barrett. The Englishman's promo that followed was just as great as always, furthering the rivalry between himself and Randy Orton.
Although I've just about had enough of Michael Cole by this point, Daniel Bryan showed some good intensity here in his promo in addition to the emotion he exhibited about his loss last week to Mark Henry. Cody Rhodes also came off as demonic after attacking Bryan, setting up their scheduled match nicely.
Quick, painless squash with Zack Ryder defeating the useless Heath Slater. Ryder continues to build more and more energy from the crowd as weeks progress, and it's about time he finally wins the United States Championship.
Decent match from Ted DiBiase and Jinder Mahal, but it wasn't given enough time to anything truly memorable. No one will care for this rivalry if DiBiase continues to get the upper hand over Mahal each and every week. While I am indeed enjoying the push DiBiase is receiving, he needs significant wins over credible Superstars if ever wants to move up the card.
Booker T seeks vengeance on Cody Rhodes.
Decent promo from Big Show that used history as his motivation to win the World Heavyweight Championship, a belt that has somewhat been considered an afterthought in this rivalry in favor of vengeance. As always, Mark Henry played his role well with Show that showed aggression where needed. Show's attack on the World's Strongest Man following the segment gives me hope that Henry's extensive reign as World Champion will resume after TLC.
Quality match with Sheamus purely dominating David Otunga in a quick contest. Otunga sold better than usual, and Sheamus as usual came off as a monster in the ring. I'm not sure how utilizing a Raw Superstar such as Otunga does much help, but this contest wasn't bad for what it was.
Solid match between Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan for the time it was given, as it's no secret these two could go much longer if they were able to. Having Booker T interfere was a smart move in protecting both Rhodes and Bryan here, as well as giving Booker some momentum in his feud against Rhodes.
Strong main event match with Randy Orton competing against United States Champion Dolph Ziggler for the sixth time this year. With that being said, they worked their usual spots and provided nothing out of the ordinary, but the Beat the Clock Challenge stipulation made the bout more suspenseful and made for fun final minutes. Usually, I'd disappointed that Ziggler was once again being misused, but Orton needed this moment to shine after putting over numerous people for weeks now, also establishing the Tables stipulation for his upcoming match with Wade Barrett at TLC.
Overall, a very enjoyable edition of SmackDown that featured its share of action while the promos also served their respective purposes. They also did an awesome job successfully hyping a variety of bouts for TLC next Sunday, as well as keep all contests and segments throughout the show highly entertaining without making it seem like chore to watch.
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