Jack Swagger steals a victory over Randy Orton.
Good opening segment featuring World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton and SmackDown General Manager Booker T. Del Rio established his feud with Jack Swagger and his upcoming title defense at WrestleMania 29. Orton also played his role well and made it clear that his sights are still set on the World Championship despite coming up short last Sunday night. This promo helped hype the two main event matches for later in the show, so it was effective in that aspect.
Nice match between Sheamus and Damien Sandow. These two always work well together and produced some hard-hitting action. Although the ending outcome was never in doubt, Sandow still looked good in defeat. Sheamus, on the other hand, remains directionless until he finds to someone to feud with going into WrestleMania. I'd be open to him chasing Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett as long as the rivalry isn't treated as a joke like it was on this week's Raw.
Fine tag team match with Divas Champion Kaitlyn and Layla defeating Tamina and Aksana. The action was actually better than originally expected and there weren't as many botches as one would think. The Divas have hardly been featured on television this year, so this was a step in the right direction. While I'm content with Kaitlyn feuding with Layla over the title going into Mania, I'd much rather see AJ in contention for the strap given the storied history between her and Kaitlyn dating back to their NXT days in 2010.
Alberto Del Rio forces Wade Barrett to tap out to the armbar.
Solid match between Randy Orton and Jack Swagger. It was given great time and Swagger scored an impressive amount of offense over the course of the contest. These two developed awesome chemistry with one another and it made for a strong matchup down the stretch. Sure, Swagger scored the victory with the use of dirty of tactics, but a win is a win, which is key for Swagger at this point in time as he heads into the biggest match of his career to date at WrestleMania.
Brief match between The Miz and Cody Rhodes. Although this is the third time we've seen these two face one another in the last two weeks, they still produced some entertaining action nonetheless. The bout was over within mere minutes, so I would've liked to see Miz and Rhodes get more time to shine this time around. While this was a logical win for Miz, Rhodes needs a victory much more than the Awesome One does at the moment if he hopes to be as successful in singles competition as he was in the tag team division. Given the fact that Miz is currently feuding with Antonio Cesaro, it would've been nice to see the United States Champion make an appearance at ringside as well.
Great Champion vs. Champion match with World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio defeating Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett. The match was hyped well enough going into it that the Champion vs. Champion stipulation felt significant, which was nice to see. With this being the first ever meeting between these two in the squared circle, they had a quality contest that saw both Barrett and Del Rio shift the momentum. It would've been a huge victory for Barrett (especially since Jack Swagger could have been his out for losing), but Del Rio going over doesn't signal the end of the world and it makes sense.
Overall, a great show that featured some excellent action and feud progression in the main event scene. Most of the matches were given enough time to feel significant and there didn't seem to be any meaningless filler this week. This was definitely one of the better editions of SmackDown we've seen in recent weeks, so here's hoping they can continue the major momentum going forward on the road to WrestleMania.
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