Randy Orton returns to brawl with Wade Barrett.
Strong segment to kick off the show featuring World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, Big Show, and Mark Henry. As previously stated, Bryan is slowly growing as a great heel, and his mic work further proved that. Show did great here as well, displaying emotion and pity from his accident on AJ two weeks ago. To top it all off, Henry performed excellent as he usually does on the mic, successfully hyping the World title match on Sunday.
Extremely brief match from Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes and Justin Gabriel, much shorter than I would have liked. When I heard a rematch was being held between the two, I expected for them to go much longer than their five minute bout from last week, but sadly, it was not meant to be. I hope to see the feud continue in hope of longer matches, as this felt pointless.
Decent match from Sheamus and Drew McIntyre from what we were given. Given the chemistry between these two Celts, they deserve much longer time-wise in order to truly shine. The Sheamus victory was predictable, but it seems as if Creative has absolutely no idea what to do with McIntyre at the moment. The Chosen One needs direction desperately, so one can hope this angle is actually leading somewhere.
Painless match with WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Epico defeating the impromptu team of Santino Marella and Yoshi Tatsu. Although I do like the comedy team of Marella and Tatsu, the tag champs need a legitimate team to feud with if they have any hope of getting over as credible champions. Obviously, the brief bout was too way to mean anything.
Good brawl between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett that saw the Viper return to SmackDown. I'm glad we didn't end getting the match between the two, as that is something that can be saved for a later date. Orton came off as intense when he was beating on Barrett, but the five RKOs delivered on the enhancement talent of the blue brand was ridiculous. They looked like complete morons selling the finisher one after another, so it felt unnecessary.
Brodus Clay hits Alex Riley with a "What the Funk".
Meaningless match between Ted DiBiase and Hunico that really didn't accomplish much. Since this feud has been going for a few weeks now, I'd expect this bout to go much longer than it did. Nonetheless, it at least further established Hunico as a threat and wrote DiBiase off television for the time being due to his legitimate wrist injury.
Yet another quick squash from Brodus Clay. His dance number prior to the bout was funnier than usual given how Alex Riley was dancing along with him, but that was the only highlight. It's surprising to see Riley go from defeating a former WWE Champion on pay-per-view to being squashed within a minute. Moreover, I was a bit disappointed to not see William Regal make an appearance during this segment, as it was evident on Monday that he was currently feuding with Clay. If the holding pattern continues for Clay, his act will get old quickly.
Horrendous segment featuring Aksana, Teddy Long, and Natalya. What seemed to be like Natalya's "fart" problem was simply mind-boggling. Then, having her lose within seconds to someone like Aksana buried the Canadian native into the ground. I have absolutely no idea what she did to piss management off, but it's time to either push her or release her before she's completely ruined.
Awkward match between Big Show and Mark Henry that was strangely booked. Of course I realize Henry was injured during the match, but coming back from commercial to see the bout already over was not a smart move by any means, just further causing confusion. However, I did enjoy Daniel Bryan attacking Show following the match before escaping the ring. I can't say the final segment got me excited about their upcoming match at the Royal Rumble event, but it did its best to promote it.
Overall, an uninspiring show that was not as entertaining as it usually is, adding to the fact that there was minimal hype for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Sunday. The matches were way too short, and most of them were pointless to begin with. Furthermore, airing a Raw replay in order to kill time was absolutely ridiculous, as I highly doubt there's many people who watch SmackDown and not Raw. The only true focus and highlight of this show was the feud over the World Heavyweight Championship, so that saved this show from being a complete disaster.
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