By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Seth Rollins Interrupted Dean Ambrose
As usual, Ambrose cut another fired up promo regarding his upcoming match with Rollins and showed great intensity. Rollins was very good in his delivery as well and continues to show that he has settled nicely into his current heel role. The two had a enjoyable verbal exchange that built up their Battleground bout as well as made Ambrose's match with Kane official for later in the night. Ambrose vs. Rollins is WWE's most fun feud to watch right now in my opinion and this was another excellent progression of it.
Alberto Del Rio def. Kofi Kingston
I couldn't even tell you how many matches these two have had together over the years and the idea of them clashing once again was groan-worthy. That said, they always produce quality matches and this was no exception. The two have such great chemistry together that it's difficult for them to have a bad match. They've both been cast as enhancement talent for so long that I can't say I was all that intrigued regarding who would win, but it was an entertaining match for what it was.
Alicia Fox vs. Eva Marie with Nikki Bella as Special Guest Referee Ended in a No Contest
It was obvious the direction the match would be taking as soon as it started, so the lack of response to the two heels attacking Nikki wasn't surprising. That's in addition to the fact that, again, Nikki hasn't had much of a connection with crowds since turning babyface, so they therefore don't have any sympathy for her getting ambushed every week. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually hoping Brie Bella returns sooner rather than later to put an end to this tiresome nonsense.
Chris Jericho def. Luke Harper
This looked like a great match on paper and it definitely delivered. Harper is the best wrestler of The Wyatt Family and can be counted on for an excellent outing with whoever he faces. Jericho made for the perfect opponent and the two worked extraordinarily well together. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that the "This is awesome" chants were warranted, but it was definitely a superb contest that made both competitors look good. The Usos saving Jericho from The Wyatt Family more than likely sets up a six-man tag team match between the two teams for this Monday's Raw.
Rusev and Lana Interrupted Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter
The two tandems had a strong segment on Monday's Raw during the debate, so it was a tough task for this segment to surpass that. With that in mind, this brief staredown between the two sides was well done and kept short and sweet. The crowds are very much behind Swagger and Colter at the moment as patriots and Rusev and Lana make for the perfect foils for them. I'm highly anticipated their upcoming encounter at Battleground and I'm hoping both guys come of it as strong as they have been going in.
United States Champion Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz and Fandango
This was a nice mix of midcard talent to promote Sunday's Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal. I realize all four competitors are great workers, but I figured they wouldn't get than just few minutes of in-ring time. They exceeded expectations by going longer than I thought they would and having a very fun back-and-forth bout. I would have preferred to see the heels go over, but either way, the match quality made up for the end result.
Divas Champion AJ Lee and Paige def. Summer Rae and Layla
AJ and Paige have done a splendid job of furthering their feud without even executing Paige's heel turn yet. I still wish AJ would cut a promo explaining her motives and why she's back, but aside from that, it's been a solid build for their Battleground match. The match had potential to be better given who was involved, but Summer and Layla being cast as comedy characters prevented that from happening. Layla and Summer being BFFs still doesn't make sense to me after all they've done to each other. Can this terrible love triangle please end already?
Dean Ambrose def. Kane by Disqualification
I didn't expect the match to go long given how late it started in the show, and I also didn't expect it to have a clean finish. Thus, I wasn't disappointed by the disqualification finish at all and the match was decent while it lasted. Seth Rollins attacking Ambrose was predictable, but predictability isn't always a bad thing. His ambush of Ambrose was vicious and it put very good heat on him going into Sunday.
I didn't have high hopes for this show going in, but it ended up being much better than originally expected. It wasn't absolutely stellar or perfect by any means, but the action as a whole was enjoyable and there was plenty of build for Battleground. As a go-home show, this episode of SmackDown succeeded in getting his viewer excited for the pending pay-per-view.
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