Daniel Bryan forces Wade Barrett to submit.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Vickie Guerrero Was Rehired as SmackDown General Manager
While there wasn't anything necessarily wrong with the segment, it didn't do much for this viewer. Everyone played their roles well, but I couldn't care less about the drama surrounding the SmackDown General Manager position. It's good to see Booker T back, but what will he do now that he's no longer in charge of the blue brand? Vickie Guerrero has been General Manager countless times in the past, so putting her back in this position is simply obnoxious and has grown tremendously tiresome by this point.
Dolph Ziggler def. Jack Swagger
These two have history dating back to their clash over the World Heavyweight Championship earlier this year, so I'm glad the commentators touched on that. The match was good for what it was, but I'm surprised it wasn't given more time. These two have nice chemistry with each other, so I would have liked to see them go out all here. Nonetheless, Ziggler's post-match promo regarding his breakup with AJ Lee was short and sweet.
The Usos vs. WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns Ended in a No Contest (Non-title)
After their hot match this past Sunday on the Money in the Bank pre-show, I'm glad the rematch wasn't held mere days later. The attack from The Shield on The Usos was well done and Henry received a nice response from the live crowd once he came down to the ring to make the save. It appears they're setting up some sort of a six-man tag team match for SummerSlam between the two teams, which I'd fine with if they don't drastically change Henry's character.
Daniel Bryan def. Wade Barrett
This was the first singles match contested between Bryan and Barrett since October 2011, and given their history in the Nexus and such, I'm surprised this match was only mere minutes long. Granted, it was used to put over Bryan in a big way by having him win so quickly, but I would have enjoyed a lengthy match from these two. Barrett essentially means nothing this point, so this bout benefited Bryan more than it hurt Barrett.
Paul Heyman Guest Starred on "Miz TV"
Although I lost track of how many times Paul Heyman has appeared on Miz TV, this was a solid segment all around. Heyman was great on the mic as usual and didn't give much away regarding his feud with CM Punk, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Miz is much better in this serious role and I'm glad he refrained himself from joking with Heyman in his promo. This was also a nice tie-in to Curtis Axel's match with Chris Jericho and teased that the feud between Miz and Axel is not yet over.
Intercontinental Champion Curt Axel def. Chris Jericho
This was another highly enjoyable match from these two. I'm glad to see WWE follow up on Axel's two losses to Jericho last week and not simply forget about them like they always do. Heyman was entertaining at ringside and got the crowd engaged in the action. It was nice to see Axel win the match cleanly rather than resort to dirty tactics like a typical heel would. Since Jericho is heading out on his tour with Fozzy, it only made sense for Ryback to attack him on his way out and garner some much needed heel heat in the process.
Cody Rhodes Confronted Damien Sandow
The ending of the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder match on Sunday was brilliantly booked, and this was a nice follow-up to it. Sandow was great on the mic and Rhodes was exceptional as well. It wasn't a long segment, but it served its purpose in planting the seeds for their pending feud. Rhodes received another good face reaction from the live crowd on this show, so I hope to see flourish as a fan favorite going forward.
Rob Van Dam def. Darren Young
Of course, this wasn't nearly as great as Rob Van Dam's match with Chris Jericho from this past week's Raw, but it was a fun bout that made both competitors look good by the end of it. The live crowd absolutely adored RVD as expected and Young sold well for RVD's offense. I'm curious as to who RVD will be facing going into SummerSlam. As for The Prime Time Players, they have the potential to be a good babyface tandem, so I would like to see WWE capitalize on their popularity sooner rather than later.
Randy Orton def. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (Non-title)
These two have always worked well, so the fact this match was excellent was no different than any of their other past encounters. Del Rio mocking Orton's offense was downright hysterical and the finishing sequence of the bout was very well executed. Orton is on an absolute roll right now following his victory at Money in the Bank, so his win over Del Rio is logical. However, I hope this doesn't lead to a title match between the two at SummerSlam, as they have already feuded with one another and The Viper shouldn't be chasing the World Heavyweight Championship while he is Mr. Money in the Bank for the WWE Championship.
While I wish some of these matches had gone longer than they did, all of the matches on this show were extremely entertaining and served a purpose. However, SmackDown has been producing quality shows for months on end now, so this week was nothing out of the ordinary for the most part. Nonetheless, this week's SmackDown was a show worth watching for its strong segments and solid matches.
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