Jack Swagger prevents Alberto Del Rio from tagging in.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Standard segment to kick off the show featuring Randy Orton, Big Show, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry and Sheamus. Everyone played their roles well and respectively hyped their matches for Extreme Rules. It was a paint-by-numbers promo, but it served its purpose in setting up the main event match for later in the night. The only person who didn't seem to belong was Miz, who hardly spoke at all during the course of the segment.
Brief match with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defeating The Usos. It was only a mere minute long and was nothing more than a glorified squash match. I would have liked to see the match go a bit longer, especially since The Usos were made to look like equals on WWE Main Event this week. The post-match run-in from United States Champion Kofi Kingston was a logical way of building towards his title defense against Ambrose at Extreme Rules.
Throwaway match with Tons of Funk defeating Prime Time Players. Similar to their match on this week's Raw, the bout wasn't given enough time to truly mean anything. The sole purpose of this match was to give Tons of Funk their win back, which is unfortunate. The in-ring action wasn't bad at all, but it simply felt like an unnecessary waste of time.
Great match between Chris Jericho and Antonio Cesaro. These two work well together and developed awesome chemistry over the course of the contest. It featured excellent action that concluded with Jericho forcing Cesaro to tap out to the Walls of Jericho to score the victory. Fandango's post-match attack on Y2J was a nice way of hyping their upcoming match against one another.
Good match between The Miz and Damien Sandow. It should have gone longer than just three minuets, but they made the most out of the time they were allotted. The pre-show matchup at Extreme Rules has zero build-up, so it was nice to see Cody Rhodes on commentary in effort to make the match mean something. I also like the idea of Sandow having his own talk show, which could prove to be extremely entertaining.
Fine match between Divas Champion Kaitlyn and Aksana. These two have worked with one another countless times, so this bout was nothing out of the ordinary. However, there weren't as many botches as usual and wasn't all that atrocious, which was encouraging. If nothing else, the commentary from JBL, Michael Cole and Josh Matthews was hilarious during this match and is worth listening to if you happened to miss it.
Entertaining six-man tag team match with Randy Orton, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio defeating Jack Swagger, Mark Henry and Big Show. They kept the pace consistent throughout the bout and everyone was able to hit their signature spots. Additionally, the final few moments of the contest were suspenseful and well done. I would have preferred to see the heels go over since I fully expect the faces to go over on Sunday, but that's only nitpicking things.
Overall, a good show that featured enjoyable action and a handful of hype for the Extreme Rules event. There was very little filler and instead primarily focused building the matches on Sunday's card. Once again, SmackDown outperformed Raw this week, which shouldn't come as any surprise. The blue brand has been the better show for weeks now and certainly sold me on the pending pay-per-view.
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