By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos, Big Show and Mark Henry def. Stardust, Goldust, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
This match featured an interesting clash of styles and everyone involved shined at one point or another. The action was solid from start to finish and the final few minutes were the usual series of finishing maneuvers you see in every multi-man match, but the crowd popped for it, nevertheless. It furthered the feud between Gold and Stardust and The Usos, but I just hate how The Wyatt Family is being treated as afterthoughts. Bray Wyatt, who sat on the stage for the entire match, was a complete non-factor and Harper and Rowan continue to be booked poorly. They were such a fresh act not too long ago and for WWE to squander that by having them lose so consistently is mind-boggling to me.
Bo Dallas def. Justin Gabriel
Dallas' pre-match promo was comical as always and Zeb Colter's one-liner about being Ariana Grande was loud out loud funny. The match was a glorified squash, but it was nice to see Gabriel make a rare appearance. He was heel in his match against Sin Cara on WWE Superstars but a babyface here, so is he only a heel on the WWE Network? In all seriousness, this was a fine way to keep the feud between Dallas and Jack Swagger alive. It was simple yet effective.
Divas Champion Paige def. Summer Rae (Non-title)
Anyone who has seen the series of matches these two have had in NXT knows what they're capable of and how limited they were here. I'll avoid sounding like a broken record by not ranting about that here as I have so many times before. You'd think they'd give the girls some more time, especially since this is supposed to be the "wrestling show." Regardless, the post-match interaction between Paige and AJ Lee was strange, but you can sum up the last few weeks of their rivalry with that one word. They incorporated Nikki Bella into it during a backstage segment later on in the night, but so far it feels like a one-on-one match for Divas Championship at Night of Champions.
Mark Henry def. Rusev in an Arm Wrestling Match
When was the last time an arm wrestling match was actually entertaining? This is a serious question. I know there have been a handful (no pun intended) of them over the last decade, but no good ones from recent memory come to mind. This was no exception. It had the potential to be far worse than it actually was, so at least they made the most of it. Even though Henry won the challenge, Rusev was the last man standing, so it was another solid step in building up their rivalry.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler and R-Ziggler (R-Truth) def. The Miz and Damien Miz-dow (Damien Sandow)
I haven't enjoyed anything involving Truth in at least three years, so the fact they were able to get a chuckle out of me with Truth being the "body double" for Ziggler is impressive. It wasn't a home run by any means, but I personally got a kick out of it. The match itself was decent but nothing out of the ordinary. I liked how they actually protected The Miz for once by having Sandow take the fall for his team. Say what you will about this feud, but Ziggler and Miz have managed to make the Intercontinental title feel relevant for the first time in forever.
Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns def. Randy Orton and Seth Rollins
We all complain about John Cena not selling the beating he took at the hands of Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, but what about Reigns? He showed no ill-effects of the attack he endured on Monday's Raw by The Authority. Some storyline consistency would be nice. Anyway, I was very much looking forward to this match and while it did deliver to an extent, it wasn't as great as I originally expected. That said, they weren't given much time and they had a enjoyable tag match while it lasted. Jericho picking up a win was both refreshing and necessary if Orton ends up going over in their Night of Champions match as I predict he will.
While nothing on this show stood out as being must-see, there wasn't much to nitpick about, either. It was an in-ring heavy episode and most of the matches were very well-wrestled, making it an easy two hours to digest this week. There also quite a bit of solid hype for Night of Champions next Sunday and I'm glad they're actually making an effort to make the event feel important. It isn't essential you watch SmackDown this week since nothing of note happened, but at the same time, I wouldn't discourage anyone from tuning in.
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