By Graham "GSM" Matthews
John Cena Addressed Brock Lesnar
Was it just me or was the crowd more favorable toward Cena than usual? I know there's the chance that the boos were edited out since this is SmackDown after all, but I found it interesting. This was one of Cena's better promos in recent memory since he resisted the urge to crack any jokes and instead opted to kept it serious. The problem is that what he said wasn't any different from what he's already said. How many different ways can he say that he's going to beat Brock's ass? The rest of the segment was pretty paint-by-numbers since it was almost the exact same thing we saw on Raw. It set up the main event match nicely, but couldn't have they been a bit more innovative? On a side note, Triple H's impersonation of Teddy Long was absolutely hysterical.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler def. Cesaro (Non-title)
Too often do Ziggler and Cesaro have matches together that don't live up to expectations because they aren't given enough time. That said, I was very happy that they there given the an ample amount of time here, allowing them to have the match they were capable of having. There was a lot of enjoyable action and even Sheamus didn't serve as a distraction on commentary. I often complain about how midcard champions shouldn't lose non-title matches when they don't need to, so I was perfectly fine with Cesaro losing here. Ziggler pinned him via a roll-up anyway, so it wasn't like he lost much in defeat.
WWE Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso def. Heath Slater
The Usos make any match their involved in ten times more exciting, even if it's intended to be an enhancement match. The ending result wouldn't have been so obvious had Slater Gator not recently lost to Los Matadores and the duo of Hornswoggle and El Torito. Stardust and Goldust didn't make an appearance, but their backstage promo was enough to further their feud and in the process confirm their WWE Tag Team title match against The Usos at Night of Champions.
Mark Henry Interrupted Rusev and Lana
It was the same shtick from Lana and Rusev per usual, but at least Lana's promo was kept short and sweet and didn't drag on for no reason. Henry also played his part well and did a solid job of building toward their Night of Champions encounter. This feud might be hotter if Henry wasn't being overexposed on WWE TV in his tag team with Big Show.
Divas Champion Paige def. Brie Bella (Non-title)
I can't express how grateful I was to not hear Nikki Bella on commentary. As I've said before, her promo skills have gotten better since her heel turn, but listening to her on commentary would have been overkill. AJ Lee did well behind the booth and didn't take away from the match too much. The match itself wasn't great by any means, but it was a significant improvement over the typical Divas match we usually get on the main shows. Brie (who I'm glad finally has her own entrance theme) held her own and Paige had a good showing as expected. It makes sense from a stroryline standpoint to not include Brie in the Divas Championship match at Night of Championsg given her issues with The Authority.
Bo Dallas def. Zack Ryder
It was a typical squash match, sure, but it was probably necessary after all the losses Dallas has suffered in recent months. What can be said about Ryder's downfall that hasn't been said already? The post-match bit between Dallas and Jack Swagger was well done. Sure, it was simple and effective, but it might have been the best thing they have done so far. I'm glad Zeb Colter is back because he and Dallas should have some fun back-and-forth verbal exchanges in this feud.
John Cena, Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Big Show and Mark Henry def. Seth Rollins, Kane and The Wyatt Family by Disqualification
This match was similar to the six-man tag from this week's Raw, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. They kept the pace consistent throughout and everyone was able to get their spots in at one point or another. As with every multi-man matchup, it heated up in the final few minutes with everyone hitting their signature manuevers, but the non-finish killed the crowd. The babyfaces were left standing tall regardless, so why not just give them the pinfall win? There's no purpose in protecting any of the heels at this point given how many times they've been made out to look weak before.
This was a much better show than we've been accustomed to seeing from SmackDown in recent weeks. There wasn't much filler and everything seemed to serve a purpose. Additionally, there were several well-wrestled matches that made for an entertaining night of action as a whole. This might have been considered a decent episode if the product was hotter, but with the recent string of bad shows we've been getting, this edition of SmackDown stood out as being particularly enjoyable.
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