The Shield lay a brutal beating on Randy Orton.
Nice opening match between World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and Damien Sandow. Sandow's pre-match promo was excellent as expected, but Del Rio's rebuttal left a lot to be desired. That aside, this is the match I wanted to see from these two a few weeks ago on Raw, so I'm glad we got it here. It received great time and Sandow scored a significant amount of offense where he looks strong in defeat. It's rare to see SmackDown kick off with a match most weeks, so I enjoyed the change of pace on this show.
Good Two-out-of-Three Count Falls match with Antonio Cesaro successfully retaining his United States Championship against The Miz. The first fall came out of nowhere and it was aggravating that the second fall occurred during the commercial break, but the bout was well wrestled as a whole. I would've preferred to see Cesaro win clean here, but the fact that he's still champ is all that matters. This rivalry has run its course, so here's hoping this was the blow-off match and both guys can move on to fresh feuds going forward.
Strong segment featuring Jack Swagger, Zeb Coulter, Jim Ross and World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. I really liked the fact that Ross and Swagger cross paths while on their home turf of Oklahoma, which added a nice feel to it. Ross and Coulter had a fantastic verbal exchange and Swagger also played his role well. Del Rio seemed much more motivated here as opposed to earlier in the evening and even on this past week's Raw. If both Swagger and Del Rio can show this much intensity each time they face off, then I can definitely get invested in this World title feud going into WrestleMania 29.
Jim Ross returns to interview Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter.
Fine match with Prime Time Players defeating WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No. It basically the same match we saw on Raw just with the roles reversed for Team Hell No. That being said, the action was mostly forgettable, but I was happy they gave Prime Time Players the victory here. Team Hell No need to drop the straps as soon as possible, and I'm hoping that the Prime Time Players are the guys that they drop them to.
Interesting backstage promo from Fandango. I have no initial opinion of Fandango at this point in time due to the fact we haven't seen much of him yet, but I'll give the character a chance and see what happens. The delivery of his promo was unique, but I'm not sure it was enough to garner a reaction from the live crowd. Fandango has proven in the past as Johnny Curtis that he can go in the ring, so maybe his matches will be the telling point as to whether the character sinks or swims.
Standard match between Randy Orton and Big Show. It was nothing out of the ordinary, but it as plodding as some of their past matches together. The Shield interfering made sense, but I'm confused as to what Show's involvement in this will be. I surely hope he doesn't join forces with Orton and Sheamus, as he makes for a much better heel and shouldn't be turning back face any time soon.
Overall, an enjoyable show that produced some awesome action and fun moments. There was very little filler on this show aside from the number of meaningless recaps, but that's nothing we haven't seen before on SmackDown. No new feuds were established for Mania, but at least a handful of programs were furthered on this show that can continue in coming weeks. Personally, I didn't find the "social media" theme of this week's edition to be all that annoying, but I was impressed with how they handled the live commentary from Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
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