By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Roman Reigns def. Kane by Count-out
I think I speak for the majority when I say that the Reigns vs. Kane and Reigns vs. Show matches have grown tiresome and need to end. Granted, Reigns got a good match out of Show on Sunday at Extreme Rules, but he couldn't pull off that same magic with Kane here. It was a decent match, but we've seen it enough times that it wasn't anything new or interesting. Plus, there's no worth in "protecting" Kane, so the count-out finish was pointless. Kane couldn't turn babyface any sooner, just so we won't have to see him face Reigns anymore.
Damien Sandow def. Curtis Axel
Well, we all feared the worst when Mizdow/Sandow broke away from The Miz, and it looks like our concerns were confirmed to be accurate. Sandow is basically back to being Sandow, which is great, but the mimicking shtick has got to go. It's only been a few days and it's already annoying. Why can't they just let this guy be himself? The match didn't showcase his skills like I thought it should have, but it was a nice win for him. Again, though, WWE has to realize that the mocking thing is not going to get him over; if anything, it will kill any popularity he has left.
Ryback def. Luke Harper
I liked the comment Ryback mentioned in this pre-mach promo about how he was going to take out one of Bray Wyatt's former lackeys in Harper. That, along with the strange yet intriguing staredown between Wyatt and Harper after the match, gives me hope that WWE will come to their senses and put The Wyatt Family back together. As for the match, Ryback and Harper worked well together as they always do and contested a solid bout. I just wish they were doing more with Harper, who seems to feel directionless again now that his feud with Dean Ambrose is over. Wyatt's post-match attack on Ryback is essentially the same thing we saw on Raw, so hopefully we get the reason why they're feuding next week.
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day by Disqualification
It seems to be a trend for new tag team champions to be crowned on pay-per-view, hold a rematch on SmackDown and then have that match end in disqualification. It's gotten far too predictable, but I can't complain about another really good match from Cesaro and Kidd and The New Day. I'm still waiting on an official turn from Cesaro and Kidd (I'm not holding my breath), but they were given the babyface treatment here by the crowd and in their hot comeback. A Tornado Tag Team match at Payback would work to their strengths greatly.
Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. Cameron (Non-title)
On paper, this didn't have any right to be good, but they put together a passable match. Nikki has really come a long way as a performer and I actually enjoyed her pre-match backstage segment where she owned Cameron. If we can go more of that Nikki, she will make for a suitable babyface. The bout was fine, which is probably a plus seeing how this had the potential to be terrible.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. Dean Ambrose (Non-title)
Call me a traditionalist, but I really wish WWE would hold off on these big matches for special occasions. Prior to this point, Ambrose and Rollins had only had three matches, all of which came during their huge feud last year. That said, at least it came in the main event of SmackDown, and it made sense in storyline since it was supposed to occur last week. Unsurprisingly, they contested a great match and the interference from The Authority at ringside worked to their ringside. Rollins' win wasn't clean, but it played perfectly into what Rollins said earlier in the night that he never needed help even though he did here. It was also cool to see Ambrose and Reigns team up against Rollins at the end. I hope you got a good look at that, folks. That's your main event of WrestleMania next year. Mark my words!
After last week's pleasantly surprising SmackDown, this was another good show highlighted by an excellent main event and a really good tag team title match. Harper vs. Ryback was also good, and while the other three matches were nothing of note, they were decent and didn't take away from my enjoyment of the show. With Payback only a little over two weeks away, this edition did a solid job of building toward the pay-per-view and giving viewers a general sense of what to expect on the card.
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