By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Seth Rollins Interrupted Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns
I don't know why WWE bothered to advertise 'Miz TV' if The Miz didn't play a part in any of this (no complaints, though). They might as well just said Bryan and Reigns were going to have an interaction. Anyway, everyone played their parts well and Reigns wasn't as cringe-worthy on the mic as he usually is, he kept his portion short and sweet. Meanwhile, Rollins was his great usual self and set the stage for the main event handicap match. One question, though: why wasn't Bryan given a chance to speak?
Dolph Ziggler and Ryback def. Gold and Stardust
I've heard rumors recently about Ziggler and Ryback being paired permanently as a tag team. I think they're both better off on their own, but they had good chemistry together during this match and appeared to being enjoying themselves. It was a fun match that also further teased tension between Gold and Stardust, and all this "Cody" talk is really encouraging. I'd love if it meant the return of the Cody Rhodes character, but seeing is believing.
Dean Ambrose def. Curtis Axel
I think it's safe to say Axel is more relevant now than he's ever been in his entire career. Complaining about being "screwed" in the Royal Rumble match is a good fit for him, even though it'll probably run its course eventually. Axel scored a small amount of offense, but most of the match was dominated by Ambrose as it should have been, giving him a good win. Bad News Barrett's "BNZ" shtick was harmless, but Creative should focus on giving him more credibility as champion than focusing on silly stuff like this. Nevertheless, I look forward to the eventual match Barrett and Ambrose have over the Intercontinental Championship.
Fandango def. Adam Rose
Was this Fandango's unofficial babyface turn? Is Rose still switching between being a babyface and heel? Actually, I don't care about the answers to either of those questions. Speaking of not caring, the live crowd was unsurprisingly flat for the match and I don't blame them. They didn't have any incentive to cheer for either guy and it was a glorified waste of time. Neither of them have anything going for them right now, so why bother wasting precious air time on a match that serves no purpose?
Roman Reigns def. The Miz
I really liked the newfound aggression Miz showed here and would love to see more of it from him going forward. However, I don't think his loss to Sin Cara on Monday's Raw did him any favors in making him look like a legitimate threat to Reigns. Still, they contested a better than expected match and Reigns had almost all of the crowd behind him by the end, which is a good sign for his popularity. I was worried it'd be a quick squash win for Reigns, but Miz looked good in defeat.
United States Champion Rusev def. Erick Rowan (Non-title)
This was a logical follow-up to the events of Raw and was nothing more than a one-sided squash for Rusev. Rowan doesn't have much of an upside, so if there was anyone who should have lost in quick and decisive fashion to Rusev, it's him. It also helps that he has an association with Rusev's Fastlane opponent John Cena, so that was a nice touch. It's a shame that all the heat Rusev has garnered up to this point will be wasted with a loss to Cena.
Paige def. Alicia Fox
How crazy is it that both Fox and Paige have turned twice in the last year? This match would've meant more had their history been brought up... or, you know, they didn't just face each other four days ago. It was fine for what it was, but there wasn't any storyline progression aside from Paige's pre-match promo which was good. I know Natalya is currently managing Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, but she deserves to be in the Divas Championship picture just as much as Natalya.
Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins and J&J Security in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match
Although I was glad the match got as much time as it did, it was pretty slow early on with the heels working over Bryan. It didn't get good until down the stretch where the action was entertaining and J&J Security sold Bryan's offense well. It gave Bryan more momentum, Rollins didn't have to take a loss and the heels got their heat back afterward. I was left wondering where Roman Reigns was to save the day, but maybe they'll address that next week on Raw.
Unfortunately, after feeling fresh for the first time in forever these last few weeks, SmackDown was back to being Raw-lite this week. Almost everything was a continuation from Monday night and nothing stood out as being particularly great. I enjoyed Reigns vs. Miz and the main event, but the rest felt like filler until Raw on Monday. That said, nothing aside from Rose vs. Fandango was terrible and most of the matches were solid and seemed to serve a purpose, so that's a plus.
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