By Graham "GSM" Matthews
R-Truth Stole the Intercontinental Championship (Again)
Although I like the Intercontinental Championship getting shown some love, the game of hot potato is growing tiresome at this point. It's a wise way of incorporating new Superstars into the mix, but it's also symbolic of how little that belt has meant for such a long time. I don't mind the other Superstars brawling over it, but Truth's silly mannerisms make it all seem like a joke. I would love for someone to supply me with a legitimate reason as to why Truth is contending for the title.
WWE Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd def. Los Matadores (Non-title)
Cesaro and Kidd have been ripping it up in the tag team division since joining forces a few months ago and they continue to flourish. This wasn't much more than a brief squash for them, but it showcased their skills as a tandem nicely. Plus, it furthered their momentum going into their next title defense against The Usos. And finally, the less I see of Los Matadores, the better.
Ryback def. Kane
As over as Ryback as, it's difficult for me or any viewer to care about anything involving Kane. I respect him as a performer, but he loses so frequently that there's no incentive to think he'll win this time around. He and Ryback worked a match that you'd only expect out of them with most of the focus being on the tension between him and Big Show, effectively setting up the subsequent match between Show and Ryback going into the commercial break.
Big Show def. Ryback
While this was slightly better than the bout between Ryback and Kane, it wasn't a major improvement. Simply put, I have no desire to see Show featured so prominently in 2015, but there's no use in complaining about that here at the risk of sounding like a broken record. Again, the focus wasn't on Ryback but rather the teased tension between Show and Kane, and why should I care? Obviously, they'll cross paths in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but I couldn't care less about the two feuding. I wish they, along with The Authority, would be taken off TV entirely. Also, it's a shame Ryback's first singles pinfall loss since returning had to come at the hands of Show.
AJ Lee def. Brie Bella
When was the last time (other than on Raw this past week) that a Divas was promoted in advance? That was a pleasant surprise as well as how much time AJ and Brie ended up getting in their match. It wasn't a barn burner of a bout or anything, but it beat the hell out of them working a 30 second match. They worked a nice matchup with limited interference that did a solid job of furthering the feud between all four ladies. Regardless of whether they face off in a tag team match or in a Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania, it's encouraging to see the ladies getting a story for once.
The New Day def. The Miz and Damien Mizdow
We've seen the match multiple times in the past, but it served its purpose in furthering the story between Miz and Mizdow. It's been built beautifully and it's really going to mean something when Mizdow eventually snaps. And could the crowd be any more apathetic toward The New Day? It's been four months and WWE still has yet to scrap it. They must be deaf because anyone in their right mind would have turned them heel long ago.
United States Champion Rusev def. Jack Swagger (Non-title)
Rusev and Swagger have history dating back to last summer and they set up their latest encounter last week on SmackDown, so at least this match wasn't completely pointless. Rusev will continue to tread water until he agrees to face John Cena at WrestleMania 31, which I expect he will do possibly as soon as Monday's Raw. The swan song of Swagger continues, it seems. Where's Zeb Colter when you need him?
Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose def. Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett and Luke Harper
Was it really necessary to have Truth on commentary for the third time in the last week? I understand his involvement in the title picture (unfortunately), but he's been the center of the story for some reason when he doesn't need to be. That aside, they worked a pretty good tag match which shouldn't be a surprise given who was involved. The champ suffered yet another loss, but at least he wasn't the one who got pinned this time. I'd take Daniel Bryan in the Intercontinental match over him being in a match against Sheamus, but what's the story with Stardust? I'm really hoping this was just a red herring and he ends up facing Goldust one-on-one as planned at the event instead.
SmackDown was a mixed bag this week, and while there wasn't anything outstanding, there were a few highlights including the solid tag team main event and the Divas (yes, you read that right). It was cool to see the Intercontinental title spotlighted for once, and the blue brand should be used as a platform for the midcard guys to shine. Everything else seemed to be filler before Monday's Raw where I assume we'll get more confirmed for WrestleMania.
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