By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kane Interrupted Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
WWE hyping Reign's appearance on this show as his "return" was comical considering he was last seen four days ago at Payback, but it was a nice hook for SmackDown since he wasn't on Raw this week. It was a logical follow-up to his loss at Payback, but he didn't give any indication as to what's next for him other than he has aspirations to be in the Money in the Bank Ladder match (which should be interesting). Kane's interruption led to the segment being pretty paint-by-numbers, but the announcement of Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt gave viewers something to look forward to in the main event.
The Lucha Dragons def. Los Matadores, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, and The Ascension in a Four Corners Match
I feared this match was going to go only a few minutes and completely defeat the purpose of there being multiple teams, but thankfully that wasn't the case. All four teams were able to showcase their skills and it gave us a fun preview of what we're in store for come Elimination Chamber. I also like The Lucha Dragons going over because fans take them seriously and they needed the win more than the other three tandems. On a side note, The New Day and the Prime Time Players weren't distracting on commentary and were actually entertaining to listen to at times.
Dolph Ziggler def. King Barrett
I love whenever Ziggler and Barrett go one-on-one because they have such great chemistry together and never fail to have a great match. This bout was filled with back-and-forth action and both guys came out of it looking good. I want Barrett to win more often than he loses, but this defeat won't do anything to damage him since he won on Monday's Raw. Of course, Ziggler and Barrett will involved in the Elimination Chamber for the vacant Intercontinental Championship, so this was a decent way of hyping up that match as well.
Divas Champion Nikki Bella Saved Paige From Naomi and Tamina Snuka
Let's face it: the #GiveDivasAChance movement was short-lived as the women have gone back to having matches that don't last long and not having much character development. That said, it was nice to see them get some mic time for once in the ring. Both Paige and Naomi performed well on the mic and had a heated exchange that was well-received by the live crowd. Nikki making the save only to lay out Paige could be seen coming since Paige did the same thing on Raw.
R-Truth def. Stardust
This marked the sixth match these two have had in the last month and the fifth show they've faced off on (in addition to Raw, Main Event, Superstars and Payback). It's clearly more of a case of WWE not knowing what to do with either guy than it is a case of them feuding. As I've said time and time again, their matches get less and less interesting to me, and this match was total throwaway. Truth will be in the Chamber for the Intercontinental title, so I understand why he picked up the win, but it doesn't make it any less stupid that Stardust lost to him. Please let this mean he's finally going back to being Cody Rhodes. Please.
Curtis Axel and Macho Mandow def. Heath Slater and Adam Rose
After they failed to defeat The Ascension on the Payback Kickoff show, I was afraid Axel and Mandow were doomed to lose to another job squash, but they quelled my fears with a win. They're a fun duo, but it's obvious WWE has no plans to push either of them, even as a tag team. Otherwise, they would have been in the Elimination Chamber for the WWE Tag Team Championship over Los Matadoes, so that's a shame. This also served as a sad reminder as to how WWE is doing nothing to capitalize off the mainstream attention Rose got from the exceptional E:60 special a few weeks ago.
Dean Ambrose def. Bray Wyatt
It's weird that these two work so much better together when it isn't a gimmick match. I enjoyed this encounter as much as I did their Raw match and I liked how it felt more like a sequel (i.e. alluding to spots they did on Monday and changing it up) instead of just another match. The interference at the end was slightly convoluted, but it was done well enough that it made things even more exciting. Wyatt was protected in defeat since Reigns cost him in the victory and Ambrose scored a big win before he contends for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It also looks like we're getting Reigns vs. Wyatt at the next pay-per-view, which would explain why Wyatt isn't in the Intercontinental title Chamber match.
After a great week in WWE, this was a nice way of capping it all off. It wasn't a great show by any means, but the main event, Ziggler vs. Barrett and the Divas segment attribute to me giving it a thumbs up. Furthermore, there was plenty of storyline progression going into Elimination Chamber which already feels like a must-see event with what's being advertised.
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