The quick answer is yes. I watched the show this morning, thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it perfectly added that little sprinkle of spice to proceedings ahead of the biggest show of the summer tomorrow night. Be sure to come back to The Real Mid Card tomorrow for our official Summerslam preview and predictions. For now, lets take a look at this week’s Smackdown.
So the show opened with another awesome Wyatt Family entrance. Cole once again confirmed that the fire in the match tomorrow won’t be there to harm anyone, but will act purely as a way to prevent interference. It’s still going to be a pretty amazing visual! Bray Wyatt cut a typically great promo while rocking in his chair, flanked by the brothers behind him. He told a story about Kane being a little boy who was bullied at school and wore a mask to hide. Kane didn’t take too kindly to this. He came through the crowd to take out the brothers and looked like he might actually get his hands on Bray. He did for a hot second but was quickly smothered and beaten down.
The opening match of the night featured Damien Sandow and Christian. Christian won this fairly decent match, and was then attacked by a very angry Alberto Del Rio. He got the last laugh again though by reversing the cross arm-breaker into the killswitch. Then Team RVD (Rob, Mark Henry and The Big Show) cut a very cool backstage interview on The Shield. AJ Lee teamed with Layla to take on Kaitlyn and Natalya. It was fairly agonizing watching Layla and Natalya chain wrestling, but things were slightly improved when the other two got in there. Before long it came down to “Diva chaos” according to Michael Cole, and AJ got the win with the Shining Wizard.
Ryback then cut his backstage interview short to bully some more innocent workers. This was funny but also a clear example of how dead his character is right now. He needs a real storyline that actually involves another superstar. Then we were treated to an absolutely epic Best v Beast hype vignette. The Shield took on Rob Van Dam, Mark Henry and The Big Show. This was a really good chaotic match which culminated in an awesome ending sequence. Mark Henry tossed Roman Reigns across the announce table like a child, nearly killing Michael Cole. Seth Rollins flew over the top rope onto Henry with a flying senton. Then Big Show knocked Dean Ambrose out cold, and RVD hit the five star frog splash for the win. Good match!
The Miz proceeded his meaningless host role with a win against Jack Swagger. Colter cut another amazing promo on the way to the ring, but before long, he and Cesaro were sent backstage by the ref. Swagger was distracted by all this commotion and Miz took advantage with the roll-up. Serves him right for doing push-ups using his opponent’s body. Then Zack Ryder made a very rare TV appearance in a match against Curtis Axel. Ryder was in full control for the majority of the match, much to the glee of the fans. Predictably, he missed a high risk move from the top rope and Axel capitalised to win. Heyman grabbed a mic after the match and admitted that he was outsmarted by CM Punk on Raw. He had the final say on the matter before Summerslam, by saying that now he and Lesnar are the ones looking for revenge on Punk, not the other way around.
Then we saw another epic vignette. This time for Daniel Bryan v John Cena. WWE cannot be knocked when it comes to hyping up their superstars, storylines and shows with video packages. They are second to none. After that, we were treated to a very good ending to the show. Daniel Bryan took on Wade Barrett in a No Disqualification match. The two of them had an okay thing going on, until it got very interesting with the arrival of Vince McMahon. He came out mocking Bryan with beard gestures and dwarf impressions as he made his way down the ramp. He did let the match go on as normal for a few minutes though, while he stood at ringside.
However, when Bryan got the Lobell Lock cinched in and Barrett was about to tap, he pulled referee Mike Chioda out of the ring and onto the mats, where he lay unconscious. Wade took advantage of the distraction and Maddox came running down in the ref shirt. To Vince’s fury, Bryan kicked out at two. Shortly after that, he had Wade out for the count, but Maddox refused to deliver that count. Vince then slyly gave Wade the kendo stick, as Bryan was getting in Maddox’s face. He ran across the ring to strike him, Bryan ducked and the phony referee got the kendo stick to the face. Bryan then pushed Barrett through the table in the corner. Vince then hilariously put on Mike Chioda’s ref shirt and proclaimed “I’m the referee now!” in classic heel style! But sadly for him, Triple H came down, allowing Bryan to hit the diving headbutt and pick up the legitimate win. Randy Orton came out for his usual appearance of just standing on the stage with the briefcase. That must be hard work!
For me, this was another very solid and surprisingly star-studded episode of Smackdown. Most of the storylines got a final push, the two main events got special vignettes, and the final hype blow was delivered, leaving any real fan of the company no choice but to order Summerslam tomorrow. I can’t wait. I’ll be putting up my preview for the show and my predictions tomorrow, so check back for that! We will also be posting a special feature focusing on the journey of Ring of Honor’s finest all the way to the marquee of Summerslam, written by our very own Steven Forrester. Smackdown ticked all the boxes. Can the second biggest pay-per-view of the year live up to the hype? There is only one way to find out. Thanks for reading.