It was very good to see Smackdown open with something very important. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan cut a very good in-ring promo. Bryan was particularly galvanising again. He talked about wrestling all over the world for a decade on “staph infested” mats to get to where he is, how “pretty” Randy is, and his desire for a title rematch. Orton told him he will have to wait until Night of Champions for that.
Curtis Axel and Cody Rhodes had a short but decent opening match. Axel got the win after another Heyman distraction. Then Paul got in the ring to cut a promo on Punk. Axel followed suit, by saying that Punk isn’t worthy of an Intercontinental Championship match. I guess that’s the plan for Night of Champions. I think that’s really cool. I would actually like to see someone established like Punk hold the belt for a couple of months. It would add huge importance to it, if he had a similar run to that of Chris Jericho.
Big E Langston and Dolph Ziggler continued their feud with what I thought was a very, very good match. It was of decent length for a Smackdown mid card bout, contained a bunch of near falls and a cool spot with Dolph reversing a huge powerbomb into the X Factor. He went on to get the win with the zigzag.
Christian and Del Rio got in there together once again. This was an okay match which ended typically with the cross armbreaker. After the match, Christian dropkicked him from behind, allowing RVD to come into the ring and hit the rolling thunder. He was flanked by his new best friend Ricardo Rodriguez. Three matches for Night of Champions are already shaping up nicely, and I like the look of all of them.
Big Show and Mark Henry took on 3MB in a 3 on 1 handicap match. The highlight of this was hearing JBL advise the trio to “dig up the mean street posse to help them” – It was a quick squash win for the big duo, which wasn’t surprising. Rollins and Reigns then cut a typical “believe” shield promo.
The Prime Time Players continued to capitalise on the push given to them since Darren Young was the first pro wrestler to come out as openly gay. Young put in an excellent performance to beat Antonio Cesaro. He showed flawless technique throughout, hit a lovely northern lights suplex and finished off with his impressive “gut check” finisher.
The Ryback bully character continued. It’s fairly entertaining and amusing, but it screams of the company not having a clue what to do with him. I skipped the Vault match, although it looked decent. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jennetty) versus The Nasty Boys.
Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett produced a very good main event match inside the steel cage. Some pairings don’t get as boring as quickly as others. Although it was barely used, it was special to see the steel cage on Smackdown. These two had a great match and both came out looking very strong, after getting plenty of offence away. It was good to see the two best stars of the Nexus headlining the show. The most incredible spot of the whole night saw Bryan hit a corkscrew sunset flip off the top rope into a powerbomb on Barrett. He then polished him off with his new awesome high running knee finishing move. Bryan is still on fire, and still getting it done in the ring. Randy Orton came down to spoil the party, with an RKO on the outside mats.
I have to give this show an eight because of the steel cage, the great opening promo, and the generally solid matches throughout. There was enough development, but a big focus on in-ring ability. This is quite the antithesis of what we saw on Raw. The title matches for Night of Champions are shaping up very well. Roll on Monday!
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