Every now and then we get a few matches on Smackdown that have absolutely no meaning, but wasn’t the case this week. The WWE did their best to further story lines leading into Payback. With such a short time from now until the PPV, I think they’re doing their best to make feuds click. It came across to me as if they put some thought into last night’s show.
This was the first time in a while where I felt Kane became a full-fledged babyface. No heel ever talks about giving the fans what they want. His random bursts of anger have added a lot to his character, and that is someone that feels conflicted with who they are. After Seth Rollins provoked him, I’m 100% we’ll be seeing the “old” Kane sometime soon.
Roman Reigns vs Kane / Roman Reigns Promo
The recap portion of this segment was too long, but thank god for PVR. Reigns kept the content of his promo simple, and it worked for him. I truly felt urgency in his chase for the WWE World Heavyweight title. We haven’t seen Roman wrestle Kane in a while, but I really believed they could have used someone else. For what I thought this match was going to be, the two actually impressed me. The spot of this contest was Kane side slamming Reigns on the announce table. It only made a loud sound, but sometimes that’s all it takes. I enjoyed the big red machine’s counter of the superman punch. What I didn’t like about this match was Roman’s DDT. I thought the count out finish was pointless, and I felt they could have had ended it cleanly.
Damien Sandow vs Curtis Axel
Sandow’s new gimmick is terrible, and I am shocked hey have taken his route with him. In all fairness I thought he pulled it off, but they could have definitely given him something more. Axel went down quickly in this match, and it was clear they used this slot to push Damien. The match wasn’t all that great, and I assume it was our comedy portion of the night.
Ryback vs Luke Harper
After seeing many squash matches with Ryback, I’m glad he was given a credible opponent. It’s nice to remember that he isn’t invincible. A few times during this match we got the angle from the cameraman on apron, I personally enjoyed it and liked it more than the turnbuckle camera. The spot of this match was definitely Ryback’s vertical suplex because it was impressive he was able to hold Harper in the air for that long. Once the match reached the middle point, it began to feel dull, even with the signature move exchange. Seemed to me they used their energy during the opening. The result was expected, but Wyatt’s post match appearance made this worth watching. Bray looked great, and I’m glad to see him back in action.
The New Day vs Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Kidd & Cesaro received a massive pop during their entrance, and it goes to show that they make great babyfaces. While Kofi and Kidd were beginning the match, King and Saxton speaking about the legitimacy of Kidd and Natty’s marriage was distracting me. Cesaro never ceases to amaze me with his strength, but I wasn’t impressed by his double team move with Kidd. It looked like Kidd hurt himself more than inflicting pain on Kofi. Xavier Woods‘ comments from the outside were brilliant, it let’s us know he isn’t completely useless while standing there. The spot of this match was Kidd’s counter on Kofi by lacing him with a dropkick while Kingston was in the air. This contest picked up exactly where they left from Extreme Rules, and it was unfortunate to see it end in a DQ, but it was probably the most logical way to end it. I felt this was great, and I can’t wait to see their feud grow.
Nikki Bella vs Cameron
If it wasn’t official before, it is now, Nikki is a babyface. It couldn’t be more evident in the backstage segment between Bella and Cameron. This match wasn’t so bad, and the two put on a decent show. Cameron got quite a bit of time to showcase her skills, and while she didn’t look terrible, her move set could use some more diversity. Her in ring trash talk was fun to listen to though. Nikki looked great here; in terms of move execution and selling. Overall, not a bad match.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose
Us fans were being treated to a PPV calibre match in the Smackdown main event. It didn’t feel as intense as their previous encounters, but it was still easy to notice their dislike for each other. I thought Kane could have made his entrance later on, because it only distracted fans from watching Rollins and Ambrose put on a decent showing. The two men continued with the match, and they were going at a great pace. We saw some impact moves mixed with some small spots, the right recipe for a solid main event. It was quite comedic seeing how many times Rollins collided with Kane, knowing that it would eventually be brought up sometime next week. At one point Kane had both competitors by the throat, but I found it odd how the referee was telling him that he would be disqualified. Clearly Rollins will continue with his weird DDT, which was a shame. Overall, I really enjoyed the excitement of this entire bout, it had a great mix of drama and action. The spot of this entire time slot came when Reigns double speared J&J security. It looked great because they know how to sell and they look much smaller than Roman.
The match quality on this show might not have been the best, but I enjoyed how each of them progressed a certain story line. I think we’ll begin to notice that much because Smackdown will need steam heading into the USA Network a few months from now. This epsidoe was a good way to cap off a solid week of WWE. Overall I give this show a 7.6/10.