Smackdown was in San Jose, Ca. this week. Two advertised matchups included a six man tag team match with RVD teaming up with the Big Show and Mark Henry, to face off against The Shield. Also advertised, was Daniel Bryan taking on Wade Barrett in a No DQ match.
The Wyatt Family would start the show off with an in ring segment. a recap of events would sneak it's way into the Wyatt's entrance, which I thought was ill timed, considering the Wyatt Family's appearances usually feel to come as unexpected. After the recap, we cut back to Bray in the ring sitting in his rocker with Harper and Rowan behind him. He proceeded to tell a story of a boy who was bullied in school, who would grow up to don a mask to hide the lie that he was a coward. He, of course, was referring to Kane. He promised Kane that on Sunday he would prove that "one man's hell, is another man's paradise". He ended with the usual call too "follow the buzzards". That's when the ring posts exploded into flames. The Wyatt's awaited Kane's arrival through the stage, but Kane would come from behind, pulling Rowan under the bottom rope, and smashing him into the ring post, Harper would find a similar fate with the steel steps. Kane would enter the ring and have a stare down with Wyatt for a few, before signaling the end for Bray. Wyatt's eyes filled with rage and attacked, only to be overpowered by Kane. It looked as though Kane would get the upper hand at first, but as fate would have it, the number's game proved to be too much.
Not a bad segment, although, as I pointed out earlier, the recap segment during the Wyatt's entrance felt misplaced. Bray's in ring story telling seemed to drag on a bit for me, and also left me a little confused as to how it related to his beef with Kane. A story about Kane being bullied and hiding behind a mask, doesn't seem to correlate with the complaints from Bray during previous segments, where he would mock Kane essentially for being a face. I am excited to see Bray Wyatt face Kane this Sunday to see what he can do.
Match #1: Damien Sandow vs. Christian
Damien Sandow would control this match early and often, at one point sending Christian to the outside for a good beating. Captain Charisma kept looking for crowd support, and while there was some chanting and clapping, it certainly wasn't inspiring. Christian would mount a comeback, and had things pretty well in hand, until Sandow would counter with a cartwheel. Yes, I said cartwheel. Christian would score the win with a.... sigh....rollup pin. I don't know who's writing these finishes, and I'm not sure what they are trying to accomplish. I've personally never been a big fan of Christian as a singles competitor, and finishing every match with a backslide or a rollup isn't helping. The World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio would make his presence felt, when he jumped Christian after his victory, telling him that it was over for him. Personally, I hope he's right.
Match #2: Kaitlyn and Natalya vs. Diva's Champion AJ Lee and Layla
This match was BORING! The crowd wasn't into it, I wasn't into it. Call me biased, but I really don't care for the Diva's division as it stands all together. I find it to be a bit insulting. Natalya appears to be the only Diva with any wrestling ability, and it doesn't show when she has to face these less than stellar competitor's. I recall the days of Bertha Faye and Bull Nakano, when you didn't have to be a model to be a wrestler. But you did have to be a wrestler. The Diva's are athletic, but their matches are more often then not, unwatchable in my opinion.
Winner: AJ Lee and Layla
A backstage segment would find Ryback with Renee Young. I'm not sure who put that vest on Ryback, but they should take it off. Ryback would claim that he wasn't booked at Summerslam because people were afraid of him. He then turned his attention to the segment producer, pulling the bully act once again. Honestly, I don't understand what they're doing with Ryback. I'm not against the bully angle, but to have it happen so sporadically, and with no face calling him out on it, it just feels pointless. On a side note, the man who we saw get tossed across the table by Ryback is Drake Younger, an indy wrestler who compete's in the Las Vegas based FSW. Nice to see him getting some national tv exposure, even if he is getting slapped in the face.
Match #3: RVD, Mark Henry & Big Show vs. The Shield
This match started out with Mark Henry and Seth Rollins. Henry would control Rollins early, and tag out to RVD even earlier. Neither Rollins nor RVD would establish control, until Seth would get a blind tag off an Irish whip to Dean Ambrose, who would catch RVD from behind. The match would go as usual with the heel punishing the face for a while. RVD would finally get the tag to Big Show, who cleaned house pretty quick. Things got interesting as the action spilled to the outside, when Roman Reigns pulled down the top rope, sending Big Show tumbling down. Reigns would celebrate and mock, but not for long, as Mark Henry would creep up from behind, and heave Reins over the announce table and into Michael Cole's lap. I was praying that he broke his headset, but those prayers would go unanswered. Big Show would end up beating a close countout, and subsequently give Dean Ambrose a KO blow. RVD would get the tag, nail Ambrose with the 5-starred frog splash, and get the 1-2-3 for the victory. Good match, and nice finish to lead into Summerslam's title bout with RVD and Ambrose. I still don't understand why that match is on the preshow, nevertheless I'm looking forward to it.
Winner: RVD, Mark Henry & Big Show
Match 4: The Miz vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Coulter and Antonio Cesaro)
A match with no backstory, and no future story. Also ended in a rollup pin. *yawn
Winner: The Miz
Match 5: Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Zak Ryder
WOO WOO WOO! was the story here for most of the match. Zak Ryder took the champion to task on Friday, much to the dismay of Paul Heyman, who appeared quite irritated with his client's lack of in-ring focus. Curtis Axel would eventually score the win, but with performances like that, I don't know how much longer he'll be holding on to the strap. Which begs to question, why isn't he defending the I.C. title at Summerslam. Summerslam is known for greatness when it comes to the I.C. title. Dropped ball on WWE's part if you ask me.
Winner: Curtis Axel
Paul would grab the mic following the match to give another thorn in the side of C.M. Punk. Nothing really to speak of here. Just your basic pre PPV mud slinging.
Main Event: Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett (No Disqualification)
I'll admit that at first I had little interest in this match, as I've already seen it twice in the past week. This would turn out to be a great build up to Summerslam however, as Mr. McMahon himself would make his way down to the ring during the match. Vince would pull the referee out of the ring, stealing what was a sure victory from Daniel Bryan. Vince called for another referee when Barrett finally came to and regained the upper hand. That referee was Brad Maddox. Bryan would kick out of the pin attempt. After punishing Barrett and going for a pin, it was obvious that Maddox wasn't going to count the fall for Daniel. Enter The Game. Triple H made his way to the ring in referee gear. Bryan would get the pinfall, and Triple H would raise his hand and join in with the YES! chant. Hardly actions of a referee who intends to be unbiased at Summerslam, though one could argue that he was just taking advantage of an opportunity to let Vince know, that he won't be able to have his way come Sunday.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
It was a good broadcast, with which I have only one complaint. The crowd. I don't know what it is about west coast crowds, but Monday Night Raw, and Smackdown had two of the deadest crowds I've heard in a while. And I hope I'm wrong, but I think we're in for more of the same come Sunday.
Until next week.