This week's episode of SmackDown was the next to last show before the annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view. It mainly was built around the rare SmackDown appearance by CM Punk, and Alberto Del Rio refusing to make him feel welcomed to the show.
The mini-feud that CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio has had since Payback is actually a good way to block out the fact that Brock Lesnar will not be showing up until either at or after Money in the Bank, building their angle for SummerSlam. It is also a decent way to secure Punk's spot as a babyface by competing against ADR, who is a full-fledged heel. They have good chemistry together, and showed by their exchanges in the beginning of the show that led to a main-event match.
Usos vs. Team Rhodes Scholars was simply booked to make the Usos look more impressive, and it worked. Team Rhodes Scholars hardly ever win matches anymore, unless it's handicapped, and the double splash finisher that the Usos added to their arsenal is picture perfect. They should call the move, "Two Shades of Snuka." You "heard" it here first, folks.
Alicia Fox vs. Kaitlyn was a bit dull, but Fox getting the win was a good idea. The fact that we are only seeing AJ and Kaitlyn in the spotlight of an already-plunging Divas division is not a good decision. Not to be misconstrued, AJ and Kaitlyn have put on some decent matches, and the feud is better than what we have been experiencing for quite some time. However, to make that title even more relevant, there unquestionably needs to be more Divas wrestling against each other, adding more depth to the division. Hopefully Layla turns heel and starts a feud with Kaitlyn and let whomever is next in line to feud with AJ for the title.
Randy Orton vs. Christian was a good match, reminiscent of their heated rivalry for the World Heavyweight Championship back in 2011. What puzzles me, though, is the lack of reaction that Christian has received since his return. He received a decent ovation when he came back against Wade Barrett on Raw, but after that, he has not garnered a noticeable amount of babyface pops.
I wonder if this WWE are going to count their losses and turn him heel sooner than later, most likely after his penciled SummerSlam match against Dean Ambrose. Personally, I believe that they should keep him a face, simply due to their lack of babyfaces, as well as the fact that we've seen Christian have a long run as a heel before, and this would be something fresh and different. If properly booked, Christian can be one of the top faces, but the way they are booking him so far, looking at the crowd in disgust after his opponent kicks out after a two count, is of course going to draw heat.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre was another trial match to gauge the babyface meter of Ziggler. In his opening promo, it just wasn't working. He was not getting a settling amount of pops. In fact, there were a significant amount of boos. This turn may be short-lived, as you can see that he feels more comfortable as a heel. This is possibly why they are still indirectly affiliating him with AJ and Big E. Langston.
Fandango vs. Justin Gabriel was an attempt to make Fandango worth something again, as his stock has plummeted. Even before his injury, the Fandango craze was starting to die down. This is why I don't understand why they are quick to throw someone of Chris Jericho to put over, in hopes of propelling their career. The same applies for John Morrison and Evan Bourne, which neither of them benefited in the long run by beating Jericho. They should build up a character much better, and then allow Jericho to start a program with him. Otherwise, it'll just be more marks on the Y2J loss column.
By the way, Justin Gabriel is uber talented, and I still have no clue why he is still the WWE's resident jobber. To my knowledge, the last time he won a match on Raw or SmackDown was against Antonio Cesaro, which led to their US title match last October at Hell in a Cell. That was nine months ago.
CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio had an interesting ending that was good for the storyline build-up between Punk, Heyman and Lesnar. The match itself was good, but the fact that Punk snapped on ADR for hitting Heyman shows that he is still loyal to him as a friend, which would be even more of a devastating blow if Heyman fully turns his back on Punk. If booked right, the stage could be perfectly set for Punk/Lesnar at SummerSlam, with a story that could add even more to the passion of the match.
Sound off with your SmackDown thoughts below.