This episode of SmackDown hailed from Providence, RI, and was the first episode following the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Both the WWE and WHC winners—Randy Orton and Damien Sandow, respectively—looked to gain momentum after their wins leading to an unpredictable cash-in in the near future.
Teddy Long starts the show off in the ring. He gets interrupted by the returning WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T, looking to reclaim his position as GM of SmackDown. However, Vince McMahon had other plans. While Brad Maddox also appeared to state his case to become GM for both shows, McMahon decided against all three candidates and gave Vickie Guerrero another run as GM.
Of course, this came with a chorus of boos, and some heavy heel action from Guerrero. Honestly, this is the same song and dance that we've seen before, and the focus needs to be off of Guerrero. Now, we are forced to see more of her on Friday nights—very unfortunate.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger was a good way of continuing to build Ziggler as a face. So far, he has received more boos from the crowd than expected, but we saw on Raw and this episode of SmackDown that the cheers are starting to become more unanimous. Competing against more (relevant) midcard heels, such as Swagger, Cesaro, Axel, Fandango and even Dean Ambrose, will significantly help Ziggler in becoming all full-fledged babyface.
Ziggler had some words to say about AJ post-match, which led to her snapping backstage and Big E. Langston consoling her. Nice tease with Big E. going in for the kiss as well. AJ becoming involved with Big E. can help the feud, having Ziggler show a small hint of jealousy and believe that they conspired to cause him to lose the World Heavyweight Championship. This angle has been properly booked so far, and is developing well.
The Usos vs. The Shield led to a no contest due to early interference by Dean Ambrose, causing Mark Henry to make the save. It seems as if Mark Henry will keep his edge as a face, which is what exactly needs to happen. Henry—by no means—should become a chessy, vanilla babyface just because he has an issue with a group of heels right now. He was already getting cheered, so keep the same Mark Henry, but just begin to fight heels.
It seems as if we may get a six-man tag match as SummerSlam between everyone involved in that segment. For a stage that big, separating it in two matches would be better—having The Usos vie for the tag team titles again and Henry compete for the US title—but a six-man match is not a horrible idea.
Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett was just a way to put more fuel in the DB freight train, and that train is moving fast. Such an awesome time for Bryan right now; his momentum is red-hot, and his level of consistent crowd interaction has not been seen since the 97-98 WCW days of Bill Goldberg. Such a deafening reaction, that may lead him all the way the the WWE Championship.
Curtis Axel vs. Chris Jericho was just disappointing in so many ways. Don't get me wrong—the match was good, but who actually thought that Chris Jericho was going to win the Intercontinental title before he left for his tour? If that answer includes you, it was wishful thinking to say the least. Just another loss in the Jericho history books, which is unfortunately nothing new. Ryback coming in after the match was an "insult to injury" moment, and he is going to have to do substantially more than that to make his career relevant again.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are shaping up to be a good feud leading into SummerSlam, and possibly beyond. It has brought some freshness back to both careers, as their run as individual and tag team competitors became quite embarrassing.
RVD vs. Darren Young was a match that proved RVD is sharpening his skills again to become a top competitor in the WWE. This is most likely his last hoorah in the company, and being booked in matches like this will do the trick to regain the level of athleticism compared to his old days.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio was a good match, and "good match" is once again becoming synonymous with Randy Orton. He is building some much-needed steam, and has quickly became one of the most over babyfaces in the past few months. The pivotal point seemed to be when he faced the Big Show at Extreme Rules in his hometown. Since then, he has experienced a meteoric rise into the realm of relevancy again, and the WWE is capitalizing on every moment. Well done.
How would you have booked Chris Jericho's potentially last match of the year on SmackDown? Sound off below.