This episode of SmackDown built on the tag team match pitting the Usos against Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan, slated for the upcoming Raw. The Usos were Tested against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. We also saw the feud with CM Punk and the Shield continue, mixed with an old school flare of the New Age Outlaws in six-man competition.
Usos vs Erick Rowan/Luke Harper
Good match to lead to the showdown scheduled for Raw. The Usos are pros at putting together good matches, and Rowan/Harper are starting to gel with the WWE tag team style. Making it a double countout and not having the Usos lose was also a good booking decision, not making them look weaker leading into their match against Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan. However, they did get attacked postmatch, which makes me wonder if there may be a higher chance of them winning on Raw due to more possible dissension between Daniel Bryatt (did that on purpose) and Bray Wyatt.
Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara/Los Matadores vs. Real Americans/Rybaxel
Very good match to showcase the tag team division. Interstingly, WWE quietly reformed Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, which is a good spot for both of them and a good addition to the current tag division (as opposed to Mysterio and Big Show). Although many of Michael Cole and JBL's comments are quite embellished, JBL did hit the nail on the head when he said that WWE has one of the strongest tag team divisions ever. Hopefully, this leads to a gauntlet match at WrestleMania 30 to properly showcase the division on a grand stage.
Randy Orton vs. Big E. Langston
This was a good match, just like the last time they faced each other. It appears as if they are continuing to throw feelers out to see if Big E. Langston is both over with the crowd as well as put can on a good main event quality match, in which he has been successful in both categories. If the belts were not unified, it would have been great to see Big E. win the Royal Rumble and vie for the World Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, now, uprising stars have to wait further back in the line.
(Possibly the only three singles titles in the near future?)
Xavier Woods vs. Fandango
Decent match showcasing the midcarders, which still puzzles me why WWE is considering unifying the midcard titles. Just because the US title is poorly booked, doesn't mean that is cannot be used to push midcard talent. The Intercontinental Championship is doing wonders for Big E. Langston, and talent such as Xavier Woods, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns (eventually), R-Truth, Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, and others can strongly benefit from being US Champion. Plus, none of these wrestlers have a chance of being WWE World Heavyweight Champion in the next 6-9 months, so they might as well find contentment in having a midcard title.
CM Punk/New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield
This was a good fusion of Old School and New School, and the New Age Outlaws haven't missed much of a step in spite of not competing on SmackDown in nearly 15 years (wow!). The Shield needed this win to keep some balance in their feud with CM Punk, and to properly time the eventual break-up or departure of Roman Reigns. Having them lose all the time would dilute the moment it happens, and lose momentum for the group as a whole. It will be interesting to see what WWE does with the Shield in the near future.
How long do you predict before the Shield break up? Sound off below.