This episode of WWE SmackDown hailed from Cincinnati, OH, and it was geared to address the happenings on Raw concerning the number of superstars that aligned with Daniel Bryan against Randy Orton and the Shield. Vickie Guerrero set out to punish those superstars, but found out that it was not "best for business."
AJ vs. Naomi was solid match. Although Natalya should unquestionably be the top contender for the Divas Championship, Naomi proves week in and week out that she has the components (especially look and athleticism) to be the top Diva in the future. Competing in matches like these shows the fans who did not follow her in FCW how good she is, and can rally behind her. Of course, her very babyface demeanor shown on Total Divas helps as well.
Santino vs. Jack Swagger was purposed to continue the "feel-goodness" of Santino returning, and it served its purpose. Santino is most likely going to be labeled as one of the most unique midcard superstars in WWE history. The funny thing is, the crowd suspends reality for Santino, and he receives upper mid-card—and sometimes main-event—level pops. Remember Royal Rumble 2011 and Elimination Chamber 2012? Yeah, the times he became runner-up of the Rumble, and nearly won the World Heavyweight Championship. Those were to two biggest pops he's ever received, which were enormous.
Well, it looks like Ryback vs. Nick Nardowe is a sign of Ryback going back to the "locals" again. We saw where that led him before. One thing that is funny, though, is Ryback cutting promos about him hating bullies, while he does it so effortlessly backstage. It is actually a good play on his character. CM Punk vs. Ryback (again, one year later) is most likely in store. This time, the tables are turned regarding heel vs. face. Ryback seems to be simply a pawn in the Punk/Heyman storyline, but we may be shocked by a Ryback victory against Punk.
Paul Heyman (@HeymanHustle) September 21, 2013
(But what about Curtis Axel? Potential Axel vs. Ryback feud brewing?)
The Shield vs. The Rebels was an interesting concept, that actually benefited some participants of the 'Rebel' group. Particularly, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler and RVD. These three actually gained a considerable advantage over the Shield for a moment, with RVD coming close to defeating them. Triple H coming out and stopping the match was done, I suppose, to keep some balance and not make Raw and SmackDown seem tyrannical, but it was not necessary. However, Michael Cole did do a good job highlighting the "coincidences."
Rowan/Harper vs. Ryder/Gabriel was not interesting in the slightest. I understand that the WWE is trying to keep the Wyatt Family in our faces to maintain any relevance, but Rowan and Harper are the ones who compete in most of the matches. What about Bray Wyatt? A feud with Dolph Ziggler would have sufficed until Kane returns, especially after the thrown-together match between the two.
Ultimately, the saving grace of the Wyatt Family living up to the hype and time spent with all of those vignettes would be a feud with CM Punk. This Heyman angle is not going to last forever, so we must see those two commence a feud in the near future. If we kill the rumors of Austin returning at WM XXX, a CM Punk vs. Bray Wyatt match would be a treat to see.
Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth... happened.
Daniel Bryan/Usos vs. The Shield was a good match. Great way to keep the Usos as a credible tag team, and Bryan getting advantage leading into Battleground. The Shield has enough momentum in this current feud involving the McMahons that a loss is not very crucial, but it actually helped the momentum of both Bryan and the Usos. Overall, the Shield can afford putting people over now more than ever, because they are being used as Triple H's and Stephanie McMahon's henchmen, which gives them a prominent role.
Sound off with your thoughts.