This edition of WWE SmackDown was brought to us from Milwaukee, WI. It was geared to further depict Randy Orton as a heartless, calloused individual, looking to get back in the good graces of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. The Miz, however, was destined to stop Orton's reign of terror.
Just like last week, Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth... happened. Only this time, RVD saved a post-match attack on R-Truth by ADR. To be honest, this feud has been a bit of a bust. Either it is just the lackluster attention given to enhance the relevance of the World Heavyweight Championship, or a lack of interest that the WWE has created to build from RVD's win at Night of Champions.
RVD has done some great work since his return at Money in the Bank, but hopefully—with his anticipated departure—we will see Ricardo Rodriguez make the turn to side with ADR. This was something many expected to happen at NOC, but Battleground should leave no room for doubt. Especially with the Hardcore stipulation added to the match.
Real Americans vs. Prime Time Players was a good match, and it was a good call for the Real Americans to win. PTP is very over as a tag team right now, and can afford a loss. However, if the Real Americans want to be a relevant tag team, they need more check marks in the win column. The team themselves are not very interesting anymore, but at least they add depth to the division. Moreover, with Los Matadores looming, them winning made ever more sense.
Bray Wyatt vs. Zack Ryder was simply purposed to make Wyatt look impressive. However, Ryder gained an unexpected amount of advantage during the match, so it was not a squash. I don't know if it not being a squash was a good idea to make Wyatt look impressive, but at least the WWE has not totally thrown Ryder by the wayside. I am still wondering where Bray Wyatt goes from here. He has not had a meaningful spot since SummerSlam, and we are approaching the second pay-per-view following his last angle. Their crowd reaction is diminishing, and WWE should take notice.
(Would Ryder be a good addition to the Wyatt Family?)
Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler, which turned into a six-man match of Ziggler/RVD/Kingston vs. the Shield was a good match, with a number of close calls. It's amazing how Kofi Kingston has fantastic in-ring ability, but has a dead-end gimmick. It does not even have to be a heel turn, but Kofi Kingston needs more of an overhaul than long tights and highlighted locks.
The fact that Ziggler did not actually get to compete for the title signifies him getting his opportunity at Battleground, which should set up a very good match, again. The problem I have, though, is hopefully Battleground will not be a rehashed Night of Champions, and we are seeing that for the most part (minus CM Punk/Ryback, so far). Night of Champions was the worst pay-per-view of the year, and resembling anything close to it is not what's "best for business." The Rhodes Family angle is shaping up pretty good, so that may very well be the difference maker.
AJ vs. Cameron was better than expected. From the rather embarrassing moment of telling her favorite match to Steve Austin on Tough Enough to now, Cameron has shown improvement in the ring. You can still see the nervousness, but hats off to her progress. Tamina is in a good role as AJ's enforcer. She definitely has the look and intimidation to be successful in filling the position. No interaction from Natalya, which confuses me on who the Divas title opportunity will be granted to.
Santino vs. Heath Slater was one of the most ridiculous matches I have ever seen. Not so much because of the match itself, but because of the theatrics involved. The flute-playing to entice the "Cobra" was totally irrelevant, and could have been saved for an episode of Superstars. Santino has been receiving a significant level of cheers during his return, but aligning himself with the Great Khali and Hornswoggle may be the end of the road regarding the amount of fan support he is receiving. Hopefully we do not see that again. EVER.
Randy Orton vs. Miz definitely was a success in making Orton more venomous, but it does not seem as if the Miz will get any benefit of getting beat down two weeks in a row. Receiving this kind of treatment leading to a PPV match would be one thing, but Orton will be facing Daniel Bryan at Battleground, so where does this leave the Miz? Does he go back to his heel ways after realizing that he can't beat Orton? Something has to happen, because the Miz's already tarnished babyface run is getting much worse.
I still have hope for Miz as a face, because—like I said before—he could be the face of SmackDown and feud with Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. However, it doesn't appear that the WWE has any plans for him other than being Orton's personal whipping boy. Sad. Moreover, it has been quite odd that we have seen very little interaction between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the past couple of weeks. With Battleground rapidly approaching, that probably is not the best idea for the main event match.
Is the WWE handling Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton correctly? Sound off below.