Colorado Springs, Colorado
Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger
Before the match, WWE makes sure to plug a story in USA Today where they speak of the crossover appeal of Bryan’s chant. Bryan is bandaged up over the shoulder. Swagger looks for the arm, but gets kicked and tripped into a side headlock. They go running, and Bryan hits the knee lift. In the corner, Bryan gets whipped out and flips out of the following corner. Bryan gets the clothesline and gives Jack some corner dropkicks. Jack bails outside, but Bryan pursues. Swagger catches Bryan from the apron and drops him on the barricade, but drops him on the right shoulder and not the injured left. Jack makes sure to put him into the barricade once more. Jack follows by pressing Bryan and tossing him off of the ring post, shoulder first! Back inside, Jack gets two.
Swagger keeps working the arm, hitting a slam where Bryan lands on the arm. Swagger repeats the move for two. Up to the top, Bryan squirms away from Swagger, avoiding a slam from the top. Bryan charges back at Jack after Swagger comes back down, and hits TCK for the win. After the match, Vickie and Kane come out to place Bryan into a match with Cesaro that starts straight away. I’m happy to have Bryan vs. Cesaro, but this is a pretty lame way to do it.
Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro
Cesaro stomps Bryan in the corner to begin. Cesaro is above being Kane’s henchman. Cesaro works the arm, pulling it across the ring post from the outside. Bryan gets out of a wrench and drop toe holds Cesaro into the corner. He kicks the second rope and chops away. Bryan puts Cesaro on the top, but Cesaro comes off, driving his knee into Bryan’s arm and taking him to the mat. Cesaro hits a double stomp on the arm and slams it around for a while. So, between Raw and Smackdown, Bryan has had an hour of offense focused on his arm.
Bryan fights back, but it caught from the top and hit with a shoulderbreaker for two. Cesaro misses a charge and tumbles outside. Bryan hits the dive in front of the announce table. On the way back in, Zeb distracts Bryan. Cesaro hits a big boot. Swagger has a steel chair and stalks Bryan, but winds up thrown out of the ringside area, as is Colter. They’re fuming as we go to break.
We return with Cesaro in control, pummeling Bryan in the corner and hitting a charging European uppercut. Cesaro sets Bryan up to the top, and follows. Bryan throws him off and comes off with a missile dropkick. They both fight back to their feet, with Bryan getting there first and chopping at Cesaro. He goes for the buzzsaw, but is caught and receives a GIANT SWING. He gets through about twenty revolutions to JBL’s glee. It’s way too much glee. Bryan gets a small package for two, and then is immediately launched for the MDK uppercut to his shoulder. That gets two. Cesaro, frustrated, pounces on Bryan in the corner. Coming back for another round, Bryan hits a desperation knee from the corner. This draws Kane into the ring to hit a choke slam to give us a DQ ending. Kane is happy to announce that Bryan has won. Kane walks off, leaving Cesaro to reenter the ring and hit The Neutralizer.
Final Thoughts: * for the brief match between Bryan and Swagger and **1/2 for Bryan and Cesaro, as while they did well in the working the arm, eighty percent of the match was WWE building an excuse for Bryan to lose on Sunday and continue this feud with Kane that helps no one. Fans already went through “building sympathy” for Bryan after SummerSlam and the colossal snafu that was his feud with Orton. And Kane isn’t a foil for the number one face in the company. He’s supposed to be a stooge.
-Renee is backstage with Christian, who gets a mixed response. Talking about his “aggressive streak” he mentions that he has always been desperate since his return. Of course, then he rails against the fans, cementing his heel turn. He’s so desperate the he hints at this search for the title being the last thing he ever does.
The Rhodes Bros and Rey Mysterio vs. The Wyatt Family
Before the match, Bray gets on the microphone and likens The Shield to dominoes. He says that no one will be able to believe in The Shield when they are left on their hands and knees. The faces get the jobber entrance. Rey and Luke begin. Harper slugs away. Rey gets a boot and a blind tag to Cody. They hit a double dropkick. Harper gets an uppercut and a headbutt. Cody answers with a running clothesline. Harper puts him into the corner, however, and Rowan enters. There’s some clubbing. Cody gets out of a slam and brings in Goldy. Goldust gets a series of rights, but gets caught in a crossbody and takes a fall away slam. Bray enters and hits a clothesline. We go to break.
We return with Harper performing a Gator Roll on Goldust. He plays face in peril, hitting a sunset flip bomb because he’s awesome. Cody is tagged in and hits a springboard dropkick. Going to the top, Cody hits the moonsault for two. Rey tags in as Harper tumbles out. Rey slides down onto him, skidding off of the apron. Rey goes for the 619, but takes a big boot. Bray tags in and gets two from the boot. Rey is then trapped in the corner. Rowan comes back in and hits a scoop slam. Rowan grabs a bearhug. Rey fights back but takes a sideslam for two. Luke enters and stomps away.
Harper tears away at Rey’s mask in the corner. He hits a vertical suplex and Bray returns. He hits a corner splash, but is tripped up while trying a second. Rowan reenters, but runs into a boot. Goldust gets the hot tag and is a house on fire. Goldy hits a spinebuster and knocks Harper from the apron. Goldy hits the crossbody and dumps Bray. Rowan takes a 619 that sends him towards Goldust for a powerslam. Harper breaks it up, and Rey jumps on him from the apron. Harper catches him and gives him The Miz treatment. Cody has none of this and springs down onto both of them.
Inside, Goldust hits a bulldog on Rowan, but Bray took the blind tag. Goldust goes for Shattered Dreams on Rowan, but eventually Bray breaks it up with a back elbow. Goldust takes Sister Abigail for the win.
Final Thoughts: These matches are built on the breakdowns, but this one was somewhat sloppy. **. Rowan got the blind tag to Bray, and then stayed in the ring for another minute or so, it felt like. The whole thing made Goldust look like a complete idiot, and that’s pretty bad as his gimmick is being a savvy veteran.
-Byron is with Sheamus. Sheamus is happy that Christian is desperate, as Sheamus looks forward to the fight that he’ll bring.
Dance Off! – Emma vs. Summer Rae
Santino and Fandango are out there for support, of course. I was hoping they’d try to drop Santino and Emma as a budding romance. Renee is hosting this competition. Summer has her go, and throws out a few moves. JBL recognizes one of them from Footloose and makes this be known. Emma debuts the “Advanced Shopping Trolley” which is cute in that she pantomimes grocery shopping. Summer asks for Fandango’s music. She calls him “Baby Boopsy” or something like that.
Emma, of course, gets to use her theme, and does her extremely catchy dance. Emma wins the competition and tosses the charging Summer Rae out. Fandango punches Santino in the stomach and tries to put the moves on Emma. She just shoves him onto his back over the kneeling Santino. Fandango and Summer Rae slink back to their evil lair while Emma and Santino. Her dance is going to catch on once she gets to use it outside of a dancing competition, as the fans started to have a lot of fun with it as the segment wore on.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Titus O’Neil
Darren Young is on commentary. Dolph hits an early dropkick, but takes a backbreaker and tossed to the side. Titus yells at Darren on competition while handling Dolph quite easily. Titus holds him with a boot to the throat. He moves to a sleeper, and Dolph gets a jawbreaker. Titus misses a corner charge, and Dolph hits some right hands in the corner. Ziggler grabs a neckbreaker, but misses the Fameasser. Titus hits the big boot. Darren blows on Titus’ whistle. This, naturally, distracts Titus and allows Dolph to roll him up for the win.
Final Thoughts: Speaking of people that are burnt out, need a break, and have fulfilled their obligations, Dolph should just leave now. He’s now the jobber that gets the rollup win during feuds.
Road Dogg vs. Jimmy Uso
Jimmy backs Dogg into the corner to start. Roadie gets some strikes in after the corner break. Dogg reverses a hiptoss with some work on the arm and goes to a chinlock. After a snapmare, he goes right back to it. Dogg then runs into a Samoan drop. Dogg answers back with some jabs, but takes the full nelson bomb. Jimmy gets out of the pumphandle following a right hand and hits a superkick for the win.
Final Thoughts: There wasn’t much here, but Jimmy went over nice and clean. Great, now they’re going to lose on Sunday.
Sheamus vs. Christian
Sheamus overpowers on the lockup. Christian answers with a side headlock, but is then run over with a shoulder block. Sheamus hits another to show his superiority. Christian hits a few right hands that Sheamus no sells with some clubbing blows. Christian squirms out of a powerslam and pulls the rope down on Sheamus. Outside, Christian’s counter chain comes to an end as Sheamus hits the rolling Samoan drop on the floor. We go to break.
We’re back with Sheamus relinquishing a hold and taking a couple of right hands. Christian goes for the right hand through the second rope, but is stopped. He gets away from the clubbing blows and goes outside, where Sheamus charges and runs him into the barricade. Sheamus charges once more, but Christian back drops him up and over. Christian gets innovative, taking the padding away from the barricade and then pulling Sheamus’ arm through the metal skeleton. Back inside, Christian goes to the second turnbuckle and comes down with a dropkick for two. Christian softens up the shoulder a bit more. A nice touch has Sheamus take a boot to his elbow with his palm on the mat. He crawls to the edge and actually bites down on the second rope.
Sheamus begins to fight back, but telegraphs a backdrop and finds himself in the midst of a slugfest with Christian. Christian goes to the top, but is caught and thrown off. Sheamus hits a series of clotheslines and his running knee. Sheamus gets a powerslam for two. Christian fights back and gets a single arm DDT from the corner for two. He gets cocky, though, and gets clubbed in the ropes. Christian squirms off of Sheamus’ shoulders and runs him into the post. Christian gets a rollup for two. Christian goes for a tornado DDT, but is caught with a couple of Irish Curse backbreakers. Sheamus goes for The Brogue and Christian runs off. Christian looks to knock the pursuing Sheamus from the apron, but takes a knee. Sheamus goes up, but gets thrown off. Christian hits an elbow from the top and looks for The Killswitch. There’s a reversal into White Noise and that’s the end. After the match, and right as the show goes off the air, Christian dumps Sheamus to the outside while the Irishman is celebrating. Sweet.
Final Thoughts: Christian is such a good heel compared to a face. ***1/2. There were some nice spots you don’t see all that often in this match. I’d rate this a bit higher if Sheamus didn’t do consecutive backbreakers with his messed up arm. Still, it’ll be funny for Sheamus and Bryan to be checking out each other’s wrappings and critiquing them with knowing nods.
–This was a sleepy show until the main event, where Sheamus and Christian delivered nicely. Christian might have one last heel run in him, where maybe he can get a title shot on Raw or something and cheat his way to an inch or so of the belt. Once again, JBL was a bit too abrasive to the ears. They should turn his microphone down just a bit. He overpowering Smackdown doesn’t make much sense. But, they kept most everyone strong tonight. I would have rather they use someone other than Cesaro to be Kane’s lackey. Keeping Cesaro from the ring would do more in stopping Bryan from winning on Sunday. I just remembered that Dolph Ziggler won a match. I recommend watching Sheamus and Christian get the time to have a good match. It delivered when nothing else really did.