Beth Phoenix and Natalya def. Aksana and Tamina:
What I Liked:
We get a very short match here. Natayla hits a bodyslam, but what comes next is very good in terms of long term storyline progression. Beth has words with Natalya, comes in, hits a Glam Slam for the victory, and stares at Natalya. I really have been waiting for these Divas to separate because they are so similar. The strength of each two, along with the great in ring skills, will be able to give us some sort of altercation that can pay off in the long run. Phoenix has run out of opponents. Tamina is not quite ready to take that leap yet.
What I Disliked:
Natayla gets laid out at the end of the match from Tamina. I wish she would have solidifed herself as a threat to Beth instead of get buried AGAIN from Tamina. Let Nattie shine in what she does best, and that is control the offense in a match. She is so good, so solid, but we have not seen that in months.
Grade: C- (due to the storyline, not the match)
Matt Striker interviews Randy Orton about his match tonight. Orton says he will win tonight, win at Elimination Chamber, and become a ten time world champion. Wade makes his entrance, as we see Long with Bryan. Long says AJ is scared of Big Show. Him and Bryan watch the main event.
Randy Orton def. Wade Barrett in a No Disqualification Match:
What I Liked:
Immediately, the match starts off aggressively. Orton controls the beginning stages of offense, with snap suplexes and stomps to Barrett's head. The physicality is such a crucial part between Orton and Barrett, so it was fitting it started off fast. We get a street fight feel, adding a table that Orton would be put through. I loved how they gave Barrett the opportunity to carry the match for the mid portion of the fight. Back and forth, both guys gave it their all. Orton and Barrett's chemistry is special, something rare from two guys who are heavyweight championship material. Neither are super powerful like Henry or Sheamus, and neither are athletic like a Christian or Kofi, but they both know their craft and work on what they are best at. They are both best at brawling with a few technical moves inserted. The ending was alright with me, giving the face the victory. I wish Wade would have won, but he has earned a few pin falls over Orton. This was his "redemption" match. Fantastic RKO on the chair.
What I Disliked:
Daniel Bryan comes out after the match to tease his battle with Orton next week, as we heard from Teddy Long. This should have been announced to the crowd, as you could tell they were confused. Bryan should have done more than yell on the stage. Again, they show their uncertainty on what to do with Bryan, so they make his heel persona as a scared and "in over his head" feel. We shall see where it goes from here next week.
I want to ask the fans, do you like what Daniel Bryan is doing with his character, and what would you change about it?
Smackdown Grade: C-, very lackluster compared to Raw and Impact. Should have focused more on in ring action rather than a few let downs, including the Divas, Gabriel match. It seemed just like there was something missing.
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