Sheamus defeated Wade Barrett in a physical and highly contested bout. Early on, Barrett controlled the offensive attacks and even got to a point where he was in full control and had some time to taunt the crowd. Barrett hit a strong clothesline to send Sheamus to the outside. I thought this physicality was great to see once again between these two guys. We have seen them in matches before and they always seem to add a new piece to the match to keep it fresh. Barrett has adapted more kicks for his offense, and I absolutely love it. He is accurate and forceful with his kicks, and they sound brutal. Sheamus was able to get the upper hand at the end with an inverted backbreaker and then connecting with a Brogue Kick for the finish. Although my personal choice would have been Wade winning, this does more for Sheamus because he is more likely to be one of the final men at the end of the Royal Rumble match. Wade may be ready in my eyes for a world title match, but not at Wrestlemania. I would love to see these guys continue to work, and their paths will cross time and time again. Great action, solid storytelling, and the finish worked out well enough for me. Grade: B+
Natalya defeated Rosa Mendes . This was your typical Divas match, added with some comedy (or the attempt to). Natayla has Hornswoggle and Khali with her, while Primo and Epico were escorting Rosa. If the heels in this horrible storyline never wins, what is the point then? I love Natayla, especially her execution in the ring and her look, but she is stuck in a really ridiculous spot. I would love to see Natalya go heel and try to win the title off of Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn could benefit from a veteran in the ring, as well as the name and prestige Natalya brings to the ring. Grade: D
Randy Orton defeated Drew McIntyre in a pretty boring match. Drew got about two moves on Orton until he came out with clotheslines and a powerslam. Mahal tries to interfere, but Orton connects with an RKO, and then a few more. There was NOTHING that I liked about this because Randy Orton gains no upper hand beating guys like this. Why would you pair Orton, one of your greatest assets on Smackdown, with a wasted group like this? I would have loved to see some sort of match where Orton had to struggle, had to overcome something, and give you a reason to WANT to see him Sunday. That did not happen here. Grade: D
The Miz defeated Darren Young in another wasted match on Smackdown. Call me Teddy Long, but why not have Miz team up with someone like Orton and have them fight Cesaro and another heel? Instead, The Miz defeats a guy who is better suited for tag team wrestling by locking in the Figure Four, which I still have a hard time watching. I want The Miz to thrive as a face, but there has to be something more done with him. Antonio is just too good in the ring and still learning to carry a feud on the microphone, while The Miz is vice versa. Maybe I would be more excited if Miz was not on the pre-show? Grade: C-
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