This episode of Smackdown had plenty of focus on the Hell in a Cell Pay-Per-View from start to finish.
Feuds like Alberto Del Rio/Randy Orton and Team Rhodes Scholars/Team Hell No benefited most from this show, while other feuds like Sheamus/The Big Show and Kofi Kingston/The Miz didn’t break any new ground.
It technically did its job as a go-home show, but it wasn’t spectacular by any means.
Let’s break it down by each segment:
- The Orton/Del Rio segment was decent, as it centered around their HIAC match. The Wade Barrett attack came out of nowhere, but was only set up for his match with Orton later on.
- The Teddy Long/Barrett/Del Rio backstage segment showed that Del Rio had Barrett attack Orton. That was all that was gained.
- Kane def. Cody Rhodes: Rhodes and Kane fought it out in the ring. Both men went back and forth until Kane hit the Chokeslam. Daniel Bryan and Damien Sandow took hilarious shots at each other on commentary. This pushed their HIAC match all around.
- Backstage, Booker T wanted “professionalism” from both Show and Sheamus. Show said he proved all he had to prove when he chokeslammed Sheamus on Raw. Show should be at his most aggressive and the fact he was so laid back here almost gives away that Sheamus wins at HIAC.
- The Miz def. Yoshi Tatsu: Miz needed to head into HIAC with a win, as he’s taken a lot of losses as of late. Props to JBL for the facts on Yoshi Tatsu that made him sound credible. This should’ve been a spot to put Kingston on commentary or at least have him sit ringside.
- The end of Raw as well as the Paul Heyman promo from Main Event aired again, which provided focus on the CM Punk/Ryback WWE Championship match at HIAC. A video package would’ve took up less time, but this was necessary. It’s the “marquee” match.
- The Booker T/Eve/Aksana/Teddy Long/Kaitlyn/Layla backstage segment called out Eve out on her actions in front of everybody (finally) and announced the triple threat match for the Diva’s Championship between Eve, Layla and Kaitlyn at HIAC as well as the Tag match later in the show. Can’t deny this has had a lot of focus.
- Wade Barrett def. Randy Orton: Nothing too special despite the time given. Barrett took advantage of Del Rio’s distraction and knocked out Orton, which at least gave him a credible win. After the match, Del Rio squirmed out of the RKO again. Sadly, this probably means Orton goes over at HIAC, which is the exact opposite of what should happen if WWE looks to get anything out of this feud.
- Eve/Aksana def. Layla/Kaitlyn: Layla accidentally kicked Kaitlyn and Eve took advantage. Now there should be some dissention between Kaitlyn and Layla at HIAC as Eve walked away with momentum.
- Sheamus was in serious mode backstage with Booker T. Good to see.
- Kane and Daniel Bryan had an interesting exchange backstage. The butt slap by Kane was hilarious.
- Damien Sandow def. Daniel Bryan: Sandow picked up great heat with his pre-match promo, which he ripped on the “Yes” chants and said he was better than Bryan in every way. Kane and Cody Rhodes sat on commentary, well, Rhodes was the only one who talked. Bryan shoved Rhodes to the floor while Kane backed off Sandow and Rhodes shoved Bryan into the ring post and Sandow hit his finisher for the win. Team Rhodes Scholars gets the last laugh into HIAC and Kane/Bryan continued to bicker. Short and simple.
- The problem with the Sheamus/Big Show segment was that we’ve seen that same segment play out countless times before. You have to be a sucker to think that Security wouldn’t get annihilated at the end. It was an alright final sell, but the two didn’t say anything we didn’t hear before.
Final Thoughts: So there we have it. All the questions have been set up so that we get our answers at HIAC. Hopefully, next week’s Smackdown should have a whole new focus. Some of these feuds need to end.