This episode of Smackdown starts off with Triple H coming out to a sea of jeering from the crowd. Michael Cole narrates as he talks about the reunion of Evolution. When a wrestler is in a tag team or a stable they should come out to the team’s music, not their own. It’s a subtle thing, but it shows unity.

Triple H says his job is to find the best talent from around the globe and sit back and watch them succeed. Triple H says he is proud of finding The Shield. Triple H calls them three of the most talented guys he has ever seen. Triple H continues that two weeks ago The Shield crossed the line and last week they paid the price.

We then get a highlight package of this past Monday on Raw when The Shield took on 11 wrestlers in a tag match and then Evolution reunited complete with the Motorhead entrance music. The Evolution reunion was an awesome moment, my only beef is with the fact that they put Alexander Rusev in the 11 on 3 match. Rusev had no business being in that match, it took away from his special aura and his 10 partners dwarfed him and made him look less like a monster.

Triple H continues and says that the Shield found humility and were humbled at the Evolution’s feet. Triple H then says the Shield could get out of all of this until Roman Reigns sent Triple H the message “Hunter, Kings do not when wars. Soldiers do.” Triple H responds to that with “Soldiers are simply the currency on which empires are bought and sold.” Triple H then makes the big announcement that The Shield will take on Evolution at Extreme Rules. This is a feud I can get behind. I hope it builds with rematches for months and keeps going until we get the WWE debut of Wargames. Seriously. This feud was made for it. You have the pseudo Four Horsemen taking on the up and coming babyfaces. Make it Evolution and Corporate Kane vs. The Shield and Daniel Bryan or something. I don’t care, just give us Wargames!

Michael Cole then announces that the main event for tonight’s show will be Sheamus vs. Batista.

We come back from a commercial break with my personal favorite, Alberto Del Rio standing in the ring awaiting his opponent Big E. The Intercontinental #1 Contender Tournament is awesome. I love pro wrestling tournaments.

Cheap plug: You can read my 20th Anniversary review of the 1994 Super J Cup here:

My only gripe is I wish Del Rio was going to win the tourney and win the Intercontinental championship. The IC title needs a nice long reign from a former World Champion, with multiple defenses every month to add some prestige to the title. It would be nice to see the WWE elevate the IC title much like NJPW has done with theirs. Especially since there is only one “World Champion” in the WWE anymore.

I am stoked to watch Cesaro vs. RVD and hopefully Cesaro vs. Sheamus in the finals. Cesaro winning the Intercontinental Championship would be nice.

Big E vs. Alberto Del Rio: Big E shows off his athleticism early on with a nice leap frog over ADR and then a shoulder block. ADR gains the advantage with plenty of stiff kicks. Big E hits ADR with a belly to back suplex and then attempts the big splash until ADR sticks his knees up and Big E rolls out of the ring selling the pain to his ribs. Then there is an awesome spot with ADR outside on the apron Big E runs at him and dives through the rope tackling ADR down to the outside with both men laid out outside the ring. Big E inside the ring then connects with the big splash and goes for the Big Ending, ADR counters into a Backstabber for a two count. The crowd starts chanting “Si! Si! Si!” calling for the Cross Armbreaker. ADR goes for the Cross Armbreaker, but Big E uses his strength and power to crawl to the ropes. The referee disqualifies ADR for not breaking the hold after the five count. ADR then takes out his frustration by attacking Big E after the bell. ADR goes for the superkick until Big E counters and hits ADR with a post-match Big Ending. **3/4

Michael Cole then talks about “Warrior Week” on the WWE Network. Cole then talks about Undertaker’s streak ending while they show clips of the match at WrestleMania. Cole announces that Paul Heyman and “The King of Swing” Cesaro will be out next.

Paul Heyman is in the ring as his introduces himself to the WWE Universe. Heyman talks on and on about Brock Lesnar conquering the streak. Lesnar’s feat of breaking the streak shouldn’t go away anytime soon, especially with Lesnar taking time off until the WWE needs him again, but Heyman’s promos are starting to become repetitive. Heyman should move on with Cesaro into a program/feud with someone.

Michael Cole then sends us to a video package of the feud between El Torito and Hornswoggle. Yes, you read that right. My love for Los Matadores extends to El Torito. I can get behind a Torito vs. Hornswoggle feud.

Paige then comes out for a match. How refreshing is the WWE Divas division now that Paige and Emma have joined it?

Paige vs. Aksana: Aksana gets on the mic and tells Paige all the Divas are jealous of Paige. Aksana tells Paige that she got lucky and now her luck runs out.

Paige’s offense is, dare I say again, refreshing. Her back elbow strikes. Her knee strikes. Her short arm clotheslines. Her selling is even good. HER SELLING IS GOOD. When have I ever been able to say that about a WWE Diva? Never. Paige wins with the Scorpion Cross Lock. Paige is awesome. ** (highest rating I’ve ever given a Divas match on Smackdown)

Joe Lanza’s favorite Renee Young interviews Sheamus in the back about facing Batista tonight. Renee shows Sheamus footage of Batista getting DQ’d in their previous match when he repeatedly hit Sheamus with a steel chair. Sheamus responds to that footage by saying that Batista took the easy way out.

In the back Hornswoggle and Torito are warming up with their respective tag teams.

Hornswoggle w/ 3MB vs. El Torito w/ Los Matadores: This match was treated like a “Big Fight” if a comedy match could ever be treated that way. Watch videos of El Torito and his work in Mexico and you’ll be disappointed by this match. The only big moves Torito pulls out are a nice hurricarrana and a springboard moonsault for the win. *1/2

We then get a video package for the Smackdown debut for Alexander Rusev.

Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth: Rusev is a beast. If the WWE handles him properly he can be a big deal. He needs to go on an undefeated streak for a good while, win a mid card title, and then go up against the WWE champ in a big fight. Sounds like Goldberg, but I’m thinking more like Samoa Joe TNA era. I love Rusev’s side kick. It would knock out anyone. Typical squash match. N/R

Up next is a tribute to the Ultimate Warrior tribute from Monday Night Raw.

We then get Emma and Santino getting read match vs Fandango.

Fandango w/ Layla vs. Santino Marella w/ Emma: Santino comedy match. Santino pulls out the Cobra, Layla steals it, Santino pulls out a sunset flip for the win. N/R

Michael Cole then talks about Daniel Bryan taking time off for his honeymoon. Cole then shows the clip of Stephanie pulling the demon out of Kane. This would be a cool storyline if Kane’s mask didn’t have a wig attached to it. Why can’t he just wear the mask sans hair?

Sheamus comes out for his match vs. Batista. There are twenty minutes left in the show. Either we are going to get multiple commercial breaks during this match or there will be an Evolution style schmozz. Batista can wrestle 20 minute singles matches.

Batista vs. Sheamus: Batista starts off by dragging Sheamus outside and slamming his face into the guardrail. Sheamus gains control back in the ring with some strikes in the corner. Sheamus goes for a pin after a clothesline for 2. Sheamus hits Batista with the forearm strikes to Batista’s chest as Batista is outside on the apron. Batista counters with hanging Sheamus on the top rope Stone Cold Stunner style. First commercial break.

Batista is on the outside catching his breath and Sheamus goes out to pull Batista back in the match. Batista kicks the steel steps into Sheamus and throws Sheamus into the ring. Batista throws Sheamus shoulder first into the ring post and Sheamus tumbles to the outside. Batista goes for the Batista bomb back in the ring and Sheamus grabs him by the tights and throws him to the outside of the ring. Batista might win the worst wrestler of the year. His matches are terrible. Sheamus isn’t the best worker, but he is usually good for a ** to **** match. Batista’s offense is just so weak. He is supposed to be this powerful beastly man and his offense doesn’t even look like it would hurt Mike Chioda. Probably because it doesn’t even look like he is trying out there. Sheamus eventually goes for the Brogue Kick and Batista rolls out of the ring to catch his breath. Sheamus rolls Batista back in the ring and goes for another Brogue Kick. Batista counters with a spear for a 2 count pinfall. Batista signals for the Batista Bomb. Sheamus counters with a back body drop. Sheamus climbs to the top rope and Batista counters and then hits the Batista Bomb for the win. ½*

This episode of Smackdown wasn’t bad. It at least had fresh material and wasn’t just a giant recap of Raw. Follow me on Twitter @LuchaNerd and tell me what you thought of Smackdown or anything else wrestling related!