We kick off this week’s episode of Smackdown with Randy Orton making his way to the ring. Michael Cole introduces Tom Phillips to the new commentary team. Cole made a bigger deal about this than I would have imagined. This needs to transition into a whole new commentary team on Smackdown to make it feel different than Raw.

Randy Orton talks about how Roman Reigns won the battle, but not the war. Randy claims to have never been called a loser. Randy says that his loss to Roman Reigns at Summerslam has lead him to be more focused and when he is focused he RKO’s people through commentating tables.

Randy Orton states that Rob Van Dam tonight is nothing more than collateral damage. Orton says he is going to use RVD to send a message to the rest of the locker room.

Seth Rollins vs Jack Swagger: This match came about from a challenge made on Main Event and is the first time these two have wrestled one on one to my knowledge. Swagger and Rollins are both coming off of excellent matches from Summerslam.

These two wrestled in a good WWE TV styled match. There were some unique spots each pulled. Jack Swagger was continuing to sell his injured ribs the whole match. Swagger did connect on a Swagger/Vader Bomb in which Cole intelligently questioned why he would even attempt that move knowing his ribs are injured. Jack Swagger was on the outside of the ring and as he attempted to re-enter the ring Seth Rollins Curb Stomped Swagger sending Jack back outside the ring to get counted out. **3/4

In the post-match segment, Bo Dallas came out and talked to Swagger about how Jack let the entire country down when he lost to Rusev at Summerslam.

After a commercial break we get a recap of the Bella vs Bella and Stephanie feud.

The Miz is backstage on the phone demanding to someone to make him a Venti Pumpkin Spiced Latte whether it’s in season or not. Then Kane appears and Miz gets off the phone asking why Kane didn’t just speak to Miz’s agent. Kane said he is going to put the Miz in a match against the guy who rearranged the “Money Maker”

Sin Cara vs Rusev (w/ Lana): Say what?! This is the first time Sin Cara is wrestling a one on one match sans weird mystic lighting. We also had a scroll at the bottom of the screen with “BREAKING NEWS” that talked about John Cena declaring his intent to cash in on his rematch clause at Night of Champions.

This was pretty much your typical Rusev squash match. It was nice to see Rusev perform as well as he did at Summerslam. It means that Rusev is less Ryback circa 2012 and more of a true main event star.

After the match Lana gets on the mic to talk about Vladimir Putin, until Mark Henry interrupts on the Titantron and tells Rusev and Lana “I guess you didn’t get my memo from Monday.” And then proceeds to walk out to the ring as Rusev and Lana escape.

Renee Young is in the back with Rob Van Dam asking RVD how he feels going into his match with Randy Orton tonight. RVD says that Randy Orton needs to chill out. RVD then gets attacked from behind by Orton. Orton tells Renee “When he gets up….Tell him I’ll be waiting out by the ring for him.”

Rob Van Dam vs Randy Orton: After Orton makes his way to the ring we hear RVD’s music hit and RVD runs full speed down to the ring to seek retribution for what happened backstage before the last commercial break. This match was more about getting over the fact that Orton is pissed about losing to Roman Reigns. Orton just takes RVD and throws him into the barricade, into the steel steps, into the announce table, over the barricade etc. until the referee counts them both out.

Every couple of month Randy Orton will “snap” and beat someone up to prove a point or send a message and then he just goes back to being the same ol’ boring Randy. This is just as fickle in WWE’s writing as elevating the Intercontinental Championship.

Orton mocked RVD with the RVD thumbs pose and then RKO’d RVD on the top of a steel chair. The doctor’s come out to tend to RVD and Orton walks over to the commentary team and tells them “Tell Roman I’ll be out here later.”

We then get a replay of what Randy Orton just did to RVD, and then after a commercial break we get more replays of what Randy Orton just did to RVD. WWE! You don’t need to show up THREE times what happened in an angle. Once is enough and twice at most, and that is only if you are trying to elevate the importance of an angle.

Renee Young is in the back with Roman Reigns. Roman has an issue with Randy thinking that Roman got lucky. Roman said that he wasn’t lucky when he “speared his ass”. Sounds questionable.

Paige vs Natalya: This was pretty much the same exact match from Monday on Raw, only this time AJ stole the WWE Diva’s Championship and placed it at the top of the ramp. Paige went to the top of the ramp and retrieved her title and went back into the ring only to have Natalya slap the Sharpshooter on Paige and force Paige the tap out.

Goldust and Stardust vs Erick Rowan and Luke Harper: It appears that Rowan and Harper are continuing to separate themselves from Bray Wyatt. Maybe Rowan and Harper will be the modern day Acolytes. They’ll be in the Wyatt family and then split off into the WPA, The Wyatt Protection Agency. Imagine the backstage skits with Harper and Rowan slamming down some beers and kicking ass.

JBL spent the majority of this match talking about whose birthday it is today, mentioned Paul Ellering and Stevie Ray. This was a tag team match that plodded back and forth until a flurry of fast paced tag team action towards the end predicated on Goldust’s hurricanrana on Luke Harper. Goldust wins by rolling up Harper after Harper boots Stardust off of the apron. **

After the match Rowan and Harper beat down Stardust and Goldust. The WPA stand in the middle of the ring posing as if they won the match. (I’m sticking to this WPA thing. It’ll totally work)

We then get a recap of Brock Lesnar debuting the new WWE title and the announcement from the C.O.O. Triple H about John Cena challenging Lesnar at Night of Champions and that John Cena will return to Monday Night Raw this Monday to address the beating he received at Summerslam.

Roman Reigns vs The Miz: Before Miz and Reigns even lock up we see Randy Orton make his way out to the ring. This match was short. The Miz had the advantage for spurts while Orton was distracting Reigns, but ultimately Reigns caught Miz with a spear, pinned The Miz for the win, and then invited Orton into the ring.

Orton and Reigns fought to the outside of the ring slamming each other into the barricade, ring steps, announce tables, you know. Much like the Orton/RVD match. Orton grabs a steel chair and hits Reigns in the mid-section. Orton rolls Reigns into the ring with the chair. Roman turns it around and gives Orton the Superman punch. Orton escapes up the ring as Roman Reigns stands tall to close the show.

Overall Thoughts:

This was another pretty stale episode of Smackdown. Nothing happened of substance. If you never caught a minute of this episode of Smackdown you could watch Monday Night Raw on Monday without even realizing Smackdown airing on Friday. WWE needs to do something to make Smackdown stand out.

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