Here’s a run-down of the first edition of Friday Night Smackdown following the WWE Battleground 2013 event.

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio Interrupted Vickie GuerreroThis was one bizarre segment. Where to begin? First, everyone involved was a heel, so the live crowd didn’t really have any incentive to cheer any of them. Second, Del Rio kissing up to Vickie dragged on too long and was a complete waste of time. Third, was this the start of a face turn for Sandow? Despite the fact that I am skeptical of it, this wasn’t the best way of going about turning him. The Raw recaps that opened the show didn’t help matters, either. If nothing else, this segment established the main event for later in the show, but it felt too formulaic for my liking.

Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. R-Truth

I still couldn’t care less about either individual, but this was still a much better match than their encounter at Battleground. From what it sounded like, the crowd seemed to be more engaged in the action as well. The near-falls grew to be more suspenseful down the stretch, but it was still a decent match as a whole. It was also nice to see Axel pick up the clean victory, thus giving him more credibility as a champion.

Los Matadores def. Los LocalesFor those unaware, the men under the masks were Tyson Kidd and Ricardo Rodriguez. I would love to see Rodriguez under the mask as El Local going forward, but I surely hope this was a one-off for Kidd. He deserves much better. Anyway, the match was basically a showcase for Los Matadores and it wasn’t much more than that. I still stand my ground that Los Matadores will fizzle out after awhile, but they are still a fun tandem for now.

Brie Bella and The Funkadactlys def. Kaitlyn, Natalya and Eva Marie

I expected this match to be much more of a train wreck than it actually was, but it wasn’t any longer than originally anticipated. The Divas matches on television continue to be a disappointment, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since it has been this way for years. The match wasn’t necessarily poor, but it simply had no meaning. Honestly, the lack of AJ Lee is what made this bout uninteresting for me. It is sad to see Kaitlyn reduced to this after being spotlighted so much only a few short months ago, and did anyone else find it odd to see The Bella Twins and The Funkadactlys acting so friendly towards each other given their rivalry from earlier this year?

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Damien Sandow (Non-title)

With this being his apparent first match as a babyface, I would certainly say that he fared pretty well. His mannerisms were no different for the most part and it will take time to get used to him as a face, but he more than held his own against Del Rio here. In doing so, the crowd gradually got behind him as the match progressed. It was a solid match early on with a great finishing sequence where Sandow loses nothing in defeat. Del Rio is being booked brilliantly as world champion, but it is a shame that not many people care about his character.

Millions-of-khalis_SD_738_Photo_116-1The Prime Time Players and The Great Khali def. 3MB

As much as I enjoy The Prime Time Players, it was pretty apparent that this match was going to be a disaster when Khali botched doing the “Millions of Dollars” dance during the entrance. Thankfully, Khali’s role was heavily limited and the other competitors did most of the in-ring work. It was odd to see 3MB get the upper hand for a majority of the bout, but at least The Prime Time Players went over. I would like to see them back in the tag title picture, but this meaningless match showed that they don’t have any real direction at the moment.

Goldust-Rowan_SD_738_Photo_134-1Cody Rhodes and Goldust def. Luke Harper and Erik Rowan

Without a doubt, this was the best match The Wyatt Family has competed in to date. The crowd wasn’t into the action early on, but the competitors told a solid story throughout. Cody and Goldust work so well as a team and I am glad they are receiving the push that they deserve. I was surprised to see this match positioned in the main event of the show and it ended the episode on a high note. The Wyatt Family’s first loss in tag team action was made out to feel like a big deal in addition to the fact that it gave the Rhodes brothers a boost as a tandem.

Overall Show

As a whole, this show felt average with a few good matches here and there. The Intercontinental Championship match was good, but not worth going out of your way to see. The Del Rio vs. Sandow match as well as the main event, though, were worth watching and helped make this episode more enjoyable. Everything else was merely filler, but hopefully the blue brand can feature more build for Hell in a Cell starting next week.

~~This article was originally posted on Next Era Wrestling~~