The card for next month's No Way Out pay-per-view continued to take shape after Friday night's episode of Smackdown, but recent events have parts of the show left with question marks.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Randy Orton and Kane in a triple threat match to be crowned the No. 1 contender to the Sheamus' World Heavyweight Championship.
But it is the other two participants in that match that are at the center of the most interesting scenarios leading into the next PPV event.
Kane continues to become more and more entangled in the ongoing issues between WWE Champion CM Punk and his challenger Daniel Bryan, as Bryan attacked Kane with a chair before the main event.
Orton, meanwhile, seemed poised after Raw to have a No Way Out match with Chris Jericho, but the incident in Brazil that saw Jericho suspended for 30 days for breaking local laws and disrespecting the Brazilian flag will put a damper on those anticipated contests.
Sheamus had declared earlier on Smackdown that he hoped he would have the chance to face Orton on the pay-per-view, so maybe that will become a triple threat. But where does that leave Punk, Bryan and Kane?
The tension between these three seemed to be possibly foreshadowing a three-way match between them, and it's highly unlikely two triple threats would be presented on the same show.
Obviously, there will now need to be some revisions to the planned card. While a Jericho vs. Orton match was one I personally was looking forward to, it will be fun and interesting to see how WWE proceeds from here.
Sometimes, when WWE's hand is forced, they can pull something good out of the proverbial hat. Let's hope that's the case, though, as the alternative is a pieced-together PPV.
Over the Limit surprised people with its quality; it would be nice to see No Way Out do the same.
* The main event triple threat match was well put together. It wasn't the greatest in-ring action we've ever seen, but there was some good storytelling in the match. Bryan distracting Kane, allowing Orton to hit an RKO and then having Del Rio steal the win was a good sequence.
* WWE took a step in the right direction, at least acknowledging that Sheamus ran into John Laurinaitis after the general manager had stipulated any superstar who touched him would be fired. But Sheamus didn't apologize, as he was ordered to, so it will be interesting to see if that is followed up further. Of course, some may say having a match with Jack Swagger is punishment enough, but their match was actually good. As with many matches recently, the problem lies in the foregone conclusion, but the ride was fun while it lasted.
* Two legitimate tag teams having a match on TV while neither of them are champions? What's that? This match actually has background, as it was teased during the battle royale at Over the Limit. Could this be an elusive sighting of attention being paid to the tag team division? Titus O'Neil and The Usos put together a fun tag match. Hopefully this is a sign of things changing, as there are many deserving stars would could prosper in a healthy and vibrant tag team scene.
* Big Show cut a promo to defend his turning on the fans and John Cena. Show handled himself well on the mic, but the flaw in the segment was that Show claimed no one came to his defense. With as much attention as WWE pays to Twitter these days, you would have thought those hundreds of tweets from fans and other members of the roster would have reached the big man. Guess not.
* Intercontinental Champion Christian defeated Hunico in a match that saw Hunico land a surprising amount of offense. While the result of a match like this was never really in question, a contest like this gives Christian a continued sense of momentum upon his return. Post-match, former champion Cody Rhodes came out and cut a good promo, claiming he will regain the title when he gets the rematch he's entitled to.
* I may have been one of the few people looking forward to seeing United States Champion Santino Marella face Ricardo Rodriguez. Unfortunately, I may have had too high of hopes. I thought Rodriguez was beginning to transition to an in-ring talent, as he's very skilled in the ring, but instead this was a pure comedy spot that only earned a half-smile. What seemed as if it could be a good building point was instead apparently a segment to take up time with so much of the roster on an international tour.
* Damien Sandow made his official in-ring debut against Yoshi Tatsu in a complete squash. Many people think Sandow is just a rip-off of "The Genius" Lanny Poffo, but I find his character to be entertaining. I just hope he's not stuck in the trap of random squashes along with Ryback, Tensai and Brodus Clay.
* Does anyone else get the feeling WWE doesn't know exactly what they're doing with Ryback? He had seemingly transitioned from outside enhancement talents to jobbers on the roster, but Friday night, he was back facing the no-name local talent. Yes, he beat two guys, but he also did that last month at Extreme Rules. The endless barrage of Ryback squashes need to show some actual direction soon.
Christian d. Hunico
Darren Young and Titus O'Neil d. The Usos
Ryback d. Brian Edwards and Kevin Bendl
Santino Marella d. Ricardo Rodriguez
Sheamus d. Jack Swagger
Damien Sandow d. Yoshi Tatsu
Alberto Del Rio d. Randy Orton and Kane
To be 100 percent honest, Friday night was one of those nights where the last thing I wanted to be doing was watching Smackdown. That said, the episode was a pleasant surprise. There was some good storyline advancement and some quality in-ring action. There's still a lot of time to build to No Way Out, and this was a good way to come off the starting line. There wasn't too much to blatantly complain about on Friday's episode, so we'll call that a win.
Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents and All American Pro Wrestling to bring you From the Rafters Radio, a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times