Santino Marella’s music hits to open Smackdown, and the crowd pops crazy for the Italian Stallion.
Matthews: “What a way to start off Smackdown! It’s the former Intercontinental Champion, Santino Marella. Let’s see what he’s got to say about what happened last week during his title rematch with Alberto Del Rio.”
A video package of last week is shown with Santino getting the upper-hand on Del Rio before Cody Rhodes interfered. The package shows Cody taking out Santino and running off with the title belt.
Striker: “He’s got every right to be upset, Josh. Santino was in a great position to regain the title and Cody took that away from him, literally!”
Santino: “Let me take you back to last year. I was going nowhere on Raw, and I’d become a comedy figure. I knew that, and I was happy to take my paycheck because I was scared of being let go. I had fun, and that’s all I had to do to, but I wanted something more.
Then, the WWE decided to shake things up with a draft and I was traded here to Smackdown. I realised that this was my chance to change. I wanted to be recognised as a serious competitor instead of a joke. In order to do that, I set my sights on the championship that I won in my very first match in the WWE, the Intercontinental Championship.
Cody Rhodes had the belt, so he was my target. I overcame him. Then, at WrestleMania, I was on top of the world defending my title on the grandest stage of them all. In a five-man gauntlet match, I defeated Cody once again and then the Miz in quick fashion. I was ready for Dolph Ziggler, but as we went back and forth, Cody decided to interfere and cost me my title.
Alberto Del Rio was able to capitalise and win. I was supposed to get my rematch last week, and during the match, Cody interfered again. Well, I’m sick of it. This has got to stop!!!”
Matthews: “Santino makes a good point. He has been screwed twice out of what was his title.”
Striker: “Cody’s done exactly what he said he’d do last week. Everyone’s talking about him!”
Santino: “Cody’s nothing but a thief. He’s stolen the title, he’s ruined my opportunities, and spoiled my moments. He’s tried to get the spotlight back because he can’t hack the fact that I’ve beaten him twice when the title’s been on the line. Cody’s just a sore loser, and I’ll be damned if he gets between me and the Intercontinental Championship!”
Cody Rhodes music hits and a chorus of boos come from this hot crowd. He has a microphone in hand; the title is strapped around his waist as he walks to the ring.
Cody: “Santino, Santino, Santino. You think you’ve stolen my spotlight? You must be in denial! I’m the future of this company, not you. You think I’ve stolen these things from you? Maybe you didn’t deserve what you had. Maybe your victory was nothing but a fluke. Trust me, it’ll never happen again!
I’ve now got back what’s mine: the Intercontinental Championship. I brought back prestige to that title, and you ruined it during your two-week joke run with it. You ruined the legacies of men like The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and me when you walked into Miami with this title.
Like any normal person would do, I took matters into my own hands and stopped you from disgracing the title any more. The funny thing is, Santino, that you’ve always been a joke, right from day one when Bobby Lashley helped you steal the title from Umaga. Even your fluke win over me was a joke. No matter what you do, you’re always gonna be a joke!”
As soon as Cody pauses for breath, Alberto Del Rio’s music hits and he struts down the ramp to a sea of boos. He also looks like he’s here to talk business!
Striker: “Ah, here’s the champ. Alberto’s the man that everyone pays to see!”
Matthews: “I don’t think the crowd’s too happy to see him though Matt.”
Alberto: “Well, it’s a good thing I’m out here, because you two are boring this crowd to death! You’re not in my league, Santino. I hope you get drafted to Raw so that I don’t have to put up with you again!"
"Now, on to you Cody Rhodes. It feels like I’m missing something. Oh, that’s right, last week you high-tailed it out of the arena with my championship!"
"Because I respect you, I’m going to give you a chance to give me my title back.”
Cody: “Alberto, if you’re the greatest champion ever, surely you should be a fighting champion! Now, as we both respect each other, how about you give me a title shot?”
Alberto: “I accept your challenge, but I say we save the excitement for No Mercy and face off there. These fans here tonight don’t deserve to see us face each other!”
Both men shake hands, the crowd boos and Santino shakes his head. Just as Cody hands the title back to Alberto, Smackdown GM Michael Cole appears on the titantron.
Cole: “Gentlemen, let me ask you when you replaced me as the General Manager of Smackdown? Did the board of directors make a decision without informing me? No, so it’d serve you well to remember that I’m the GM of Smackdown."
"I won’t deny that you two would put on a pay-per-view-worthy match, but we need to be fair about this. Santino has been screwed twice in recent weeks, so tonight, we’re going to have a No. 1 contenders match for the Intercontinental Championship. Cody Rhodes and Santino Marella will face each other one-on-one tonight, and the winner will face Alberto Del Rio for the title at No Mercy!”
With that announcement, del Rio and Rhodes nod at each other and leave the ring. Santino starts working up the crowd, signalling that he’s going to get his belt back!
Matthews: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just received word that Chris Jericho is in the building tonight, but coming up next, the forgotten man of Smackdown, Dean Ambrose, will be in action!”