WWE SmackDown: Zack Ryder Wins the Battle Royale, MITB Qualifiers and More

Kyle SchadlerChief Writer IJuly 4, 2012


WWE SmackDown opened with a party backstage with superstars that you normally wouldn't see on one of the main shows. Teddy Long then appeared to welcome everyone and introduce the night's maid, Eve. Santino Marella then failed at lighting the grill, so Kane did it.

Well this was an interesting way to open the show, though I kind of expected it to open like this. It was the typical party where people are talking and shenanigans are happening. It'll most likely happen throughout the night.

Alberto Del Rio then made his way to the ring. He wasn't there to celebrate America; he was there to celebrate himself. After he beats Sheamus, he'll send him back to where he belongs. He then went after some fans asking for their papers and that brought out Sheamus.

They brawled until the numbers game became too much. Del Rio then smashed Sheamus with the car hood to end it the fight.

I liked this segment. Del Rio was solid on the mic and delivered a nice heel promo. I think that accusing fans of being illegal immigrants is a bit insulting, but it added to his promo.

The brawl between him and Sheamus was a nice touch, especially Del Rio smashing Sheamus' head with the hood of the car. He has shown a whole new level of intensity here, though it did start on Raw with his attack on Sin Cara.

I am slowly making my way on board for Alberto Del Rio. He's been really good over the past couple of weeks, and I hope he stays that way!


The Great Khali and Layla vs. Antonio Cesaro and Aksana

Layla picked up the victory for her team after delivering a neckbreaker to Aksana. This match was certainly nothing special. Khali lumbered around while Cesaro's talent was wasted here.

I was hoping that Layla and Aksana would at least deliver, but the Divas champion basically squashed her.

I'm a little confused as to why Layla isn't feuding with anyone over her title. While the division rarely gets any respect, which they should get, it's nice to at least see the title treated like a championship and not an accessory.

Hopefully she'll get a real storyline after Money in the Bank.

Backstage, Teddy Long walked out of the trainer's room when Cody Rhodes appeared. He revealed that the board of directors gave him another qualifying match. Teddy then chose Christian as his opponent.

I am quite happy that Rhodes is getting another chance. He has worked unbelievably over the past year and deserves to be featured in a match that he would certainly be a favorite to win.


Cody Rhodes vs. Christian: MITB Qualifier

Rhodes qualified for Money in the Bank after hitting Cross Rhodes. This was a very good match between two of WWE's most talented wrestlers.

When Teddy booked this match, I knew that these two superstars would deliver once again. They've been having good matches ever since the feud started at Over the Limit, and they haven't lost that chemistry a bit.

I'm glad Rhodes won for two reasons. The first is that he qualified for the match and the second is that he finally defeated Christian. Captain Charisma has been on top of this entire feud, but now Rhodes has finally gained some momentum.

I think their feud is actually over, but at least Rhodes won one of the matches. As for the Money in the Bank, I'm calling it right now: Cody Rhodes will be the winner of the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match. I think he is very much ready for the main event!

Backstage, the party is still going on. Zack Ryder then arrived and said he'd be in charge of the music. Heath Slater then appeared and started singing. Everyone threw food at him, and Ryder played Brodus Clay's music. Everyone then danced with the Funkasaurus.

These party segments are always so corny, but they do tend to be quite funny at times. I think this was one of the funny ones. It would have been cool to see a legend come in and embarrass Slater to continue that storyline, though.


Alex Riley vs. Dolph Ziggler: MITB Qualifier

Ziggler qualified for the Money in the Bank match after the Zig Zag. This was a decent match as it saw Riley dominate the majority of it until Ziggler hit his finishing move.

Riley was very impressive in this match, though. He hasn't been given the chance to shine like that since his feud with the Miz. A-Ry is talented inside the ring; I just think he needs a real gimmick.

What is his gimmick anyway? It doesn't seem like he actually has one. If given the right gimmick, I think that Riley could be a big star.

As for Ziggler, I now retract my statement from earlier. While Rhodes is certainly a favorite to win the match, Ziggler is definitely one as well. I am now torn between them; I think they both have an equal chance at winning.

Michael Cole then appeared in the ring to interview A.J. After an excellent video package showing the events of Raw, Cole called her a "troubled little girl" and then began to flirt with her.

He was thankfully interrupted by Daniel Bryan, who called him a sexist. He knew that A.J. didn’t mean for him to go through the table and he forgave her for that.

CM Punk then made his way out. He kicked Cole out of the ring and declared that he won't suck up to her. She's not in a good place and she needed professional help.

A.J. would then make out with both of them, leaving both superstars shocked.

I used to like Cole's interviews, but I'm beginning to realize that they're all the same. He introduces his interviewee, asks them a question, answers it for them and then proceeds to bash them until they fight back or someone interrupts the segment. Cole needs a new formula.

Both Bryan and Punk were solid on the mic here, but I wish that A.J. got a bit of mic time. Her actions more than made up for it, though.

Making out with both of them in front of each other sends them both quite the message. She is messing with both of them, whether she actually has feelings for them or not.

This storyline keeps getting more interesting as the weeks go by, and I keep getting more into it as a result. I can't wait to see what happens next week!


Santino Marella, Sgt. Slaughter and Jim Duggan vs. Drew McIntyre, Hunico and Camacho

The faces picked up the victory after the Cobra struck Hunico. This was the typical match featuring legends as they dominated the whole match, except for a bit when the heels had control for about 30 seconds or so.

It's always good to see Slaughter and Duggan, but I wish WWE didn't always go to them. It seems like every time a legend shows up, it's one of those two.

At the same time, the team actually made a little sense. Both Slaughter and Duggan are former United States champions, though when they held the title, it actually meant something.

Seeing McIntyre in the match makes me wish that he would get a push towards the United States Championship. I think he would make a great champion, but I doubt he'll get any kind of push anytime soon.

Backstage, people are still partying. Damien Sandow then appeared and cut the power. Ryder confronted him and told him to leave. Sandow instead attacked Ryder and it resulted in Eve getting the whole bowl of punch thrown on her.

It certainly seems like Sandow's first real feud will be with Zack Ryder. It's been teased for a few weeks now, though Ryder wouldn't stand a chance in the feud.

I got a good laugh out of Eve getting covered in punch. I was never too much of a fan of Eve, so that was pretty funny to me.


Ryback vs. Curt Hawkins

Ryback squashed Hawkins here like a little bug here. While I'm glad he finally faced someone on the main roster, I was hoping that Hawkins would at least get in a little bit of offense. A punch or two would have sufficed for me.

Ryback continues to mow down the competition, and at this rate, I wouldn't mind if he squashed Santino to take the United States Championship away from him.

Teddy Long then made his way out to thank the board of directors and the fans. He then said it was time for the battle royal. I always liked Teddy on the mic. He always seems like he's having fun, which makes for a great atmosphere. I doubt he'll be the permanent general manager, but I wouldn't mind if he was!


Great American Bash Battle Royal

Zack Ryder won the match by eliminating Kane and he will be the SmackDown general manager next week as a result.

I am very excited that Ryder won this match! The Ryder Revolution has been very much dead since he lost the United States Championship and was squashed by Kane. This could be an indication that his push is back on track. I'll believe it when I see it, tough.

Eliminating the Big Red Monster also gives some closure in a feud that just kind of stopped.

The battle royal was the typical one fans see in WWE. The random superstars got eliminated by the bigger names, while superstars involved in a feud get eliminated by one another. I've always enjoyed battle royals, though, so I liked this match.

Overall, I thought this was another good episode of SmackDown. There were a few good matches while there were also some entertaining moments.

Did it do justice to the name "Great American Bash?" I would say no, but as a WWE show it was on par with what they usually do.


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