With WrestleMania XXIX set to take place on Sunday, the WWE decided to do things a bit differently this week when it came to SmackDown. Rather than taping it on Tuesday, SmackDown was actually taped prior to Raw on Monday night in Washington, D.C.
Since there wasn't enough time to tape an entire episode of SmackDown prior to Raw, the WWE simply staged two matches and one promo segment. The rest of the show will be taped throughout the week at WrestleMania Axxess and a handful of Axxess matches will be shown on SmackDown.
Instead of going all out on the go-home edition of SmackDown, the WWE wanted to use Raw as the true lead-in to WrestleMania. Even so, a few key players were able to pick up some momentum on the blue brand this week ahead of 'Mania, and the addition of Axxess footage makes the show one that fans won't want to miss.
Here are all the biggest spoilers for the April 5 edition of SmackDown, which will air just two days before the biggest event in wrestling.
Spoilers courtesy of WrestleZone.com.
Ryback Defeated Primo & Epico
In a throwback to last summer, Ryback took on and defeated two men at once on SmackDown as he dispatched of Primo and Epico. Ryback used to do that regularly against local enhancement talent when the WWE was trying to build him up, but he had gotten away from that in recent weeks. Ryback did beat 3MB on Raw last week, though, so it's clear that the writers are trying to make the Big Hungry look strong ahead of 'Mania.
Ryback is scheduled to face Mark Henry, who defeated Santino Marella in short order on Raw. Ryback and Henry have been made to look like equals thus far, including during a weightlifting competition on SmackDown last week. Neither man has really gotten the better of the other, so it's fair to call the build a success.
The odds are obviously in Ryback's favor when it comes to winning at WrestleMania since he is a young up-and-comer, while Henry is a veteran. Ryback hasn't won a meaningful pay-per-view yet and he is actually on quite a PPV losing streak at the moment. With that said, Ryback has looked good since Elimination Chamber and is finally starting to regain momentum. The win over Primo and Epico should put him in good position heading into WrestleMania.
Team Rhodes Scholars and Bell Twins Mock Tons of Funk and Funkadactyls
In an effort to add a bit of comedic relief between SmackDown matches, Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins cut a promo on their WrestleMania XXIX opponents, Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls. According to the spoiler report, they dressed up like their adversaries and proceeded to mock them until Brodus Clay, Sweet T, Cameron and Naomi exacted some revenge.
The Bellas faced the Funkadactyls last night on Raw and came away victorious. Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bellas have seemingly gotten the best of their funky opponents at each and every turn, so it was important for the faces to pick up a bit of momentum before WrestleMania, even if it is just going to be a throwaway match on the card.
It initially seemed like the match might be put on the pre-show, but all indications are that it will be on the main card. Although the match won't be anything to write home about, it gives the WWE some flexibility in terms of time. If other matches run long, then this is a match that can end in a minute or less without anyone complaining. It can also act as a buffer between two high-caliber showdowns. Regardless of how the WWE decides to handle it, a win seems likely for Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls.
Jack Swagger Defeated Kofi Kingston
Since returning to WWE programming a few weeks prior to Elimination Chamber, Jack Swagger has been a dominant force. Not only has the self-professed "Real American" won match after match, but he has also made life miserable for World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio as well as Ricardo Rodriguez. In order to give Swagger one last rub before his match with Del Rio at 'Mania, he defeated Kofi Kingston via the Patriot Act ankle lock on SmackDown.
Kingston has been a jobber to the stars as of late in losing to many of the main-event-caliber and upper-mid-card heels. Swagger has taken him down on a couple occasions, but it hasn't really mattered who Swagger has faced. He is arguably on the biggest roll of anyone in the company ahead of WrestleMania as he won the Elimination Chamber match to become No. 1 contender and has proceeded to lay waste to everyone in his path.
Like Swagger, Del Rio has looked good as well, so it's very difficult to say who will come out on top at WrestleMania. Conventional wisdom would seem to suggest that Del Rio will win since a heel is holding the Money in the Bank briefcase in the form of Dolph Ziggler. At the same time, Swagger could win and drop the title to a face a couple months down the line. If nothing else, this 'Mania match should be quite unpredictable.